Tax Policy Center



Elaine Maag

Senior Fellow, Research

I believe that we can work toward providing a strong safety net for all people—and that the tax system will always be an important part of that effort.

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The cost-of-living refund (CLR), a proposal from the Economic Security Project, would revise the current earned income tax credit (EITC) by increasing benefits for many people, expanding eligibility for the credit, and paying the credit in advance via monthly payments. The proposal would provide...

June 10, 2019
Elaine MaagDonald MarronErin Huffer

The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides substantial cash benefits to low-income working families with children. Working adults without children at home— including noncustodial parents, who are considered “childless” for tax purposes—also face economic...

May 30, 2019
Elaine MaagKevin WernerLaura Wheaton

Effective marginal tax rates measure how a household’s material resources change as its earned income rises. For example, when a household’s earnings from work rise by $100, its net resources may rise by less than $100 as those earnings may be subject to payroll and federal, state, and local...

March 27, 2019
Linda GiannarelliKye LippoldElaine MaagC. Eugene SteuerleNina ChienSuzanne Macartney
Research report

A robust carbon tax would generate considerable revenue. Some carbon tax advocates have suggested returning those revenues to Americans through direct payments, often called carbon dividends. We examine how to design these dividends considering two, sometimes conflicting, principles. Carbon...

December 11, 2018
Donald MarronElaine Maag

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modestly decreased federal individual income taxes for most low- and middle-income families. However, the federal tax changes interacted with state laws in ways that meant some of these same families could see state tax increases. This brief discusses how implementing...

November 15, 2018
Richard C. AuxierElaine Maag

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) missed an opportunity to help low-income childless workers, very low-income families with children, and families with young children – all groups where investments could be particularly productive. The child tax credit (CTC) and earned income tax credit (EITC)...

July 30, 2018
Elaine Maag

When a recession hits, the federal government usually responds with tax cuts and additional financial assistance, because automatic policies built into the law often prove inadequate and elected officials need and want to respond to the crisis. This brief compares the distributional and stimulus...

June 14, 2018
C. Eugene SteuerleCaleb QuakenbushElaine Maag
Research report

Children under age 6 experience the highest rates of poverty of any age group and are particularly vulnerable to poverty’s lasting effects. The child tax credit (CTC) provides a $2,000 per child credit for children under age 17 (along with a credit of up to $500 per dependent 17 and older). But...

April 1, 2018
Elaine MaagChye-Ching HuangEmily HortonChloe Cho

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 doubled the maximum child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. But about 29 million children under age 17 with at least one working parent will miss out on the full increase because their families earn too little in income or owe too little in taxes.


February 15, 2018
Elaine Maag

From TaxVox