The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy
Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra
Ed. by Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine
4 Issues per year
IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.306
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.492
CiteScore 2017: 0.50
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.414
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.531
Tax-based federal student aid is designed to increase postsecondary attendance and ease the financial burden of higher education enrollment by offering students and their families a menu of tax incentives. However, many taxpayers who are eligible for more than one tax-based aid program, and who are limited to one program per student each year, fail to select the single program that offers the largest reduction in taxes. Analyzing a panel dataset of individual income tax returns, I find that in roughly one out of four returns taxpayers and paid preparers fail to select the tax-minimizing tax-based aid program. I find evidence that greater salience of federal tax effects, and inertia in program selection, leads some taxpayers and paid preparers to make non-tax-minimizing selections. Streamlining the set of tax-based aid programs into a single tax incentive is likely to be a more effective way of lowering the costs of postsecondary attendance for students and their families.
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