Utilization of Employment Tax Credits: An Analysis of the Empowerment Zone Wage Tax Credit

14 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2011

See all articles by Andrew Hanson

Andrew Hanson

Marquette University- Department of Economics


This paper provides estimates of utilization for the Empowerment Zone (EZ) wage tax credit, a subsidy claimed by employers who operate in and hire residents of federally designated areas experiencing economic distress. The EZ credit is currently the largest employer-based wage tax credit in the federal tax code in terms of dollars claimed, with almost $250 million claimed in 2002. I show that about 6.4 percent (and at least 3.5 percent) of the working age population was claimed under the EZ wage credit in 1999. In addition, I estimate that 24.2 percent (and at least 13.1 percent) of those employed inside of the target area were claimed for the credit. I create these national estimates of use with information on credit dollars claimed from the Internal Revenue Service and population data on the eligible population from the census. These measures of tax credit use are an alternative to the use rate of firms that are presented in the existing literature, and reveal how effective the credit is at reaching residents of the target area.

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Andrew, Utilization of Employment Tax Credits: An Analysis of the Empowerment Zone Wage Tax Credit. Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 23-36, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1784072 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5850.2011.00972.x

Andrew Hanson (Contact Author)

Marquette University- Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States

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