A New Tax Tool, Committees, Bonds and Climbs

Getting to know your 1040: TPC demystifies your tax forms. We dutifully enter numbers on our tax returns every year (or pay somebody do it for us). But what do each of those lines really mean? How do they contribute to the nation’s revenues? How many people report various sources of income? To find out, check out a new tool created by the TPC. All you have to do is hover over a line on the virtual 1040, and click. We’re starting with the 1040 and Schedule A but will expand the tool over the coming months.

On the Hill: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the Senate Finance Committee today on the President’s 2015 budget. By party-line vote, the House Ways & Means Committee referred former IRS official Lois Lerner to US Attorney General Eric Holder for criminal prosecution: Oddly, the Justice Dept. announced months ago that it had already begun an investigation. TPC’s Donald Marron testified before the House Small Business Committee yesterday where he described seven issues facing small business.

Detroit’s bankruptcy: bonds and pensions. With about $538.2 million total in unsecured bonds, Detroit proposed giving general obligation bondholders 15 cents on the dollar in its bankruptcy filing, leaving insurers to cover the loss. A settlement has now been reached with those insurers, freeing $56 million for pensioners. TPC’s Kim Rueben offers an explainer on Detroit’s situation and what it means for other cities.

State tax revenues rise again: For the third year in a row, state tax revenue climbed in 2013, according to the latest from the Census Bureau. There was a 6.1 percent increase from  2012 to 2013, to a record $846.2 billion. Revenues rose in 48 states last year, with the highest increase in shale-oil rich North Dakota (27.8 percent) due largely to revenue from income, sales and severance taxes (collected on all that fracked oil). Revenues dropped in Alaska and Wyoming, due to declines the states’ severance tax revenue. The past three years are a likely result of state tax policy changes between 2009 and 2011 as well as a recovering economy.

 

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