Individuals Receive 91 Percent of Tax Expenditures

According to the U.S. Treasury, there are currently 169 so-called tax expenditures, or preferences, in the tax code. Interestingly, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation counts more than 200. However many there are, the Treasury estimates the 2014 dollar value of these preferences at about $1.2 trillion. While many people believe that corporations benefit most from these loopholes, they really don’t. About $1.1 trillion, or 91 percent of all the tax preferences, accrues to individuals rather than corporations.

Additionally, just a handful of the 169 plus provisions account for more than half of the budgetary cost of all individual tax preferences. These include the preferences for employer-provided health insurance, pensions and 401(k)s, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions.

For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.


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