NSA Member Shirley Buchanan, ATP, RTRP, is representing NSA and participating in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Summit today and tomorrow hosted by IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The objective is to have a discussion among informed people about three main topics - EITC over claims, participation, and program administration – that will improve compliance but not discourage claims by eligible taxpayers.
There will be three sessions, each lasting four hours:
Session 1 – June 29 – morning. We will focus on ways to maximize participation among taxpayers while minimizing errors by taxpayers and tax preparers in ascertaining EITC eligibility, especially related to the relationship and qualifying child provision residency requirement which has long been the leading contributor to EITC overclaims. It is the most difficult EITC requirement for both taxpayers and IRS to substantiate since there is no known definitive data source to demonstrate the child resided with the person making the claim for at least six months of the year. How to ascertain and substantiate eligibility will be discussed.
Session 2 – June 29 – afternoon. We will focus on ways to maximize participation in this program for the working poor, which has enjoyed a high participation rate over the years, but may not be reaching those intended to be beneficiaries for various reasons. Some benefit programs may discourage participation through arduous processes to establish eligibility that some may view as stigmatizing them. While EITC does not involve eligibility determination prior to claim submission, we want to discuss other potential impediments to participation and how to overcome them.
Session 3 – June 30 – morning. We will focus on ways to better administer the EITC program and identify best practices from other state and federal agencies with benefit program responsibilities. As described above, administering EITC and other refundable credits through the tax system presents unique challenges, including having the make eligibility decisions based on the claim and related information accessible to IRS at the time of filing. We continually look for additional accessible, reliable information along with tools and techniques for validating EITC claims, and will be discussing advances in benefit program administration that could be adopted or adapted to the tax administration environment.
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