ITEP is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization. We conduct rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provide data-driven recommendations to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect people at various levels of income and wealth, and people of different races and ethnicities. We also help make the case for raising enough revenue to truly meet all our societal needs. Our work is designed to provide the best possible information and to put forth a vision of a more racially and economically equitable tax system at all levels of government.
Good tax policy is essential to creating a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economy in which all people have what they need to thrive. But our tax systems too often fail to raise enough revenue to fund our common priorities, are littered with loopholes for the wealthy and corporate interests, and in the case of most state and local tax systems, ask more of those who have the least. These deeply inequitable policies contribute to stark disparities in wealth and well-being by race, ethnicity, gender, and geography. This results in a society in which a tiny few capture an enormous share of the nation’s income and wealth while a broad swath of people make do without economic security.
ITEP believes that data can make a powerful case for equitable tax policy. We care deeply about real-life impacts of policy choices, appreciate that lived experience can differ from assumptions in academic literature, and respect diverse perspectives. To complement and enhance our research, we strive to provide historical and social context; examine how policy intersects with race, gender, class and other factors; evaluate our data for potential biases; counter biases and inaccuracies in other research; and identify gaps in existing research. We know that creating change requires many different voices and approaches and we are proud to contribute to the struggle for justice.
Since its founding in 1980, ITEP has provided policymakers, advocates, and the public with important information regarding state and federal tax policy. ITEP, along with its c(4)partner, Citizens for Tax Justice, became a nationally known voice for tax fairness after analyzing the effects of the 1981 tax cuts under President Reagan and demonstrating that ordinary families, in fact, experienced a net tax increase. Ultimately, ITEP’s corporate tax work helped secure critical provisions in the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that closed corporate tax loopholes and raised the corporate tax rate to ensure companies were paying their fair share.
Today, ITEP continues its corporate tax research, but a substantial part of its current work is analyzing the distributional and revenue effects of federal and state tax laws and proposals.
To do this work, ITEP built a “microsimulation tax model” in 1996 capable of analyzing the tax systems of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government. Our microsimulation model has the same capability as tax models used by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Congressional Budget Office, as well as by many state revenue departments. But ITEP coders also developed the capacity for the model to handle individual state projections; comparative analyses of tax policies across the states; 50-state analyses of the impact of federal tax policies and proposals, and analyses of federal tax policies.
ITEP’s tax model is in such demand that requests come in daily for analyses of specific projects and proposals. Each year, ITEP publishes tax incidence analyses in more than 30 states, responding to requests from lawmakers, the media and non-profit groups. ITEP also has published a series of detailed reports providing in-depth insights on reform possibilities in various states. These reports have helped to influence important policy debates in states across the nation.
Throughout its existence, the bulk of ITEP’s federal-level work has been done in partnership with Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ). ITEP staff have advised members of Congress and their staff on tax reform options and provided analysis of every major tax proposal over the last 30 years.
Whether it’s at the state or federal level, ITEP produces careful research and in-depth analyses of tax policies and provides a voice for working people in tax policy debates.
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ITEP regularly produces research and analyses on federal and state tax policy issues. Our flagship reports include Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of Tax Systems in All 50 States, and our occasional corporate study, which examines effective tax rates paid by profitable corporations. The latest corporate study is Corporate Tax Avoidance in the First Year of the Trump Tax Law.