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Author: Williams, Roberton

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Who Pays No Income Tax? A 2013 Update (Article/Tax Facts)
Roberton Williams

TPC estimates that 43 percent of Americans will pay no federal income tax this year, down from the peak of 50 percent in 2008 and 2009.

Published: 09/30/13
Availability:   PDF


Analysis of Specific Tax Provisions in President Obama's FY2014 Budget  (Research Report)
Benjamin H. HarrisJim NunnsKim RuebenEric ToderRoberton Williams

This document reviews several notable tax proposals in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. These include a 28 percent limit on certain tax expenditures, a cap on tax preferences for retirement savers with high balances, a minimum tax ("Buffett Rule") on high-income taxpayers, alternative incentives for infrastructure investment, and a new measure of inflation ("chained CPI") for indexing tax parameters.

Published: 05/08/13
Availability:   PDF


Toppling Off the Fiscal Cliff: Whose Taxes Rise and How Much? (Research Report)
Roberton WilliamsEric ToderDonald MarronHang Nguyen

The looming fiscal cliff threatens to boost taxes by more than $500 billion in 2013 when many temporary tax provisions are scheduled to expire. Nearly 90 percent of Americans would pay more tax, primarily because the temporary cut in Social Security taxes and many of the 2001/2003 tax cuts would expire. Low-income households would pay more due to expiration of tax credits in the 2009 stimulus. High-income households would be hit hard by higher tax rates on ordinary income, capital gains, and dividends and by the new health reform taxes. And marginal tax rates would rise, potentially affecting economic decisions.

Published: 10/01/12
Availability:   PDF


How Hard Is It to Cut Tax Preferences to Pay for Lower Tax Rates? (Research Report)
Hang NguyenJim NunnsEric ToderRoberton Williams

Some political leaders have proposed to lower individual income tax rates and make up the lost revenue by eliminating tax preferences. To help inform the discussion of such proposals, we examine illustrative revenue-neutral combinations of lower rates and cuts in tax preferences and their effects on the distribution of tax burdens. We conclude that paying for lower rates would require substantial reductions in broadly-used and popular preferences. In addition, requiring that changes maintain the current progressivity of the federal income tax would make it much harder to find a politically acceptable mix of preferences to curtail.

Published: 07/10/12
Availability:   PDF


Income and Taxes of the Very Rich  (Article/Tax Facts)
Roberton Williams

Roberton Williams compares the adjusted gross incomes of the top 400 with the incomes of all other taxpayers with income over $1 million and finds that because they realize more capital gains, the top 400 tend to have lower effective income tax rates than other very high-income taxpayers.

Published: 07/06/12
Availability:   PDF


Measuring Effective Tax Rates (Research Report)
Rachel M. JohnsonJoseph RosenbergRoberton Williams

Effective tax rates (ETRs) measure how much people pay in taxes as a percentage of their pretax incomes. That seems simple, but there’s an important complication: there are different ways to measure how much someone pays in taxes and how much he collects in pretax income. Those choices matter a great deal. As a result, it is essential to use the same ETR measure when comparing tax burdens across individual taxpayers or groups.

Published: 02/08/12
Availability:   PDF


Curbing Tax Expenditures (Research Report)
Daniel BanemanJoseph RosenbergEric ToderRoberton Williams

This paper takes a broad look at tax expenditures in the context of revenue raising tax reform. It first reviews how tax expenditures have changed over the past 25 years and provides estimates of the distribution of tax savings resulting from tax expenditures today. The paper then examines three approaches for applying across-the-board limits to a selected group of the largest and most widely utilized tax preferences. The three options—a fixed percentage credit, a cap based on income, and a constant percentage reduction—can all be designed to raise significant revenue for deficit reduction in a progressive manner.

Published: 01/31/12
Availability:   PDF


Tax Rates on Capital Gains (Article/Tax Facts)
Roberton Williams

Tax rates on capital gains have fluctuated over the past century, sometimes matching the rates for ordinary income but more often substantially below them. The current top gains tax rate is 15 percent, less than half the 35 percent top rate on ordinary income and lower than at any time since the depression. But if Congress does not change the law, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and imposition of taxes associated with the 2010 healthcare legislation will boost the maximum tax rate on gains to 25 percent in 2013.

Published: 01/25/12
Availability:   PDF


Simple Tweak, Profound Effects  (Commentary)
Roberton Williams

In a contribution to the New York Times' Room for Debate, Roberton Williams suggests Congress scale back on tax subsidies in a way that protects America's hard-hit middle class.

Published: 09/30/11
Availability: HTML


Options to Limit the Benefit of Tax Expenditures for High-Income Households  (Research Report)
Daniel BanemanJim NunnsJeff RohalyEric ToderRoberton Williams

This analysis measures the revenue and distributional impacts of three proposals to limit tax expenditures for higher-income households: the Obama Administration's plan to cap the value of itemized deductions at 28 percent; an effective minimum tax (EMT) to ensure that tax liability is at least a certain percentage of a taxpayer's income; and a modified version of a recent proposal to limit the value of specific tax expenditures to two percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).

Published: 08/02/11
Availability: HTML | PDF

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