TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Brown: Implicit Bias and the Earned Income Tax Credit

ImplicitDorothy Brown (Emory), Implicit Bias and the Earned Income Tax Credit, in Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law (Justin D. Levinson (Hawaii) & Robert J. Smith (North Carolina), eds., Cambridge University Press 2012):

In President Obama’s January 2011 State of the Union Address, he called for simplifying the tax code. There is no better place to start than with the EITC. Yet implicit bias has largely gotten in the way of EITC simplification. Implicit bias allows members of Congress to make judgments based on the high error rates and conclude fraud and not complexity. Members of Congress see lazy, welfare cheats instead of the reality of hard working taxpayers struggling to make ends meet while trying their best to calculate their proper share of EITC benefits – or trusting tax return preparers to do it for them. The EITC lifts millions of Americans and their families out of poverty every year. Implicit bias has gotten in the way of simplification for far too long. America’s working poor deserve better. The time for change is now.

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