TPC Baseline Definitions
Current law refers to the law currently scheduled for a given year — that is, the law that will prevail if Congress does not act to change it. The definition of current law will typically change when Congress enacts a new tax law. For instance, for most of 2017, the individual income tax rates scheduled for 2018 under current law were 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6 percent. Now, however, the tax rates under 2018 current law are 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35, and 37 percent because of changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that was signed into law on December 22, 2017. Under 2018 current law, tax rates would return to 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6 beginning in 2026.
Prior to the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), TPC typically analyzed proposals against both current law and an alternative baseline, current policy. Current policy generally assumed that Congress would extend tax provisions that were set to expire, or "sunset", under current law. Because ATRA dramatically reduced the number of temporary provisions in the tax code, TPC suspended its use of a current policy baseline. Because many of the provisions in TCJA are set to expire at the end of 2025, it is possible that TPC will resume the use of a current policy baseline in the near future.
The following links to a table containing a non-exhaustive list of tax law parameters that define the current law baseline TPC uses to develop revenue and distributional estimates. The table displays the baseline parameters we use for model estimates posted on or after January 11, 2018. The associated Excel and PDF files contain this table as well as additional tables that show the baseline parameters for estimates created during earlier periods going back to 2009.
January 11, 2018 to present
December 22, 2015 to December 21, 2017
January 2, 2013 to December 18, 2015
September 11, 2012 to January 1, 2013
January 6, 2012 to September 10, 2012
April 14, 2011 to January 5, 2012
January 3, 2011 to April 13, 2011
May 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011
March 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010
Current Policy Parameters
Used Before January 2, 2013