Archive for the ‘Types of Taxes’ Category

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 […]

The Real IRS Flap Is About Dark Money, Not Emails

Don’t get distracted by the political theater over lost IRS emails. There is little new about headline-seeking politicians berating IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Like most of what happens in Congress these days, these second-rate star chambers do little more than create cable TV sound bites and base-motivating outrage. But get past the shouting and two […]

The Corker-Murphy Gas Tax Hike: A Good Idea Spoiled

Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) deserve enormous credit for having the courage to do what few of their colleagues would: Propose to pay for transportation projects by raising the gas tax.  It’s too bad they’d ruin such a sensible, straight-forward idea with a ridiculous budget gimmick. Their bill would hike the gas […]

Making State and Local Taxes “Friendly” to Small Businesses

Small business owners are more concerned with the complexity of state and local tax laws than with the amount of tax they pay, according to a recent survey conducted by Thumbtack.com in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation. Aside from economic conditions, small business owners’ perception of the ease of compliance with licensing, regulatory, […]