Reminders & Recidivism: Evidence from Tax Filing & EITC Participation Among Low-Income Nonfilers

47 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2016 Last revised: 9 May 2021

See all articles by John Guyton

John Guyton

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Day Manoli

University of Texas at Austin

Brenda Schafer

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Michael Sebastiani

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

This project examines how reminders affect tax filing among lower-income nonfilers (individuals who did not appear on a filed tax return but had income reported by third parties to the Internal Revenue Service). We present novel data on this population and results from two randomized controlled trials. The results demonstrate that one-time reminders increase tax filing, both to claim tax refunds based in part on withholdings and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits, as well as to voluntarily pay balances owed to the IRS. However, these effects do not persist. Consistent with recency effects, individuals who owe a balance due appear more likely to recidivate into nonfiling than those who receive refunds. Follow-up reminders continue to increase tax filing, particularly among individuals who previously had to pay balances to the IRS instead of receive refunds.

Suggested Citation

Guyton, John and Manoli, Day and Schafer, Brenda and Sebastiani, Michael, Reminders & Recidivism: Evidence from Tax Filing & EITC Participation Among Low-Income Nonfilers (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21904, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2721745

John Guyton (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ( email )

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
United States

Day Manoli

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Brenda Schafer

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ( email )

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
United States

Michael Sebastiani

Government of the United States of America - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ( email )

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
11
Abstract Views
301
PlumX Metrics