Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Data in Earned Income Tax Credit Administration

Research Report

Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Data in Earned Income Tax Credit Administration

A Case Study of Florida SNAP Data Linked to IRS Tax Return Data

Abstract

The earned income tax credit (EITC) is the most effective antipoverty program targeted to working-age households, delivering $60 annually. Critics note a relatively high error rate – with errors often stemming from complicated rules about who counts as a “qualifying child”. We analyze data from the Florida Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to see if it could be useful in EITC program administration. We found that, except in limited circumstances, the information reported to SNAP is not detailed enough and not of high enough quality to conclusively verify eligibility. Congress could improve EITC administration by simplifying the qualifying child rules.

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