Monday, October 5, 2020
Blaine Saito (Northeastern) presents Tax Coordination virtually at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Shu-Yi Oei, Jim Repetti, and Diane Ring:
The United States implements a great deal of its social policy through the income tax laws. The Code is rife with tax expenditures for education, housing, community economic development, retirement savings, and health care to name a few. Many tax scholars have questioned consistently the use of the Code to implement these policies, calling instead for the elimination of these tax expenditures. Furthermore, as an agency the IRS and Treasury lack the expertise to manage these social policy tax expenditures effectively. Yet, given American politics and the institutional structure of the federal government, that is unlikely to happen.
This piece suggests that agency coordination between the IRS and other federal agencies, called tax coordination, would improve administration, management, and potential outcomes of these social policy tax expenditures. Drawing on the well-established literature in administrative law and public administration regarding agency coordination, it shows the benefit of tax coordination.
It then looks at case studies where the IRS works with other agencies to administer certain tax measures for social policy. It then draws on literature from public administration to recommend institutional and managerial changes that would make tax coordination successful.