The Tax Policy Blog

May 05, 2015

In addition to the federal estate tax (which is fourth highest in the OECD), many U.S. states levy their own estate and inheritance taxes.  While estate taxes are charged against the estate regardless of who inherits the assets, inheritance taxes are levied on the transfer of assets to heirs, based on the relationship of the inheritor to the deceased. In the case of inheritance taxes, spouses, children...

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May 04, 2015

Taxes are everywhere, and that includes the Star Wars universe. In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the opening crawl brings up taxes almost immediately:

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of...

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May 01, 2015

UPDATE: Governor Bullock vetoed SB 171 on May 4.

Montana legislators are now at home after a session that involved Governor Steve Bullock (D) vetoing two tax cut proposals from the Republican-led legislature. A third bill, which focuses instead on greatly simplifying the tax system, is on Governor Bullock’s desk awaiting his veto or signature.

Current Montana income tax rates and brackets

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May 01, 2015

It was to be the year of tax reform in Nebraska, and for months, legislators wrangled with property tax reform options. But with no consensus on what it should look like, or even whether the focus should be on real or personal property tax relief, senators now appear likely to close out session without enacting any substantial property...

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May 01, 2015

This post originally appeared as an op-ed on Forbes here.

The Vermont soda excise tax that was proposed this session has failed to make it out of committee. The 2 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would have added up to 136 percent on to the price of a store brand two-liter soda.

From a policy perspective, this is good news, as 63 percent of...

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April 30, 2015

Two professional football players - Jeff Saturday and Hunter Hillenmeyer - won their cases in the Ohio Supreme Court in opinions released this morning.

The former Colts center and the former Bears linebacker had similar complaints against the Cleveland Board of Revenue. Both took issue with the city's use of the "games played" measure for determining the amount of...

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April 30, 2015

Two years after Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) shepherded a $2.1 billion tax increase through the legislature, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed a $2 billion tax cut plan which, notably, does not attempt to roll back Dayton’s tax increases for top income earners. While the Democratic-controlled Senate and Governor Dayton are unlikely to embrace the House legislation in its current form, should a tax reform package pass this year—which is increasingly...

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April 30, 2015

In 2012, Kansas enacted a tax cut package that reduced income tax rates while completely eliminating income tax on pass-through entities like LLCs, S corps, partnerships, farms, and sole proprietorships. At the time, we warned that the pass-through exemption had no economic justification and “will encourage economically inefficient, though tax-reducing” restructuring activity....

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April 29, 2015

At the beginning of the month, we reported on the tax reduction plan passed by the Texas Senate that focuses on reducing the margin tax and property taxes. Today, the House passed a slightly larger tax cut overall; the difference is that it has a bigger...

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April 29, 2015

The Georgia legislature adjourned weeks ago, but one of the key bills to emerge from the 2015 session, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170), continues to make headlines as it awaits the Governor’s signature. The other day, PolitiFact Georgia stepped into the fray, ...

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April 29, 2015

I recently came across a very good passage in the Wealth of Nations about paying for public infrastructure. Adam Smith seems very keen to have government provide for public infrastructure like roads, bridges, and canals, but also keen to have those that make use of the infrastructure contribute to its upkeep. From page 724 of the Liberty Fund edition (or follow in ...

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April 29, 2015

This week's county-by-county tax map shows the percentage of taxpayers taking the Child Tax Credit (CTC), a refundable tax credit that varies by number of children and amount of earned income. 

...

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April 29, 2015

Currently, the Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money by the end of May. If Congress does not either raise taxes, cut highway spending, or transfer general fund revenue to the trust fund, the trust fund will no longer have enough money to cover current expenses. As a result, it will have to operate on a cash-flow basis, which will delay the amount of funding that states and localities will receive for their transportation projects.

With the coming insolvency, there is...

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April 28, 2015

Florida taxpayers enjoy one of the better tax systems in the country. The state goes without an individual income tax and still manages to maintain corporate, sales, and property taxes near the national average. However, one area where consumers really get it in the neck on taxes is on their cell phone bills.

The good news is that a reduction in the wireless service tax was included in Florida’s $690 million tax cut bill that recently passed the Florida house by 112-3. The rate of...

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April 28, 2015

Earlier this month, New York City enacted legislation that conforms many of the state-level corporate tax reforms signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last year. While the City’s tax package doesn't adopt all of the state changes, it still makes significant progress in making New York City a better place to do business by reducing compliance costs.

Changes will be retroactive to January 1...

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