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Distributing the Green (Cards): Permanent Residency and Personal Income Taxes after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Elizabeth Cascio () and Ethan Lewis ()

No 24872, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We explore how permanent residency affects personal income tax participation and net personal income tax payments using variation from the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which authorized the largest U.S. amnesty to date. We exploit the timing and geographic unevenness of IRCA’s legalization programs alongside newly digitized data on personal income taxes in California, home to the majority of applicants. Green Cards induced the previously unauthorized to file state income tax returns at rates comparable to other California residents. While the new returns generated little additional revenue through the end of the 1990s, they did raise the incomes of families with children through new claims of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

JEL-codes: H24 H53 H71 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab, nep-mig and nep-pbe
Date: 2018-07
Note: CH LS PE
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Published as Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ethan G. Lewis, 2019. "Distributing the Green (Cards): Permanent residency and personal income taxes after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986," Journal of Public Economics, vol 172, pages 135-150.

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