Tax Policy and the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Updated October 28 at 4:00 pm

As the U.S. federal, state, and local governments, as well as countries around the world, continue to implement measures to support their economies amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, our experts are providing trusted analysis of the latest tax policy developments to better inform policymakers, journalists, and taxpayers. 

Some of our most utilized coronavirus tax resources include our our FAQ on the CARES Act and our options for economic recovery reform guide.

If you are new to the Tax Foundation’s work, you can learn more about who we are and what we do here. You can also stay informed on the latest updates with our weekly newsletter.

As an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we rely on the generosity of people like you to make our work here possible.

Zoom Calls Not a Taxing Matter

October 27, 2020

Zoom Video Communications announced that, come November, the company will start collecting and remitting local utility and communications taxes in California, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

How Would Biden’s Tax Plan Change the Competitiveness of the U.S. Tax Code?

October 19, 2020

While the Biden campaign is certainly focused on increasing taxes on U.S. businesses and high-income earners, it is important that policymakers also understand what that reversal might do to U.S. competitiveness, and the competitive global environment in which U.S. companies and U.S. workers operate.

Role of the 2017 Tax Reform in the Nascent U.S. Economic Recovery

October 15, 2020

While there is still plenty of work to be done to get unemployed Americans back to work, the U.S. economy as a whole is now recovering strongly from the pandemic-induced economic downturn, outperforming forecasts from earlier in the year and outperforming most other developed countries.

Arizona Proposition 208 Threatens Arizona’s Status as a Destination for Interstate Migration

October 14, 2020

Significantly raising the income tax through Proposition 208 will only serve to make Arizona less competitive, especially at a time when individuals and small businesses are already struggling. If Arizona is looking for a long-term way to increase education funding, it would do well to avoid overburdening struggling taxpayers and look toward more broad-based, stable sources of revenue.

Colorado Proposition 116: Will Voters Reduce the State Income Tax Rate?

October 5, 2020

This Election Day, Colorado voters will weigh in on Proposition 116, which would permanently reduce the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.63 to 4.55 percent.

State and Local Tax Ballot Measures to Watch on Election Day 2020

October 5, 2020

Here are the state tax ballot measures to watch on Election Day 2020. Explore the most notable 2020 state tax ballot measures in 15 states.

Seventh Time’s the Charm: New Jersey Passes Millionaires Tax

September 30, 2020

After six unsuccessful tries at passage, it appears the coronavirus crisis has tipped the scales in favor of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) millionaires tax. New Jersey may be feeling the financial squeeze right now, but this large income tax change will not solve budget problems and may exacerbate funding issues by making the state even unfriendlier to businesses.

Voters in Four States to Vote on Recreational Marijuana

September 29, 2020

Legalizing recreational marijuana is a hot topic in many states where the state budgets are in disarray because of the coronavirus pandemic and new revenue sources are being sought.

Countries Eye Environmental Taxation

September 29, 2020

A recent OECD report on 2020 tax reforms reveals an increase in the number of environmentally-related tax policies, including gas taxes, carbon taxes, and taxes on electricity consumption.

Sweden’s 2021 Budget: Permanent Income Tax Cuts

September 23, 2020

Sweden's 2021 budget outlines an aggressive plan to both cut income taxes in a permanent manner alongside multiple other tax cuts and spending increases

CBO Releases New Long-term Budget Outlook

September 22, 2020

The pandemic precipitated the steepest decline in economic output and employment in recent history, which is leading to a drop in tax revenue. At the same time, the federal response to the crisis is producing a large increase in spending. This combination will cause the federal budget deficit to spike.

Maryland Lawmakers Look to Alcohol for New Revenue

September 22, 2020

While there are legitimate reasons for increasing and levying excise taxes, legislatures should proceed with caution in the aftermath of the pandemic. Importantly, revenue from increased excise taxes should generally be allocated to spending related to the negative externalities as that revenue is too volatile and unreliable to rely on for long-term budget priorities.

Republican Study Committee Workforce Plan Rethinks Education, Labor, and Welfare Tax Policy

September 22, 2020

The House Republican Study Committee released a proposal, "Reclaiming the American Dream," which includes 118 policy recommendations to address education, labor, and welfare policy with the aim of expanding opportunity, liberty, and free enterprise for all Americans.

New Census Data Shows States Beat Revenue Expectations in FY 2020

September 18, 2020

State tax revenue collections were down 5.5 percent in FY 2020, driven by a dismal final quarter (April through June) as states began to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While these early losses are certainly not desirable, they are manageable and far better than many feared.

An Excise State of Mind

September 17, 2020

Even during a crisis when budgets are squeezed, policymakers should put their efforts into serious reforms of existing income and consumption taxes rather than leaving good tax policy behind for an excise state of mind.

New European Commission Report: VAT Gap

September 17, 2020

Just as COVID-19 is putting pressure on other sources of revenue, the loss of VAT revenues resulting from the crisis will force governments to evaluate their VAT systems.

Senate Republican Coronavirus Package Is Undermined by Complexity & Impermanence

September 10, 2020

What does the Senate Republican coronavirus package do? Are there better ways of providing short-run relief without making the tax code more complicated?

Who Will Pay for the Roads?

August 25, 2020

The highway trust fund is on track to run out of money by 2021, states are struggling to cover their transportation spending, and increased fuel economy, plus inflation, is chipping away at gas tax revenue year. How can Congress and state governments ensure they have the revenue necessary to fund our highways? One solution is the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax.

How the CARES Act Fixed a Tax Bias Against Green Investment

August 20, 2020

One under-discussed part of the CARES Act, passed in March to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 epidemic, is a correction to a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, often known as the “retail glitch.”

New Accelerated Depreciation Policies to Spur Investment in Australia, Austria, Germany, and New Zealand

August 17, 2020

In recent months, several countries have introduced accelerated depreciation as a measure to incentivize private investment, including Australia, Austria, Germany, and New Zealand. There are various ways of how this policy has been implemented in the respective countries, largely depending on the existing standard depreciation schedules.

Economic Recovery and Deductions for Worker Training

August 13, 2020

Tax treatment can affect investment decisions. Extending expensing treatment (full and immediate deductions) to all forms of capital investment, human and physical, would help facilitate sustainable long-run economic growth.

Nevada Hoping to Extract Revenue with Mining Tax Increase Amendment

August 12, 2020

Nevada is not alone in its need to find revenue, but it should take care not to embrace bad tax policy in the process. Significant rate increases, a shift in the tax base, and provisions which make it easier to hike taxes than to cut them would heavily burden the mining industry in the state.

Teleworking Employees Face Double Taxation Due to Aggressive “Convenience Rule” Policies in Seven States

August 13, 2020

States can tax your income where you live and where you work—but a growing number of states may also seek to tax your income even if you neither live nor work there, an aggressive posture that becomes increasingly consequential as more Americans work remotely both during and potentially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where Should the Money Come From?

August 12, 2020

The fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic will require policymakers to consider what revenue resources should be used to fill budget gaps. Tax policy experts have proposed wealth taxes, (global) corporate minimum taxes, excess profits taxes, and digital taxes as opportunities for governments to raise new revenues.

Estimating Neutral Cost Recovery’s Impact on Affordable Housing

August 7, 2020

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.

Higher Taxes Might Not Be the Solution for Canada and its Provinces

August 7, 2020

First, the introduction of the wealth tax would significantly impact international capital flows and cause large economic dislocations in the short term. Second, provinces that are looking at raising their corporate tax rates might hinder capital attraction, growth, and economic recovery.

Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act Would Provide More Generous Rebates for Dependents

July 30, 2020

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) released the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act (CAAF), which would provide payments of $1,000 to adults and children with Social Security numbers, subject to income limits used in the original round of rebates. Among other modifications, it would be more generous to households and families with children when compared to the original rebates distributed under the CARES Act.

Brazil has the Opportunity to Implement a Simple Consumption Tax and Foster Tax Progressivity at the Same Time

July 30, 2020

Brazil has one of the world’s most complex tax systems. Brazil has the opportunity to implement a simple consumption tax and foster tax progressivity at the same time.

State Income and Sales Tax Revenues Slide in Second Quarter

July 30, 2020

Today marked the release of second-quarter GDP data and provides a new glimpse into early changes in state and local revenues and spending. All told, second-quarter state and local tax receipts came in about 3.8 percent lower than they did in the same quarter a year ago. Income and sales taxes fell considerably while property and excise tax collections remained stable.

Details and Analysis of The CREATE JOBS Act

July 30, 2020

Senators Ted Cruz and Martha McSally introduced the CREATE JOBS Act that would make two significant changes to incentivize investment in the United States.

Senate Republicans Introduce the HEALS Act for Coronavirus Pandemic Relief

July 27, 2020

A resurgence in coronavirus cases and receding economic activity in many states threaten the nascent economic recovery. To address the ongoing crisis, the Senate Republican Phase 4 proposal builds on the CARES Act provisions while modifying others, including a scaled down federal UI benefit.

Revenue Gains in Asian and Pacific Countries Likely Offset by COVID-19

July 24, 2020

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis, countries in the Asia-Pacific region will see a differentiated impact on their capacity of mobilizing domestic revenue depending on the structure of their economy. According to the OECD report, those economies that rely mostly on natural resources, tourism, and trade taxes are especially vulnerable.

New York and New Jersey Consider Financial Transaction Taxes

July 23, 2020

Seeking new sources of funding, New York and New Jersey—two states at the heart of global financial markets—are considering financial transaction taxes.

The History of Excess Profits Taxes Not as Effective or Harmless as Today’s Advocates Portray

July 22, 2020

Today’s advocates would do well to study the history of excess profits taxes before overselling these taxes as a solution to the COVID-19 crisis.

The New EU Budget is Light on Details of Tax Proposals

July 22, 2020

The European Council recently agreed on a new multiannual budget and a recovery program, which sets EU budget levels for 2021-2027 totals €1 trillion (US $1.2 trillion). The lack of details on the various tax proposals and the eventual need for revenue sources to finance new EU debt mean there is a lot of work left for policymakers in Brussels to do.

(Webinar) Figuring Out Phase Four: Next Steps on Federal and State Coronavirus Response

July 21, 2020

As U.S. businesses struggle to recover from the economic downturn, Congress and the White House continue to debate a phase four relief package, which could include anything from incentives for domestic travel and a payroll tax cut to more fundamental reforms like enacting permanent full cost recovery.

Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy, 2020

July 22, 2020

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, some states are hoping that a sales tax holiday might help restart struggling industries by stimulating the economy. However, sales tax holidays can mislead consumers about savings and distract from genuine, permanent tax relief.

Tax Options to Promote Short-Term Recovery and Long-Term Economic Growth in Wisconsin

July 16, 2020

From a revenue standpoint, Wisconsin was better off than many states going into this crisis, but the policy decisions—including tax policy decisions—state policymakers make in the months ahead will have far-reaching implications for how quickly jobs and wages are restored in Wisconsin.

Hungarian COVID-19 Response: Surtax for Banks and Retail

July 15, 2020

Hungary is the only EU state to have actually implemented COVID-19 tax hikes.

State Forecasts Indicate $121 Billion 2-Year Tax Revenue Losses Compared to FY 2019

July 15, 2020

Revised state revenue forecasts show a significant decline in projected revenues for both the recently concluded FY 2020 and current FY 2021, though the picture they paint is considerably less dire than many feared a few months ago.

Improved Cost Recovery Is A Wide-Ranging Policy Solution

July 10, 2020

Rather than limit improvements to certain sectors, lawmakers could pursue a broader policy of full expensing for all capital investment and neutral cost recovery for structures and clear the tax policy hurdles that currently stand in the way of private investment.

Peruvian “Solidarity Tax” Unlikely to Offset Deficit Spending

July 10, 2020

While it is important that Peru find ways to offset its deficit spending, a temporary wealth tax may introduce more problems than it solves.

FAQ on Neutral Cost Recovery and Expensing

July 10, 2020

Cost recovery is the way the tax code permits firms to recover (or deduct) the cost of making investments. Cost recovery plays an important role in defining a business’ taxable income and can impact investment decisions.

Phase 4 Is not the Time to Experiment with Temporary Credits

July 9, 2020

As lawmakers consider returning to the tax code as a tool to revive a struggling economy with high unemployment and an unpredictable virus, they should avoid temporary changes that can be distortive in the short term and inefficient in the long term.

National Taxpayer Advocate’s Report Is a Road Map to Simpler Pandemic Relief Provisions

July 9, 2020

The size and scope of the tax changes within the CARES Act created significant administrative challenges for the IRS. Lawmakers should prioritize simplicity in the next round of relief.

Tax Policy Proposals for the German EU Presidency

July 1, 2020

While much of Germany’s EU presidency agenda is focused on policies to ensure economic stability and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a pair of tax proposals that the country is planning to develop and move forward at the EU level: a financial transaction tax and a minimum effective tax.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

Iowa Decouples from 163(j) and GILTI, Clarifies Non-Taxation of PPP Loans

June 30, 2020

Iowa’s HF 2614, which passed both chambers of the legislature and now waits for the governor’s signature, makes several changes to the state’s tax code, which, although they will affect revenue, will encourage economic growth and make the state’s tax code more competitive.

Estimated Impact of Improved Cost Recovery Treatment by State

June 30, 2020

We estimate that moving to permanent full expensing and neutral cost recovery for structures would add more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs to the long-run economy and boost the long-run capital stock by $4.8 trillion.

Montana Voters Will Decide on Recreational Marijuana

June 26, 2020

Montana could vote to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in November, bringing in an estimated $39 million by 2025, but would the move help with short-term budget issues?

GAO Report Reveals Need to Simplify Next Round of Rebates

June 25, 2020

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that almost a half-million taxpayers missed their total rebate payment due to complications over disbursing funds to non-filers with eligible dependents. Administrability is just as important as rebate design and simplicity is just as important as speed.

Improving the Tax Treatment of Residential Buildings Will Stretch Affordable Housing Assistance Dollars Further

June 25, 2020

By updating the tax code to allow developers to more fully cover their investments, construction costs will fall, which, in turn, means that federal affordable housing assistance dollars will go that much further in helping low-income tenants.

European Countries Might Consider Scrapping the Bank Tax for Greater Financial Support

June 24, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, some governments are seeking to cut bank taxes to enhance financial support to businesses and public investment projects.

Three Reasons Expanding Credits Aren’t the Best Pandemic Response for the Vulnerable

June 24, 2020

While reforming certain tax credits may make sense, there are far better ways to provide individuals and families with more liquidity during this crisis.

Economic Analysis of Financing Options for Infrastructure Spending Proposals

June 23, 2020

Our analysis shows that the economic benefits of federal investment in productivity-enhancing infrastructure may be undercut by the negative effects of the financing of those investments, such as when the corporate income tax is increased.

Why Neutral Cost Recovery Is Good for Workers

June 23, 2020

Studies have shown that accelerated depreciation helps increase wage growth. A recent report found that states that implemented accelerated depreciation in their tax codes led to a 2.5 percent increase in compensation per employee in manufacturing, relative to states that did not.

Global Tax Relief Efforts Vary in Scope and Time Frame in Response to COVID-19

June 22, 2020

Countries around the world have implemented and continue to implement emergency tax measures to support their economies during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Full Expensing is Good for the Short Run and the Long Run

June 18, 2020

In the first year of enactment alone, we estimate the combination of full expensing and neutral cost recovery would increase full-time equivalent employment by more than 44,000 jobs. The cumulative impact by year five of the policy would be nearly 200,000 new jobs.

CARES Act Conformity Would Promote Economic Recovery in Nebraska

June 18, 2020

Nebraska lawmakers may ultimately opt for a package that includes both property tax relief and the renewal of business incentives, but they should avoid doing so at the expense of decoupling from the CARES Act’s liquidity-enhancing provisions.

Cautionary Notes from CBO on the Effects of Federal Investment

June 17, 2020

Based on the CBO’s assessment of the economic and budgetary effects of federal investment, lawmakers should look to spur private sector investment rather than try to enact a massive federal infrastructure bill.

States Should Conform to These Four CARES Act Provisions to Enhance Business Liquidity

June 17, 2020

As policymakers continue evaluating their evolving revenue and spending options, the importance of enacting policies that enhance business liquidity must remain at the forefront.

Weighing the Benefits of Permitting Business Credit Cashouts in Phase 4 Economic Relief

June 16, 2020

As lawmakers explore options for “Phase 4” coronavirus relief legislation, one idea that has received renewed attention is allowing businesses to cash out business tax credits. This proposal would be strengthened by also permitting acceleration of firms’ accrued net operating loss (NOL) deductions and designing the proposal so that firms can quickly convert these tax assets into cash.

Challenges for Transfer Pricing in an Economic Downturn

June 17, 2020

Transfer pricing rules are under stress given the current economic crisis. The OECD should provide transfer pricing guidance during the coronavirus crisis.

Germany Adopts a Temporary VAT Cut

June 16, 2020

Tax policy responses to the pandemic should be designed to provide immediate support while paving the way to recovery. A temporary VAT rate cut in the context of an inefficient VAT system is likely to deliver mixed results at best.

Seattle Officials Return with New Proposal for Taxing Employment

June 16, 2020

Seattle’s city council are again gearing up for an effort to increase taxes on the city’s largest employers, intended to generate revenue for cash assistance to low-income households impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, among other reasons.

D.C. Council to Consider Tax Hike Despite Balanced Budget

June 15, 2020

Despite a balanced budget and and revenue shortfalls arising from the coronavirus crisis, the D.C. Council will consider proposals to raise income taxes to fund newly proposed spending projects.

Inefficiencies Created by the Tax System’s Dependence on Economic Depreciation

June 12, 2020

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?

New Jersey Considers Bonds Paid for by Statewide Property Tax

June 11, 2020

As New Jersey lawmakers grapple with reduced revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have turned to an unusual solution: the issuance of bonds that would be repaid, if necessary, through temporarily higher sales and property taxes.

Sports Betting Will Not Solve State Budget Crises

June 10, 2020

The pandemic has left states in dire straits financially and lawmakers are getting creative in their pursuit of new revenue sources. However, it's unlikely that revenue from sports betting will have any meaningful impact on budget shortfalls

How High Are Vapor Taxes in Your State?

June 3, 2020

Many states may be looking toward vapor and other excise taxes to fill budget holes caused by the coronavirus crisis. While those areas may represent untapped revenue sources for many states, taxing those activities is unlikely to raise much revenue in the short term.

New York Lawmakers Float New Data Tax Proposal

June 2, 2020

Taxes on digital services, digital advertising, and the sale or utilization of consumer data, which were already emerging before the #coronavirus crisis, look increasingly attractive to cash-strapped states and localities.

Watch: Economic Recovery After Coronavirus

May 29, 2020

What are the best tax policies to encourage a smooth transition and strong economic recovery? How should goals of economic recovery and growth be balanced with revenue needs?

California Considers Business Head Tax Plan that Seattle Repealed

May 28, 2020

With California’s unemployment rate approaching 25 percent, it is somewhat surprising to find policymakers contemplating a literal tax on jobs.

EU: The Next Generation

May 27, 2020

The European Commission announced new budget plans including loans, grants, and some revenue offsets. The proposals follow other support mechanisms for workers and businesses that were designed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic shutdown.

Net Operating Loss Carrybacks Are a Vital Source of Tax Relief for Struggling Firms in the Coronavirus Crisis

May 26, 2020

Rather than find ways to restrict net operating loss (NOL) carrybacks, lawmakers should focus on ways to improve liquidity by cashing out accrued NOLs, which would benefit startups and new small businesses without taxable income to offset in prior years.

In Some States, 2020 Estimated Tax Payments Are Due Before 2019 Tax Returns

May 22, 2020

To prevent confusion and to ensure taxpayers receive the full benefit of the extended federal deadline, states should consider extending first- and second-quarter estimated tax payment due dates to July 15 or later.

Tax Changes in California Governor’s Budget Could Stand in the Way of Economic Recovery

May 20, 2020

While other states are starting to think about the recovery, California is contemplating tax policies that would stand in the way of economic expansion once the health crisis abates. California’s shortfall is all too real, but tax policies which impede recovery are a hindrance, not a help.

To What Extent Does Your State Rely on Sales Taxes?

May 20, 2020

Consumption taxes, like sales taxes, are more economically neutral than taxes on capital and income because they target only current consumption.

HEROES Act Dependent Expansions Come with Major Drawbacks

May 19, 2020

The HEROES Act adds to the confusion and instability already inherent in the tax code with multiple expiring provisions and reduced filing guidelines.

More Than Half the States Will Protect Businesses from Certain COVID-19-Related Unemployment Insurance Tax Hikes

May 19, 2020

Lawmakers can help expedite their state’s economic recovery by protecting employers from facing higher unemployment insurance tax rates at a time when they can least afford to pay them.

HEROES Act Temporarily Increases Dependent Credit Generosity

May 19, 2020

The HEROES Act would make notable expansions to all three dependent-related credits, increasing maximum credit amounts, refundability, and income eligibility phaseouts. Practically, this means that certain filers could expect to receive a larger refund for each additional hour of work, eligible dependent, and dependent care expenses if the bill became law.

Breaking Down State and Local Aid under the SMART Act

May 19, 2020

The SMART Act, sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez and Bill Cassidy and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, would provide $500 billion in flexible funding to state and local governments.

Neutral Cost Recovery Is Not a New Idea

May 19, 2020

As stated by Rep. Jack Kemp in 1985, “Neutral cost recovery is designed to provide the present value of investment expensing without some of its practical problems.”

Empirical Evidence Shows Expensing Leads to More Investment and Higher Employment

May 19, 2020

The Tax Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model suggests that allowing businesses to immediately deduct or “expense” their capital investments in the year in which they are purchased delivers the biggest bang for the buck in spurring economic growth and jobs compared to other tax policies.

Louisiana Considers Temporary Suspension of Part of Corporation Franchise Tax

May 19, 2020

State recovery plans should lessen the burden on businesses by shifting from capital stock taxes and other taxes that are charged regardless of profitability. Louisiana does well to target its Corporation Franchise Tax, a burdensome tax that would target businesses that may already be struggling.

Options for Improving the Tax Treatment of Structures

May 19, 2020

Improving the tax treatment of structures is one of the most cost-effective tax policy changes available to lawmakers as they consider how to remove investment barriers in the tax code to hasten the economic recovery. Policymakers must weigh the trade-offs among long-run economic output goals, revenue constraints, and the existing stock of structures.

HEROES Act First Bid to Provide Phase 4 Relief for Businesses and Individuals

May 14, 2020

The HEROES Act, the $3 trillion relief package proposed by House Democrats, is the first bid to provide additional phase 4 aid for businesses and individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Accounting for Deficits: When Should They Matter and How Should We Solve It?

May 14, 2020

Revenue shortfalls and deficits can be addressed best by considering when to consider the deficit as the primary priority and reevaluating how revenue can be raised most efficiently through sound tax policy principles.

Under the HEROES Act, State Budgets Could Soar as the Economy Suffers

May 13, 2020

The HEROES Act, proposed by House Democrats as a next round of fiscal relief during the coronavirus outbreak, contains about $1.08 trillion in aid to states and localities. That would bring the pandemic total to $1.63 trillion—an amount so large that it might overwhelm their ability to spend it and could reward fiscal irresponsibility.

To What Extent Does Your State Rely on Individual Income Taxes?

May 13, 2020

While the current crisis has caused consumption to drop dramatically, it is generally true that income taxes are more volatile than consumption taxes in an economic downturn and income taxes tend to be more harmful to economic growth than consumption taxes and property taxes.

How the HEROES Act Would Allocate State and Local Aid for Coronavirus Relief

May 12, 2020

The HEROES Act would provide more than $1 trillion to state and local governments. Here's how funding would be distributed and provisional estimates of how much aid each state would receive.

Alabama, Missouri Bills Would Exempt CARES Relief from Income Tax Calculation

May 8, 2020

Alabama and Missouri are considering excluding the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments from being taxed and exclude them from state income tax calculations.

Gov. Hogan Vetoes Maryland Digital Advertising Tax Legislation

May 7, 2020

Gov. Hogan vetoed a proposed first-in-the-nation digital advertising tax that would have imposed rates of up to 10 percent on digital advertising served to Marylanders.

Designing a State and Local Government Relief Package

May 11, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic downturn will wreak havoc on state and local tax revenues, with projections of a 15-20 percent decline in state revenues. Our new report provides a framework for how to design an effective state and local relief package.

Watch: Coronavirus: A Path to Economic Recovery

May 7, 2020

What challenges should we expect to face as the U.S. economy begins to re-open? When is the right time for legislators to start focusing on long-term recovery vs. short-term needs? What policies should federal legislators pursue to clear a path to recovery?

Advancing Net Operating Loss Deductions in Phase 4 Business Relief

May 7, 2020

Policymakers will have to consider design options for accelerating NOL deductions to ensure the refunds are simple, provide targeted relief to struggling firms, and are consistent with long-run revenue needs.

White House Considers Neutral Cost Recovery for Structures

May 6, 2020

When considering long-term policies for increasing long-run levels of investment and economic growth, full expensing and neutral cost recovery are better targeted than policies like a capital gains cut.

Does Your State Tax Business Inventory?

May 6, 2020

Inventory taxes are levied regardless of whether a business makes a profit, adding to the burden of businesses already struggling to stay afloat.

Chaos to the Left of Me. Chaos to the Right of me.

May 5, 2020

The OECD recently announced that the negotiation timeline for new digital tax proposals has now been pushed back to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the end-of-year deadline for the overall project is still in place.

Reviewing the Economic and Revenue Implications of Cost Recovery Options

April 28, 2020

Permanent full expensing for all types of investment is an effective policy change lawmakers can use to encourage additional investment and economic growth.

Reviewing the Benefits of Full Expensing for the Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

April 27, 2020

One of the most cost-effective policy changes would be to make full expensing of machinery and equipment permanent and extend this important tax treatment to structures as well as for firms in a net operating loss position.

Details and Analysis of Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s Tax Plan

October 22, 2020

What are the details of Joe Biden's tax plan? How would it affect the economy, revenue, and taxpayers?

Historic Oil Price Burns Hole in State Budgets

April 24, 2020

Alaska and North Dakota collect revenue primarily from oil-related taxes. These states must start thinking about how to plan for an era of reduced oil revenue.

Louisiana Can Look to Tax Reform for Aid in a Post-Coronavirus Recovery

April 24, 2020

As states look for a path out of these fiscally troubling times, Louisiana has several options for aspects of its tax code to promote economic recovery and growth. The Pelican State’s federal deductibility, Corporation Franchise Tax, and sales tax structure present opportunities for beneficial tax reform in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

New Guidance on State Aid Under the CARES Act

April 23, 2020

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently issued new guidance on allowable expenses using the $150 billion in state aid provided under the CARES Act, a point on which there has been considerable confusion.

Senate Passes Additional Funding for Small Business Relief, But Questions Remain on the Deductibility of PPP Expenses

April 22, 2020

The sooner federal policymakers or regulators clarify tax questions about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the more certainty firms will have when they accept the economic relief to keep their businesses afloat.

Keeping it Simple: Approaching the Next Stage of Coronavirus Tax Policy

April 22, 2020

When businesses and taxpayers look to the government for relief, it is paramount that lawmakers do their best to craft transparent and coherent legislation that is the least confusing for all.

Does Your State Have a Gross Receipts Tax?

April 22, 2020

While it’s unclear how soon state economies may be able to fully open again, it’s not too early for states to consider how they can remove barriers to businesses & consumers resuming activity.

Watch: State Tax Policy and COVID-19

April 23, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

How Well-Funded Are Pension Plans in Your State?

April 15, 2020

The current crisis highlights the cost of underfunding pensions in years of economic growth. Twenty states have pension plans that were less than two-thirds funded, and five states had pension plans that were less than 50 percent funded.

Can States Close Budget Deficits with Excise Tax Hikes?

April 15, 2020

We examine whether excise taxes are a solution to budget deficits, and while the short answer to that question is no, there are of course nuances. Excise taxes can play a role in state revenues even as policymakers appreciate that excise taxes are not viable long-term revenue tools for general spending priorities.

A Review of Net Operating Loss Tax Provisions in the CARES Act and Next Steps for Phase 4 Relief

April 14, 2020

In addition to providing economic relief to individuals and loans to businesses struggling during the coronavirus crisis, the CARES Act changed several tax provisions to increase liquidity to ensure firms survive a large decline in cash flow.

New OECD Study: Consumption Tax Revenues during Economic Downturns

April 14, 2020

Compared to other tax revenue sources, consumption tax revenue as a share of GDP tends to be relatively stable over time, even during economic downturns.

Will States Tax the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Lifeline to Small Businesses?

April 13, 2020

If states fail to update their income tax conformity, they will wind up taxing the federal lifeline to small businesses in the CARES Act: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Is Now the Time for a $100 billion Tax Increase?

April 13, 2020

Seemingly unconcerned about how the digital project could impact the economy at this crisis moment, officials at the OECD recently released a statement boasting that they are continuing to work “full steam” on their global digital tax project.

Trade-offs of Delaying Tax Filing and Instituting a Payroll Tax Holiday on Businesses and Individuals

April 9, 2020

Some policymakers are proposing a payroll tax holiday for businesses and individuals for 2020 and a complete delay in filing deadlines for tax year 2019 and 2020 to April 2021. What are the pros and cons of doing so?

Evaluating the Trade-offs of Small Business Relief Provisions of the CARES Act

April 9, 2020

The small business provisions in the CARES Act support small businesses and nonprofits seeking economic relief during this downturn. However, creating multiple programs with overlapping purposes and differing qualification requirements makes relief more complicated, vague, and not neutral.

States’ Unemployment Compensation Trust Funds Could Run Out in Mere Weeks

April 9, 2020

Six states, which collectively account for over one-third of the U.S. population, are currently in a position to pay out fewer than 10 weeks of the unemployment compensation claims that have already come in since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These States Could Tax Your Recovery Rebates

April 8, 2020

Due to a quirk of some state tax codes, the recovery rebates in the CARES Act could increase your income tax liability in six states: Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon.

Watch: Tax Foundation Experts Discuss Short-term Coronavirus Relief Packages

April 8, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Does Your State Tax Social Security Benefits?

April 8, 2020

The question, “Does my state tax Social Security benefits?” may be simple enough, but the answer includes a lot of nuance. Many states have unique and specific provisions regarding the taxation of Social Security benefits, which can be broken into a few broad categories.

Temporary Work Locations in a Permanent Establishment World

April 7, 2020

While much of the fiscal conversation surrounding the current pandemic has focused on tax relief and tax deferrals, another significant angle needs to be explored: the question of economic nexus.

State Rainy Day Funds and the COVID-19 Crisis

April 7, 2020

State revenue stabilization funds, often called rainy day funds, are better funded now than they were at the start of the Great Recession and can be a valuable tool as states face a sharp pandemic-linked economic contraction.

April 2nd Evening State Tax Update

April 2, 2020

California extends tax filing and payment deadline to July 31 for a broad spectrum of business taxes as Virginia keeps May 1st tax filing deadline.

Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act

April 2, 2020

Many small business owners are seeking guidance as they apply for loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help maintain cash flow and retain workers even as more states announce new quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.

State Strategies for Closing FY 2020 with a Balanced Budget

April 2, 2020

State options for closing FY 2020 shortfalls are limited and may ultimately include drawing on reserve funds and even accounting tricks

Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia are the Holdouts on July 15th Tax Deadlines

April 1, 2020

Every state with an individual income tax has made some adjustment to its filing or payment deadlines, but three—Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia—have not followed the federal government’s date of July 15th or later.

How Healthy is Your State’s Rainy Day Fund?

April 1, 2020

Rainy day funds have increasingly emerged as a standard component of states’ budgeting toolkits. Economic cycles can have significant impacts on state revenue, but states can prepare for the inevitable downturns during good times by putting away money in a revenue stabilization fund.

State and Local Funding Totals Under the CARES Act

April 1, 2020

State and local governments across the country split $150 billion in federal aid under a provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed on March 30th.

FAQ on Federal Coronavirus Relief Law (CARES Act)

April 2, 2020

Congress recently passed the largest economic relief bill in American history (CARES Act). We've created a FAQ portal to better inform policymakers, journalists, and taxpayers across the country on the new law.

Retroactive SALT Repeal Combines Weak Stimulus with Bad Tax Policy

March 31, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has suggested that a retroactive repeal of the cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions should be included in any future stimulus plans.

New Jersey Waives Telework Nexus During COVID-19 Crisis

March 31, 2020

New Jersey is temporarily waiving corporate nexus arising from employees teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic—a response to the crisis that other states should follow.

Gas Tax Revenue to Decline as Traffic Drops 38 Percent

March 31, 2020

Fewer people driving means fewer people buying gasoline, which may have positive effects on air pollution but could be detrimental to motor fuel excise tax revenue for federal and state governments.

A Visual Guide to Unemployment Benefit Claims

April 2, 2020

Another 1.4 million Americans filed initial regular unemployment benefit claims, the eleventh week of a decline in the rate of new claims, but still among the highest levels in U.S. history. The total number of new and continued claims now stands at 19.3 million, a marked decline from the peak of 24.9 million a month ago.

March 27th Afternoon State Tax Update

March 27, 2020

Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia have newly extended their income tax filing and payment deadlines to match the July 15 federal deadline.

Spain’s COVID-19 Economic Response

March 27, 2020

Spain's policy response needs to be broad and in keeping with long-term objectives. It is paramount that the short-term harm caused by this outbreak does not turn into a long-term economic downturn.

Evaluating the Trade-offs of Unemployment Compensation Changes in the CARES Act

March 27, 2020

Policymakers must weigh the trade-offs of subsidizing unemployment with mitigating community spread of coronavirus.

March 27th Morning State Tax Update

March 27, 2020

Arkansas, with a month-long 2020 fiscal session that is not set to begin until April 8, convened for a special session to create a new rainy day fund, with $173 million specifically dedicated to COVID-19 response efforts. Maine and Illinois extended their income tax filing deadlines.

India Pushes Digital Taxes in a Difficult Time

March 26, 2020

Even during the coronavirus outbreak, efforts to change the way digital business models are taxed continue. India announced this week that its tax aimed at foreign digital companies, the “equalization levy,” will be expanded.

Denmark Unplugs the Economy

March 26, 2020

Denmark, a high-tax country with 5.5 million citizens, has implemented policies designed to avoid layoffs and bankruptcies and basically unplug the economy during the pandemic.

March 26th Morning State Tax Update

March 26, 2020

Connecticut and Michigan have postponed their next legislative meeting day. California and Illinois weigh new budget priorities and forecasts in amid the economic fallout from COVID-19.

A German Export for Times of Crises: The Short-Time Work Scheme

March 25, 2020

One of the most talked about government economic responses to the COVID-19 crisis is Germany’s Kurzarbeit: the German short-work subsidy scheme.

Weighing the Value of Tax Credits During an Economic Crisis

March 25, 2020

One idea under consideration is adjusting existing tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), to provide financial relief during the crisis.

State Aid Provisions of the Federal Coronavirus Response Bill

March 25, 2020

To be eligible for federal funding, state expenditures must meet certain conditions. We break down the state aid coronavirus provisions in the latest federal bill.

Working from Home Brings Greater Exposure to State Tax Codes

March 25, 2020

During the present crisis, remote work has become a necessity for many people. The tax implications, however, are very real and potentially quite complex.

VAT Exemption Thresholds in Europe

March 26, 2020

Due to certain VAT exemption thresholds, many small businesses will not be able to benefit from the VAT changes being introduced throughout Europe to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis.

March 25th Morning State Tax Update

March 25, 2020

Several states have made progress on their budgets for FY 2021, which begins July 1 in most states. Numerous tax filing and payment deadlines have also been delayed.

What Happens with State Excise Tax Revenues During a Pandemic?

March 25, 2020

States will have to consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their excise tax revenues, including from gas taxes, tobacco taxes, and alcohol taxes.

Australia’s COVID-19 Support Focuses on Grants to Individuals and Small Businesses

March 24, 2020

In contrast to the sweeping economic relief plan being considered by the U.S. Congress, the approach taken by the Australian government is much more targeted to supporting individuals and small to medium-sized businesses.

Norway Opens the Fiscal Toolbox

March 24, 2020

Norway passed a large coronavirus tax relief package to address layoffs and bankruptcies, which includes a reduced VAT rate, the introduction of a loss carryback provision, and targeted postponements for wealth tax payments, among other provisions.

Tracking Economic Relief Plans Around the World during the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 25, 2020

Countries around the world are implementing emergency tax measures to support their economies under the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.

Review and Analysis of House Democrats Coronavirus Response Bill

March 24, 2020

The proposed Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act can be contrasted with the Senate Republican CARES Act, although they share some similarities by providing individual taxpayers with a rebate and modifying business tax provisions to provide liquidity for struggling firms.

What Should Coronavirus Response Legislation Look Like?

March 24, 2020

As lawmakers debate how to respond to the coronavirus crisis, they should focus the legislative response to the emergency at hand, using principled policy solutions to provide relief to those affected. Attempts to use the crisis to make other, unrelated policy changes should be avoided.

March 24th Morning State Tax Update

March 24, 2020

We are updating our state legislative tracker frequently to summarize new developments and provide analysis of relevant state tax trends as they emerge.

Tracking State Legislative Responses to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

Many states are racing to pass budgets, emergency COVID-19 supplemental appropriations, and other must-pass legislation as quickly as possible. We're tracking the latest state legislative responses to the coronavirus crisis.

Overview of Previous Tax Rebates During Economic Downturns

March 23, 2020

The timing from enactment to distribution has varied from about one and a half months to more than two months, indicating that it has historically taken a significant amount of time for individual taxpayers to receive their rebates after the policies have been put in place.

Are States Prepared for Skyrocketing Unemployment Insurance Claims?

March 20, 2020

Unemployment claims are going to tax state unemployment compensation trust funds beyond their limits. We need to start thinking about what to do about it.

Congress Approves Economic Relief Plan for Individuals and Businesses

March 30, 2020

The CARES Act, now signed into law, is intended to be a third round of federal government support in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis and associated economic fallout, following the $8.3 billion in public health support passed two weeks ago and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

States Should Follow Federal Lead in Postponing Tax Day

March 20, 2020

The federal government moved tax day from April 15 to July 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, granting more time for both filing and payment. But for many taxpayers, it might not matter much if states don’t follow suit.

Lawmakers Concerned that Delay in Tax Filing Deadline Not Fully Understood

March 19, 2020

The U.S. Treasury Department has pushed the April 15 tax payment deadline to July 15. However, taxpayers still have to file their tax returns by the usual April 15 deadline.

For Italian Banks: Converting Future Deductions to Present Tax Credits

March 19, 2020

During the coronavirus outbreak, Italy has been hit especially hard. Policymakers have introduced numerous measures to stem the spread of the virus and provide relief to businesses that are facing a severe downturn.

Tax Policy to Bridge the Coronavirus-Induced Economic Slowdown

March 18, 2020

Tax policy can help by giving businesses current access to future tax “assets”—deductions and credits the businesses will be allowed or owed over time any way under current law—instead of making them wait.

Tax Policy and Economic Downturns

March 18, 2020

The Great Recession provides some insight into how tax revenues declined during a deep recession. Across OECD countries, revenues fell by 11 percent from 2008 to 2009 with corporate income taxes seeing the steepest decline at 28 percent. Revenues from individual income taxes fell by 16 percent.

How the Federal Government and the States Could Help Save Small Businesses Through Temporary UI Tax Adjustments

March 17, 2020

Governmental responses to the coronavirus outbreak will require creativity and flexibility—and one aspect of that may involve temporarily rethinking how we structure not only unemployment insurance (UI) benefits but also the taxes that pay for them.

Senate Receives Final Version of House Coronavirus Bill Offering Paid Leave

March 17, 2020

The House bill would provide two weeks of paid sick leave to workers who must quarantine, take care of a family member who is sick with coronavirus, or care for their children whose school or daycare has closed due to the public health emergency.

Tax Options for Economic Relief During the Coronavirus Crisis

March 17, 2020

Instead of simply reaching for fiscal stimulus with the goal of increasing economic activity, tax policy changes can give vulnerable individuals and businesses additional liquidity and space to survive the reduction in economic activity needed in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Taxes and Liquidity During an Economic Crisis

March 17, 2020

Taxes present one policy tool available to ease the impending liquidity crunch brought on by the coronavirus crisis, which policymakers are already pursuing by postponing the tax payment deadline and waiving interest and penalties.

Income Taxes Are More Volatile Than Sales Taxes During an Economic Contraction

March 17, 2020

In the short term, states must anticipate reduced tax collections as the economy slows. And here, not all taxes are created equal. As a general rule, income taxes are more volatile than consumption taxes.

House of Representatives Bill Would Expand Paid Sick, Family, and Medical Leave to Address the Coronavirus Crisis

March 16, 2020

The bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, would expand federal medical leave, create an emergency paid sick leave requirement, and provide tax credits against employer-side payroll taxes to help offset the cost of these two programs, among other provisions.

A History and Analysis of Payroll Tax Holidays

March 31, 2020

As Congress and the White House consider ways to shore up the economy in the face of a public health crisis, President Trump has suggested suspending the entire payroll tax for the duration of the year. That would cost about $950 billion, according to our analysis.

How Would Biden’s Tax Plan Change the Competitiveness of the U.S. Tax Code?

October 19, 2020

While the Biden campaign is certainly focused on increasing taxes on U.S. businesses and high-income earners, it is important that policymakers also understand what that reversal might do to U.S. competitiveness, and the competitive global environment in which U.S. companies and U.S. workers operate.

Role of the 2017 Tax Reform in the Nascent U.S. Economic Recovery

October 15, 2020

While there is still plenty of work to be done to get unemployed Americans back to work, the U.S. economy as a whole is now recovering strongly from the pandemic-induced economic downturn, outperforming forecasts from earlier in the year and outperforming most other developed countries.

CBO Releases New Long-term Budget Outlook

September 22, 2020

The pandemic precipitated the steepest decline in economic output and employment in recent history, which is leading to a drop in tax revenue. At the same time, the federal response to the crisis is producing a large increase in spending. This combination will cause the federal budget deficit to spike.

Republican Study Committee Workforce Plan Rethinks Education, Labor, and Welfare Tax Policy

September 22, 2020

The House Republican Study Committee released a proposal, "Reclaiming the American Dream," which includes 118 policy recommendations to address education, labor, and welfare policy with the aim of expanding opportunity, liberty, and free enterprise for all Americans.

Senate Republican Coronavirus Package Is Undermined by Complexity & Impermanence

September 10, 2020

What does the Senate Republican coronavirus package do? Are there better ways of providing short-run relief without making the tax code more complicated?

How the CARES Act Fixed a Tax Bias Against Green Investment

August 20, 2020

One under-discussed part of the CARES Act, passed in March to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 epidemic, is a correction to a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, often known as the “retail glitch.”

Economic Recovery and Deductions for Worker Training

August 13, 2020

Tax treatment can affect investment decisions. Extending expensing treatment (full and immediate deductions) to all forms of capital investment, human and physical, would help facilitate sustainable long-run economic growth.

Estimating Neutral Cost Recovery’s Impact on Affordable Housing

August 7, 2020

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.

Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act Would Provide More Generous Rebates for Dependents

July 30, 2020

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) released the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act (CAAF), which would provide payments of $1,000 to adults and children with Social Security numbers, subject to income limits used in the original round of rebates. Among other modifications, it would be more generous to households and families with children when compared to the original rebates distributed under the CARES Act.

Details and Analysis of The CREATE JOBS Act

July 30, 2020

Senators Ted Cruz and Martha McSally introduced the CREATE JOBS Act that would make two significant changes to incentivize investment in the United States.

Senate Republicans Introduce the HEALS Act for Coronavirus Pandemic Relief

July 27, 2020

A resurgence in coronavirus cases and receding economic activity in many states threaten the nascent economic recovery. To address the ongoing crisis, the Senate Republican Phase 4 proposal builds on the CARES Act provisions while modifying others, including a scaled down federal UI benefit.

The History of Excess Profits Taxes Not as Effective or Harmless as Today’s Advocates Portray

July 22, 2020

Today’s advocates would do well to study the history of excess profits taxes before overselling these taxes as a solution to the COVID-19 crisis.

(Webinar) Figuring Out Phase Four: Next Steps on Federal and State Coronavirus Response

July 21, 2020

As U.S. businesses struggle to recover from the economic downturn, Congress and the White House continue to debate a phase four relief package, which could include anything from incentives for domestic travel and a payroll tax cut to more fundamental reforms like enacting permanent full cost recovery.

Improved Cost Recovery Is A Wide-Ranging Policy Solution

July 10, 2020

Rather than limit improvements to certain sectors, lawmakers could pursue a broader policy of full expensing for all capital investment and neutral cost recovery for structures and clear the tax policy hurdles that currently stand in the way of private investment.

FAQ on Neutral Cost Recovery and Expensing

July 10, 2020

Cost recovery is the way the tax code permits firms to recover (or deduct) the cost of making investments. Cost recovery plays an important role in defining a business’ taxable income and can impact investment decisions.

Phase 4 Is not the Time to Experiment with Temporary Credits

July 9, 2020

As lawmakers consider returning to the tax code as a tool to revive a struggling economy with high unemployment and an unpredictable virus, they should avoid temporary changes that can be distortive in the short term and inefficient in the long term.

National Taxpayer Advocate’s Report Is a Road Map to Simpler Pandemic Relief Provisions

July 9, 2020

The size and scope of the tax changes within the CARES Act created significant administrative challenges for the IRS. Lawmakers should prioritize simplicity in the next round of relief.

Estimated Impact of Improved Cost Recovery Treatment by State

June 30, 2020

We estimate that moving to permanent full expensing and neutral cost recovery for structures would add more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs to the long-run economy and boost the long-run capital stock by $4.8 trillion.

GAO Report Reveals Need to Simplify Next Round of Rebates

June 25, 2020

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that almost a half-million taxpayers missed their total rebate payment due to complications over disbursing funds to non-filers with eligible dependents. Administrability is just as important as rebate design and simplicity is just as important as speed.

Improving the Tax Treatment of Residential Buildings Will Stretch Affordable Housing Assistance Dollars Further

June 25, 2020

By updating the tax code to allow developers to more fully cover their investments, construction costs will fall, which, in turn, means that federal affordable housing assistance dollars will go that much further in helping low-income tenants.

Three Reasons Expanding Credits Aren’t the Best Pandemic Response for the Vulnerable

June 24, 2020

While reforming certain tax credits may make sense, there are far better ways to provide individuals and families with more liquidity during this crisis.

Economic Analysis of Financing Options for Infrastructure Spending Proposals

June 23, 2020

Our analysis shows that the economic benefits of federal investment in productivity-enhancing infrastructure may be undercut by the negative effects of the financing of those investments, such as when the corporate income tax is increased.

Why Neutral Cost Recovery Is Good for Workers

June 23, 2020

Studies have shown that accelerated depreciation helps increase wage growth. A recent report found that states that implemented accelerated depreciation in their tax codes led to a 2.5 percent increase in compensation per employee in manufacturing, relative to states that did not.

Full Expensing is Good for the Short Run and the Long Run

June 18, 2020

In the first year of enactment alone, we estimate the combination of full expensing and neutral cost recovery would increase full-time equivalent employment by more than 44,000 jobs. The cumulative impact by year five of the policy would be nearly 200,000 new jobs.

Cautionary Notes from CBO on the Effects of Federal Investment

June 17, 2020

Based on the CBO’s assessment of the economic and budgetary effects of federal investment, lawmakers should look to spur private sector investment rather than try to enact a massive federal infrastructure bill.

Weighing the Benefits of Permitting Business Credit Cashouts in Phase 4 Economic Relief

June 16, 2020

As lawmakers explore options for “Phase 4” coronavirus relief legislation, one idea that has received renewed attention is allowing businesses to cash out business tax credits. This proposal would be strengthened by also permitting acceleration of firms’ accrued net operating loss (NOL) deductions and designing the proposal so that firms can quickly convert these tax assets into cash.

Inefficiencies Created by the Tax System’s Dependence on Economic Depreciation

June 12, 2020

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?

Watch: Economic Recovery After Coronavirus

May 29, 2020

What are the best tax policies to encourage a smooth transition and strong economic recovery? How should goals of economic recovery and growth be balanced with revenue needs?

Net Operating Loss Carrybacks Are a Vital Source of Tax Relief for Struggling Firms in the Coronavirus Crisis

May 26, 2020

Rather than find ways to restrict net operating loss (NOL) carrybacks, lawmakers should focus on ways to improve liquidity by cashing out accrued NOLs, which would benefit startups and new small businesses without taxable income to offset in prior years.

HEROES Act Dependent Expansions Come with Major Drawbacks

May 19, 2020

The HEROES Act adds to the confusion and instability already inherent in the tax code with multiple expiring provisions and reduced filing guidelines.

HEROES Act Temporarily Increases Dependent Credit Generosity

May 19, 2020

The HEROES Act would make notable expansions to all three dependent-related credits, increasing maximum credit amounts, refundability, and income eligibility phaseouts. Practically, this means that certain filers could expect to receive a larger refund for each additional hour of work, eligible dependent, and dependent care expenses if the bill became law.

Breaking Down State and Local Aid under the SMART Act

May 19, 2020

The SMART Act, sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez and Bill Cassidy and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, would provide $500 billion in flexible funding to state and local governments.

Neutral Cost Recovery Is Not a New Idea

May 19, 2020

As stated by Rep. Jack Kemp in 1985, “Neutral cost recovery is designed to provide the present value of investment expensing without some of its practical problems.”

Empirical Evidence Shows Expensing Leads to More Investment and Higher Employment

May 19, 2020

The Tax Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model suggests that allowing businesses to immediately deduct or “expense” their capital investments in the year in which they are purchased delivers the biggest bang for the buck in spurring economic growth and jobs compared to other tax policies.

Options for Improving the Tax Treatment of Structures

May 19, 2020

Improving the tax treatment of structures is one of the most cost-effective tax policy changes available to lawmakers as they consider how to remove investment barriers in the tax code to hasten the economic recovery. Policymakers must weigh the trade-offs among long-run economic output goals, revenue constraints, and the existing stock of structures.

HEROES Act First Bid to Provide Phase 4 Relief for Businesses and Individuals

May 14, 2020

The HEROES Act, the $3 trillion relief package proposed by House Democrats, is the first bid to provide additional phase 4 aid for businesses and individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Accounting for Deficits: When Should They Matter and How Should We Solve It?

May 14, 2020

Revenue shortfalls and deficits can be addressed best by considering when to consider the deficit as the primary priority and reevaluating how revenue can be raised most efficiently through sound tax policy principles.

Under the HEROES Act, State Budgets Could Soar as the Economy Suffers

May 13, 2020

The HEROES Act, proposed by House Democrats as a next round of fiscal relief during the coronavirus outbreak, contains about $1.08 trillion in aid to states and localities. That would bring the pandemic total to $1.63 trillion—an amount so large that it might overwhelm their ability to spend it and could reward fiscal irresponsibility.

How the HEROES Act Would Allocate State and Local Aid for Coronavirus Relief

May 12, 2020

The HEROES Act would provide more than $1 trillion to state and local governments. Here's how funding would be distributed and provisional estimates of how much aid each state would receive.

Alabama, Missouri Bills Would Exempt CARES Relief from Income Tax Calculation

May 8, 2020

Alabama and Missouri are considering excluding the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments from being taxed and exclude them from state income tax calculations.

Gov. Hogan Vetoes Maryland Digital Advertising Tax Legislation

May 7, 2020

Gov. Hogan vetoed a proposed first-in-the-nation digital advertising tax that would have imposed rates of up to 10 percent on digital advertising served to Marylanders.

Watch: Coronavirus: A Path to Economic Recovery

May 7, 2020

What challenges should we expect to face as the U.S. economy begins to re-open? When is the right time for legislators to start focusing on long-term recovery vs. short-term needs? What policies should federal legislators pursue to clear a path to recovery?

Advancing Net Operating Loss Deductions in Phase 4 Business Relief

May 7, 2020

Policymakers will have to consider design options for accelerating NOL deductions to ensure the refunds are simple, provide targeted relief to struggling firms, and are consistent with long-run revenue needs.

White House Considers Neutral Cost Recovery for Structures

May 6, 2020

When considering long-term policies for increasing long-run levels of investment and economic growth, full expensing and neutral cost recovery are better targeted than policies like a capital gains cut.

Reviewing the Economic and Revenue Implications of Cost Recovery Options

April 28, 2020

Permanent full expensing for all types of investment is an effective policy change lawmakers can use to encourage additional investment and economic growth.

Reviewing the Benefits of Full Expensing for the Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

April 27, 2020

One of the most cost-effective policy changes would be to make full expensing of machinery and equipment permanent and extend this important tax treatment to structures as well as for firms in a net operating loss position.

Details and Analysis of Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s Tax Plan

October 22, 2020

What are the details of Joe Biden's tax plan? How would it affect the economy, revenue, and taxpayers?

Senate Passes Additional Funding for Small Business Relief, But Questions Remain on the Deductibility of PPP Expenses

April 22, 2020

The sooner federal policymakers or regulators clarify tax questions about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the more certainty firms will have when they accept the economic relief to keep their businesses afloat.

Keeping it Simple: Approaching the Next Stage of Coronavirus Tax Policy

April 22, 2020

When businesses and taxpayers look to the government for relief, it is paramount that lawmakers do their best to craft transparent and coherent legislation that is the least confusing for all.

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

A Review of Net Operating Loss Tax Provisions in the CARES Act and Next Steps for Phase 4 Relief

April 14, 2020

In addition to providing economic relief to individuals and loans to businesses struggling during the coronavirus crisis, the CARES Act changed several tax provisions to increase liquidity to ensure firms survive a large decline in cash flow.

Trade-offs of Delaying Tax Filing and Instituting a Payroll Tax Holiday on Businesses and Individuals

April 9, 2020

Some policymakers are proposing a payroll tax holiday for businesses and individuals for 2020 and a complete delay in filing deadlines for tax year 2019 and 2020 to April 2021. What are the pros and cons of doing so?

Evaluating the Trade-offs of Small Business Relief Provisions of the CARES Act

April 9, 2020

The small business provisions in the CARES Act support small businesses and nonprofits seeking economic relief during this downturn. However, creating multiple programs with overlapping purposes and differing qualification requirements makes relief more complicated, vague, and not neutral.

Watch: Tax Foundation Experts Discuss Short-term Coronavirus Relief Packages

April 8, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act

April 2, 2020

Many small business owners are seeking guidance as they apply for loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help maintain cash flow and retain workers even as more states announce new quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.

FAQ on Federal Coronavirus Relief Law (CARES Act)

April 2, 2020

Congress recently passed the largest economic relief bill in American history (CARES Act). We've created a FAQ portal to better inform policymakers, journalists, and taxpayers across the country on the new law.

Retroactive SALT Repeal Combines Weak Stimulus with Bad Tax Policy

March 31, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has suggested that a retroactive repeal of the cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions should be included in any future stimulus plans.

Evaluating the Trade-offs of Unemployment Compensation Changes in the CARES Act

March 27, 2020

Policymakers must weigh the trade-offs of subsidizing unemployment with mitigating community spread of coronavirus.

Weighing the Value of Tax Credits During an Economic Crisis

March 25, 2020

One idea under consideration is adjusting existing tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), to provide financial relief during the crisis.

Review and Analysis of House Democrats Coronavirus Response Bill

March 24, 2020

The proposed Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act can be contrasted with the Senate Republican CARES Act, although they share some similarities by providing individual taxpayers with a rebate and modifying business tax provisions to provide liquidity for struggling firms.

What Should Coronavirus Response Legislation Look Like?

March 24, 2020

As lawmakers debate how to respond to the coronavirus crisis, they should focus the legislative response to the emergency at hand, using principled policy solutions to provide relief to those affected. Attempts to use the crisis to make other, unrelated policy changes should be avoided.

Overview of Previous Tax Rebates During Economic Downturns

March 23, 2020

The timing from enactment to distribution has varied from about one and a half months to more than two months, indicating that it has historically taken a significant amount of time for individual taxpayers to receive their rebates after the policies have been put in place.

Congress Approves Economic Relief Plan for Individuals and Businesses

March 30, 2020

The CARES Act, now signed into law, is intended to be a third round of federal government support in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis and associated economic fallout, following the $8.3 billion in public health support passed two weeks ago and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Lawmakers Concerned that Delay in Tax Filing Deadline Not Fully Understood

March 19, 2020

The U.S. Treasury Department has pushed the April 15 tax payment deadline to July 15. However, taxpayers still have to file their tax returns by the usual April 15 deadline.

Tax Policy to Bridge the Coronavirus-Induced Economic Slowdown

March 18, 2020

Tax policy can help by giving businesses current access to future tax “assets”—deductions and credits the businesses will be allowed or owed over time any way under current law—instead of making them wait.

How the Federal Government and the States Could Help Save Small Businesses Through Temporary UI Tax Adjustments

March 17, 2020

Governmental responses to the coronavirus outbreak will require creativity and flexibility—and one aspect of that may involve temporarily rethinking how we structure not only unemployment insurance (UI) benefits but also the taxes that pay for them.

Senate Receives Final Version of House Coronavirus Bill Offering Paid Leave

March 17, 2020

The House bill would provide two weeks of paid sick leave to workers who must quarantine, take care of a family member who is sick with coronavirus, or care for their children whose school or daycare has closed due to the public health emergency.

Tax Options for Economic Relief During the Coronavirus Crisis

March 17, 2020

Instead of simply reaching for fiscal stimulus with the goal of increasing economic activity, tax policy changes can give vulnerable individuals and businesses additional liquidity and space to survive the reduction in economic activity needed in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Taxes and Liquidity During an Economic Crisis

March 17, 2020

Taxes present one policy tool available to ease the impending liquidity crunch brought on by the coronavirus crisis, which policymakers are already pursuing by postponing the tax payment deadline and waiving interest and penalties.

House of Representatives Bill Would Expand Paid Sick, Family, and Medical Leave to Address the Coronavirus Crisis

March 16, 2020

The bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, would expand federal medical leave, create an emergency paid sick leave requirement, and provide tax credits against employer-side payroll taxes to help offset the cost of these two programs, among other provisions.

A History and Analysis of Payroll Tax Holidays

March 31, 2020

As Congress and the White House consider ways to shore up the economy in the face of a public health crisis, President Trump has suggested suspending the entire payroll tax for the duration of the year. That would cost about $950 billion, according to our analysis.

Zoom Calls Not a Taxing Matter

October 27, 2020

Zoom Video Communications announced that, come November, the company will start collecting and remitting local utility and communications taxes in California, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

Arizona Proposition 208 Threatens Arizona’s Status as a Destination for Interstate Migration

October 14, 2020

Significantly raising the income tax through Proposition 208 will only serve to make Arizona less competitive, especially at a time when individuals and small businesses are already struggling. If Arizona is looking for a long-term way to increase education funding, it would do well to avoid overburdening struggling taxpayers and look toward more broad-based, stable sources of revenue.

Colorado Proposition 116: Will Voters Reduce the State Income Tax Rate?

October 5, 2020

This Election Day, Colorado voters will weigh in on Proposition 116, which would permanently reduce the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.63 to 4.55 percent.

State and Local Tax Ballot Measures to Watch on Election Day 2020

October 5, 2020

Here are the state tax ballot measures to watch on Election Day 2020. Explore the most notable 2020 state tax ballot measures in 15 states.

Seventh Time’s the Charm: New Jersey Passes Millionaires Tax

September 30, 2020

After six unsuccessful tries at passage, it appears the coronavirus crisis has tipped the scales in favor of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) millionaires tax. New Jersey may be feeling the financial squeeze right now, but this large income tax change will not solve budget problems and may exacerbate funding issues by making the state even unfriendlier to businesses.

Voters in Four States to Vote on Recreational Marijuana

September 29, 2020

Legalizing recreational marijuana is a hot topic in many states where the state budgets are in disarray because of the coronavirus pandemic and new revenue sources are being sought.

Maryland Lawmakers Look to Alcohol for New Revenue

September 22, 2020

While there are legitimate reasons for increasing and levying excise taxes, legislatures should proceed with caution in the aftermath of the pandemic. Importantly, revenue from increased excise taxes should generally be allocated to spending related to the negative externalities as that revenue is too volatile and unreliable to rely on for long-term budget priorities.

New Census Data Shows States Beat Revenue Expectations in FY 2020

September 18, 2020

State tax revenue collections were down 5.5 percent in FY 2020, driven by a dismal final quarter (April through June) as states began to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While these early losses are certainly not desirable, they are manageable and far better than many feared.

Who Will Pay for the Roads?

August 25, 2020

The highway trust fund is on track to run out of money by 2021, states are struggling to cover their transportation spending, and increased fuel economy, plus inflation, is chipping away at gas tax revenue year. How can Congress and state governments ensure they have the revenue necessary to fund our highways? One solution is the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax.

Nevada Hoping to Extract Revenue with Mining Tax Increase Amendment

August 12, 2020

Nevada is not alone in its need to find revenue, but it should take care not to embrace bad tax policy in the process. Significant rate increases, a shift in the tax base, and provisions which make it easier to hike taxes than to cut them would heavily burden the mining industry in the state.

Teleworking Employees Face Double Taxation Due to Aggressive “Convenience Rule” Policies in Seven States

August 13, 2020

States can tax your income where you live and where you work—but a growing number of states may also seek to tax your income even if you neither live nor work there, an aggressive posture that becomes increasingly consequential as more Americans work remotely both during and potentially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Income and Sales Tax Revenues Slide in Second Quarter

July 30, 2020

Today marked the release of second-quarter GDP data and provides a new glimpse into early changes in state and local revenues and spending. All told, second-quarter state and local tax receipts came in about 3.8 percent lower than they did in the same quarter a year ago. Income and sales taxes fell considerably while property and excise tax collections remained stable.

New York and New Jersey Consider Financial Transaction Taxes

July 23, 2020

Seeking new sources of funding, New York and New Jersey—two states at the heart of global financial markets—are considering financial transaction taxes.

(Webinar) Figuring Out Phase Four: Next Steps on Federal and State Coronavirus Response

July 21, 2020

As U.S. businesses struggle to recover from the economic downturn, Congress and the White House continue to debate a phase four relief package, which could include anything from incentives for domestic travel and a payroll tax cut to more fundamental reforms like enacting permanent full cost recovery.

Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy, 2020

July 22, 2020

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, some states are hoping that a sales tax holiday might help restart struggling industries by stimulating the economy. However, sales tax holidays can mislead consumers about savings and distract from genuine, permanent tax relief.

Tax Options to Promote Short-Term Recovery and Long-Term Economic Growth in Wisconsin

July 16, 2020

From a revenue standpoint, Wisconsin was better off than many states going into this crisis, but the policy decisions—including tax policy decisions—state policymakers make in the months ahead will have far-reaching implications for how quickly jobs and wages are restored in Wisconsin.

State Forecasts Indicate $121 Billion 2-Year Tax Revenue Losses Compared to FY 2019

July 15, 2020

Revised state revenue forecasts show a significant decline in projected revenues for both the recently concluded FY 2020 and current FY 2021, though the picture they paint is considerably less dire than many feared a few months ago.

Iowa Decouples from 163(j) and GILTI, Clarifies Non-Taxation of PPP Loans

June 30, 2020

Iowa’s HF 2614, which passed both chambers of the legislature and now waits for the governor’s signature, makes several changes to the state’s tax code, which, although they will affect revenue, will encourage economic growth and make the state’s tax code more competitive.

Montana Voters Will Decide on Recreational Marijuana

June 26, 2020

Montana could vote to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in November, bringing in an estimated $39 million by 2025, but would the move help with short-term budget issues?

CARES Act Conformity Would Promote Economic Recovery in Nebraska

June 18, 2020

Nebraska lawmakers may ultimately opt for a package that includes both property tax relief and the renewal of business incentives, but they should avoid doing so at the expense of decoupling from the CARES Act’s liquidity-enhancing provisions.

States Should Conform to These Four CARES Act Provisions to Enhance Business Liquidity

June 17, 2020

As policymakers continue evaluating their evolving revenue and spending options, the importance of enacting policies that enhance business liquidity must remain at the forefront.

Seattle Officials Return with New Proposal for Taxing Employment

June 16, 2020

Seattle’s city council are again gearing up for an effort to increase taxes on the city’s largest employers, intended to generate revenue for cash assistance to low-income households impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, among other reasons.

D.C. Council to Consider Tax Hike Despite Balanced Budget

June 15, 2020

Despite a balanced budget and and revenue shortfalls arising from the coronavirus crisis, the D.C. Council will consider proposals to raise income taxes to fund newly proposed spending projects.

New Jersey Considers Bonds Paid for by Statewide Property Tax

June 11, 2020

As New Jersey lawmakers grapple with reduced revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have turned to an unusual solution: the issuance of bonds that would be repaid, if necessary, through temporarily higher sales and property taxes.

Sports Betting Will Not Solve State Budget Crises

June 10, 2020

The pandemic has left states in dire straits financially and lawmakers are getting creative in their pursuit of new revenue sources. However, it's unlikely that revenue from sports betting will have any meaningful impact on budget shortfalls

How High Are Vapor Taxes in Your State?

June 3, 2020

Many states may be looking toward vapor and other excise taxes to fill budget holes caused by the coronavirus crisis. While those areas may represent untapped revenue sources for many states, taxing those activities is unlikely to raise much revenue in the short term.

New York Lawmakers Float New Data Tax Proposal

June 2, 2020

Taxes on digital services, digital advertising, and the sale or utilization of consumer data, which were already emerging before the #coronavirus crisis, look increasingly attractive to cash-strapped states and localities.

California Considers Business Head Tax Plan that Seattle Repealed

May 28, 2020

With California’s unemployment rate approaching 25 percent, it is somewhat surprising to find policymakers contemplating a literal tax on jobs.

In Some States, 2020 Estimated Tax Payments Are Due Before 2019 Tax Returns

May 22, 2020

To prevent confusion and to ensure taxpayers receive the full benefit of the extended federal deadline, states should consider extending first- and second-quarter estimated tax payment due dates to July 15 or later.

Tax Changes in California Governor’s Budget Could Stand in the Way of Economic Recovery

May 20, 2020

While other states are starting to think about the recovery, California is contemplating tax policies that would stand in the way of economic expansion once the health crisis abates. California’s shortfall is all too real, but tax policies which impede recovery are a hindrance, not a help.

To What Extent Does Your State Rely on Sales Taxes?

May 20, 2020

Consumption taxes, like sales taxes, are more economically neutral than taxes on capital and income because they target only current consumption.

More Than Half the States Will Protect Businesses from Certain COVID-19-Related Unemployment Insurance Tax Hikes

May 19, 2020

Lawmakers can help expedite their state’s economic recovery by protecting employers from facing higher unemployment insurance tax rates at a time when they can least afford to pay them.

Breaking Down State and Local Aid under the SMART Act

May 19, 2020

The SMART Act, sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez and Bill Cassidy and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, would provide $500 billion in flexible funding to state and local governments.

Louisiana Considers Temporary Suspension of Part of Corporation Franchise Tax

May 19, 2020

State recovery plans should lessen the burden on businesses by shifting from capital stock taxes and other taxes that are charged regardless of profitability. Louisiana does well to target its Corporation Franchise Tax, a burdensome tax that would target businesses that may already be struggling.

Under the HEROES Act, State Budgets Could Soar as the Economy Suffers

May 13, 2020

The HEROES Act, proposed by House Democrats as a next round of fiscal relief during the coronavirus outbreak, contains about $1.08 trillion in aid to states and localities. That would bring the pandemic total to $1.63 trillion—an amount so large that it might overwhelm their ability to spend it and could reward fiscal irresponsibility.

To What Extent Does Your State Rely on Individual Income Taxes?

May 13, 2020

While the current crisis has caused consumption to drop dramatically, it is generally true that income taxes are more volatile than consumption taxes in an economic downturn and income taxes tend to be more harmful to economic growth than consumption taxes and property taxes.

How the HEROES Act Would Allocate State and Local Aid for Coronavirus Relief

May 12, 2020

The HEROES Act would provide more than $1 trillion to state and local governments. Here's how funding would be distributed and provisional estimates of how much aid each state would receive.

Designing a State and Local Government Relief Package

May 11, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic downturn will wreak havoc on state and local tax revenues, with projections of a 15-20 percent decline in state revenues. Our new report provides a framework for how to design an effective state and local relief package.

Does Your State Tax Business Inventory?

May 6, 2020

Inventory taxes are levied regardless of whether a business makes a profit, adding to the burden of businesses already struggling to stay afloat.

Historic Oil Price Burns Hole in State Budgets

April 24, 2020

Alaska and North Dakota collect revenue primarily from oil-related taxes. These states must start thinking about how to plan for an era of reduced oil revenue.

Louisiana Can Look to Tax Reform for Aid in a Post-Coronavirus Recovery

April 24, 2020

As states look for a path out of these fiscally troubling times, Louisiana has several options for aspects of its tax code to promote economic recovery and growth. The Pelican State’s federal deductibility, Corporation Franchise Tax, and sales tax structure present opportunities for beneficial tax reform in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

New Guidance on State Aid Under the CARES Act

April 23, 2020

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently issued new guidance on allowable expenses using the $150 billion in state aid provided under the CARES Act, a point on which there has been considerable confusion.

Does Your State Have a Gross Receipts Tax?

April 22, 2020

While it’s unclear how soon state economies may be able to fully open again, it’s not too early for states to consider how they can remove barriers to businesses & consumers resuming activity.

Watch: State Tax Policy and COVID-19

April 23, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

How Well-Funded Are Pension Plans in Your State?

April 15, 2020

The current crisis highlights the cost of underfunding pensions in years of economic growth. Twenty states have pension plans that were less than two-thirds funded, and five states had pension plans that were less than 50 percent funded.

Can States Close Budget Deficits with Excise Tax Hikes?

April 15, 2020

We examine whether excise taxes are a solution to budget deficits, and while the short answer to that question is no, there are of course nuances. Excise taxes can play a role in state revenues even as policymakers appreciate that excise taxes are not viable long-term revenue tools for general spending priorities.

Will States Tax the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Lifeline to Small Businesses?

April 13, 2020

If states fail to update their income tax conformity, they will wind up taxing the federal lifeline to small businesses in the CARES Act: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

States’ Unemployment Compensation Trust Funds Could Run Out in Mere Weeks

April 9, 2020

Six states, which collectively account for over one-third of the U.S. population, are currently in a position to pay out fewer than 10 weeks of the unemployment compensation claims that have already come in since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These States Could Tax Your Recovery Rebates

April 8, 2020

Due to a quirk of some state tax codes, the recovery rebates in the CARES Act could increase your income tax liability in six states: Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon.

Watch: Tax Foundation Experts Discuss Short-term Coronavirus Relief Packages

April 8, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Does Your State Tax Social Security Benefits?

April 8, 2020

The question, “Does my state tax Social Security benefits?” may be simple enough, but the answer includes a lot of nuance. Many states have unique and specific provisions regarding the taxation of Social Security benefits, which can be broken into a few broad categories.

State Rainy Day Funds and the COVID-19 Crisis

April 7, 2020

State revenue stabilization funds, often called rainy day funds, are better funded now than they were at the start of the Great Recession and can be a valuable tool as states face a sharp pandemic-linked economic contraction.

April 2nd Evening State Tax Update

April 2, 2020

California extends tax filing and payment deadline to July 31 for a broad spectrum of business taxes as Virginia keeps May 1st tax filing deadline.

State Strategies for Closing FY 2020 with a Balanced Budget

April 2, 2020

State options for closing FY 2020 shortfalls are limited and may ultimately include drawing on reserve funds and even accounting tricks

Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia are the Holdouts on July 15th Tax Deadlines

April 1, 2020

Every state with an individual income tax has made some adjustment to its filing or payment deadlines, but three—Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia—have not followed the federal government’s date of July 15th or later.

How Healthy is Your State’s Rainy Day Fund?

April 1, 2020

Rainy day funds have increasingly emerged as a standard component of states’ budgeting toolkits. Economic cycles can have significant impacts on state revenue, but states can prepare for the inevitable downturns during good times by putting away money in a revenue stabilization fund.

State and Local Funding Totals Under the CARES Act

April 1, 2020

State and local governments across the country split $150 billion in federal aid under a provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed on March 30th.

New Jersey Waives Telework Nexus During COVID-19 Crisis

March 31, 2020

New Jersey is temporarily waiving corporate nexus arising from employees teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic—a response to the crisis that other states should follow.

Gas Tax Revenue to Decline as Traffic Drops 38 Percent

March 31, 2020

Fewer people driving means fewer people buying gasoline, which may have positive effects on air pollution but could be detrimental to motor fuel excise tax revenue for federal and state governments.

A Visual Guide to Unemployment Benefit Claims

April 2, 2020

Another 1.4 million Americans filed initial regular unemployment benefit claims, the eleventh week of a decline in the rate of new claims, but still among the highest levels in U.S. history. The total number of new and continued claims now stands at 19.3 million, a marked decline from the peak of 24.9 million a month ago.

March 27th Afternoon State Tax Update

March 27, 2020

Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia have newly extended their income tax filing and payment deadlines to match the July 15 federal deadline.

March 27th Morning State Tax Update

March 27, 2020

Arkansas, with a month-long 2020 fiscal session that is not set to begin until April 8, convened for a special session to create a new rainy day fund, with $173 million specifically dedicated to COVID-19 response efforts. Maine and Illinois extended their income tax filing deadlines.

March 26th Morning State Tax Update

March 26, 2020

Connecticut and Michigan have postponed their next legislative meeting day. California and Illinois weigh new budget priorities and forecasts in amid the economic fallout from COVID-19.

State Aid Provisions of the Federal Coronavirus Response Bill

March 25, 2020

To be eligible for federal funding, state expenditures must meet certain conditions. We break down the state aid coronavirus provisions in the latest federal bill.

Working from Home Brings Greater Exposure to State Tax Codes

March 25, 2020

During the present crisis, remote work has become a necessity for many people. The tax implications, however, are very real and potentially quite complex.

March 25th Morning State Tax Update

March 25, 2020

Several states have made progress on their budgets for FY 2021, which begins July 1 in most states. Numerous tax filing and payment deadlines have also been delayed.

What Happens with State Excise Tax Revenues During a Pandemic?

March 25, 2020

States will have to consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their excise tax revenues, including from gas taxes, tobacco taxes, and alcohol taxes.

March 24th Morning State Tax Update

March 24, 2020

We are updating our state legislative tracker frequently to summarize new developments and provide analysis of relevant state tax trends as they emerge.

Tracking State Legislative Responses to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

Many states are racing to pass budgets, emergency COVID-19 supplemental appropriations, and other must-pass legislation as quickly as possible. We're tracking the latest state legislative responses to the coronavirus crisis.

Are States Prepared for Skyrocketing Unemployment Insurance Claims?

March 20, 2020

Unemployment claims are going to tax state unemployment compensation trust funds beyond their limits. We need to start thinking about what to do about it.

States Should Follow Federal Lead in Postponing Tax Day

March 20, 2020

The federal government moved tax day from April 15 to July 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, granting more time for both filing and payment. But for many taxpayers, it might not matter much if states don’t follow suit.

How the Federal Government and the States Could Help Save Small Businesses Through Temporary UI Tax Adjustments

March 17, 2020

Governmental responses to the coronavirus outbreak will require creativity and flexibility—and one aspect of that may involve temporarily rethinking how we structure not only unemployment insurance (UI) benefits but also the taxes that pay for them.

Income Taxes Are More Volatile Than Sales Taxes During an Economic Contraction

March 17, 2020

In the short term, states must anticipate reduced tax collections as the economy slows. And here, not all taxes are created equal. As a general rule, income taxes are more volatile than consumption taxes.

Countries Eye Environmental Taxation

September 29, 2020

A recent OECD report on 2020 tax reforms reveals an increase in the number of environmentally-related tax policies, including gas taxes, carbon taxes, and taxes on electricity consumption.

Sweden’s 2021 Budget: Permanent Income Tax Cuts

September 23, 2020

Sweden's 2021 budget outlines an aggressive plan to both cut income taxes in a permanent manner alongside multiple other tax cuts and spending increases

An Excise State of Mind

September 17, 2020

Even during a crisis when budgets are squeezed, policymakers should put their efforts into serious reforms of existing income and consumption taxes rather than leaving good tax policy behind for an excise state of mind.

New European Commission Report: VAT Gap

September 17, 2020

Just as COVID-19 is putting pressure on other sources of revenue, the loss of VAT revenues resulting from the crisis will force governments to evaluate their VAT systems.

New Accelerated Depreciation Policies to Spur Investment in Australia, Austria, Germany, and New Zealand

August 17, 2020

In recent months, several countries have introduced accelerated depreciation as a measure to incentivize private investment, including Australia, Austria, Germany, and New Zealand. There are various ways of how this policy has been implemented in the respective countries, largely depending on the existing standard depreciation schedules.

Where Should the Money Come From?

August 12, 2020

The fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic will require policymakers to consider what revenue resources should be used to fill budget gaps. Tax policy experts have proposed wealth taxes, (global) corporate minimum taxes, excess profits taxes, and digital taxes as opportunities for governments to raise new revenues.

Higher Taxes Might Not Be the Solution for Canada and its Provinces

August 7, 2020

First, the introduction of the wealth tax would significantly impact international capital flows and cause large economic dislocations in the short term. Second, provinces that are looking at raising their corporate tax rates might hinder capital attraction, growth, and economic recovery.

Brazil has the Opportunity to Implement a Simple Consumption Tax and Foster Tax Progressivity at the Same Time

July 30, 2020

Brazil has one of the world’s most complex tax systems. Brazil has the opportunity to implement a simple consumption tax and foster tax progressivity at the same time.

Revenue Gains in Asian and Pacific Countries Likely Offset by COVID-19

July 24, 2020

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis, countries in the Asia-Pacific region will see a differentiated impact on their capacity of mobilizing domestic revenue depending on the structure of their economy. According to the OECD report, those economies that rely mostly on natural resources, tourism, and trade taxes are especially vulnerable.

The History of Excess Profits Taxes Not as Effective or Harmless as Today’s Advocates Portray

July 22, 2020

Today’s advocates would do well to study the history of excess profits taxes before overselling these taxes as a solution to the COVID-19 crisis.

The New EU Budget is Light on Details of Tax Proposals

July 22, 2020

The European Council recently agreed on a new multiannual budget and a recovery program, which sets EU budget levels for 2021-2027 totals €1 trillion (US $1.2 trillion). The lack of details on the various tax proposals and the eventual need for revenue sources to finance new EU debt mean there is a lot of work left for policymakers in Brussels to do.

Hungarian COVID-19 Response: Surtax for Banks and Retail

July 15, 2020

Hungary is the only EU state to have actually implemented COVID-19 tax hikes.

Peruvian “Solidarity Tax” Unlikely to Offset Deficit Spending

July 10, 2020

While it is important that Peru find ways to offset its deficit spending, a temporary wealth tax may introduce more problems than it solves.

Tax Policy Proposals for the German EU Presidency

July 1, 2020

While much of Germany’s EU presidency agenda is focused on policies to ensure economic stability and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a pair of tax proposals that the country is planning to develop and move forward at the EU level: a financial transaction tax and a minimum effective tax.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

European Countries Might Consider Scrapping the Bank Tax for Greater Financial Support

June 24, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, some governments are seeking to cut bank taxes to enhance financial support to businesses and public investment projects.

Global Tax Relief Efforts Vary in Scope and Time Frame in Response to COVID-19

June 22, 2020

Countries around the world have implemented and continue to implement emergency tax measures to support their economies during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Challenges for Transfer Pricing in an Economic Downturn

June 17, 2020

Transfer pricing rules are under stress given the current economic crisis. The OECD should provide transfer pricing guidance during the coronavirus crisis.

Germany Adopts a Temporary VAT Cut

June 16, 2020

Tax policy responses to the pandemic should be designed to provide immediate support while paving the way to recovery. A temporary VAT rate cut in the context of an inefficient VAT system is likely to deliver mixed results at best.

EU: The Next Generation

May 27, 2020

The European Commission announced new budget plans including loans, grants, and some revenue offsets. The proposals follow other support mechanisms for workers and businesses that were designed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic shutdown.

Chaos to the Left of Me. Chaos to the Right of me.

May 5, 2020

The OECD recently announced that the negotiation timeline for new digital tax proposals has now been pushed back to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the end-of-year deadline for the overall project is still in place.

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

New OECD Study: Consumption Tax Revenues during Economic Downturns

April 14, 2020

Compared to other tax revenue sources, consumption tax revenue as a share of GDP tends to be relatively stable over time, even during economic downturns.

Is Now the Time for a $100 billion Tax Increase?

April 13, 2020

Seemingly unconcerned about how the digital project could impact the economy at this crisis moment, officials at the OECD recently released a statement boasting that they are continuing to work “full steam” on their global digital tax project.

Watch: Tax Foundation Experts Discuss Short-term Coronavirus Relief Packages

April 8, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Temporary Work Locations in a Permanent Establishment World

April 7, 2020

While much of the fiscal conversation surrounding the current pandemic has focused on tax relief and tax deferrals, another significant angle needs to be explored: the question of economic nexus.

Spain’s COVID-19 Economic Response

March 27, 2020

Spain's policy response needs to be broad and in keeping with long-term objectives. It is paramount that the short-term harm caused by this outbreak does not turn into a long-term economic downturn.

India Pushes Digital Taxes in a Difficult Time

March 26, 2020

Even during the coronavirus outbreak, efforts to change the way digital business models are taxed continue. India announced this week that its tax aimed at foreign digital companies, the “equalization levy,” will be expanded.

Denmark Unplugs the Economy

March 26, 2020

Denmark, a high-tax country with 5.5 million citizens, has implemented policies designed to avoid layoffs and bankruptcies and basically unplug the economy during the pandemic.

A German Export for Times of Crises: The Short-Time Work Scheme

March 25, 2020

One of the most talked about government economic responses to the COVID-19 crisis is Germany’s Kurzarbeit: the German short-work subsidy scheme.

VAT Exemption Thresholds in Europe

March 26, 2020

Due to certain VAT exemption thresholds, many small businesses will not be able to benefit from the VAT changes being introduced throughout Europe to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis.

Australia’s COVID-19 Support Focuses on Grants to Individuals and Small Businesses

March 24, 2020

In contrast to the sweeping economic relief plan being considered by the U.S. Congress, the approach taken by the Australian government is much more targeted to supporting individuals and small to medium-sized businesses.

Norway Opens the Fiscal Toolbox

March 24, 2020

Norway passed a large coronavirus tax relief package to address layoffs and bankruptcies, which includes a reduced VAT rate, the introduction of a loss carryback provision, and targeted postponements for wealth tax payments, among other provisions.

Tracking Economic Relief Plans Around the World during the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 25, 2020

Countries around the world are implementing emergency tax measures to support their economies under the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.

For Italian Banks: Converting Future Deductions to Present Tax Credits

March 19, 2020

During the coronavirus outbreak, Italy has been hit especially hard. Policymakers have introduced numerous measures to stem the spread of the virus and provide relief to businesses that are facing a severe downturn.

Tax Policy and Economic Downturns

March 18, 2020

The Great Recession provides some insight into how tax revenues declined during a deep recession. Across OECD countries, revenues fell by 11 percent from 2008 to 2009 with corporate income taxes seeing the steepest decline at 28 percent. Revenues from individual income taxes fell by 16 percent.

(Webinar) Figuring Out Phase Four: Next Steps on Federal and State Coronavirus Response

July 21, 2020

As U.S. businesses struggle to recover from the economic downturn, Congress and the White House continue to debate a phase four relief package, which could include anything from incentives for domestic travel and a payroll tax cut to more fundamental reforms like enacting permanent full cost recovery.

Watch: Economic Recovery After Coronavirus

May 29, 2020

What are the best tax policies to encourage a smooth transition and strong economic recovery? How should goals of economic recovery and growth be balanced with revenue needs?

Watch: Coronavirus: A Path to Economic Recovery

May 7, 2020

What challenges should we expect to face as the U.S. economy begins to re-open? When is the right time for legislators to start focusing on long-term recovery vs. short-term needs? What policies should federal legislators pursue to clear a path to recovery?

Watch: State Tax Policy and COVID-19

April 23, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?

Watch: Tax Foundation Experts Discuss Short-term Coronavirus Relief Packages

April 8, 2020

What could the next phase of relief look like and what role does tax policy play in ensuring the U.S. and countries around the world make a strong economic recovery?