The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Senate Finance Committee Chair Hatch wants a tax reform bill in 2015. Tax Analysts reports that the Utah Republican aims to mark up a bill later this year. Speaking at Arent Fox, LLP, yesterday, Hatch chided the Obama administration for “lacking engagement” in tax reform. While he wants to overhaul the entire tax system, Hatch conceded that a corporate-only tax reform plan “may be what we have to do” if the President doesn’t meet GOP hopes for the tax treatment of “pass-through” businesses, which pay taxes through the individual code.
The IRS: Still doing more with less. The agency released its 2014 snapshot of agency activities yesterday. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen notes that it’s the fourth consecutive fiscal year of reduced IRS appropriations. “These reductions required us to change our approach to taxpayer service and enforcement operations; with fewer resources, we saw decreases in the number of phone calls answered and the number of audits completed.”
The ACA Advance Premium Tax Credit: Reconciling income might hurt a bit. The advance credit that helps low- and moderate income people pay for health care coverage obtained through the Affordable Care Act is estimated based on projected income and reconciled with actual income on tax returns. That causes tax season surprises, both good and bad. A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that half of subsidy-eligible tax households have to repay some of their subsidies, while 45 percent will receive a refund.
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf is between a rock and a hard place. The Democrat wants to use revenues from a new severance tax on natural gas to boost education spending. The Governor says the tax would raise $1 billion in its first full year. Republicans aren’t fans, especially of the governor’s proposal to set a minimum value of $2.97 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas, regardless of sale price. Drillers wouldn’t be able to pass any extra cost on to landowners. GOP lawmakers won’t discuss the plan until the Governor works with them on pensions and liquor privatization bills—in their minds better sources of cost savings or revenue.
A school choice quid pro quo is a big no-no… South Carolina offers a 100 percent tax credit—capped at an aggregate $8 million this year—for donations to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. Donors can’t designate a child or school as beneficiary. This protects against taxpayers getting a credit for donating to get scholarships for their own children. But South Carolina’s tax agency wants to know whether the biggest awarding nonprofit, the Palmetto Kids First Scholarship program, has been implying that families making donations will receive scholarships. The state review comes just as state senators are reviewing South Carolina’s school choice law: One lawmaker wants to more than triple the tax credit program to $25 million a year.
Dark skies loom over some Oregon solar panels. The state awarded $11.8 million in state tax credits to developers of the solar arrays installed at Oregon State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology. The thing is, The Oregonian found documents that suggest construction timelines and paperwork were falsified in order to qualify for the credits. The state’s Department of Justice has opened criminal and civil investigations into the matter.
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