Posts Tagged ‘charitable deduction’

A New Look at Who Benefits from Tax Expenditures

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 […]

Congress Shouldn’t Forget About Tax Entitlements In Its Search for Deficit Reduction

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Bob Samuelson urged lawmakers to “just eliminate…the whole notion of entitlements.”  His provocative argument: The very word “entitlement” makes people believe these programs are somehow untouchable. They are, for instance, effectively exempt from the sequester’s cuts even though they represent two-thirds of all government spending. Bob is on to something but he […]

A Summer Update on Tax Reform

Over the past week, Washington has been filled with news about tax reform—some reflecting necessary but painful truths and some just bad. In no particular order, here is where reform stands as Congress leaves town for its extended summer vacation: Big rates cuts are very expensive. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that Congress would […]

The Challenge of Cutting Deductions to Lower Tax Rates

Two interesting new papers from the Congressional Research Service highlight a major challenge faced by any tax reform that reduces itemized deductions to help pay for lower tax rates—lots of middle-income people would lose at least some benefits from scaling back those deductions. It isn’t a new lesson, but it is one that bears repeating. For instance, […]

Taxes and Paul Ryan’s Budget

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a controversial  plan to balance the budget in 10 years, entirely by cutting planned spending by $4.6 trillion. While Ryan includes lots of specific spending cuts, his tax agenda is far less clear.    In some respects, the former GOP vice presidential candidate mimics the tactics […]

What if the Outrage over Excessive Welfare Extended to the Tax Code?

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has created quite a stir with his estimates that every household below the poverty level receives an average of $168-a-day (or about $61,000-a-year) in government welfare. Sessions’ calculations are extremely controversial and overstate the amount of government assistance for those in poverty. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume he’s right. […]

How to Cut the Charitable Deduction Without Reducing Giving

If income tax deductions are capped or limited—an idea that often comes up in the debate over both the fiscal cliff and long-run tax reform—the biggest losers could well be charities. At a time when the government role in providing a safety net may shrink, many of these groups may become increasingly important.  Yet deduction […]

Is it Time to Rethink the Tax Treatment of Charitable Organizations?

Here’s a word association game: I say tax-exempt public charity. You say house of worship, soup kitchen, or university. You probably don’t think about secret back-room political operations or multi-billion dollar businesses. But you should. Increasingly, these organizations are straying from the charitable work that drove Congress to grant them tax-exempt status in the first […]

Rethinking the Way We Tax Charities and Those Who Give to Them

It is that time of year when we celebrate with family, remember all we have to be thankful for, and scramble to squeeze out those last few dollars of tax deductible charitable gifts. And that got me thinking about the tax treatment of charities and other non-profits.   It is surely true that we give […]

Solyndra, Carrots, and Sticks

A wonderfully-titled new paper—The Tragedy of the Carrots—by Boston College law professor Brian Galle got me thinking about Solyndra, the failed solar panel company that has become something of  a poster child for botched industrial policy. By now, you probably know Solyndra’s sad tale. The firm got $537 million in federal loan guarantees from the […]