Electronic Filing, Tax Preparers, and Participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit

52 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2006 Last revised: 27 Jul 2014

See all articles by Wojciech Kopczuk

Wojciech Kopczuk

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics; Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Cristian Pop-Eleches

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

Date Written: November 2005

Abstract

In 2002 more than 18 million low-income individual taxpayers received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Despite its size, non-participation in this program is a concern and substantial effort is devoted by the IRS, local governments and many non-profits to address it. Most of the tax returns for EITC recipients are filed electronically by paid tax preparers who often charge significant fees for their services. Using variation across states in the introduction of state electronic filing programs, we show that the introduction of electronic filing had a significant effect on participation in the EITC. Our results are robust to accounting for other welfare, EITC and IRS reforms introduced during the same period. We suggest that this effect is due to the impact that electronic filing opportunities had on the tax preparation industry, therefore providing an example of how a market-based approach can be effective in addressing the problem of program non-participation.

Suggested Citation

Kopczuk, Wojciech and Pop-Eleches, Cristian (Kiki), Electronic Filing, Tax Preparers, and Participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit (November 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11768. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=847040

Wojciech Kopczuk (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Cristian (Kiki) Pop-Eleches

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.columbia.edu/~cp2124

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