Roberton Williams

Roberton Williams is the Sol Price Fellow at the Tax Policy Center. He was at the Congressional Budget Office from 1984 through 2006, most recently as Deputy Assistant Director for Tax Analysis, and before that an assistant professor of economics at Williams College. He has written numerous papers on tax policy, income distribution, and social welfare programs. Twitter: @roberton

The ACA Penalty Tax Is Going Up If You Don’t Get Health Insurance

By :: December 2nd, 2015

It’s open season again for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when Americans can sign up for health care, often with the help of large subsidies from the federal government. Millions of people will enroll but millions more won’t and many will have to pay much larger penalties on their 2016 tax returns than during the […]

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TPC’s New Presidential Candidates Tax Plan Scorecard

By :: October 27th, 2015

As they say at the ballpark, you can’t tell the players without a program. To help keep track of the many tax plans of this election season’s presidential candidates, check out the Tax Policy Center’s new scorecard. It’s a quick way to tell, for example, who would cut income tax rates and by how much, who wants […]

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New Estimates Of How Many Households Pay No Federal Income Tax

By :: October 6th, 2015

The Tax Policy Center has updated its estimate of the percentage of households that will not pay federal income tax this year. We now figure it is 45.3 percent, nearly 5 percentage points higher than our 2013 estimate of 40.4 percent. But that doesn’t mean more Americans have moved off the tax rolls. Instead, the […]

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Despite Promises, Jeb Bush’s Tax Plan Wouldn’t Eliminate Marriage Penalties

By :: September 16th, 2015

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush offered a tax plan last week that he says “eliminates the marriage penalty.” But it may not help many low-income working families. A married couple is penalized if it pays more tax filing a joint return than if each spouse could file individually. Conversely, marriage bonuses occur when marriage lowers […]

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The Tax Policy Center Has Updated Its Tax Model

By :: July 6th, 2015

The Tax Policy Center has revised its microsimulation tax model, updating and broadening its underlying database and adding excise taxes to the mix of federal taxes it models. New baseline tables covering 2011-2025 largely match previous estimates, showing that Americans will pay an average of 19.8 percent of their income in federal taxes this year. […]

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Why The Top 2 Percent Pay Lots of Tax: Evidence from President Obama’s 1040

By :: April 15th, 2015

The White House released Barack Obama’s 2014 tax return last week. It showed that the President and First Lady paid $93,362 in federal taxes on a total income of $477,383—an effective tax rate of 19.6 percent. But those are only the top-line numbers—their return contains lots of interesting information that shows how the income tax […]

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Why Stop At Food Stamps? Let’s Limit Use Of All Federal Benefits

By :: April 13th, 2015

Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin (R-55) has proposed a bill that would prohibit Missourians who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) from using their benefits to buy “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak.” But why stop at food stamps? Let’s limit beneficiaries’ use of all federal benefits. […]

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Who’s Afraid of Income Taxes? New Interactive TPC Tools To Help You Understand the 1040

By :: March 18th, 2015

Need help understanding the 1040 as we enter the homestretch of this year’s tax filing season? The Tax Policy Center has created a new interactive tool to walk you through key parts of the federal income tax, ranging from the mundane to the arcane. In bite-sized pieces, Who’s Afraid of the Form 1040? discusses the main […]

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My Favorite (Expired) Tax Breaks

By :: December 1st, 2014

And now, for a lighter look at tax extenders, here’s a song that borrows the tune of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things.” If you’re looking for something more serious, check out Len Burman’s TaxVox thoughts on the issue. My Favorite (Expired) Tax Breaks Special deductions of teachers’ expenses, Tax-free forgiveness for lost residences, […]

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CBO Says Federal Tax Revenues Will Rise Because Of Higher Individual Income Taxes

By :: September 3rd, 2014

Last week’s Congressional Budget Office fiscal update largely focused on the dangers of rising spending on health care, Social Security, and interest on the debt. But it also projected a significant increase in federal revenues, almost entirely due to a big bump in individual income taxes. CBO projects that individual tax revenue will climb well […]

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