The Tax Policy Blog

June 07, 2016

Today is June 7, the date when the 2001 Bush tax cut, the first of two, was signed into law. (My colleague Scott Greenberg wrote a retrospective this morning.) Also today, Democratic primaries are...

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June 07, 2016

Fifteen years ago, today, President George W. Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 into law – perhaps the single most consequential piece of tax legislation enacted in the last quarter-century. A decade and a half later, it is worthwhile to review the legacy of this bill, which is often referred to as the first of two “Bush tax cuts."

The Bush tax...

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June 06, 2016

It’s been clear for a while that the U.S. Congress will not pass a major tax reform bill in 2016. This means that it have been over 30 years since the last time that Congress undertook a comprehensive tax reform effort: the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Since then, the U.S. tax code has become more complex and...

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June 06, 2016

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a pretty good idea on taxes when it comes to itemized deductions. To explain what this idea is, though, one first needs to know a little bit of background on how itemized deductions work. Itemized deductions are the tax provisions that let people reduce their taxable incomes by listing things on their Schedule A. Some examples of itemized deductions include the deduction for mortgage interest payments, or deductions for state and local taxes.

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June 06, 2016

Today is June 6, the date in 1978 when California voters approved Proposition 13 by a wide margin of 65 percent to 35 percent. Spearheaded by activist Howard Jarvis after years of skyrocketing property tax increases, Prop. 13 immediately cut property taxes by 30 percent and capped them thereafter: property taxes are limited to 1 percent of assessed value and the assessed value can only be increased a maximum of 2 percent per...

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June 03, 2016

Today is June 3, the date in 1929 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Old Colony Trust Co. v. Commissioner, which held that a company agreeing to pay an employee’s income taxes for him is itself additional income with additional tax liability. It’s what I thought of immediately when Oprah gave away cars in 2004: the car’s $28,500...

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June 02, 2016

Happy Thursday! I found some cool items in the Tax Foundation archives that can still teach us a lot of important lessons today. Here’s a few choice ones:

Economists Agree: Gross Receipts Taxes Belong in the Dustbin of Tax History (2007): In this post, Andrew Chamberlain explains how gross receipts taxes are an old and resoundingly discredited idea. From the...

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June 02, 2016

Compared to taxes on alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer, distilled spirits are taxed at much higher rates across the states, ostensibly to adjust for higher alcohol content. Today’s map shows how spirit excise taxes in your state compare.
 ...

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June 02, 2016

Today is June 2, the date in 1924 when the U.S. Tax Court was created to hear disputes over federal tax claims as part of that year’s Revenue Act. Originally called the U.S. Board of Tax Appeals, it was renamed in 1969.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Louisiana Special Legislative Session to Start June 6: Tax changes and spending cuts...
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June 01, 2016

Today is June 1, the date in 1796 when Tennessee became the 16th state. Tennessee has no income tax on wages, but a 6 percent “Hall tax” on dividends and interest that will be phased out under legislation signed last month. Sales tax is 7 percent statewide plus an average 2.46 percent in local sales taxes. Property taxes are among the lowest in...

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May 31, 2016

Facing a $1.3 billion shortage in the next year’s state budget—the largest gap in Oklahoma’s history—the Oklahoma legislature wrapped up its regular session last week with the passage of a $6.8 billion budget. The budget appropriates 5 percent less than the previous year, and leaves a remaining $360 million gap in the budget. Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign the budget, which includes a new bond issuance for transportation, a transfer from the Rainy Day Fund, and cuts to agency...

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May 31, 2016

This month, the Australia Institute released a report that argues persuasively that a substantial portion of Australia’s corporate income tax cuts will simply end up resulting in increased revenue for the U.S. Treasury. As the report explains:

Foreign companies have to pay tax in their place of residence and that...

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May 31, 2016

Today is May 31, the date in 1904 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided McCray v. United States, upholding an excise tax that had the real purpose of discouraging the purchase of one product to benefit a competitor. Dairy farmers successfully lobbied Congress to impose a hefty tax on margarine, an oil-based yellow-colored imitation butter that proved to be quite popular with consumers due to being cheaper....

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May 27, 2016

To wrap up a special legislative session on highway funding, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a measure that will generate close to $300 million over two years to help pay for upgrades to the state’s roads and bridges.

The plan shifts existing sources of funding to transportation,...

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May 27, 2016

Today is May 27, the date in 1935 when a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decided Schechter Poultry v. United States, striking down the New Deal’s National Industrial Recovery Act. The Act directed industry trade associations to develop codes of fair competition for each industry, and violations of the codes could be criminally prosecuted. The Schechters, two brothers who ran a Kosher chicken coop,...

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