Renu Zaretsky

Renu Zaretsky is a writer for the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. She publishes The Daily Deduction, TPC’s news and research digest, and Tax Hound, a blog series that helps make sense of tax policy for those outside the tax world and connects tax issues to everyday concerns. The Daily Deduction posts Monday through Friday, or Mondays when Congress is in recess. Tax Hound posts the first Wednesday of the month. Twitter: @RenuZ

The Case of the Unreturned Call for Tax Code Simplicity

By :: September 2nd, 2015

So far, at least 22 people are running for president. Only three have released detailed tax plans, but nearly all call for more simplicity—perhaps so much that we could file our returns on a postcard. In 2012, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson called for simplicity, too: “A simpler, more transparent tax code will substantially reduce […]

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Thirty Days Hath September: Stay tuned for tax plans to remember?

By :: August 31st, 2015

Congress is in recess. The Daily Deduction will publish Mondays until Congress returns in mid-September. September could be a big month for candidate tax plans. GOP contender Donald Trump plans to release his comprehensive plan in September. He vows to raise taxes on hedge fund managers but provide tax relief to the middle class. Meanwhile, […]

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Plans, Problems, and Production

By :: August 24th, 2015

Congress is in recess. The Daily Deduction will publish Mondays until Congress returns in mid-September. In Detroit, Marco Rubio shared a little ditty about “David” and “Danielle.”  The GOP presidential candidate touted his tax plan’s effect on a hypothetical auto service shop owner and a single mother who works at the shop’s front desk. Under […]

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Tax plans and presidential candidates: The future [may or may not be] now.

By :: August 17th, 2015

Congress is in recess. The Daily Deduction will publish Mondays until Congress returns in mid-September. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker cut taxes in his state, so as President… Well, he hasn’t released specific federal tax proposals. But in Wisconsin, he’s cut taxes by $2 billion in the past two years and  another $2 billion is scheduled […]

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Simple Is as Simple Does

By :: August 10th, 2015

Congress is in recess. The Daily Deduction will publish Mondays until Congress returns in mid-September. About those simple tax plans proffered in last week’s GOP debate… Bloomberg considers the plans shared by Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson, and finds devils in some details. Among them: Huckabee’s “Fair Tax,” while eliminating the IRS, would introduce new […]

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“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

By :: August 7th, 2015

“All by myself…” Paul Ryan and international tax reform. The House Ways & Means chairman has his work cut out for him with his international tax plans. The Hill reports that Senate Republicans continue to express skepticism, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Majority Whip John Cornyn, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch. Ryan […]

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Information: Additions, Disclosures, and Theft

By :: August 6th, 2015

Better revenues through form additions? The short-term highway funding extension gets about $1.8 billion in revenue over ten years from a change to an IRS form, reports Tax Analysts (paywall). The change goes into effect in 2017, even though the spending it helps pay for ends on October 29. Mortgage lenders will have to report […]

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On Carbon, Soda, and the Safety Net

By :: August 5th, 2015

Are carbon taxes in our future? President Obama unveiled strong new rules to reduce carbon emissions this week. States could use pollution trading or “fees” (“carbon taxes”) to help meet their emission cutting requirements. Would it work? Brookings Institution economist Adele Morris told The National Journal that “States can not only comply with the new […]

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The Case of the Little Wrong Thing: Evading Online Sales Tax

By :: August 5th, 2015

Our eight-year-old son wants to write the President. “He needs to get a law passed that will make it illegal to throw cigarette butts out of car windows.” I told him that littering was already illegal. “What?!” In his mind, littering must be legal if everybody does it. He shook his head, incredulous. “But why […]

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Tax-Exempt Status, Tax Breaks, and the Limits of Economic Recovery

By :: August 4th, 2015

Colleges that oppose same-sex marriage can keep their tax-exempt status. Granted, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. But testifying before the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee last week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said, “At this time there is no basis for us to revisit tax-exempt status… We will […]

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