Frequently Asked Questions on the Expiring Bush Tax Cuts

April 11, 2012

Billions of dollars in tax cuts are set to expire in January if nothing is done, and tax policy in Washington has been and will continue to be busy in 2012. With all of this action comes many questions about what is actually going on. This page is designed to “set the scene” for the general public, policymakers, and media with unbiased information relating to the current state of the federal tax system and what is set to happen. If you have any questions that are not answered, e-mail us and we will consider adding them to the list. (Note: We do not answer specific personal tax questions.)

1. What are the “Bush tax cuts,” why are they expiring this year, and what is likely to happen?

2. How much did the Bush tax cuts cost the Treasury in foregone revenue?

3. Who received the biggest tax savings from the tax cuts?

4. Why were the tax cuts temporary (i.e. not made permanent) when they were passed in 2001 and 2003?

5. What is going on with President Obama’s tax cuts, specifically those in the so-called stimulus bill?

6. How does this all interact with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)?

7. What are PEP and Pease, and how were they affected by the tax cuts?

8. Can you provide a complete list of the tax provisions expiring at the end of this year (2013)?

9. Do you have a chart showing how the various scenarios (tax cuts expiring, tax Cuts extended, and Obama’s proposal) would affect key tax parameters like tax rates and brackets, the standard deduction, etc.?

10. How does Obama’s 2010 health care bill interact with all this?

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