The Tax Policy Blog

February 12, 2008

There has been much talk of the ‘tax gap" in the U.S., or the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. Some people evade taxes purposely, others fail to pay the correct amount simply because of the complexity of the tax code, and still others look for every possible loophole without actually breaking the law. 

This may seem like the sort of problem that would not exist in a country with less freedom than the U.S. but a recent ...

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February 10, 2008
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February 08, 2008

Yesterday, a bipartisan-sponsored Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2008 (BATSA) was introduced in Congress. The bill would clarify that state taxation of business income requires a physical presence within the taxing state.

In recent years, many states have sought to tax businesses with no physical property or employees in the state. Because of this businesses increasingly face a complex, unpredictable, and unfriendly...

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February 07, 2008

On the surface, a tax increase may seem like a logical, straightforward way to bring more money into state coffers. However, taxpayers often change their behavior in response to tax increases, and legislators may not get the huge tax increase they hoped for. There may be other unintended consequences, such as lost business for retailers when consumers turn to the black market, or even increased crime.

The Small Business and...

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February 07, 2008

As if the massive subsidy checks to farmers (are you listening, Iowa?) that the U.S. government sends out every year needed any more evidence of their stupidity, a new study from Princeton researchers shows that ethanol may actually lead to twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as the fossil fuel energy it is supposed to "replace." In other words, any positive externality justification for the massive level of ethanol subsidies for allegedly promoting environmental-friendly...

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February 06, 2008

Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Fumo's $6 million 27-room Philadelphia mansion is assessed for property tax purposes at just $250,000. The Philadelphia Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) recently voted 4-3 not to reassess the property because it lost the property's file:

"They moved heaven...

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February 06, 2008

From the New York Times:

Afghanistan will produce another enormous opium poppy crop this year, close to last year's record harvest, and Europe and other regions should brace themselves for the expected influx of heroin, the United Nations warned in its annual winter survey of poppy planting patterns.

Cultivation is still increasing in...

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February 05, 2008

A new study from the Netherlands has empirically verified what many have pointed out for years against those who seek to justify arbitrary taxes on certain products deemed unhealthy: because unhealthy people have shorter life spans, they tend to save government money over the long-term. From the Telegraph:

Healthy people cost taxpayers more in medical bills over their lifetimes...

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February 05, 2008

The stealthy carbon tax, to be introduced by the Republican majority in both chambers of the Kansas state legislature this week, would pose a number of problems to KS businesses.  SB2711 (http://www.kansaschamber....

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February 05, 2008

We recently released a new Tax Foundation Tax Policy Podcast interview with Nina Olson, the nation's Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS and the recipient of the Tax Foundation's 2007 Public Sector Distinguished Service Award. In this interview, Ms. Olson discuses with Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge the role of the Taxpayer Advocate in protecting taxpayer rights, the independence of the office, and the...

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February 04, 2008

At TaxProf Blog, tax professors comment on the Wesley Snipes trial verdict. Snipes was convicted of failing to file tax returns, although acquitted of more serious conspiracy and fraud charges. Snipes's co-defendants, who pushed the "§ 861 argument" to evade taxes, were convicted of all counts. Professor Buchanan at GW analyzes...

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February 03, 2008

On this date (February 3rd) in history 95 years ago...the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

Or did Ohio never truly approve of it? What is your favorite 16th Amendment "it was never really ratified" theory?

February 01, 2008

With the upcoming 2008 presidential election, tax policy will soon be on voters' minds more than ever. Taxes are one of the central issues in any national election, and it is important for the public to understand candidates' general views toward tax policy as well as their positions on specific issues, such as the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and corporate tax rates. While some candidates have been more forthcoming and specific than others about their stance on various tax issues, they...

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February 01, 2008

Some people in New Mexico are skeptical of the Sierra Club's proposal to tax people who make decisions with which they disagree:

Dave Gilligan remembers being pushed outside to play baseball and other sports, but feeling it just wasn't for him.[...]

"If you take a kid that's just playing his X-Box or whatever and you...

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January 31, 2008

This month the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released the 14th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, a publication that ranks countries on nine measures of economic freedom: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom.

The U.S. ranks...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.

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