The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Shutdown, Omnibus Spending, Continuing Resolution: So many choices in the wake of an Executive Action. The newly emboldened GOP (or is it?) has several options when responding to last night’s executive order on immigration issued by President Obama. After its Thanksgiving break, Congress will have until December 11 to decide. One thing is clear: more legal immigrants mean more tax revenue, as the International Business Times explains. But TPC’s Bill Gale reminds us that no matter what happens in the near-term, Congress needs to get the long-term fiscal house in order.
Across the pond, the Mayor of London sees no reason to pay his US taxes. Born in New York and holding dual US-UK citizenship London Mayor Boris Johnson owes US capital gains taxes on a home he sold in England. His reaction: “I think it’s absolutely outrageous. Why should I [pay]?” At the same time, Mayor Johnson expects the US embassy to pay London a congestion charge—or tax—something to which the US argues diplomats are immune. All US citizens, regardless of where they live, are obligated to file a US return and pay any due taxes to the IRS.
Maryland’s budget gap doesn’t mean Governor-elect Hogan won’t cut taxes. The state might be short $600 million next year, but newly-elected GOP Governor Hogan sees no reason to doubt that tax rollbacks will start as early as January 21. He also expects to get spending under control and improve government efficiency and cost-effectiveness. “And then we’re going to try to roll back as many of these tax increases as we possibly can.” The state legislature is dominated by Democrats. Godspeed, Governor.
Gas prices fall, and with it, a tax: Kentucky roads will pay the price. So says the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Kentucky’s sales tax on gasoline, diesel, and ethanol motor fuels will drop by 4.3 cents a gallon on January 1. Since the 1980s, the tax has been tied to the wholesale average price of gas. The variable 9 percent tax accounts for half the revenue of the Kentucky Road Fund. The state fund will lose about $129 million on an annualized basis. Local governments will be squeezed too: 48 percent of the state’s gas tax revenues are shared with cities and counties for local street and road repair.
For the average business, paying taxes takes less time, and hurts less, too. At least, that’s what medium-sized companies around the world are saying. The latest report from the World Bank Group and accounting firm PwC, Paying Taxes 2015, shows that the average company spent four fewer hours meeting its tax obligations in 2013 than in 2012. The total amount and the number of payments the average company made last year have also declined. This trend has continued since the report’s first publication ten years ago.
Businesses are not exactly panicking about the upcoming ACA tax on their high-cost health plans. The 40 percent excise tax on plans above $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family plan goes into effect in 2018. New survey results from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management say that 3.5 percent of employers expect to stop offering coverage in 2018. About 85 percent of firms didn’t expect their plans to meet the tax threshold.
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