2016 News

Experts explore how to urge Americans to save part of tax refund

​In the midst of the 2016 tax season, leaders from philanthropy, policy, practice and academia convened in at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for a symposium about using tax time to build Americans’ financial capability. 

The purpose of “Leveraging Tax Time to Build Financial Capability: Research Evidence and Policy Directions,” on Feb. 22, was to provide opportunities for discovery and discussion about ways low- to moderate-income (LMI) households can contribute to their economic security at tax time.

The half-day event featured panels of experts who shared information about cutting-edge research and practice, and implications for public policy. Each panel focused on a different element of tax-time financial capability, including the background on efforts among LMI populations; the context for and most recent findings of the Refund to Savings​ (R2S) experiment; the work of on-the-ground tax-time saving programs; and insights for what the next steps may be for promoting public policy. The R2S experiment, led by Center for Social Development (CSD) Associate Director Michal Grinstein-Weiss, is the nation’s largest tax-time savings demonstration. To see her presentation, please click here.

In addition to the panels, U.S. Rep. José Serrano (D-New York) delivered the keynote address. He focused on his sponsorship of the Financial Security Credit Act, which would enable tax credits for to LMI tax filers if they deposit a portion of their refund into a savings vehicle.

Melissa Koide, deputy assistant secretary for consumer policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, provided special remarks. She spoke about the Treasury’s new savings product now offered at tax time, myRA​, which is aimed at people who do not have a retirement plan at work.

You may view the symposium by clicking here​.

Supporters of the symposium included the Center for Social Development, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Intuit Tax and Financial Center, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and New America.