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Compounding Taxes: Impacts of Disability & Intersectionality

taught by: Jennifer Strickland
co-presented by: Ronna ten Brink, Mariam Ibrahim Chahine

Session Summary

Heard of “disability tax” and “pink tax”? Our team explored compounding taxes—encountering many barriers & increased impact—in U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) research. Enhance your research practices to consider intersectionality.


You’ve likely heard of the “disability tax” and “pink tax.” In research for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) our team explored compounding taxes — encountering multiple barriers and experiencing increased impact. According to the Center for Intersectional Justice, intersectional identity characteristics may “intersect to create unique dynamics and effects” and may compound barriers to accessing services and impact outcomes. The IRS Office of Online Services (OLS) Inclusive Design Strategy aims to build design capabilities and research practices which include and value the voices and needs of historically under-researched underserved taxpayer groups. This research enabled the IRS to deliver services aligned with a variety of identified taxpayer needs.

This class is applicable to different audiences:

  • Researchers: employ equitable recruiting practices, assess intersectional data, interview techniques to reduce bias, deliver actionable insights, prioritize people and purpose.
  • Designers: improve experiences through consideration of intersectional needs.
  • Strategists: assess compounding user needs and prioritize services that reduce taxes.
  • Everyone: disability is one face of multifaceted humans.

Practical Skills

  • Elevate inclusive research practices to consider intersectionality, reduce bias, and empower organizations to understand the range of user needs and deliver accessible and equitable services.
  • Discover how characteristic-related purpose or experiences may impact usability, then provide recommendations to increase usability for all users.