The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Looking for a quick reference that explains how the tax code treats families with children? Or how it taxes multinational corporations? Maybe you want to learn how the federal budget process works.
The Tax Policy Center has just what you need. TPC has released an updated version of its Briefing Book. The online resource, which is TPC’s most popular product, contains detailed, easy-to-understand information on the current tax system--fully updated to include the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The online Briefing Book also explains concepts used in tax, budget, and economic policy. It is written for the public and the press, students and staffers—anyone who wants to be well informed about current tax and budget matters.
TPC revised the book to reflect the TCJA, the largest overhaul of the U.S tax system since 1986. The 2017 law significantly changed many features of the federal tax system, introduced new terminology and an alphabet soup of new acronyms (think BEAT, GILTI, FDII, and QBI), and redefined how we think about existing concepts such as child tax credits and the deduction for state and local taxes—SALT.
Some sections provide background on the current state of tax and budgetary affairs: How much revenue does the federal government raise from which sources? How does the budget process work? Others explain key elements of the tax system: What taxes are now on the books? How do they affect individuals, families, and businesses?
Say, for example, you want to know about the taxation of capital gains. The Briefing Book has sections that describe how gains are taxed today, who benefits from preferential tax rates on investment income, and how the taxation of gains could be improved. It provides the same kind of information for scores of other elements of the existing tax code.
Other sections look forward, evaluating various proposals to improve the federal tax system: What incremental reforms would make the system work better? What would more fundamental reforms mean for taxpayers and revenues? And there are sections that examine how state and local governments raise funds and how their taxes interact with the federal tax system.
The Tax Policy Center Briefing Book is ideal for grazing. You are not likely to start at the beginning and read through to the end. Rather, it allows you to pick a topic, read the basic information, and then follow the links to publications if you want to learn more. While our latest version is a major post-TCJA update, we will periodically expand and update the Briefing Book as tax policy or the economy change. So, keep checking back for the latest information.
Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.