On the Progressivity of the Child Care Tax Credit: Snapshot versus Time-Exposure Incidence
We evaluate the progressivity of the federal child care tax credit using the Ernst and Young/University of Michigan panel of tax return data. Incidence measures are calculated using both annual and "time-exposure" income to measure ability to pay. Both indicate that the benefits of the credit are progressively distributed. Replacing annual with time-exposure income dramatically increases the proportion of the credit received by lower-income taxpayers and yields a more even distribution of benefits across middle- and upper-income taxpayers. Our results suggest that policy-makers should use both income measures to evaluate the credit.
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