The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
The Senate GOP budget is out. It would cut spending by $5.1 trillion and reach balance in 10 years, according to its dynamic score. Like the House budget released Tuesday, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, but unlike the House plan, it includes reconciliation instructions that could give Congress a way to manage the US Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision due in June. The Senate GOP plan, like its House counterpart, endorsed the general concept of tax reform but provided few details. Senate Democratic leaders were not impressed. Neither were some House Republicans who are angling for more defense spending.
Don’t be scared, tax filers. Need help understanding the 1040 as we enter the homestretch of this year’s tax filing season? TPC created a new interactive tool to walk you through key parts of the federal income tax, ranging from the mundane to the arcane. TPC’s Bob Williams says it might not make it easier to file taxes, but it could make it more interesting. When tax experts say “interesting,” they often mean fun, so check it out.
Filers unite: Earned Income Tax Credit and the Affordable Care Act premium tax credit. Brookings Institution researchers, using their MetroTax model, have estimated how many file for both the EITC and the ACA credit. They find that over 7.5 million are likely to qualify for both, and almost 70 percent of them live in states that depend on the federal health insurance marketplace.
In California, a big surplus for a nonprofit insurer may mean a big tax windfall for the state. The state Franchise Board has stripped the nonprofit Blue Shield of California of its state tax-exempt status. The state’s third largest health insurer has been under fire for its rate increases, executive pay, and its $4.2 billion surplus—four times the amount required to pay future claims. Blue Shield will appeal the Board’s decision, but if it loses, it could owe tens of millions of dollars in state taxes each year.
On the Hill today. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to review five years of the Affordable Care Act. Witnesses include Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, Holly Wade of the National Federation of Independent Business, and David Blumenthal of The Commonwealth Fund. The House Appropriations panel’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies holds a budget hearing on Surface Transportation Programs, including the soon-to-be-broke Highway Trust Fund.
Next week: Expect a House Ways & Means vote to repeal the US estate tax. Bloomberg reports that the effort has no chance of becoming law under President Obama, but Republicans seek to win political favor among famers and business owners. Only 0.2 percent of deaths are subject to the tax, levied at a top rate of 40 percent on estates after an exemption of $5.43 million per individual or $10.86 million per couple.
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