Tax Administration and Racial Justice: The Illegal Denial of Tax-Based Pandemic Relief to the Nation’s Incarcerated Population

This Article comes at a time of increasing interest in the relationship between federal tax policy and race in the legal academy. This contribution highlights a category within that field: namely, the relationship between tax administration and race. Tax administration focuses on the manner in which the IRS administers the tax law found within the Internal Revenue Code. Tax administration consists of the IRS’s guidance as well as its enforcement priorities, including how the IRS ensures taxpayers meet their tax return filing obligations, who the IRS decides to audit, and how the IRS takes enforced collection action against delinquent taxpayers. While there has been some interest in the racial impact of the IRS’s audits of low- and middle-income taxpayers claiming refundable credits, this field is relatively underexplored. This Article attempts to take a racial perspective on tax administration, especially as it relates to the IRS’s increasingly important role in administering social welfare programs, often in the form of refundable credits.