Tax Policy Center



Eric Toder

Institute Fellow & Codirector

Before joining Urban, I had a long career in government, including three years as a political appointee heading the staff of tax policy economists in the Treasury Department.  I joined Urban after leaving government service because it is a place where I could continue to do high-quality research on important issues, surrounded by great colleagues.  I value the commitment to nonpartisan and independent analysis, and the encouragement Urban provides to seek better ways of communicating research findings and basic facts about the economy and policy issues to non-technical audiences.

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Eric Toder is an Institute fellow and codirector of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.  In his current position, he oversees the modeling team at the Tax Policy Center; serves as its leading expert on corporate and international tax and tax compliance issues; and authors and directs research studies. 

Toder has published articles on a wide variety of tax policy and retirement policy issues, including corporate tax reform, distributional effects of tax expenditures, carbon taxes, value-added taxes, net benefits of Social Security taxes and spending, tax compliance, and the effects of saving incentives.

Before joining Urban, Toder held a number of senior-level positions in tax policy offices in the US government and overseas, including service as deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Tax Analysis at the US Department of the Treasury; director of research at the Internal Revenue Service; deputy assistant director for the Office of Tax Analysis at the Congressional Budget Office; and consultant to the New Zealand Treasury.  He has also served as a part-time consultant to the International Monetary Fund and serves as treasurer of the National Tax Association.

Toder received his PhD in economics from the University of Rochester in 1971.

From TaxVox


  • April 12, 2016
    Treasury’s new regulations limit the ability of foreign-based multinationals to reduce taxable profits on U.S.-source income. This is a major...
  • December 10, 2015
    The planned merger of Pfizer and Allergen to create an Irish parent company, a transaction often called an inversion, has rekindled concerns about U...
  • April 17, 2015
    While there is no chance that Congress will agree to broad-based tax reform before the next president takes office in 2017, lawmakers are making one...
  • February 27, 2015
    The Tax Policy Center’s recent panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act’s tax-based system of subsidies and penalties highlighted the convoluted...
  • November 24, 2014
    The Cato Institute has organized an online forum to debate pro-growth economic policy reforms. Tax Policy Center scholars Bill Gale, Donald Marron,...
  • August 5, 2014
    In July, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asked Congress to stop the current wave of corporate expatriations. The legislation is going nowhere, and...
  • March 17, 2014
    U.S. lawmakers are not alone in their frustration over Apple’s success at avoiding corporate income taxes by shifting reported profits to other...
  • March 10, 2014
    House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has offered a detailed and thoughtful set of proposals on international tax reform, as did former Senate...
  • April 30, 2013
    Last week, at the request of the House Ways and Means Committee, I testified on how Congress could reform the mortgage interest deduction, a popular...
  • April 4, 2013
    House Republicans, former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and the chairs of President Obama’s 2010 fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan...
  • March 18, 2013
    Those of us who have spent much of our careers in Federal tax policy offices have reason this week to feel vindicated. While the two political...
  • December 10, 2012
    The Tax Policy Center (TPC) has estimated that going over the fiscal cliff will raise taxes on average by about $3,500 per household in tax year 2013...
  • February 23, 2012
    After a frantic day of listening to rival briefings and addressing reporters’ questions on the new tax reform plans unveiled by President Obama and...
  • June 24, 2011
    I woke up to the headlines in today’s Washington Post – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl were walking out of the...
  • April 25, 2011
    Individuals who just filed their taxes this year might be wondering why they face high tax rates when big corporations apparently manage to escape...
  • April 22, 2011
    George Orwell once wrote: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” I am reminded of Orwell and his deep concern with the...
  • April 12, 2011
    Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post, April 8, 2011) writes that the “most scurrilous” criticism of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s...
  • January 31, 2011
    One of the biggest applause lines in the President’s State of the Union speech came from his promise to reform and simplify the corporate income tax...
  • August 9, 2010
    Howard Gleckman’s August 4 TaxVox post on tax increases and small business reminds me of the debate over the Clinton deficit reduction proposals in 1993. Then, as now, a new Democratic President proposed to raise tax rates on the highest individual income taxpayers. Then, as now, Republican opponents portrayed the proposal as a tax increase on small business that would kill jobs and stop the recovery. A June 24, 1993, Washington Post story by David Hilzenrath headlined, “Income Tax Hike Stirs a Debate on Jobs Impact; Administration Rejects Claims Small Business Would Be Hurt,” reported, “As the Senate began considering President Clinton's deficit-reduction plan yesterday, Republicans charged that the income tax increase he says is aimed at the rich would hit small businesses and jeopardize their growth.”
  • April 19, 2010
    As I contemplate the furor over the Tax Policy Center’s calculation that 47 percent of Americans owed no income tax in 2009, I am reminded of Don Alexander, who was an IRS Commissioner during the Nixon and Ford Administrations. For decades Don, who passed away last year, argued passionately that the IRS’s job is to collect tax revenues, and not administer social programs. And that conflict is at the root of the 47 percent controversy.
  • February 1, 2010
    With great fanfare, the President in his 2010 State of the Union address announced a new small business tax credit that will go to “over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages.” A White House fact sheet described the credit as a “powerful short term incentive to not only create good jobs but to increase wages and hours for Americans with jobs.”
  • November 2, 2009
    My colleague Howard Gleckman has summarized the tax plan that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented at the Tax Policy Center on October 29. He describes it as a consumption tax, but that’s not what it is. It is actually mostly a tax on wage income that would treat those who work for a living very differently from those living off the income from inherited wealth.
  • October 2, 2009
    In a blog post earlier this week, I concluded that whether a payment to government service is classified as a tax or a user fee is sometimes arbitrary and that how the payment is labeled is of secondary importance. Mike Udell of Ernst and Young, a former staffer on the Joint Committee on Taxation, reminds me, however, that labeling could have real consequences. Mike raises another example from the health reform legislation – the proposed “fee” on sales of pharmaceutical and medical device products. If the fee were an excise tax, it would be deductible and not included in the gross revenue of manufacturers of these products. But as a fee, it is not deductible, so income tax collections from these firms are higher than if they could exclude the payments from taxable income.
  • September 30, 2009
    What is a tax? You would think a senior economist at the Tax Policy Center would have no trouble answering that question. But it is not so simple. This question has come up in the debate over the proposal to require all Americans to have medical insurance—a provision in all of the major congressional health reform bills. If you must buy insurance, is the payment you make a tax or just a premium for insurance coverage? Is the penalty imposed on those who don’t buy insurance a tax or a fine for failing to comply with the law?
  • September 15, 2009
    Last weekend, while tea party protestors flocked to Washington to complain about taxes and big government, I was meeting in Toronto with other tax policy wonks for two days of technical discussions on tax expenditures: tax-code provisions that target special benefits to selected taxpayers or activities. And we found that, increasingly, the big government the tea party people fear is doing its business through this pseudo-spending.