Supreme Court rulings in 2013 and 2015 established and expanded rights to same-sex marriage in the U.S. One of the most visible and impactful ways the federal government recognized these new rights was by allowing—indeed, requiring—legally-married same-sex couples to file federal tax returns as...

June 28, 2018
Robin Fisher, Geof Gee, Adam Looney

In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois, that a business must have a physical presence within a state’s borders for the state to collect sales taxes from that business. In 1992, the court reaffirmed the physical presence requirement in Quill...

June 26, 2018
Richard C. Auxier, Kim S. Rueben

Tax and transfer programs can create significant bonuses and penalties for low- and moderate-income cohabiters with children. We find that federal tax laws can create marriage penalties that reach almost 10 percent of earnings for our hypothetical couples earning $40,000 or $50,000 a year. In...

September 8, 2015
Elaine Maag,

After one year of the Trump administration, we assess the fiscal path implied by budget policies that the president and Congress have so far put in place. Using a new framework that holds lawmakers accountable for reforms taken and not taken, we project that over the coming decade, nearly all...

June 6, 2018
C. Eugene Steuerle, Caleb Quakenbush

On February 15, 2018, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) requested specific information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on its oversight activities of nonprofit hospitals. In this brief, to provide evidence well beyond what the IRS considers, I present a new tool...

May 25, 2018
C. Eugene Steuerle

Widespread and profound public misinformation about government presents a serious challenge to democratic accountability. This paper demonstrates that two of the most common examples of public misperception may be systematically overestimated; public misperceptions of “foreign aid” spending and...

March 30, 2018
Vanessa Williamson

Despite its relatively small role in the federal taxation system—accounting for less than 1 percent of revenues—the estate and gift tax is controversial. This brief surveys research on the effect of estate and inheritance taxes on entrepreneurship and presents new evidence. We find that...

March 5, 2018
Leonard E. Burman, Robert McClelland, Chenxi Lu

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 doubled the maximum child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. But about 29 million children under age 17 with at least one working parent will miss out on the full increase because their families earn too little in income or owe too little in taxes.


February 15, 2018
Elaine Maag

Unemployment insurance (UI) helps workers smooth their consumption after employment loss, but may also diminish their incentive to quickly find new jobs, thereby lengthening spells of unemployment and raising the aggregate unemployment rate. Less appreciated is the effect that UI has on...

February 8, 2018
Ryan Nunn, Laura Kawano, Ben Klemens

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows owners of certain pass-through businesses (such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations) to take a new deduction. However, the structure of the deduction is complicated because its generosity depends on many factors, such as the nature...

January 31, 2018
William G. Gale, Aaron Krupkin