Lunch Links: Trump Tax Returns, Clinton on DC Statehood, Vermont Tax Software Goof

May 12, 2016

Today is May 12, the date in 1933 when Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). The AAA imposed a tax on companies which processed farm products, dividing the proceeds among farmers who agreed to abide by federal rules limiting crop planting and excess livestock. The Supreme Court struck down the AAA in 1936, concluding that while paying farmers was permissible spending, the spending was conditioned with regulations beyond federal power, making the tax “not a true tax” but rather “a mere instrumentality for bringing about a desired end.”

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Trump Says He Will Release Tax Returns, But No Date: He tweeted that he told AP that he’ll release his tax returns when his audit is complete, not after the election. Mitt Romney posted on Facebook that Trump could release previous years’ tax returns. (Twitter / Facebook)
  • Clinton Calls for D.C. Statehood: Her op-ed notes that District residents “pay taxes just like everyone else.” The Washington Post adds that District residents pay more in federal taxes than residents of 22 states. (Washington Informer / Washington Post)
  • If Everyone is a Tax Haven…: My colleague Alan Cole takes issue with the European Greens’ conclusion that states like Iowa and New York are tax havens. (Tax Foundation)
  • Nevada Supreme Court Permits Petition Against Commerce Tax, But With Short Timeframe: The petition to put the new gross receipts tax on the November ballot can go forward but the description must be rewritten to note that repeal would unbalance the budget. Supporters have to collect 55,234 signatures by June 21. (Tax Foundation)
  • New Jersey Unemployment Tax Cut: Governor Christie (R) announced that the once-insolvent fund is now running a large surplus, so taxes on employers will be cut $400 million. (Asbury Park Press)
  • New York State Fiscal Reform Ideas: State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is out with a report suggesting better spending accountability, new rules for the rainy day fund, a debt cap, and capital planning processes. (Office of the New York State Comptroller)
  • State Income Tax Checkoff Programs: Every state with an income tax has boxes on their tax form where you can check to send extra contributions for worthy causes. Oregon has the most, with 30 programs. Maine lets you check the box to buy state park passes. 19 states review the list of programs periodically. (National Conference of State Legislatures)
  • Bloomberg Editorial Board Says Don’t Tax College Endowments: “Why are these enormous cash piles left untaxed and unregulated? The short answer is that it would undermine the good work that universities do to educate generations of Americans and energize the economy.” Hmm. (Bloomberg)
  • Tax Software Goofs on Vermont Taxes: A 2015 cap on itemized deductions and a repeal of state and local tax deductions weren’t coded properly by tax preparation software providers. Some 19,000 Vermont taxpayers underpaid by a total of $2 million, and are being notified. (Tax Analysts)
  • Keep the IRS?: David Brunori is no fan of the IRS but says those who focus on abolishing it “are both silly and dangerous.” Agree or disagree? (Tax Analysts)

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