Panel: Nudging and Educating EITC Claimants in Tax Compliance, Refund Saving Behavior, and Beyond
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Truman - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  David Williams, Intuit
Discussants:  Emily Schmitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Nina Olsen, Internal Revenue Service

The Dynamics of Earned Income Tax Credit Eligibility
Ann Stevens, University of California, Davis, Chloe N. East, University of Colorado, Denver and Jessamyn Schaller, University of Arizona

Behavioral Economics Insights May Improve EITC Administration
Leslie Book1, David Williams2 and Krista Holub2, (1)Villanova University, (2)Intuit

Tax-Time Saving Among EITC Recipients: Results of a Large-Scale Experiment Informed By Behavioral Economics
Mat Despard, Michal Grinstein-Weiss and Stephen Roll, Washington University in St. Louis

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a major social policy that is administered through the tax code, and delivered in the form of a tax refund. Evidence suggests that applying insights from the field of behavioral economics presents opportunities for both innovation and improvement to the EITC program and administration.

In this panel, we will explore several themes through a discussion with a diverse group of academic, government, and private sector experts. The panel will focus on the following:

(1) the theoretical background for behavioral economics insights that may contribute to tax compliance and savings behavior,

(2) government and private sector evidence testing these insights, including:

  • a Taxpayer Advocate Service study that examines whether written communications with taxpayers improved subsequent compliance with the EITC
  • evidence from a randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of refund savings nudges on EITC tax filers

(3) scholarship that suggests that the government should supplement traditional compliance measures with approaches that apply insights from the field of behavioral economics.