Topic: Tax Expenditures

Making Saving Incentives More Equitable

By :: July 8th, 2014

Tax expenditures for retirement saving top $100 billion annually—from 401(k)-type plans ($61.4 billion) to IRAs ($17.6 billion) to tax preferences for pensions ($35.1 billion)—but these subsidies disproportionately benefit higher-income households and do relatively little to improve the balance sheets of low- and moderate-income Americans. According to one study, the bottom 40 percent of households received […]

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The Tax Extenders: Yes, Virginia, They Really Are Tax Cuts

By :: May 1st, 2014

The other day, the House Ways & Means Committee voted to cut taxes for certain businesses by $310 billion. Washington, being Washington, is now in the midst of a partisan debate over whether this is in fact a tax cut or, conversely, whether failing to cut those business levies would be a tax increase. This […]

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

By :: April 17th, 2014

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 […]

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Why Most Tax Extenders Should Not Be Permanent

By :: April 3rd, 2014

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 […]

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

By :: March 7th, 2014

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 […]

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Taxes: A Big Gun In The War on Poverty

By :: January 16th, 2014

When Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty 50 years ago this month, he could not have imagined how many battles would be fought through the Tax Code. In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, the safety net was built almost entirely on spending programs.  Back then, policymakers created Medicare, Medicaid, student loan programs, and Head […]

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Rethinking Homeownership Subsidies

By :: January 6th, 2014

Tax expenditures for homeownership, such as deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes and the partial exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a primary residence, have long been recognized as ineffective, regressive, and extraordinarily expensive—costing $121 billion in 2013 alone. Until now, most reforms—including the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan—have focused on restructuring the mortgage […]

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Time To Park The Commuter Tax Subsidy

By :: December 31st, 2013

Am I the only one who thinks today’s commuter tax subsidies are nuts? The issue is in the headlines because at midnight tonight, thanks to yet another dose of congressional inaction, the amount of pre-tax dollars mass transit commuters can put aside will fall from a maximum of $240 a month to $130. At the […]

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A New Look at Who Benefits from Tax Expenditures

By :: December 19th, 2013

Who benefits from the tax credits, deductions and exclusions that have become such an integral part of the modern tax code? Nearly all of us. And that’s why any tax reform that eliminates or scales back many of these preferences in return for lower tax rates is so hard to do. The Tax Policy Center […]

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Analyzing Taxes and Transfers Together

By :: December 5th, 2013

Government redistributes income through tax and spending programs. Nearly everyone pays some tax – be it federal or state income taxes, payroll taxes, or sales taxes. The tax system also affects people by delivering a host of benefits through tax expenditures (subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction or the child tax credit).   And broad spending […]

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