Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. Potential Strengths

06/01/2002

Compared to using surveys or UI records, using tax return data for measuring the income and employment has at least two potential advantages. These are the following:

The data are accurate. Taxpayers provide information under the threat of audit and there is third-party information reporting, so employers as well as recipients are reporting wage and salary information.

The definition of income that is reported is broader than that provided by unemployment insurance data, including, most importantly, self-employment income and in cases where a person is married and they file a joint return, spousal income.(25)

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