Archive for the ‘Tax Administration’ Category

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 […]

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 […]

IRS Gets Hammered in the 2014 Budget Agreement

The Internal Revenue Service is one of the biggest losers in the 2014 budget deal agreed to last night by House and Senate negotiators. Under the agreement, the service would get just $11.3 billion, which is $526 million below its 2013 budget and $1.7 billion less than President Obama requested. According to the House Appropriations […]

How Not to Fix the IRS

House Republicans have decided to make the IRS their summer piñata. Its leadership says it will bring a series of anti-IRS proposals to the floor later this month. And an appropriations subcommittee’s spending bill would slash the agency’s budget by $3 billion, 24 percent below levels Congress approved in March. If the plan is to […]

The IRS and the Tea Party: Treasury Report Finds Big Bungling but Small Scandal

The IRS’s botched processing of requests for tax-exempt status by political groups isn’t the new Watergate. In fact, as scandals go, it is barely the Days Inn–based on what we’ve learned from a much-anticipated report by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). That any report by TIGTA is much anticipated says something about […]

Simplifying Child Care Tax Benefits

Every year at tax time I am reminded of two tax benefits that subsidize my children’s child care – the employer-provided child care exclusion and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC). Families with sufficient expenses can benefit from both provisions. Congress could simplify these child care benefits by harmonizing the maximum allowable expenses for […]

DOMA’s Tax Hassles for Same-Sex Couples

The annual income tax season is no fun for any of us but it can be a lot worse for same-sex couples in California, Nevada, and Washington. Those three states follow community property law and recognize either same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships. The combination makes tax filing an even bigger hassle than the rest of us […]

Chairman Camp Agrees: Too Many Choices Burden our Tax System

Last week’s draft plan by House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) to reform the taxation of financial products includes two key changes that would simplify rules, reduce manipulation, minimize compliance burdens, and improve tax administration. The first would require investors to use the “mark-to-market” method of accounting for all derivatives, other than […]

Can Filing Taxes Connect Low-Income Families to Bank Services and Save the Government Money?

Is there a way for low- and moderate-income households who do not have bank accounts to receive tax refunds electronically? A new Urban Institute study found these households may be willing to participate in a program that delivers their refunds directly to a prepaid card account. We evaluated a Treasury Department pilot program called the […]

Can Behavioral Science Improve Tax Compliance?

In Sunday’s New York Times, Richard Thaler laments that “as a general rule, the United States government is run by lawyers who occasionally take advice from economists.” That makes for better policy than a tyranny of lawyers alone. But it certainly isn’t enough. Policy is ultimately about changing the way people behave. And to do […]