Daily Deduction

from the Tax Policy Center

Cuts, Refunds, and a Ban

By :: February 12th, 2016

What better way to spend Valentine's Day weekend than with presidential contenders? It's President's Day weekend, too, after all. Last night Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders noted that his tax increase would reduce  average health insurance premiums by $5000 a year. Competitor Hillary Clinton said those numbers don't add up. Meanwhile, you can spend Saturday evening with the GOP hopefuls. And (or) read up on what you need right here.

Tax cuts: Too easy to make? TPC’s newly released analysis of Marco Rubio’s tax plan examines how the GOP presidential hopeful would replace the federal income tax with a progressive consumption tax. Rubio would cut taxes at all income levels, but he’d pay a big price: Without offsetting spending cuts, the nation’s debt would explode. As TPC’s Howard Gleckman highlights, most of the $6.8 trillion in tax cuts would go to high-income households. Moreover, with interest costs, “Rubio would add nearly $8.2 trillion to the debt in the next decade… Perhaps Rubio knows what spending he’d cut to offset that massive revenue loss. If so, he ought to tell us.”

Tax refunds: Too easy to collect? The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin considers (paywall) the implications of a new study from Jacob Mortensen and Andrew Whitten from the Joint Committee on Taxation. “Software and shady tax preparers make it incredibly easy to fiddle with the numbers until you hit the sweet spot that shows the maximum refund.”

Case in point: Maryland. State Comptroller Peter Franchot has stopped accepting returns from 37 private tax preparers, citing a pattern of questionable returns from outfits in low-income neighborhoods. When they file fraudulent returns, taxpayers are on the hook for the preparers’ misdeeds.

Meanwhile, Congress bans Internet taxes. Yesterday the Senate followed the House and voted to ban permanently state and local taxation of Internet access. The measure does not address the related issue of when states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes on their transactions. However, Senate leaders promised to allow a vote on that matter later this spring.

And an oil tax will slip through the President’s fingers. House Ways & Means Chair Kevin Brady let Treasury Secretary Jack Lew know that President Obama’s $10 per barrel oil tax has “no chance” in Congress. The fact that Brady is from Texas probably didn’t help the proposal. The price of crude, meanwhile, continues to drop.

February 15 is President's Day. The Daily Deduction will return Tuesday, February 16.

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Rubio’s Ambitious Consumption Tax Would Reduce Revenue by $6.8 Trillion, Give Most Benefits to the Highest-Income Households

By :: February 11th, 2016

Senator Marco Rubio would convert the income tax into a progressive consumption tax, an ambitious idea that would eliminate the income tax’s penalty on saving. However, a new Tax Policy Center analysis finds that Rubio’s version would slash federal tax revenues by $6.8 trillion over the next decade with most of the benefits going to […]

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Huge Tax Returns, Huge Spending Problems

By :: February 11th, 2016

A Trump dump of tax returns will come soon, maybe… GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he plans to release his “very big” tax returns “probably over the next few months.” He says he tries to pay as little as possible because of the way government spends his money. Speaking of government spending: Without very […]

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The President Punches Up

By :: February 10th, 2016

President Obama released a $4.1 trillion budget yesterday. TPC’s Howard Gleckman says the plan includes about $3 trillion in tax hikes over ten years, mostly to pay for new initiatives. These taxes include a $10 per barrel oil tax, a 19 percent minimum tax on future corporate income earned abroad, a 14 percent one-time levy […]

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The White House Quietly Rolls Out Its Last Tax and Budget Plan

By :: February 9th, 2016

If the White House wanted to attract attention to its final budget, it could not have picked a worse day to make it public. With official Washington obsessed with today’s New Hampshire primary, the 2017 budget barely caused a ripple. In case there was any question about its fate on Capitol Hill, congressional Republicans had […]

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Second Chances and Sweet Relief

By :: February 9th, 2016

For some: A new sign-up period for the Affordable Care Act. People who received  tax credits to subsidize their ACA coverage in 2014 were supposed to file returns that year to make sure their credit was the right amount. If they didn’t file, they would be ineligible for future credits starting this year. But because […]

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Obama Proposes to Fix the Cadillac Tax

By :: February 8th, 2016

In the budget he plans to release tomorrow, President Obama will propose some modest changes to the Affordable Care Act’s much-reviled Cadillac Tax on high-cost employer sponsored health plans.  In advance of the proposal, Jason Furman, Chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, published a full-throated endorsement of the levy. While the tax has […]

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Budget Hearings, Saving, and Entertaining

By :: February 8th, 2016

The President’s budget will be out tomorrow. Will anyone notice? There is almost always something perfunctory about the last budget of an outgoing president, but this year’s will generate even less interest than usual. In the ultimate insult, the GOP-run congressional budget committees won’t even invite White House officials to describe their fiscal plan. There […]

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A Budget, Capital, Growth, and Transparency 


By :: February 5th, 2016

Last night’s debate was… an actual debate. Moderators barely spoke and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders explored (and tussled over, at times) a variety of issues… except for their tax plans. Maybe next time. The President releases his final budget next week, and would like a new tax on oil. He wants to boost […]

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Debates, Energy, Credits and Prep

By :: February 4th, 2016

There’s a Democratic debate tonight. It will now feature only two candidates. Brush up on Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ tax plans here. Clinton and Sanders have agreed to four more debates. The next one will be in Flint, Michigan, a city currently in a state-manufactured water crisis. Senate Finance Committee Democrats would like an […]

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