Archive for the ‘The US Tax System’ Category

If Congress Lets Firms Expense Investments, It Should Take Away Their Interest Deduction

Egged on by business lobbyists, congressional tax writers seem increasingly interested in allowing firms to rapidly write off the cost of their capital investments. Especially in the House, lawmakers would allow small businesses to expense the full cost of their investments in the year they are acquired, and let larger firms heavily front-load tax depreciation […]

Two Ways to Fix the Corporate Income Tax: Internationalize it or Kill It

In an important new paper, Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center and Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute say that corporate tax reforms now being debated in Congress fall far short of solving the widespread problems with the levy. Rather than merely lowering rates and tinkering with tax rules for U.S.- based multi-national […]

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 […]

Dave Camp’s Plan for the Expired Tax Provisions: An Almost-Good Idea

House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) has a plan for what to do with scores of now-expired tax subsidies that are sitting in Congress’ lap. He wants to review each one on its merits and either make it permanent or (by implication at least) kill it. Camp is on to something, although […]

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 […]

Fiscal Reality Check: Will Congress Pay for the Tax Extenders and the Doc Fix?

After it returns from Spring Break next week, Congress may face two big fiscal reality checks. It will have to decide whether to temporarily extend scores of expiring tax provisions and what to do about permanently adjusting the formula Medicare uses to pay physicians (the “doc fix”). Combined, these two measures would add about $65 billion to the […]

Tax Reform’s Quiet Protectionism

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has offered a detailed and thoughtful set of proposals on international tax reform, as did former Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus in November, 2013. The proposals, however, contain a new form of subtle protectionism. They quietly aim to discourage U.S.-based multinationals from making products overseas and selling them […]

Stark Variation in Taxpayer Use of Itemized Deductions, County by County

Taxpayer use of itemized deductions varies widely by location, according to a new analysis of 2007 IRS data. In about one in ten counties, 11 percent or fewer taxpayers itemize while in another 10 percent at least 38 percent of taxpayers claim deductions. In a handful of counties, more than half of taxpayers itemize. In […]

A Tale of Three Agendas: Obama, Camp, and Ryan

Over the past week, three senior Washington lawmakers released foundational documents that describe both their agendas and their perspectives on government. On one level, they paint vastly different pictures. Yet, a close reading also pinpoints some surprising and important areas of agreement—more perhaps than the players would publicly admit. President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget […]

How 19 Million Uninsured Tax Filers Could Get ACA Coverage

Back in November, I suggested that tax prep firms might be a useful portal for low-income people to get insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The idea: Since many key ACA-related issues are income-based, commercial tax prep is an easy way for folks to learn whether they are eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage, how […]