The Tax War on Poverty

64 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2014 Last revised: 11 Oct 2014

Susannah Camic Tahk

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: May 20, 2014

Abstract

In recent years, the war on poverty has moved in large part into the tax code. Scholarship has started to note that the tax laws, which once exacerbated the problem of poverty, have become increasingly powerful tools that the federal government uses to fight against it. Yet questions remain about how this new tax war on poverty works, how it is different from the decades of non-tax anti-poverty policy and how it could improve. To answer these questions, this Article looks comprehensively at the provisions that make up the new tax war on poverty. First, this Article examines each major piece of the tax war on poverty. The Article looks at its mechanics of each, its political history and its effectiveness at addressing poverty. Second, this Article analyzes the tax war on poverty as a whole, identifying commonalities across its different provisions and highlighting its distinctive features. Third, this Article proposes ways that the tax war on poverty could be more effective. In particular, this Article examines how tax lawmakers and tax lawyers could approach this task. In so doing, this Article conceptualizes tax law as the new poverty law and proposes a growing role for public-interest tax lawyers.

Suggested Citation

Tahk, Susannah Camic, The Tax War on Poverty (May 20, 2014). 56 Arizona Law Review 791 (2014); Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1254. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2413233 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2413233

Susannah Camic Tahk (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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