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Financial Transaction Taxes in Theory and Practice (Occasional Paper)
Leonard E. BurmanWilliam G. GaleSarah GaultBryan KimJim NunnsSteven Rosenthal

In response to the financial market crisis and Great Recession, there has been a resurgence of interest in financial transaction taxes (FTTs) around the world. We estimate that a well-designed FTT could raise about $50 billion per year in the United States and would be quite progressive. We discuss the effects of an FTT on various dimensions of financial sector behavior and its ambiguous effects on economic efficiency.

Published: 06/30/15
Availability:   PDF


Taxing Carbon: What, Why, and How (Document)
Donald MarronEric ToderLydia Austin

The case for a carbon tax is strong. A well-designed tax could efficiently reduce the emissions that cause climate change and encourage innovation in cleaner technologies. The resulting revenue could finance tax reductions, spending priorities, or deficit reduction—policies that could offset the tax’s distributional and economic burdens, improve the environment, or otherwise improve Americans’ well-being. But moving a carbon tax from the whiteboard to reality is challenging. To help policymakers, analysts, and the public address those challenges, this report examines the what, why, and how of implementing a carbon tax and using the revenue it would generate.

Published: 06/25/15
Availability:   PDF


Payroll Taxes for U.S. Retirement, Health, and Disability Programs (Article/Tax Facts)
Caleb QuakenbushC. Eugene Steuerle

Payroll taxes are used to finance major social welfare programs for the elderly and disabled in the United States. Most working households pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes each year and can contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars toward these programs over a career.

Published: 06/25/15
Availability:   PDF


Most People Receive Refunds at Tax Time (Article/Tax Facts)
Elaine MaagElena Ramirez

Taxpayers routinely have too much income tax withheld. Of the 126 million tax returns the IRS processed through April 17, 2015, almost three-quarters resulted in a refund. The average refund was $2,711 with higher average refunds going to the earliest filers.

Published: 06/09/15
Availability:   PDF


Pilot Project to Assess Validation of EITC Eligibility with State Data (Research Report)
Mike PergamitElaine MaagDevlin HansonCaroline RatcliffeSara EdelsteinSarah Minton

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) annually delivers over $60 billion to low-income working families. The Office of Management and Budget identifies the EITC as having the highest improper payment rate among 13 high error programs. We explore whether state SNAP and TANF administrative data can be used by IRS to reduce erroneous payments and target outreach efforts. Too few EITC claimants receive TANF to make the TANF data useful. SNAP data are unlikely to be useful during pre-refund audits, but may be helpful in audit case selection or in flagging erroneous EITC claims for people without custodial children.

Published: 06/04/15
Availability:   PDF


Expiring Provisions With Perpetual Life (Article/Tax Facts)
Lydia AustinEric Toder

Many of the most expensive “temporary” tax extenders have been extended numerous times in the past.

Published: 05/21/15
Availability:   PDF


Investing in Work by Reforming the Earned Income Tax Credit (Research Report)
Elaine Maag

The earned income tax credit (EITC) lifts millions of working families out of poverty, but provides little support to workers without children living at home. Scaling back the EITC and implementing a worker credit based on individual earnings and not contingent on having children at home could provide substantial benefits to all low-income workers, ease administration for the IRS, and encourage work for childless individuals and secondary earners. A broadly available $1,500 credit would cost around $870 billion over 10 years; scaled back options are also available.

Published: 05/20/15
Availability:   PDF


Tax Policy Center Establishes the Pozen Director's Chair (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell and Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott today announced the establishment of the Pozen Director's Chair at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC). The chair is made possible through an endowment gift from American financial executive Robert C. Pozen.

Published: 05/05/15
Availability: HTML


The Relationship Between Taxes and Growth at the State Level: New Evidence (Research Report)
William G. GaleAaron KrupkinKim Rueben

The effects of state tax policy on economic growth, entrepreneurship, and employment remain controversial. Using a framework that in prior research generated significant, negative, and robust effects of taxes on growth, we find that neither tax revenues nor top income tax rates bear stable relations to economic growth or employment across states and over time. While the rate of firm formation is negatively affected by top income tax rates, the effects are small in economic terms. Our results are inconsistent with the view that cuts in top state income tax rates will automatically or necessarily generate growth.

Published: 05/01/15
Availability:   PDF


Tax Reform and Small Business (Testimony)
Eric Toder

Eric Toder testified about tax reform and small business, before the House Committee on Small Business on April 15, 2015.

Published: 04/15/15
Availability:   PDF

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