Access to Tax InJustice

Pepperdine Law Review (Issue 5 of Volume 40) (Spring 2013)

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series

48 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013

See all articles by Francine J. Lipman

Francine J. Lipman

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law

Date Written: February 11, 2013


Every morning, Monday through Friday, school children across the United States raise their voices in unison and pledge allegiance to America, with liberty and justice for all. America, in turn, pledges to these children and the world that it is a nation of liberty, justice, and laws. Laws drafted by representatives intended to follow through on America’s promise of liberty and justice for all. Yet for more than 16 million of these children and 30 million adults living in poverty in 2011, America does not deliver on its promise of justice. In a recent global study, America ranked 27th out of 31 countries in social justice. Social justice was evaluated by looking at six key factors: poverty prevention, access to education, labor market inclusion, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health, and “intergenerational justice." Prevention of poverty is a fundamental precondition for social justice. Under conditions of poverty, engagement in and access to basic education, labor, and health care services are demonstrably curtailed. The causes of poverty are numerous, interrelated, and complex. Nevertheless, poverty reflects the consequences of national policies in fundamental societal arenas including education, labor, immigration, welfare, and taxation.

This essay examines access to the most successful antipoverty program for working lower-income families with children, the earned income tax credit (EITC). At almost 40 years young, the EITC lifts more children out of poverty each year than any other program in America today. Nevertheless, because the EITC is a social benefit program delivered through the federal income tax system by the Internal Revenue Service, America's revenue collector, EITC beneficiaries bear meaningful access to tax justice costs. This essay discusses these costs and proposes specific opportunities to empower, rather than undermine this long-term, successful, bipartisan antipoverty tax provision.

Keywords: earned income tax credit, social justice, poverty, childhood poverty, poverty prevention, child tax credit, social benefits policy, refundable credits, working poor, undeserving poor, working poor families, tax injustice, access to justice

JEL Classification: H23, H24, K34, I38

Suggested Citation

Lipman, Francine J., Access to Tax InJustice (February 11, 2013). Pepperdine Law Review (Issue 5 of Volume 40) (Spring 2013), UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN:

Francine J. Lipman (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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