The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Alabama’s Senate Budget Committee taps the brakes on a state flat tax plan. The panel delayed a vote on a bill that would cut the state’s personal income tax rate to 2.75 percent from 5 percent, and lower the corporate income tax rate to 4.59 percent from 6.5 percent. The bill would also eliminate certain exemptions, credits and deductions. The changes would take effect in tax year 2017 and reduce fiscal year 2018 revenue for the state’s Education Trust Fund by $146.5 million. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bill Hightower, said that a related bill would address concerns about how the plan would affect low-income families and defined benefit plans for retirees.
No more “jock tax” in Cleveland, Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the city can no longer charge visiting professional athletes a 2-percent municipal income tax based on how many games they play in the city. The court instead agreed with two National Football League players in their lawsuit: Cleveland should compare the number of days a player works in their city compared with the total days worked during the year. The ruling could cost Cleveland $1 million a year.
In Puerto Rico, the House says no to a tax overhaul. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s plan would have levied a 13 percent tax on goods and services along with a 1 percent sales tax. The bill failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 28 to 22, with some legislators in the governor’s Popular Democratic Party voting against it. The tax plan had been central to a $2.9 billion bond deal that would have eased the island’s cash crunch.
The IRS won’t tell victims of identity theft what else might have been stolen. Why? Bloomberg explains that it’s section 6103 of the tax code. Congress established strict privacy rules for tax returns in 1976 after President Richard Nixon sought IRS audits of his political opponents. IRS workers face criminal penalties if they disclose personal information—including the information on a tax return filed by an identity thief—without authorization. If they do, they could face penalties: as much as a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
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