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Distributional Effects of the President's New Tax Proposals (Research Report)
Leonard E. BurmanNgan Phung

The White House announced a package of tax proposals as part of what President Obama called “Middle Class Economics” in the State of the Union Address. This paper summarizes and discusses TPC’s distributional estimates, focusing on the distribution of all income tax cuts, the major tax cut provisions, and the largest tax increase provisions including the new fee on financial institutions. The tax cuts primarily benefit low-income single workers and working age households with children. The income tax increases primarily affect those with very high incomes and those with a substantial amount of capital assets.

Published: 01/30/15
Availability:   PDF


State Economic Monitor: January 2015 (Series/State Economic Monitor)
Richard C. Auxier

The State & Local Finance Initiative’s State Economic Monitor tracks economic-performance data across the states and the District of Columbia, highlighting differences in key indicators including employment, wages, housing, and taxes. This quarter’s report finds the unemployment rate fell in 46 states and DC between December 2013 and December 2014, but national real average weekly earnings only increased in 16 states. Total tax revenue over the past four quarters was 1.6 percent higher than the previous year.

Published: 01/29/15
Availability:   PDF


Lessons the United States Can Learn From Other Countries' Territorial Systems for Taxing Income of Multinational Corporations (Research Report)
Rosanne AltshulerStephen ShayEric Toder

The United States has a worldwide system that taxes the dividends its resident multinational corporations receive from their foreign affiliates, while most other countries have territorial systems that exempt these dividends. This report examines the experience of four countries – two with long-standing territorial systems and two that have recently eliminated taxation of repatriated dividends. We find that the reasons for maintaining or introducing dividend exemption systems varied greatly among them and do not necessarily apply to the United States. Moreover, classification of tax systems as worldwide or territorial does not adequately capture differences in how countries tax foreign-source income.

Published: 01/21/15
Availability:   PDF | Order this title online at Hopkins Fulfillment Services


Changes in Income Reported on Federal Tax Returns (Article/Tax Facts)
Roberton WilliamsLydia Austin

The composition of reported income has changed markedly since 1952. Investment income has continued to grow, along with business income, interrupted only by periodic economic downturns. Meanwhile, salaries and wages have declined as a share of income.

Published: 01/07/15
Availability:   PDF


Design Changes to the SOI Public Use File (PUF) (Research Report)
Victoria BryantJohn L. CzajkaJim NunnsGeorgia Ivsin

The Statistics of Income (SOI) Division of IRS prepares a publicly available file, the Public Use File, from its annual sample of income tax returns. The PUF is a critical data source for tax policy analysis. To insure taxpayer confidentiality, SOI applies disclosure avoidance procedures to the PUF. In 2012, SOI established a Working Group to perform an in-depth review of these procedures and of the analytical usefulness of the PUF. This paper describes the revised PUF design recommended by the Working Group, and how the design changes improve both disclosure avoidance and the PUF’s analytical usefulness.

Published: 12/18/14
Availability:   PDF


Net Capital Gains Across Zip Codes (Policy Briefs)
Benjamin H. HarrisLucie Parker

This brief examines net capital gains realizations by utilizing zip-code level data on taxes and demographics. This data can help shed light on direct beneficiaries of preferential capital gains tax rates beyond the standard distributional tables based solely on income. In particular, this brief highlights the extent to which the benefits are concentrated among zip codes, and the limited benefits of preferred rates for certain geographic regions. We focus on the relationship between capital gains and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), the demographic characteristics of zip codes with a particularly high percent of tax returns reporting capital gains, and the average capital gains reported across counties.

Published: 12/12/14
Availability:   PDF


Factsheet: Beneficiaries of Tax Expenditures Across Zip Codes (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Aurite WermanBenjamin H. Harris

This fact sheet summarizes the key conclusions from a series of briefs aimed at contributing to the knowledge of select tax expenditures—the EITC, MID, and preferential rates on capital gains—by analyzing zip code-level tax data. In particular, the goal of the research was to better characterize various economic, demographic, and geographic characteristics associated with select tax expenditures. Largely due to data constraints, these relationships have received little attention to date.

Published: 12/12/14
Availability:   PDF


The Mortgage Interest Deduction Across Zip Codes (Policy Briefs)
Benjamin H. HarrisLucie Parker

This brief examines characteristics of the mortgage interest deduction by utilizing zip-code level data on taxes and demographics. In the following sections, we focus on the relationship between the mortgage interest deduction and Adjusted Gross Income, the demographic characteristics of zip codes with particularly high proportions of taxpayers claiming the mortgage interest deduction, and the variation in MID claiming across counties.

Published: 12/05/14
Availability:   PDF


EITC Claiming Across Zip Codes (Research Brief)
Benjamin H. HarrisLucie Parker

This brief provides a fresh look at the role of the EITC by utilizing zip-code level data on taxes and demographics. In the following sections, we focus on the relationship between EITC claiming rates (i.e., the percent of tax returns receiving the EITC) and poverty rates, the demographic characteristics of zip codes with high EITC claiming rates, and the variation in EITC claiming rates and average EITC amount cross counties.

Published: 12/02/14
Availability:   PDF


The Effects of the Taxation of Social Security Benefits on Older Workers' Income and Claiming Decisions (Research Report)
Leonard E. BurmanNorma B. CoeKevin PierceLiu Tian

Social Security benefits are taxed under a complex regime that raises marginal effective tax rates by up to 85 percent, which could discourage the labor supply of older workers and affect the decision to claim benefits. Using a nonparametric graphical methodology, this paper investigates whether older taxpayers reduce income to avoid the tax. While previous research found that the labor supply of older workers is significantly affected by the Social Security earnings test, we fin little evidence of a response to benefit taxation in a large panel of data compiled from individual income tax and information returns. Similarly, while taxation of benefits provides and incentive for many to delay claiming, we find no evidence of such an effect. Overall, the findings suggest that older taxpayers have little understanding of the rules governing Social Security benefit taxation.

Published: 12/01/14
Availability:   PDF

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