Research report

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) dramatically changed tax law. It narrowed the subsidy on mortgage interest in several ways, which should lower mortgages and home prices; it also increased most taxpayers’ after-tax incomes, which should have the opposite effect. Thus, the TCJA’s overall...

March 30, 2022
Robert McClellandLivia MuccioloSafia Sayed
Research report

At the start of 2020, Governor Jared Polis organized a Tax Study Group and charged it with analyzing the efficiency and equity of Colorado’s tax system. Over the course of the year, the Tax Study Group held five learning sessions. Throughout this process, the Urban Institute’s State and Local...

March 11, 2022
Richard C. AuxierKim S. RuebenSafia Sayed
Research report

The global pandemic caused an unprecedented economic disruption across the nation. But two years in, state and local tax revenues are growing by double digits, much faster than state and local economies. The large gap between growth in revenues versus economic activity is an indication that some...

March 10, 2022
Lucy Dadayan
Research report

More than half of economic income generated by closely held businesses does not appear on tax returns and that ratio has declined significantly over the past 25 years. Tax data alone provide incomplete insights about business income taxation because the incomes reported to the IRS are already...

February 23, 2022
William G. GaleSwati JoshiChristopher PulliamJohn Sabelhaus
Research report

The “tax gap”—the difference between the amount of taxes owed and the amount of tax actually paid—includes substantial gray areas where the law is ambiguous and the IRS’s determination of taxes owed is debatable. Understanding the tax gap’s shades of gray can inform discussions of tax law and...

February 22, 2022
Daniel HemelJanet HoltzblattSteven M. Rosenthal
Research report

This report presents updated figures in 2021 dollars for the lifetime benefits earned and the lifetime taxes paid by hypothetical workers participating in Social Security and Medicare. For a single male earning average wages every year and retiring in 2020 at age 65, lifetime Social Security and...

February 15, 2022
C. Eugene SteuerleKaren E. Smith
Research report

State policymakers across the country are considering tax cuts in 2022. While there are many reasons and ways to cut taxes, state policymakers should keep in mind that the pandemic’s negative effects were unequal and that future state revenue growth is uncertain. This report, using the Tax...

February 9, 2022
Richard C. Auxier
Research report

Direct income supports (such as cash transfers) can stabilize households during crises and recoveries. They show special promise as an equitable means of assisting families of color with low incomes, who because of structural racism are disproportionately affected...

February 24, 2022
Mary BogleEmily Bramhall Olivia FiolPeace GwamElaine MaagEleanor NobleFay Walker
Research report

The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is a triennial household survey with extensive demographic, income, and balance sheet information. The SCF is unique among public-use household surveys because it oversamples wealthy households and is thus suitable for studying wealth and income inequality...

February 8, 2022
William G. GaleSwati JoshiChristopher PulliamJohn Sabelhaus
Research report

Federal, state, and local government officials are increasingly paying attention to reforms of fines and fees. These constitute a small share of total revenues, but they can be particularly harmful because of unjust policing and sentencing practices. This research report first explores how much...

January 13, 2022
Aravind BoddupalliLivia Mucciolo