The LIHTC has subsidized over 3 million housing units since it was established in 1986, the largest source of affordable housing financing.
Everett Stamm is a 2020 summer intern with the Tax Foundation’s Center for Federal Tax Policy.
Housing affordability was a major issue even before the COVID-19 crisis, but the current economic situation has made it more salient. Immediate support for people struggling makes sense now, but lawmakers should also consider long-term solutions to the problem of high rents, namely by expanding the supply of housing.
New data sheds light on what share of new business investment was eligible for bonus depreciation as it existed before 2017 tax reform, and what share of new investment was excluded from improved cost recovery. This matters because the income tax is biased against investment in capital assets to the extent that it makes the investor wait years or decades to claim the cost of machines, equipment, or factories on their tax returns.
Reviewing the sources of personal income shows that the personal income tax is largely a tax on labor, primarily because our personal income is mostly derived from labor. However, varied sources of capital income also play a role in American incomes.
One idea that would help the nation’s economic recovery during the coronavirus crisis would be moving to full expensing of capital investment. The depreciation debate might seem confusing, so the question at hand is: how, when, and by what amount can businesses recognize (or recover) the cost of a capital investment, like a piece of equipment or a new warehouse, on their income tax return?