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Federal and State Income Taxes and Their Role in the Social Safety Net (Research Report)
Elaine Maag

Federal and state income taxes play an important role in providing income support for low-income households by administering refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC). Using the Urban Institute’s Net Income Change Calculator (NICC), which provides state- and federal-level information on tax and transfer programs in 2008, I calculate the value of TANF and SNAP as well as state and federal income taxes for a single parent working full-time at the minimum wage with two children. In many cases, state and federal tax credits exceed the value of the more traditional safety net programs.

Published: 08/04/15
Availability:   PDF


3 Facts About the Research Tax Credit (Article/Tax Facts)
Joseph Rosenberg

This Tax Fact provides three facts about the R&E credit based on data published by the Statistics of Income Division of the IRS.

Published: 08/04/15
Availability:   PDF


Distributional Impact of Repealing the Excise Tax on High-Cost Health Plans (Methodology Report)
Gordon MerminEric Toder

TPC has estimated the distributional impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac tax” in 2018 and 2025. While the average tax cut increases with income throughout the distribution, the middle and fourth income quintiles receive the largest share of the tax benefit compared with their shares of after-tax income.

Published: 07/23/15
Availability:   PDF


Analysis of Bipartisan Policy Center Cadillac Tax Replacement Option (Research Report)
Gordon MerminEric Toder

The Bipartisan Policy Center asked TPC to estimate a proposal to replace the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans with a limit on the exclusion for employer-provided health benefits and repeal of medical flexible spending accounts. TPC estimates the BPC proposal would increase revenues in the near term, but lose revenues over the long-term. In 2025, the BPC option that is effective in 2017 would impose the largest increased tax burdens as a share of after-tax income on households in the middle and fourth income quintiles.

Published: 07/17/15
Availability:   PDF


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

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