The Tax Policy Blog

December 06, 2007

Tax Foundation economist Gerald Prante discussed the alternative minimum tax on Wednesday on CNBC along with Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity. Below is the video courtesy of AFP's page on YouTube.

December 05, 2007

As the mortgage "crisis" continues to garner attention from policymakers seeking to do something to help out homeowners including possible use of the tax code, here's an interesting fact to remember for those complaining about federal policies towards housing courtesy of CBO:

Effective Tax Rate on Capital Income = 13.8 percent

Effective Tax Rate on Capital Income Derived from Owner-Occupied Housing =...

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December 04, 2007

This morning, the Supreme Court announced a unanimous 9-0 decision in CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Georgia State Board of Equalization, ruling in favor of a railroad seeking to challenge Georgia's property tax assessment methods, a change which resulted in a 47 percent increase in its property tax bill over the previous year. The Tax Foundation filed a brief with the...

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December 04, 2007

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was first put into law in 1970 in response to a Treasury report that said 155 high-income individuals (income over $200,000) paid no income tax at all in 1967. The first year it was implemented was tax year 1970 and was technically called the "minimum tax." The alternative minimum tax wasn't officially instituted until tax year 1979. For a complete history of the AMT and the minimum tax, click here.

The...

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December 04, 2007

Tax Foundation economist Gerald Prante, author of several reports and commentaries on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) debate, discussed the issue on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning. Prante is the author of the Tax Foundation's revenue-neutral proposal to greatly diminish the parallel tax system known as the AMT. He has calculated how many taxpayers had to file an AMT return for tax year 2005, in each ...

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December 03, 2007

Back in October, we reported on Mary Bach, a Pennsylvania woman who sued K-Mart because her $3.99 toilet paper purchase was incorrectly taxed (for 28 cents). The Associated Press reports that Ms. Bach won her lawsuit, and under Pennsylvania's consumer protection law, K-Mart must pay $100 (357 times Ms. Bach's actual...

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December 03, 2007

Congress returns this week and a lot is on its plate, the most time-pressed issue being what to do with the alternative minimum tax. An update from CongressDaily AM:

Senate leaders will return to the question of how to shield 21 million taxpayers from new taxes this year as a result of the alternative minimum tax, as Senate Republicans have not given up demands to offer amendments that include extending other tax cuts.

Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader...

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December 03, 2007

The Tax Foundation's 70th Annual Dinner was held on Thursday, November 15. We have posted photos of the event for viewing or purchase here.

At the event, we presented the Tax Foundation Public Sector Distinguished Service Award to Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate (below, with Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge). We presented Bernard M. (Bob) Shapiro, Partner at...

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December 03, 2007

In going after former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's FairTax position, Rudy Giuliani criticized the FairTax with quite possibly the worst response possible from the perspective of sound tax policy. Giuliani didn't question the Fair Tax on issues where it should be questioned like the issue of evasion or how its prebate will be administered. Instead Giuliani, likely out of political expediency, attacked the FairTax by defending the worst provisions in the current income tax structure,...

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November 30, 2007

The tax record of former Arkansas Governor and current Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has garnered a lot of media attention in the past few weeks as Huckabee has surged in the polls in Iowa. David Lightman has a pretty fair summary of the issue in an article on the Chicago Tribune's website. Here's the introduction:

Mike Huckabee was an...

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November 30, 2007

The Motley Fool has a good article on what a terribly foolish thing is it to buy lottery tickets. Reporter Rich Duprey explains that the payback from lotteries is worse than from any other bet available, worse than any casino game. And they cite Alicia Hansen's 2004 Tax Foundation Background Paper on lotteries to bemoan how much money Americans...

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November 29, 2007

Jeanne Sahadi at CNN Money has compiled a list of the various positions that candidates from both primaries have taken on the issue of Social Security. Here's the introduction:

Among the many promises being made by the 2008 candidates for president, fixing Social Security is getting increasing play on the campaign stump.

The Social Security program, funded...

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November 28, 2007

If we were doing this right, we should be asking these on video and posting them on YouTube. But after careful consideration we decided Anderson Cooper was just plain prettier than us and thus better suited to be on camera. So we hope he'll ask these questions while the GOP candidates are hangin' with Mr. Cooper...

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November 28, 2007

We already posted some questions that we would like to see for tonight's Republican debate. But here are a few more questions (somewhat more adversarial), specifically designed for each of the top Republican candidates.

Senator Thompson and Mayor Giuliani, you have each suggested tax proposals that would create an optional flat tax to parallel the current income tax system. What spending would you cut to finance such a tax cut, and wouldn't this proposal actually...

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November 27, 2007

Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has called a special legislative session to reinstate the 1 percent property tax cap invalidated by the state supreme court, as we reported here. The governor's previous plan of merely asking the local governments not to tax more didn't work:

Gregoire has urged local governments to continue heeding the...

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