Course #
39404
Certificate Program
Municipal Finance
Markets & Regulation
Finance & Policy

The first component of this course will feature seminar discussions of inequality in the US, with respect to income, gender and race, and how these interact with US tax policy. We will have a focus on income transfers to low-income households such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. We will also review current policy topics in Household Finance, the study of how households save, borrow, and/or use insurance to overcome unexpected changes in household income. In addition, we will discuss the process of filing tax returns, the prevalence of income tax refunds, and the various industries, both non-profit and for-profit, that have arisen around this phenomenon.

Next, students will go into the field, and work as volunteer tax preparers for a local, Chicago non-profit, Ladder Up. Students will be trained as tax preparers (which requires a 3-hour training session), learn how these services are delivered, and will also learn about the various social goals and public benefits that are often coupled with this process. Tax season begins in late January, and the students will volunteer weekly for about 6 weeks, until the end of the quarter. Students are also encouraged, though not required, to continue to volunteer until the end of the tax season, April 15th.

Finally, students will produce a final project as a part of a group project. This course counts towards the Finance & Policy Certificate, or the Markets & Regulation Certificate. Note: due to the limitations created by the current pandemic, students will volunteer remotely with the tax preparation nonprofit.

Course Sections

Quarter Instructor(s) Day(s) Time(s)
Winter 2021 Damon M Jones Tuesday 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM