The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
High-income households can worry even less about being audited this year. Last year, the IRS audited just 7.5 percent of households earning more than $1 million in 2013. That’s the lowest share since 2009. Its overall individual audit rate was 0.86 percent, the lowest since 2004. The IRS budget has been cut by $1.2 billion over the past five years even as its workload has grown.
Many uninsured may take advantage of the ACA’s special enrollment window. So far, most people with Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies seem to be filing their taxes without huge problems. However, about half of those who have filed returns with tax prep firm H&R Block and who owe a penalty for not having insurance, have expressed interest in purchasing exchange coverage. That suggests many may buy during the new special enrollment window. Those were some of the take-aways from this morning’s TPC panel on the ACA and taxes.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has tax reform plans. The state faces a $2.3 billion deficit, and the governor is open to a graduated income tax targeting higher-income households. Pennsylvania’s personal income tax rate is currently a flat 3.07 percent. It’s levied against taxable income of resident and nonresident individuals, estates, and pass-through businesses. Wolf will release his budget next week, telling reporters: “What I talked about was a fairer tax system… This is a chance for a reset.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal won’t cut two tax credits for low-income families. The state faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, but the governor’s new fiscal plan will not target the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit or the School Readiness Tax Credit. Jindal had said he might roll back refundable tax credits—which can be issued regardless of tax liability—to balance the budget. He may instead focus on the business inventory tax credit, as it reduces revenue by $456 million next year.
Meanwhile, Texas GOPers are competing to provide the most tax relief. The state’s Senate GOP leaders would cut school property taxes, worth about $240 a year for an average homeowner. Their $2.5 billion proposal, coupled with a business tax relief plan, would cost $4.6 billion over two years. Republican Governor Greg Abbott proposed $4.5 billion of tax relief, calling for $2.2 billion in property tax relief.
And Greece? It received a four-month bailout extension. The European Commission has agreed to extend the terms of Greece’s loan by four months, in return for Greece committing to maintain current state-asset sales, consolidate pension funds to reduce costs, and revamp tax collection and administration. Greece hopes to collect $3.4 billion in the coming months by cracking down on tax evasion.
Today on the Hill. The House Appropriations panel subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold an oversight hearing on the IRS with Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. Its subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies holds a hearing with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who’ll likely answer questions about the Affordable Care Act. The House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on the solvency of the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the nation’s debt, with Boston University’s Laurence Kotlikoff, The Heritage Foundation’s Heather Pfitzenmaier, and former Treasury official Bruce Bartlett.
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