The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
No Virginia. The One Percent don’t dodge federal taxes. In 2013, they paid 35.7 percent of their income in federal taxes. Low-income households don’t dodge, either. While many paid no income tax, nearly all paid payroll tax. You can start your Tax Day exploring these and other common myths as TPC’s Howard Gleckman shares five surprises about federal taxes.
Ten percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies pay far less corporate income tax than the rest. Fifty-four companies have lowered their tax bills by either completing corporate inversions and moving their mailing addresses abroad, or by staying in the US and becoming real estate investment trusts or master limited partnerships. Both of those structures lend themselves to lower tax rates. Bloomberg interviewed TPC’s Bill Gale: “As capital gets increasingly mobile, it’s harder to stop people from pursuing tax advantages around the world.” Or, as the case may be, in their own back yard. The US corporate income tax rate is 35 percent.
As for small businesses, they’re not fans of corporate-only tax rate cuts. On Monday, House Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch asked businesses for ideas on how to reduce effective tax rates for small businesses without touching individual tax rates. Yesterday, groups including the S Corporation Association, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Association of Home Builders responded: “Congress needs to reduce the tax rates paid by individuals and corporations to similar, low levels… Congress needs to reduce top tax rates for all types of taxpayers.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has a plan for some corporate tax avoiders. Yesterday he introduced the “Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2015” to stop companies from sheltering their profits in tax havens abroad. His bill would also end tax incentives for large businesses that move labor and factories to other countries. Sanders’ bill and a companion House version introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky would bring in over $590 billion in revenue over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Ohio Governor John Kasich’s business tax plan: GOP scraps and replaces it. The GOP governor—and maybe Presidential hopeful—wanted to eliminate the income tax for 1 million Ohio business owners and lower it for other Ohioans. To pay for it, he would have raised taxes on cigarettes and oil and gas from fracking, and increased and expanded the sales tax. The state’s House Republicans plan to replace his tax hikes with a smaller income tax cut. They would not eliminate taxes for business owners, but give small businesses a permanent tax deduction to avoid paying taxes on a majority of their income. Expected surplus tax revenue would pay for the GOP plan.
The President’s tax returns, key state data: Take a peek. A new TPC interactive tool gives you the ability to hover and click over different lines from President Obama’s tax returns to see how the President earned his income and pays his taxes. Check out the State and Local Finance Initiative’s interactive tool to view differences across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in employment, wages, housing, and taxes.
Today on the Hill. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee holds a hearing on IRS challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will testify. The Joint Economic Committee will examine taxes’ impact on small business growth. The Senate Committee on Aging will look at the IRS impersonation scam and the government’s response.
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Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.