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Preliminary Estimates of the Impact of the Camp Tax Reform Plan on Charitable Giving (Research Report)
Joseph RosenbergC. Eugene SteuerleEllen SteeleAmanda Eng

This note estimates the effects of four groups of provisions from the Tax Reform Act of 2014 on individual charitable giving. The provisions of the tax reform plan, released earlier this year by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), are estimated to decrease individual giving by 7 to 14 percent.

Published: 09/10/14
Availability:   PDF


Effects of Income Tax Changes on Economic Growth (Article)
William G. GaleAndrew Samwick

This paper examines how changes to the individual income tax affect long-term economic growth. The structure and financing of a tax change are critical to achieving economic growth. Tax rate cuts may encourage individuals to work, save, and invest, but if the tax cuts are not financed by immediate spending cuts they will likely also result in an increased federal budget deficit, which in the long-term will reduce national saving and raise interest rates. The net impact on growth is uncertain, but many estimates suggest it is either small or negative. Base-broadening measures can eliminate the effect of tax rate cuts on budget deficits, but at the same time they also reduce the impact on labor supply, saving, and investment and thus reduce the direct impact on growth. However, they also reallocate resources across sectors toward their highest-value economic use, resulting in increased efficiency and potentially raising the overall size of the economy. The results suggest that not all tax changes will have the same impact on growth. Reforms that improve incentives, reduce existing subsidies, avoid windfall gains, and avoid deficit financing will have more auspicious effects on the long-term size of the economy, but may also create trade-offs between equity and efficiency.

Published: 09/09/14
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Political Activity Limits and Tax Exemption: A Gordian's Knot (Research Report)
Roger Colinvaux

The article considers the correct tax treatment of political activity, examines administrative and legislative options to problems raised, and concludes that after the Citizens United decision, definitional political activity limits on noncharitable exempts should be eliminated, but only if the 527(f) tax on investment income remains vital and there are uniform donor disclosure rules. In addition, Congress should: extend the income tax to transfers of appreciated property to noncharitable exempts, take steps to prevent the laundering of independent expenditures through the charitable form, and develop a new tax baseline for political activity conducted "for profit" or outside of section 527.

Published: 08/25/14
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Tax Expenditures for Asset Building in 2014 (Article/Tax Facts)
C. Eugene SteuerleCaleb Quakenbush

Government directs a large amount of resources toward helping families build assets in the form of home equity, retirement savings, human capital, and business ownership. This Tax Fact summarizes the cost of different asset-building tax subsidies. These tax expenditures total to more than $370 billion in 2014 and are projected to grow to more than $500 billion over the next 5 years. Deductions and exclusions for homeownership and retirement savings form the majority of subsidies, with education coming in a distant third. Smaller subsidies for small business and other personal savings round out the total.

Published: 08/20/14
Availability:   PDF


Corporate Inversions (Article)
Kimberly A. Clausing

Recently, there has been a spate of corporate inversions, where U.S. multinational corporations have combined with foreign companies, arranging their corporate structure to locate the residence of the resulting corporation in a foreign country with an attractive corporate tax climate. This paper will discuss both the longstanding features of the U.S. tax system that provide incentives for corporate inversions and the reasons for the present surge in inversions. If unfettered, corporate inversions are likely to undermine the U.S. tax base, so swift policy action is likely warranted. Inversions can be effectively addressed in a targeted fashion.

Published: 08/20/14
Availability: HTML | PDF


Corporate Tax is Broken and Needs Major Surgery (Commentary)
Eric ToderAlan Viard

In a contribution to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch Inc., Eric Toder and Alan Viard argue that recent highly publicized tax avoidance transactions by U.S. corporations reflect basic flaws in how we tax the income of multinational corporations, and that proposed reforms that maintain current definitions of corporate residence and source won’t fix the underlying problems. They propose two fundamental structural reforms – seeking international agreement on rules for allocating the income of multinational corporations among countries, or scrapping the U.S. corporate income tax entirely and replacing it with taxation at ordinary income rates of dividends and accrued gains of U.S. resident shareholders.

Published: 08/06/14
Availability: HTML


What Every Worker Needs to Know About an Unreformed Social Security System: Testimony before the Subcommittee on Social Security Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives (Testimony)
C. Eugene Steuerle

In this testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security, Eugene Steuerle, Institute Fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair at the Urban Institute discusses the fairness, efficiency and adequacy questions that arise almost no matter how much growth Congress maintains in Social Security. In particular he addresses three troubling aspects of an otherwise successful program: unequal justice; middle age retirement; and impact on the young.

Published: 07/29/14
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How To Stop Corporations From Fleeing U.S. Tax Laws (Commentary)
Eric Toder

In a contribution to The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, Eric Toder explains why corporations expatriate from the United States and argues that they will continue to do so until Congress addresses the fundamental flaws in the corporate income tax. He then provides some possible solutions to end the erosion of the U.S. corporate tax base.

Published: 07/28/14
Availability: HTML


Constitutional Solutions to Our Escalating National Debt: Examining Balanced Budget Amendments: Testimony of Henry J. Aaron to the House Judiciary Committee (Testimony)
Henry J. Aaron

Henry J. Aaron testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that despite the relatively high levels of current government debt and the budget challenges that the nation faces in the future, instituting a federal balanced budget amendment would negatively impact the economy and threaten the nation's financial stability. Aaron notes five main reasons a balanced budget amendment should not be passed or implemented.

Published: 07/25/14
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Implications for Changing the Child Tax Credit Refundability Threshold (Article/Tax Facts)
Elaine MaagLydia Austin

This Tax Fact explores the child tax credit’s refundability thresholds since its inception. Currently, the CTC is a $1,000-per-child credit that is partially refundable for households earning more than $3,000. This Tax Fact explores the distribution of credits when the refundability threshold rises to $15,000 in 2018, and finds that families in the lowest income quintile would be affected the most.

Published: 07/24/14
Availability:   PDF

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