There Are Over $1.2 Trillion of Tax Expenditures
November 6, 2013
After the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there were 119 tax preferences. By 2013, there were 169. In real dollar terms, the growth of tax expenditures has been entirely on the individual side of the tax system since 1986. According to Treasury estimates, the tax expenditure budget grew from $844 billion (2013 dollars) in 1986 to $1.2 trillion in 2013, an increase of 44 percent. Over the same period, individual tax expenditures grew from $685 billion to $1.1 trillion. The biggest driver of this growth has been the cost of employer-provided health insurance. Meanwhile, corporate tax expenditures shrank from $159 billion in 1986 to $108 billion in 2013. Corporate tax expenditures are now less than 9 percent of the tax expenditure budget, which is lower than at any time since 1986.
For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.
Was this page helpful to you?
The Tax Foundation works hard to provide insightful tax policy analysis. Our work depends on support from members of the public like you. Would you consider contributing to our work?Contribute to the Tax Foundation
Let us know how we can better serve you!
We work hard to make our analysis as useful as possible. Would you consider telling us more about how we can do better?Give Us Feedback