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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Martinez & Martinez: A Latino Critique of the Internal Revenue Code

Leo Martinez (UC-Hastings) & Jennifer M. Martinez (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto), The Internal Revenue Code and Latino Realities: A Critical Perspective, 22 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 377 (2011):

In Part I we begin with an introduction to the federal income tax system and basic tax policy. In Part II we describe how relative economic circumstances can affect how individual taxpayers are treated under the Code. In Part III we observe that even in cases of equal economic circumstances, behavioral and cultural differences among Latinos result in different treatment under the Code. In this Part, we examine the application of the Code in the context of several areas in which Latinos are treated substantially different than other racial or ethnic groups. We bring into focus the shortcomings of public policy as implemented by the Code. In Part IV, we explain that education has a substantial effect on a taxpayers' likelihood of taking advantage of the Code, and suggest that it can play an important role in mobilizing the Latino community. Our goal is to encourage further examination of the *380 problems that we raise, with the ultimate hope that policy-makers will realize that the Code is less than perfect, and that Latinos, with their increasing political clout, will be aware of the powerful economic consequences of seemingly neutral legislation.

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