New Individual-Level U.S. Tax Data from 1969-1995

Trent Alexander, University of Michigan
David Bleckley, University of Michigan
Jonathan Fisher, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Katie Genadek, University of Colorado
Susan Leonard, University of Michigan
Aristotle Magganas, UCLA

We describe our work documenting, harmonizing, and increasing the accessibility of data sets from the Form 1040 tax returns from 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, and 1995. The files contain a broad range of variables detailing income, family status, and place of residence. The historical tax files have nearly as many cases as censuses from these decades and--unlike any census from 1970-1990--the tax returns have digitized personally identifying information that enables researchers to easily link individual records over this historical period and through to the 2020s. Last year, the Census Bureau returned these files to the IRS, where they are now available to external researchers through the IRS’s Joint Statistical Research Program. We describe the provenance of these files, and we use a variety of techniques to assess their coverage and fitness for use.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 144. New Historical Data Infrastructure I