Heal the Suffering Children: Fifty Years after the Declaration of War on Poverty
34 Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice 311 (2014)
31 Pages Posted: 6 May 2014 Last revised: 20 Jun 2014
Date Written: May 3, 2014
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty. Since then, the federal tax code has been a fundamental tool in providing financial assistance to poor working families. Even today, however, thirty-two million children live in families that cannot support basic living expenses, and sixteen million of those live in extreme poverty. This Article navigates the confusing requirements of an array of child-related tax benefits including the dependency exemption deduction, head of household filing status, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. Specifically, this Article explores how altering the definition of a “qualifying child” across these tax benefits might provide financial relief for working families. The Article concludes that the elimination of outdated citizenship or residency requirements would reduce taxpayer confusion and result in more effective tax benefits to help lift working families out of poverty.
Keywords: Tax, Poverty, Economic Inequality, Access to Justice, Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, immigrants, undocumented immigrants, dependent, qualifying child, uniform definition of a child, tax justice, antipoverty
JEL Classification: D63, H23, H24, H53, I38, J12, J13, K34, P36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation