The Tax Policy Blog

March 14, 2008

From the IRS website:

IR-2008-43, March 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today released the 2007 IRS Data Book, which is an annual snapshot of IRS activities for a given fiscal year.

The report describes activities of the IRS from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007, and includes information about...

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March 13, 2008

Have the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 (and phased-in over so many years) made the federal tax code more or less progressive? It's an interesting question, yet one that can actually be difficult to answer. This week, the left-of-center Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report showing that because after-tax income shares have risen for the top income groups as a result of the tax cuts (ceteris paribus under...

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March 12, 2008

Imagine you're looking for a job and you see this listing in the Wanted Ads:

Those interested in the position must be 18 years of age or older and possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Interested applicants must send a photo and resume indicating any previous experience in stage, television or radio ... .

[A]fter a review of applicants, a select number of applicants [will move on] to a special audition to be held at the ......

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March 12, 2008

Arkansas is one of only eight states without a lottery, and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter would like to change that. He has proposed putting a lottery question on the November 4 general election ballot.

As we have written before, state-run lotteries levy regressive, hidden, non-neutral taxes that have no place in a system of sound state tax policy.  A new Tax Foundation...

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March 11, 2008

The federal government taxes U.S. citizens on all income wherever it is earned, but those working and living abroad in a "foreign country" for a certain number of days may exclude a certain dollar amount of wages earned overseas under section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Durant and Mette Cephers spent much of 2001 and 2002 at the McMurdo Station on Ross Island, Antarctica, and their tax returns excluded income as outlined in section 911 as having been earned in a foreign country...

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March 11, 2008

As we mentioned yesterday, the alleged paid encounter New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had with a prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel raises (to us, at least) some interesting tax questions.

If sales tax were imposed on services, which state could tax it?

Most states do not impose sales tax on services, especially illegal services such as the one that allegedly took place here. But assuming that they did, which state would get to tax this...

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March 11, 2008

With April 15 quickly approaching, taxpayers who have not yet filed are understandably feeling anxious about the prospect of spending hours hunched over the kitchen table with a calculator, a stack of tax forms and a bottle of aspirin. 

While we can't actually help people file their taxes, we help taxpayers by providing numerous studies, booklets, reports and charts, as well as explaining complicated tax concepts in plain English...

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March 10, 2008

Governor Spitzer and his alleged valentine "Kristen" have more in common than you know. They'll both be filing personal income tax returns in the District of Columbia, or at least they will if they follow the ridiculous "jock tax" policy that both cities apply to visiting athletes.

When the Mets travel to DC to play the Nationals, for example, all the players, coaches, trainers—all employees who travel with the team—have to pay income tax to DC for those days. They are...

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March 09, 2008
  • Tax/Fee Confusion and Scare Tactics in Virginia:  In hopes of scaring the unconstitutional Northern Virginia Transportation Authority taxes back into existence, interested government officials are warning that the Virginia Supreme Court's ruling could threaten fees which sustain park and sewer services.
  • Addicted to Cigarette Taxes:  Congress is currently considering bills (H.R. 1108 and S. 625)...
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March 07, 2008

In hopes of scaring the unconstitutional Northern Virginia Transportation Authority taxes back into existence, interested government officials are warning that the Virginia Supreme Court's ruling could threaten fees which sustain park and sewer services, reported by the Examiner :

"The decision casts a giant shadow...

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March 07, 2008

We have recently posted new data on property taxes, sales tax, gas taxes and other subjects. We update the data section of our site frequently, and we will be adding more new data at the end of the month when we announce Tax Freedom Day for 2008.

New datasets:

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March 06, 2008

Congress is currently considering bills (H.R. 1108 and S. 625) authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the tobacco industry. Largely unnoticed is the fact that this legislation would perpetuate injustice in the tax system.

Benefit Principle
Governments produce two types of services. The first type has broad benefits which aid all in society. National defense and police protection are obvious examples, and there is a general consensus that everyone...

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March 06, 2008

When Florida Governor Charlie Crist delivered his State of the State address earlier this week, many listeners were eager to hear his take on property taxes. As we have written before (here, here, and here), property taxes have long been a contentious issue in Florida. From the Miami Herald:

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March 05, 2008

Urban-goers seeking access to a car but not requiring its use all the time are increasingly turning to car sharing services, such as Zipcar (which merged with rival Flexcar in November). Members reserve cars online for as little as 30 minutes use, and the cost of maintaining the cars is spread over many users.

Not so with the taxes, however. Local governments have often targeted rental cars for punitive taxation, as a way of exporting tax...

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March 05, 2008

In January the Tax Foundation testified before the Vermont Legislature's Ways and Means Committee on a proposal to lease the state lottery. We stated, as we have before, that a state-run lottery is a regressive, non-neutral, hidden tax, and any plan that gets the state entirely out of the lottery business is a good one.

However, a lease would not remove the state from the lottery business entirely,...

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