Archive for the ‘Types of Taxes’ Category

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 […]

The Bring Jobs Home Act Won’t

The Bring Jobs Home Act is a classic message bill. Its Democratic sponsors have no interest in making it law, they merely see it as a way to boost the party’s Senate candidates in part by forcing Republicans to vote against something that sounds like a good idea. After all, who could be against bringing […]

Have We Created a Two-Tiered Tax System—One for the Powerful and One for the Rest of Us?

Unlike the rest of us, many high-income, influential people and organizations have close to a free hand when it comes to their taxes. Already underfunded and understaffed, the IRS seems incapable of stopping many aggressive or even abusive interpretations of the tax laws, often by hedge funds or politically-motivated tax-exempt organizations. Over the past few […]

Abuse of financial products by hedge funds

Today, I testified before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (the “Subcommittee”) on the abuse of structured financial products by hedge funds, in particular by the Renaissance funds. This is what I told the Subcommittee: Almost a century ago, Congress reduced the tax rate for long-term capital gains. Then, long-term meant holding assets for […]

State Taxes and the April Surprise

In recent months, several governors have complained about the April, 2014, surprise in state tax revenues. They say they were shocked when personal income tax payments fell far below expectations. They shouldn’t have been. What happened? In part, in an effort to beat an upcoming increase in capital gains taxes, investors accelerated realizations into tax […]

The Great Tax Inversion Death Spiral

Congress and corporate America are in a dangerous and mutually destructive race: The more lawmakers threaten to ban the practice of inversions—where U.S. based multinationals merge with foreign firms to lower their tax bill– the more firms race to complete the deals while they can. The more deals, the more pressure on Congress to ban them. […]

Is It Time To End The Highway Trust Fund Fiction?

Congress is in the midst of another Perils of Pauline political showdown: This time the drama is over how to finance the highway trust fund, which will be unable to pay its bills in a couple of weeks. House Republicans have cooked up one set of gimmicks to keep the money flowing for a few […]

Making Saving Incentives More Equitable

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 […]

IRS Help Line Is Out Of Service

The IRS is getting a lot of flak these days about lost emails and alleged politically motivated activity. But last week I ran into a problem that hit much closer to home. It appears that the IRS telephone help line is out of service, at least for my basic tax question. I needed to double-check […]

A Payroll Tax Math Error Adds $5 Billion To The Deficit

Nothing gets lawmakers and pundits more outraged than government’s proverbial waste, fraud, and abuse. Nearly always, these stories involve spending. But taxes are hardly immune. One case of pure waste involves a simple math mistake that will cost the Treasury $5 billion in lost revenue over the next decade. Much of this windfall goes to […]