Below are just a few of the many recent resources we’ve found helpful in thinking through the intersections between the tax code and racial, gender, and immigrant justice. Click here to view our video series on equity and the tax code.
- Prosperity Now: From Upside Down to Right-Side Up: Turning the Tax Code Into an Engine for Economic and Racial Equality (July 2020)
- Institute for Policy Studies: White Supremacy is the Preexisting Condition: Eight Solutions to Ensure Economic Recovery Reduces the Racial Wealth Divide (Dedrick Asante-Muhammed, Chuck Collins, and Omar Ocampo, July 2020)
- ITEP: Beyond SCOTUS: States Recognize Need for More Inclusive Immigrant Policy (Marco Guzman, June 26, 2020)
- PolicyLink: Fighting Anti-Blackness Through Budget Justice (Marc Philpart and Chione L. Flegal, June 10, 2020)
- Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: Working Toward Economic and Racial Justice: A Conversation with Darrick Hamilton (June 2020)
- PolicyLink: Fighting Anti-Blackness Through Budget Justice (Marc Philpart and Chione L. Flegal, June 2020)
- CBPP: 3 Principles for an Anti-Racist, Equitable State Response to COVID-19 – and a Stronger Recovery (Erica Williams and Cortney Sanders, May 2020)
- National Women’s Law Center: Tax Justice is Gender Justice: Advancing Gender and Racial Equity by Harnessing the Power of the U.S. Tax Code (Melissa Boteach & Amy Matsui, November 2019)
How the Federal Tax Code Can Better Advance Racial Equity
Report by Chye-Ching Huang and Roderick Taylor, CBPP | 7.25.19
This report provides examples of how the federal tax code affects racial disparities and explains why the tax-cut law enacted in 2017 — the most recent major overhaul of the tax code — widens income and racial disparities. The report also identifies several types of tax policy changes that would advance racial equity, including: raising significantly more revenues in a progressive manner and investing the revenues in ways that improve economic opportunity and reduce racial disparities; strengthening aspects of the tax code that are efficient, progressive, and inclusive while overhauling regressive or unproductive tax breaks; and administering the tax code in more equitable ways.
Race, Wealth, and Taxes: How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Supercharges the Racial Wealth Divide
Report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s (ITEP) and Prosperity Now | 10.18
Using the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s (ITEP) microsimulation model, which generates tax estimates for a sample of representative taxpayer records, this report provides the first quantitative analysis to examine the racial implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how these tax cuts reward existing White wealth at the expense of the economic security of households of color, poor households and a stalling middle class.
Hidden Rules of Race are Embedded in the New Tax Law
Issue Brief by Darrick Hamilton and Michael Linden, Roosevelt Institute | 05.23.18
The federal tax code is one of the most powerful tools of economic policymaking, housing critical rules that govern our economy. As such, it is also home to a set of hidden racial rules that, through intention or neglect, provide opportunities to some communities and create barriers for others. In an issue brief, Roosevelt Fellows Darrick Hamilton and Michael Linden explain the four major ways that the new tax law will harm people of color: by exacerbating disparities in both income and wealth; through expected increases in local fines and fees; and from an enormous revenue loss that will undermine the public sector-and millions of black workers along with it.
The Ever-Growing Racial Wealth Gap: Policy Origins, Policy Solutions:
Webinar hosted by the Asset Building Policy Network | 03.27.17
This Asset Building Policy Network (ABPN) held an interactive webinar in March 2017 on the racial wealth divide and the role that tax policies play in driving this ever-growing gap. The discussion focused on policies like the EITC that are helping to combat the racial wealth gap and actions we can take to ensure the tax code is helping those who need the most help building wealth. Download the webinar and additional resources.
The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class
Report by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Emanuel Nieves, Prosperity Now, 09.17
In this report, we examine Federal Reserve data over a 30-year period (1983-2013) to understand the growing racial wealth divide facing Black and Latino households at the median, and we explore the ways that accelerating declines in wealth for these communities are impacting the American middle class.
We also look at the racial wealth divide at the median over the next four and eight years, as well as to 2043, when the country’s population is predicted to become majority non-white. We also look to wealth rather than income to reconsider what it means to be middle class. In finding an ever-accelerating gap, we consider what it means for the American middle class and we explore what policy interventions could reverse the trends we see today. We find that without a serious change in course, the country is heading towards a racial and economic apartheid state.
Tax Policy and the Immigrant Experience
Webinar hosted by the Tax Policy Center | 09.7.17
It is critical to understand the experience of immigrants as they interact with and move through the US tax system. From establishing credentials to starting a small business to navigating shifting Social Security number and Taxpayer Identification Number requirements for tax credits, immigrants face challenges that have broad implications for tax administration and tax policy. In addition, over the next few decades, immigrants will become a larger part of the nation’s workforce and will be taxpayers who help determine the fiscal health of our country. As policymakers consider overhauling our immigration system and potentially halving the flow of immigrants, it will be important to know what this could mean for the country’s bottom line. This webinar features leading practitioners from advocacy and government organizations discussing the challenges immigrants face and how current policies and possible changes would affect the one in four Americans who are immigrants or children of immigrants.
National Immigration Law Center’s Resources on Taxes
The National Immigration Law Center has put together a resource page that includes information about tax filling, ITINs, Affordable Care Act and taxes, as well as tax credits – including the Child Tax Credit.
Public Charge: A New Threat to Immigrant Families
Fact Sheet by CLASP | 04.25.18
The White House is reviewing a proposal that would change longstanding “public charge” policy—forcing immigrant families to make an impossible choice between meeting basic needs and keeping their families together in this country. This fact sheet describes public charge, how it would harm health and wellbeing, and what you need to know if you work with immigrant families.
The Impact of the Trump Tax Cuts on Women and Families
Fact sheet by the National Women’s Law Center | 04.18
In December, the President signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” At its core, this legislation gives exorbitant tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations, while increasing taxes, on average, for low- and moderate-income families over time. The Trump tax cuts will increase the deficit by approximately $1.9 trillion over ten years—which the Administration and Republicans in Congress are using to justify cuts to vital programs that are essential to the economic security of women and families.
Tax Proposals: A Missed Opportunity for Addressing Implicit Gender Bias
Report by Janet G. Stotsky, University of Minnesota | 11.28.17
This report examines income taxes from a gender-differentiated perspective. Global tax codes based on individual filing can contain explicit gender bias in several different ways, including explicitly assigning different tax rates to male and female taxpayers, permitting tax preferences only for male or female taxpayers, or assigning joint business or asset income only to males. In the United States, there is no such explicit gender bias in the personal income tax code…Implicit gender biases are a different story. The implicit bias in the U.S. personal income tax arises because women and men differ systematically in the ways they earn and spend income. That is, behavioral differences mean the tax code inevitably reflects and can enforce gender bias.
Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap: What It Is, Why It Matters, and What Can Be Done About It
Report by Heather McCulloch, Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative | Updated 01.17
While the pay gap between men and women is widely discussed, the wealth gap is even more pronounced: single women own 32 cents for every dollar owned by men, with women of color owning pennies to the dollar. This report from the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative discusses the systems and dynamics that generate this gap, including disparate access to business equity and home ownership opportunities. The author recommends tax reforms that make wealth building subsidies more accessible to women of color in particular, as well as strategies like cooperative ownership and more flexible savings account options.
Building Wealth Through Tax Reform: Opportunities for Grantmakers
Report by Heather McCulloch, Asset Funders Network | 11.28.17
Increasingly, national, state, and local funders are supporting work to advance progressive, equitable, and inclusive tax policies. This brief shines a light on these tax reform efforts. It highlights the catalytic role of philanthropy and suggests new ways that funders can engage to take these efforts to scale.
Building an Equitable Tax Code: A Primer for Advocates
By Lewis Brown, Jr. and Heather McCulloch, PolicyLink | 2014
In theory, tax code–based public subsidies should help all families save and invest, but instead, wealthier households receive most of the benefits. In fact, a recent analysis of the largest wealth- building tax subsidies found that the top 1 percent of households received more benefits from these tax code–based subsidies than the bottom 80 percent combined. This brief answers key questions about tax expenditures: What are they, how do they work, and who benefits? In addition, since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not collect tax data by race, the primer uses data related to the distribution of benefits by income quintiles and the demographics of each quintile to provide a rough approximation of how different racial and ethnic groups do or do not benefit from the different categories of tax expenditures.
Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility’s Policy Principles on Tax Credits
The Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility, chaired by Prosperity Now, convenes racial justice advocates, asset-building advocates, tax reform experts, and researchers to identify near- and longer-term policy priorities to expand savings and investment opportunities for lower-income households through reform of the U.S. tax code. The coalition lays out a series of policy reforms, including a focus on tax credits.
State Earned Income Tax Credits Help Build Opportunity for People of Color and Women
Brief from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | July 2018
State earned income tax credits (EITCs) help people of color and women struggling on low wages afford basic necessities and, studies suggest, contribute to their children’s future success. Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have enacted their own version of the federal EITC to help low-wage, working households meet basic needs. State EITCs build on the success of the federal credit by keeping people on the job and further reducing hardship for working households and children. Because people of color and women are overrepresented in low-wage work, the state credits are also an important tool for advancing racial and gender equity.
Racial Equity Policy Design and Advocacy, A Primer
Report from Prosperity Now | October 2017
A library full of publications document the fact that many communities of color face a much more difficult road to financial security, stability and prosperity than their White counterparts. This primer aims to identify the elements of advocacy, policy design and implementation practices that improve outcomes for people of color.
Policymakers and advocates interested in approaches that, at minimum, do not exacerbate the wealth divide can start with the considerations outlined here. This primer is a companion resource to a state policy “blueprint” which recommends select policies with the potential to address growing racial wealth and economic inequality.
A Four-Point Fiscal Policy Blueprint for Building Thriving State Economies
Report by Erica Williams, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Updated October 2017
Ensuring broad opportunity and prosperity yields gains for everyone, but it won’t happen by chance. Smart state fiscal policies can play a critical role in building strong, equitable state economies. This report provides a blueprint of fiscal policies that can help create jobs now, remove barriers that limit opportunity for people of color, women, and others, and prime states for long-term prosperity.
The Movement for Black Lives: Economic Justice Policy Platform
We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access. This includes:
1. A progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.
New York Times, Retirement Break for the Rich, but Not the Poor
Opinion piece by Heather McCulloch, former director of Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility/ April 2015
Each year at tax time, we talk about which tax breaks to eliminate. But we should also look at how to change the biggest tax breaks so they’re more efficient and equitable. That’s where the money is.
MomsRising,org video, Why YOU should care about the tax debate
In the midst of last year’s tax debate, MomsRising put together this helpful tax explainer video to discuss the federal tax shift. “Standing up for moms and families in the tax code can ensure we save trillions in the budget for programs that lift our families & economy (and make sure that money doesn’t instead go to wealthy corporations)!”