Reforming Tax Incentives into Uniform Refundable Tax Credits

Research Report

Reforming Tax Incentives into Uniform Refundable Tax Credits

Abstract

The federal tax code provides about $500 billion each year in incentives intended to encourage socially-valued activities, including homeownership, charitable contributions, health insurance, and education. Under our proposal, the default for all tax incentives intended to promote socially beneficial behavior would be a uniform refundable tax credit. These tax credits would provide a much more even and widespread motivation for socially-valued behavior than the current set of tax incentives, and could help smooth out fluctuations in household income and macroeconomic demand, all of which would improve economic efficiency.

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