The Tax Policy Blog

June 18, 2014

The federal fuel tax sounds like it could be a simple excise tax. In a world with competent, broad-based tax policy, we could see such a thing. In America, we get IRS forms 720, 4136, 8849, 6478, and 8864.

A broad federal fuel tax makes some sense. There is federal spending on a variety of things (for example, the United States Highway Trust Fund) that directly benefits people in approximate proportion to their fuel usage. Rather than make these services “free,” which leads to...

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June 16, 2014

The cost of America’s extremely high corporate tax rate continues to pile up. The Wall Street Journal reports on yet another tax “inversion” deal:

Medtronic Inc. ...

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June 13, 2014

A recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper assessing optimal sales tax policies has found that exempting some services (like health and education) from a hypothetical national sales tax would amount to only a 3 percent revenue loss. They also find that charging different rates on different categories of goods rather than a flat sales tax rate can improve society-wide “utility” (how well off people feel) by 30 percent for any...

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June 12, 2014

The California Senate Governance and Finance Committee yesterday passed a bill that would prohibit sports franchise owners from writing off fines imposed by the league as business expenses on their state income tax returns.

The law is fairly unapologetically aimed at Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was fined $2.5 million by the NBA for making racially offensive...

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June 12, 2014

Both employers and unions across the nation have continued to realize the burdens of Obamacare. A recent survey of 360 large employers has shown business leaders’ discomfort with many provisions of the Affordable...

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June 12, 2014

Last Thursday, the Census Bureau released its annual report on state government tax collections, showing that state government revenues from taxes increased 6.1 percent between 2012 and 2013. This marks the third consecutive year that collections have increased since the recession – for a total 18.6 percent increase in nominal terms since 2009.

...
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June 12, 2014

The race horse, California Chrome, recently in the news for his attempt at the Triple Crown, may be different than other horses according to the IRS, and it all has to do with the complicated depreciation system in the U.S.

The tax code has different guidelines on how all horses are to be treated depending on the...

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June 11, 2014

Congress appears deadlocked over how to plug a $100 billion shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund over the next six years. Some members are looking for a short-term funding solution that would keep the fund from going broke in late July or early August, while others are looking for long-term solutions that would put the trust fund on a sound financial footing through 2020.

Unfortunately, many of the leading proposals to fix the trust fund crisis...

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June 11, 2014

The New York Times’ The Upshot uses Dave Chappelle’s recent appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman” as an opportunity to discuss the need for high top marginal tax rates.

From The Upshot:

"'So I look at it like this,” Mr. Chappelle said. “I’m at a restaurant with my wife. It’s a nice restaurant. We’re eating...

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June 11, 2014

This week, Americans for Tax Fairness, released a report on how much they believe the U.S. government would lose in revenue over 5 years if Walgreens were to merge with a Swiss company and move their headquarters to Switzerland.

The report claims that the deal would save Walgreens $4 billion in taxes over five years it would have to pay to the U.S. government, but it worries that Walgreens “would continue to take full advantage of all the benefits it gets from operating in America,...

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June 11, 2014

Back in April, I wrote that progressive tax proposals in Illinois had “stalled.” Failing to reach the vote threshold needed to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot for this November, it was widely assumed that progressive tax plans were probably over for this session. However, advocates of a progressive...

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June 11, 2014

This is big. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights may initially strike you as a meaningless gimmick. But Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, has been pressing for it since 2007. She explains that taxpayers often don’t know what rights they have before the IRS, and the IRS is often ignorant of the rights taxpayers have before them. My own addition is that much as requiring police to...

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June 10, 2014

Representative Stephen Lee Fincher (R-TN) introduced a bill that would permanently extend the state and local general sales tax deduction. This deduction is part of the “extenders package” and expired at the end of 2013.

Under current law if a taxpayer itemizes, they are able to deduct the income taxes they paid to state and local governments. For instance, if a taxpayer had an AGI of $70,000 and paid $1,000 in taxes to their state and local governments (sales or income), they could...

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June 10, 2014

This week’s map is the adoption years of state individual income taxes. This information isn’t widely available on the internet, but we happened to have it in our archives in the 1994 edition of Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism, produced by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

We’ve organized the states by decade here, and you can see that the most active one was the 1930s, where western states enacted the tax as an...

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June 10, 2014

Did you know there is a federal tax on archery equipment? Maybe not; IRS Form 720 is not a form most taxpayers are familiar with. It is the form for federal excise taxes, and it is only filed by those taxpayers - usually businesses - responsible for collecting the excise taxes. The most important use for Form 720 is for businesses that distribute various kinds of fuel; however, it has a motley array of other...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog 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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