Tax Filing and Take-Up: Experimental Evidence on Tax Preparation Outreach and EITC Participation

34 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Jacob Goldin

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School

Tatiana Alexandra Homonoff

Cornell University; Cornell University; New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Rizwan Javaid

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

Brenda Schafer

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

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

Governments and non-profits devote substantial resources to increasing take-up of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through educational outreach. We study a different approach: policies that encourage tax filing. In a large field experiment, we find that IRS letters about free tax preparation modestly increased filing, with a large share of the new filers claiming the EITC. The results suggest policies that increase filing can be an effective way to increase take-up of tax-administered social benefits, even policies that do not raise awareness or directly target the benefit in other ways.

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Suggested Citation

Goldin, Jacob and Homonoff, Tatiana Alexandra and Homonoff, Tatiana Alexandra and Javaid, Rizwan and Schafer, Brenda, Tax Filing and Take-Up: Experimental Evidence on Tax Preparation Outreach and EITC Participation (January 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3776968 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3776968

Jacob Goldin (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Tatiana Alexandra Homonoff

Cornell University ( email )

Policy Analysis and Management
134, Martha Van Rensselar Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm?netid=tah96

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Rizwan Javaid

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

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
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

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