The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
No more tax havens abroad? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released its plan to limit corporate tax avoidance. All 34 OECD members plus 10 other countries including China and Russia have approved the proposals, though each nation must still implement them. The recommendations are designed to “ensure the coherence of corporate income taxation at the international level” and to improve transparency. Large US-based multinational companies like Google and Apple could be affected. The plan could also curb US corporate inversions.
Will Treasury curb corporate inversions before Congress does? Senate Majority leader Harry Reid indicated as much: “We'll see what the president does, if he does it.” After that, if necessary, the Senate would consider anti-inversion legislation after the mid-term elections. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden maintains his desire to pass anti-inversion legislation during the lame-duck session, irrespective of White House action. Republicans remain skeptical.
How big is too big for an IRA? Some of them are pretty big, after all. A new GAO report finds that a taxpayer who contributed the maximum to an IRA—$5,500 a year, plus $1,000 if over age 50—from 1975 to 2011 would have about $350,000. But what about those lucky enough to have rolled over 401(k)-style accounts, or who made use of self-employed taxpayers’ higher IRA contribution limits? They might be sitting on as much $4 million. Some might call that the result of good planning. Others might call that a tax shelter for a taxpayer already living in a fortress.
Surf free or die? TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains the many reasons why there’s no need to panic about the looming expiration of the Internet Tax Freedom Act on November 1. For one, “It is hard to imagine very many people being forced off-line if their monthly access bill is increased by, say 5 percent. If we were so price sensitive, providers such as Verizon and Comcast probably wouldn’t be raising their own fees so often.” Net neutrality, on the other hand, warrants real attention: “Internet providers are trying to impose what is effectively their own tax on third-party content firms and, ultimately, consumers.” Still, Congress is expected to extend the moratorium until mid-December.
Will New Jersey kill its “death” tax? It’s one of 19 states plus the District of Columbia that levies its own estate tax, but it has the lowest estate tax exemption threshold at $675,000. The feds exempt estates up to $5.34 million from tax. Neighboring states New York and Maryland raised their estate tax thresholds this year, and they’ll match the federal threshold by 2019.
Oregon might have a good plan for a carbon tax. The state’s lawmakers just previewed a plan that is revenue-neutral: Whatever the state would collect from taxing various forms of energy would be offset by lower state income and business taxes. The proposal will be released November 15, but its authors say “they expect that a $60 per ton tax on carbon emissions would raise around $2 billion annually.”
On the Hill today: The House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures holds a hearing on private employer defined benefit pension plans. The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on energy tax policy. And, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine the never-ending story of missing IRS emails.
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