Intended or Unintended? Some tax consequences, reviewed.

Made in America” to avoid a higher tax rate? TPC’s Eric Toder reveals that some recent international tax reform plans result in a form of quiet protectionism. The proposals, offered by both House Ways and Means chair Dave Camp and former Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus, would impose higher taxes on goods sold in the U.S. by foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-based multinationals than similar sales by domestic affiliates of the same firms. It’s pretty complicated, but an important insight.

Tax subsidies can help you buy a house, save for retirement, start a business, or go to college. But at $384 billion in 2013, are they worth the price? An overview and distributional analysis of these subsidies by TPC’s Ben Harris and Gene Steuerle, and the Urban Institute’s Signe-Mary McKernan, Caleb Quakenbush, and Caroline Radcliffe reveals the tax expenditures aren’t as effective as they could be, and largely benefit high earners.

Does climate change keep you up at night? It did for over two dozen Senate Democrats last night, who made their case on climate change. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Switzerland wants precision worthy of its timepieces when it comes to measuring reductions in greenhouse-gases, even when it’s hard to conclude whether policies like a carbon tax had any impact.

And speaking of carbon taxes… If paired with corporate tax reform, said TPC’s Eric Toder and Donald Marron in their recent paper, carbon taxes might combat climate change and reduce the deficit. However, the carbon tax burden would fall mostly on low-income Americans while corporate tax reform would be a boon for the wealthiest. Still, carbon taxes are a good bet for our environment, concludes TPC’s Bill Gale.

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