The Tax Policy Blog

November 08, 2007

Anyone who relocates for a job knows what a hassle it can be: finding a new house, packing everything up, shipping furniture, and transporting pets. It can also be expensive. But these costs, for people who meet certain criteria, are tax-deductible. The details are spelled out in IRS Publication 521:

Household goods and personal effects.
You can deduct the cost of packing,...

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November 08, 2007

Maryland collects more income tax from Montgomery County residents than it does from Baltimore City and Baltimore County combined, even though Montgomery has half a million fewer people. So it must be galling for Montgomery residents to read the Baltimore Sun's insulting dismissal of Montgomery's tax worries. Here's what the Sun wrote:

The same Senate...

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November 07, 2007

♦  "Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income-tax form than it does to make the income."  
                    ~Alfred E. Neuman

"Intaxication: euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with." 
                    ~Greg Oetjen, from a Washington Post word contest

♦ "I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is—I could be just as proud for half...

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November 07, 2007

As the presidential campaign season continues, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been coming out with all sorts of proposals to use the tax code to achieve whatever social goal they want, many of which appear as if no deep thought was put into them. Politicans like to use the tax code because traditional spending to accomplish these goals would make them look like a "big spender." But if you use the tax code, you can look like a "tax cutter" by targeting some goal via tax...

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November 06, 2007

Receiving more money from the state for education sounds like something most local governments would welcome, doesn't it?  Not necessarily. The more money a local government takes from the state, the less control it has over local issues.

Indiana school superintendents have refused to support Gov. Mitch Daniels' property tax relief plan because of concern over losing local control. The plan includes a proposal to fund $495 million in...

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November 06, 2007

California wants to expand government-provided healthcare. So how do you raise the revenue? Of course, you do what is politically expedient and raise taxes on a politicial minority, that being smokers. From the San Jose Mercury News:

Democratic leaders on Monday agreed to key elements of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's health care reform plan, including mandatory insurance,...

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November 05, 2007

I just returned from attending this morning's oral arguments in the CSX and Davis cases, in both of which the Tax Foundation submitted friend-of-the-court briefs supporting taxpayers facing discriminatory taxation. Learn more about the cases and read our briefs here. I will be posting first on CSX, and later in the afternoon on Davis.

First argued this morning was...

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November 05, 2007

The Maryland tax debate dragged on this weekend, with yet another group of taxpayers voicing an opinion on Maryland's fiscal situation. From Capital News Service:

An unlikely alliance of tattoo artists and interior designers testified Saturday against a proposal to extend the sales tax to...

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November 05, 2007

In its assessment of Charlie Rangel's tax reform bill put forth two weeks ago in an article entitled "No more than a B-," The Economist magazine published what may be the best paragraph on tax reform I have ever read on an editorial page:

With a bit more ambition, Mr Rangel could have suggested reforms that make the tax code more progressive and, at the same time, simpler. America's personal income tax code is riddled with deductions—from the subtraction of...

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November 05, 2007

We found an amusing list of the "Top Ten Most Unusual U.S. Sales Tax Laws for 2006"  at AccountingWEB.com. The list includes West Virginia's sparkler tax (which we wrote about here on the Fourth of July), California's vending-machine-fruit tax, and a tax on air in Pennsylvania. Click here for the full list.

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November 02, 2007

The move towards patching AMT for one more year began yesterday on Capitol Hill as the Ways and Means Committee approved a one-year patch that also included tax increases elsewhere, so as to comply with House PAYGO rules. Details from the Los Angeles Times:

In a sign of changing priorities, the tax-writing panel of the U.S. House on...

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November 02, 2007

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two discriminatory taxation cases, and among the arguments considered will be those included in two friend-of-the-court briefs filed by the Tax Foundation.

In CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Ga. Bd. of Equalization (No. 06-1287), the Tax Foundation's brief supports a taxpayer railroad's effort to reverse a lower court ruling that barred taxpayers from challenging the methods by which...

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November 02, 2007

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's recent tax proposal is currently the subject of heated debate in a special session at the state legislature. From the Washington Post:

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to close an expected budget shortfall evoked...

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November 02, 2007

Tax Watch is the Tax Foundation's bimonthly tax policy newsletter, presenting our economic research and analysis in a simple, non-technical format—ideal for the non-economist looking for a clear explanation of current tax issues. 

 Highlights from the November-December 2007 issue include:

  • Top One Percent...
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