Lunch Links: Handy Tax Calculator Before Casting Your Presidential Ballot; New York, not Nevada, Could Haul in Biggest Casino Taxes; EU Nations Debate Tax Haven Definition

November 7, 2016

Today is November 7, the date in 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia and began to establish the Soviet Union (1917-1991). There’s not a lot of discussion of taxation in the Soviet Union; when wages and prices are set by the state, and connections and standing in line is how you buy goods rather than by using money, tax rates don’t matter all that much. Russia was still primarily an agricultural country in 1917, and forced confiscations (prodrazvyorstka) was how the new government survived until production had utterly collapsed, and in 1921, the Soviet state switched to a fixed tax in kind (prodnalog) under the New Economic Policy, along with income and property taxes. Beginning in 1924, the prodnalog could be paid in cash, and new taxes on turnover, housing, enterprise profits, and rural and urban areas were introduced in 1930-32. A tax on childlessness existed from 1941 to 1990. A tax on fruit trees from 1944 to 1954, intended as a luxury tax, led to a shortage of fruit. After a post-Soviet switch to a value-added tax and progressive income tax, in 2001 Russia adopted a flat 13 percent income tax to boost revenue collections and draw out the underground economy.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

How Clinton and Trump Would Affect Your Taxes: Use our handy calculator to find out. (Tax Foundation)

Tax-Related State Ballot Initiatives: We’re tracking ballot measures in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. (Tax Foundation)

Olympia Income Tax First Step for Washington Income Tax?: The Seattle Times asks what Olympia voters deciding whether to adopt an income tax for their city means for the state as a whole. Meanwhile, in a forum between Washington gubernatorial candidates in Tacoma, incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee (D) says “the income tax is a non-starter, is not on anybody’s table as far as I’m aware of, is not going to happen in the state of Washington. The only people talking about it are Republicans. I don’t issue veto threats for Martians landing at the Husky Field either, and that’s about as likely as an income tax in the state of Washington.” Challenger Bill Bryant (R) is opposed to a state income tax as well. (The Seattle Times / Vimeo)

New York May Top Nevada on Gambling Taxes: In 2015, New York raised $888 million in casino taxes on $1.95 billion of casino spend, compared to Nevada’s $889 million on $11.11 billion in casino spend. Nevada’s market is larger but casino taxes there are only 6.75 percent, compared to between 31 percent and 41 percent in New York. Pennsylvania generated $1.38 billion in taxes on $3.17 billion in casino spend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Georgia Tax Reform Choices: Kelly McCutcheon explains the math on reducing or repealing the state’s income tax. (Newnan Times-Herald)

EU Fighting over Tax Haven Definition: Is a tax haven just a place with low tax rates? Or it something more than that? EU member countries are hashing it out. (Bloomberg BNA)

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