TPC's Build Back Better Resources

As Congress moves forward in considering a tax plan to help finance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, lawmakers have significantly changed tax reform proposals from President Biden’s first budget and the campaign trail. For instance, the latest version of the Build Back Better bill in the House generally excludes any tax rate increases – instead relying on new minimum taxes, surtaxes, and other base broadeners.

The Tax Policy Center has explored potential impacts of many of these proposed changes. As the debate continues, below is a collection of TPC resources explaining how businesses and individuals could be affected. Our model estimates of prior version of the House Ways & Means Committee September 2021 version of the Build Back Better plan are here.

What’s In the House Bill

INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX PROVISIONS

Impose a 5% surtax on income above $10 million, and a 3% surtax on income above $25 million

After initially proposing a higher top marginal income tax rate and higher capital gains taxes, House lawmakers are instead proposing a surtax on all reported income above $10 million—including wages, dividends, and capital gains.

How the Democrats’ New Millionaire Surtax Would Work

Howard Gleckman

A Reluctant Defense of the Surtax

Leonard E. Burman

 

Making permanent the full refundability of the child tax credit

For 2021, the American Rescue Plan increased the size of the child tax credit, instituted advanced monthly payments for eligible households, and made the credit fully refundable. The House proposal would make full refundability permanent while extending some of the other enhancements.

Keeping Child Tax Credit Fully Refundable Is Critical to Low-Income Families

Elaine Maag

An Expanded Child Tax Credit Would Reduce Child Poverty to Below 10 Percent in Nearly All States

Elaine Maag

Who Has Received Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, and How Were the Payments Used

Michael Karpman, Elaine Maag, Genevieve M. Kenney, and Douglas A. Wissoker

 

Restricting the aggressive use of “Mega” IRAs to avoid taxes

Under current law, high-income taxpayers can, legally, amass mega-IRAs by maxing out contributions to various retirement plans and later rolling them over to IRAs. The House bill limits the balances that can accumulate in IRAs.

Mega IRAs Reflect Mega Legislative Mistakes

Steve Rosenthal

 

Increasing the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions

The TCJA capped the SALT deduction at $10,000 for individuals. The latest House proposal would raise the cap to $80,000 after an initial $72,500 proposal.

The Latest SALT Cap Fix Would Mostly Benefit High Income Households, Do Little For Middle-Income People

Howard Gleckman

How An $80,000 SALT Cap Stacks Up Against A Full Deduction For Those Making $400,000 Or Less

Howard Gleckman and Len Burman

 

CORPORATE TAX PROVISIONS

Creating a minimum tax for large corporations based on financial accounting book income

To crack down on large corporations reporting little or no income, a new 15 percent minimum tax would be applied to adjusted financial statement income (“book” income).

What Is Biden’s Minimum Book Income Tax on Corporations?

Thomas Brosy

The Prescription: Fiscal Policy for Today's Economy With Michelle Hanlon

Book Minimum Tax May Discourage Investment More Than a Rate Hike

Thornton Matheson and Thomas Brosy

A Better Way to Tax Corporations Than the House's Book Minimum Levy

Howard Gleckman

 

Reforming corporate rules for multinational firms based in the US

Parallel to efforts to agree on a global minimum tax and new rules for multinational corporate taxation, Congress is also seeking to amend the Global Intangible Low-Tax Income (GILTI) regime to further limit tax avoidance.

Ways and Means GILTI Reform Proposal Closely Tracks OECD/G-20 Pillar 2

Thornton Matheson and Thomas Brosy

Current Tax Reform Bills Could Encourage US Jobs, Factories and Profits to Shift Overseas

Steve Rosenthal

 

Changing tax treatment of stock buybacks

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act led to a surge in corporate stock buybacks, much of which flowed to foreign investors tax free. The House bill seeks to stem that surge and limit the advantages of buybacks over dividends.

Tackling Stock Buybacks: Too Little, Too Late from Foreign Investors

Steve Rosenthal

 

TAX ENFORCEMENT

Boosting IRS funding to improve tax compliance

As requested by the administration, the House bill would increase IRS funding to give the agency more resources and staff to increase audits and collections. However, the bill doesn’t include President Biden’s proposal to mandate additional information reporting by financial institutions.

The Effect of Tax Enforcement on Revenues

Janet Holtzblatt

Biden’s Effort to Close the Tax Gap Is Well-Intentioned but Flawed

Steve Rosenthal

How Should Congress Fund Investments in The Internal Revenue Service’s Infrastructure?

Janet Holtzblatt

Last updatedNovember 22, 2021