Archive for the ‘About TaxVox’ Category

It’s Not Easy to Escape the Local Pension Vise

Last week’s federal court ruling in the municipal bankruptcy case of Stockton, CA highlighted the enormous challenge faced by local governments with underfunded public pensions. There are ways out of this vise, but none are easy, and all are fraught with risks. State governments face at least a $1 trillion gap between pensions promised to […]

Does Income Inequality Really Hurt State Tax Revenues?

This week the rating agency Standard and Poor’s got a lot of attention for a study that concluded that rising income inequality is damaging state tax revenues. Well, state tax revenue growth has slowed in recent decades and income inequality has grown. But the story is far more complicated than S&P suggests. Worse, I fear […]

The “Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act” Would Help, but Doesn’t Solve the Timing Mismatch

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) does not work for low-income families. It fails on three counts – the credit is nonrefundable, covers only a portion of expenses, and comes long after expenses have been incurred. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) have proposed the […]

Misguided Expansion of the Child Tax Credit

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KN) wants to expand the child tax credit (CTC) with the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014. She’s on the right track, but her proposed expansions are ill-targeted and fail to address the credit’s biggest looming issue: the change in refundability that will hit the poorest recipients after 2017. Jenkins’s plan […]

A Flash Tax for the Flash Boys

Michael Lewis spotlights high-frequency traders with his new book, Flash Boys.  These traders use high-speed computers and fast connections to outrace investors, and other traders, to the market.  They now account for more than half of all U.S. stock trades.  And the flash boys spend billions to save milliseconds (by, for example, laying expensive fiber-optic […]

Tax Expenditures for Asset-Building: Costly, Regressive, and Ineffective

Most federal subsidies aimed at helping households accumulate financial and tangible assets are delivered through tax expenditures—spending through the tax code. In 2013, these deductions, deferrals, and credits aimed at encouraging such asset building totaled over $350 billion, most devoted to homeownership and retirement saving incentives. Yet, these tax incentives do a remarkably poor job. […]

Why Most Tax Extenders Should Not Be Permanent

What to do about the tax extenders—or, as my colleague Donald Marron calls them, the “tax expirers”? Restoring the current crop (most of which expired on December 31) for 10 years would add about $900 billion to the deficit. House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden […]

Profiles in Courage at the IRS (Really)

Let’s take a break from fake IRS political scandals to consider how the Service handled a real scandal 45 years ago.  Randolph W. Thrower was IRS commissioner from 1969 to 1971. The Nixon White House insisted that the IRS audit the president’s enemies. Thrower, a lifelong Republican, refused to do it. According to the Washington […]

As American as Apple Inc.

Are large U.S. multinationals largely U.S. owned? To hear some of the arguments for retaining or enhancing the tax benefits that these companies enjoy, you’d think this was a given. Think again. Quirks in the tax laws essentially provide large U.S. multinationals like Apple, Google, and Cisco with a kind of turbo-charged Individual Retirement Account […]

Who Should Get the Tax Revenue from Apple’s Intellectual Property?

U.S. lawmakers are not alone in their frustration over Apple’s success at avoiding corporate income taxes by shifting reported profits to other countries. News organizations in Australia report that since 2002 Apple has paid only $193 million of Australia corporate income tax on domestic revenues of $27 billion – an income tax equal to just […]