Author Archive

Is There Any Chance Congress Will Pass Business Tax Reform Next Year?

In the run-up to next week’s congressional elections, Republicans are saying that if they win control of the Senate, they will try to pass business tax reform as part of an ambitious “we can get things done” agenda. Is there any possibility that a GOP-controlled Congress could rewrite the business provisions of the tax code? The chances […]

Why Tax Lawyers and Tax Economists Can’t Communicate

Any close observer of the making of tax policy can see it: Lawyers and economists looking at the same issue through entirely different prisms. I’ve been fascinated by how their respective brains work, and why they have so much trouble communicating with one another. It turns out I am not alone. In a newly published […]

Taxes and Spending Return To “Normal”– But Not For Long

Yesterday, the Treasury Department reported that the deficit for Fiscal Year 2014, which ended on Sept. 30, fell to $483 billion, or about 2.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product. This being Washington, the report was hailed as either an enormous success or dismissed as meaningless.  Who is right? Is it good news or bad news? […]

The Small, Happy World of Supersized IRAs

When Mitt Romney released his tax return information during the 2012 presidential campaign, many of us were introduced to the world of supersized IRAs. Romney somehow had a tax-preferred retirement nest egg valued at $101 million. Maybe he got there by making standard annual contributions and investing really well. Or not. Now, a new Government […]

Ryan and Lew Both Object to JCT Scoring of Future Tax Reform

Like a couple of baseball managers working the umpires before a big World Series game, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), who wants to be the next chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, are looking to change the way Congress scores tax reform even before Congress begins a rewrite. Ryan […]

How Asset Building Tax Subsidies Miss Their Targets

Nearly one-third of all federal tax expenditures–$384 billion in 2013 alone– is aimed at various forms of asset building, such as retirement savings, higher education, and home ownership. Yet, according to research by several of my Tax Policy Center and Urban Institute colleagues, these tax breaks do little to help low- and middle-income households build […]

Pass-Through Firms Report $800 Billion in Net Income, Can’t Be Ignored in Business Tax Reform

Washington is going through another one of its periodic calls for business tax reform. But new research by my Tax Policy Center colleague Joe Rosenberg shows just how hard it is to separate business taxation from the individual tax code. And it should serve as a warning to those who think Congress can enact corporate tax […]

The Public Wants Clear Rules About Campaign Giving Through Tax-Exempts. Is It Possible?

A poll released today by the conservative Hudson Institute and the liberal group Public Citizen finds that nearly 9 in 10 voters surveyed favor clear rules that define political activities by non-profit tax-exempt organizations. The public’s desire for clarity is not surprising, given the amount of undisclosed campaign money that is flooding through tax-exempt 501(c)(4) […]

Treasury’s New Rules May Slow, But Won’t Stop Corporate Tax Inversions

Will Treasury’s new rules stop the wave of corporate tax inversions? No they won’t. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew acknowledged as much when the agency proposed the curbs yesterday. Will they slow the practice? Perhaps, but even that is not certain. In a perverse way, Treasury’s most effective weapon may have been ambiguity. Once the Administration announced […]

Does Treasury Have the Legal Authority To Curb Tax Inversions?

While we wait to see how and when the Obama Administration will use its executive authority to curb the use of corporate tax inversions, the debate continues over whether Treasury even has the power to limit the practice. In a new article in Tax Notes, Tax Policy Center senior fellow Steve Rosenthal minces no words: […]