Tax Policy Center

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Elaine Maag

Principal Research Associate

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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Research report

There are two primary tax benefits parents use to offset childcare costs. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) provides a tax credit of up to 35 percent on up to $3,000 of expenses per child ($6,000 total), for a maximum credit of $1,050 per child ($2100 total). Or, employees can...

October 11, 2007
Elaine Maag
Brief

In 1997 Congress enacted a number of tax benefits directed toward helping middle- and upper-middle income groups meet rising college costs. This shift in goals and strategies raises concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of the evolving federal approach to higher education. This policy...

May 16, 2007
Elaine MaagDavid MundelLois Rice
Brief

Two primary wage-support policies help low-income families: the minimum wage and targeted tax credits. Since 1997, when Congress last raised the minimum wage, the real value of the minimum wage has fallen about 20 percent because of inflation, while the earned income tax credit (EITC) and child...

December 28, 2006
Elaine Maag
Research report

The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) and later the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA) decreased marginal tax rates for four person families with earnings at half the median income and twice the median income. Neither piece of legislation changed the...

February 13, 2006
Elaine Maag
Brief

For nearly a decade, federal higher education subsidies have increasingly been delivered through the tax code rather than through direct spending programs such as grants, loan subsidies, and work study. This paper reviews the results of using new modules in the TRIM and Tax Policy Center...

August 19, 2005
Leonard E. BurmanElaine MaagPeter OrszagJohn O'Hare
Research report

Child care's costs can be too high for low-income working families. As of 2004, along with a federal credit for child care expenses, 27 states offered tax credits or deductions to offset these expenses. Thirteen states offered a refundable child care credit—at least for low-income families;...

July 11, 2005
Elaine Maag
Research report

Provisions in the federal income tax code that treat married couples as one tax unit and cohabiting couples as two tax units result in both marriage penalties and bonuses. This analysis uses data from the 2002 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to show the extent to which low-income,...

May 23, 2005
Elaine Maag
Brief

Encouraging and strengthening marriage continues to move up the U.S. social policy agenda. This analysis uses nationally representative data on cohabiting couples with children from the 2002 round of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to assess marriage penalties or bonuses facing...

April 25, 2005
Elaine Maag
Research report

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), administered through the federal income tax system, is the largest cash assistance program for low-income families. Data from the 2001 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) show large disparities in who knows about the EITC amongst families with income...

March 14, 2005
Elaine Maag

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