The EITC benefits low-income people of all races and ethnicities. But it is particularly impactful in historically excluded Black and Hispanic communities where discrimination in the labor market, inequitable educational systems, and countless other inequities have relegated a disproportionate share of people to low-wage jobs.
brief October 21, 2021
Boosting Incomes and Improving Tax Equity with State Earned Income Tax Credits in 2021
brief October 14, 2021
Investment Income and Racial Inequality
Congress has a historic opportunity to fix the way the preferential treatment of investment income widens the racial wealth gap and to strive toward a racially equitable tax code.
report October 4, 2021
State Income Taxes and Racial Equity: Narrowing Racial Income and Wealth Gaps with State Personal Income Taxes
10 state personal income tax reforms that offer the most promising routes toward narrowing racial income and wealth gaps through the tax code.
report September 23, 2021
Repealing the SALT Cap Would Wipe Out Revenue Raised by the House Ways and Means Bill’s Income Tax Provisions
There are several ways that the House leadership could avoid this problem. One approach is for lawmakers to replace the SALT cap with a different kind of limit on tax breaks for the rich that actually raises revenue and avoids disfavoring some states compared to others as the SALT cap does. ITEP has suggested a way to do this.
report September 21, 2021
Tax Changes in the House Ways and Means Committee Build Back Better Bill
This report finds that the vast majority of these tax increases would be paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans and foreign investors. The bill’s most significant tax cuts — expansions of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — would more than offset the tax increases for the average taxpayer in all income groups except for the richest 5 percent.
report September 17, 2021
Why Congress Should Reform the Federal Corporate Income Tax
It is reasonable for corporations (and, indirectly, their shareholders) to pay taxes to support the government investments that make their profits possible, such as the highways that facilitate the movement of goods and people, the education and health care systems that provide a productive workforce, the legal system and the protection of property, all of which are vital to commerce. Corporate tax avoidance allows wealthy and powerful individuals to reap enormous benefits from these investments without contributing their fair share to support them.
report August 26, 2021
Options to Reduce the Revenue Loss from Adjusting the SALT Cap
If lawmakers are unwilling to replace the SALT cap with a new limit on tax breaks that raises revenue, then any modification they make to the cap in the current environment will lose revenue and make the federal tax code less progressive. Given this, lawmakers should choose a policy option that loses as little revenue as possible and that does the smallest amount of damage possible to the progressivity of the federal tax code.
brief August 25, 2021
The One Thing Missing From the Qualified Business Income Deduction Conversation: Racial Equity
When crafting tax policy, lawmakers and bill authors often work backward, using a patchwork of changes to help achieve their stated goal. One important consideration that is routinely left out is what impact the change will have on racial equity. Such is the case with the qualified business income deduction, which is helping to further enrich wealthy business owners, the overwhelming majority of whom are white. At present, white Americans own 88 percent of private business wealth despite making up only 60 percent of the population. Meanwhile, Black and Hispanic families confronting much higher barriers to entrepreneurship each own less than 2 percent, despite making up 13 percent and 19 percent of the population, respectively.
brief August 6, 2021
Sales Tax Holidays: An Ineffective Alternative to Real Sales Tax Reform
Policymakers tout sales tax holidays as a way for families to save money while shopping for “essential” goods. On the surface, this sounds good. However, a two- to three-day sales tax holiday for selected items does nothing to reduce taxes for low- and moderate-income taxpayers during the other 362 days of the year. Sales taxes are inherently regressive. In the long run, sales tax holidays leave a regressive tax system unchanged, and the benefits of these holidays for working families are minimal. Sales tax holidays also fall short because they are poorly targeted, cost revenue, can easily be exploited, and create administrative difficulties.
report July 29, 2021
Corporate Tax Avoidance Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Thirty-nine profitable corporations in the S&P 500 or Fortune 500 paid no federal income tax from 2018 through 2020, the first three years that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was in effect. Besides the 39 companies that paid nothing over three years, an additional 73 profitable corporations paid less than half the statutory corporate income tax rate of 21 percent established under TCJA. As a group, these 73 corporations paid an effective federal income tax rate of just 5.3 percent during these three years.
July 7, 2021
The Child Tax Credit in Practice: What We Know About the Payoffs of Payments (Webinar)
Join us for a discussion on why tax credits like the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion are good economic policy. You’ll hear from anti-poverty experts on why Congress should extend the policy beyond 2021 and what we can learn from an initiative providing low-income mothers in Jackson, Miss., $1,000 cash on a monthly basis, no strings attached. From theory to practice and what it means for American families, this CTC webinar will provide a unique angle through which to view this transformative policy.
brief June 17, 2021
ITIN Filer Data Gap: How Changing Laws, Lack of Data Disaggregation Limit Inclusive Tax Policy
Like U.S. citizens, noncitizens who live, work, or invest in the United States must file local, state and federal taxes. But in order to file personal income taxes, they must first be issued a processing number called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by the IRS. These numbers are issued to both legal permanent residents and nonresidents who are not eligible for Social Security numbers. ITINs do not imply immigration status, nor can they be used for immigration enforcement purposes, but they can be used to create burdensome barriers that make it difficult for ITIN holders to file taxes and to impose additional eligibility restrictions on benefits that exclude ITIN filers. The time is now to focus on integrating all ITIN filers, regardless of immigration status, into our tax policies. But a lack of information on the ITIN population creates large gaps in our understanding of these filers and the role they play in the U.S. tax system.
brief May 25, 2021
Income Tax Increases in the President’s American Families Plan
President Biden’s American Families Plan includes revenue-raising proposals that would affect only very high-income taxpayers. The two most prominent of these proposals would restore the top personal income tax rate to 39.6 percent and eliminate tax breaks related to capital gains for millionaires. As this report explains, these proposals would affect less than 1 percent of taxpayers and would be confined almost exclusively to the richest 1 percent of Americans. The plan includes other tax increases that would also target the very well-off and would make our tax system fairer. It would raise additional revenue by more effectively enforcing tax laws already on the books.
brief May 6, 2021
Effects of the President’s Capital Gains and Dividends Tax Proposals by State
President Biden’s proposal to eliminate the lower income tax rate on capital gains (profits from selling assets) and stock dividends for millionaires would affect less than half of one percent (0.4 percent) of U.S. taxpayers if it goes into effect in 2022. The share of taxpayers affected would be less than 1 percent in every state.
report April 20, 2021
Not Worth Its SALT: Tax Cut Proposal Overwhelmingly Benefits Wealthy, White Households
A previous ITEP analysis showed the lopsided distribution of SALT cap repeal by income level. The vast majority of families would not benefit financially from repeal and most of the tax cuts would flow to families with incomes above $200,000.
This report builds on that work by using a mix of tax return and survey data within our microsimulation tax model to estimate the distribution of SALT cap repeal across race and ethnicity. It shows that repealing the SALT cap would be the latest in a long string of inequitable policies that have conspired to create the vast racial income and wealth gaps that exist today.
report April 8, 2021
National and State-by-State Estimates of President Biden’s Campaign Proposals for Revenue
During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden proposed to change the tax code to raise revenue directly from households with income exceeding $400,000. More precisely, Biden proposed to raise personal income taxes on unmarried individuals and married couples with taxable income exceeding $400,000, and he also proposed to raise payroll taxes on individual workers with earnings exceeding $400,000. Just 2 percent of taxpayers would see a direct tax hike (an increase in either personal income taxes, payroll taxes, or both) if Biden’s campaign proposals were in effect in 2022. The share of taxpayers affected in each state would vary from a low of 0.6 percent in West Virginia to a high of 3.5 percent in New Jersey.
report April 8, 2021
A Proposal to Simplify President Biden’s Campaign Plan for Personal Income Taxes and Replace the Cap on SALT Deductions
In this paper, we describe a tax policy idea that would simplify the proposals President Biden presented during his campaign to raise personal income taxes for those with annual incomes greater than $400,000. Our proposal would replace the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions with a broader limit on tax breaks for the rich that would raise more revenue than the personal income tax hikes that Biden proposed during his campaign. Our proposal would also achieve Biden’s goals of setting the top rate at 39.6 percent and raising taxes only on those with income exceeding $400,000.
April 8, 2021
The High Cost of Corporate Tax Avoidance (Webinar)
When communities thrive, so do corporations. But when profitable corporations build their empires by exploiting the tax code, it is workers, the environment and our communities—not CEOs or shareholders—that are harmed. Amazon posted its highest U.S. profit ever for 2020, an unprecedented year defined by a pandemic. Yet the company sheltered more than half its profits from corporate taxes—legally. While the company may be one of the most recognizable tax avoiders, it’s not an outlier.
report April 2, 2021
55 Corporations Paid $0 in Federal Taxes on 2020 Profits
At least 55 of the largest corporations in America paid no federal corporate income taxes in their most recent fiscal year despite enjoying substantial pretax profits in the United States. This continues a decades-long trend of corporate tax avoidance by the biggest U.S. corporations, and it appears to be the product of long-standing tax breaks preserved or expanded by the 2017 tax law as well as the CARES Act tax breaks enacted in the spring of 2020.
report April 2, 2021
Corporate Tax Reform in the Wake of the PandemicRead as PDF Note: This report is adapted from written testimony submitted by Amy Hanauer before testifying in person to the Senate Budget Committee on March 25, 2021. In 2020,…
report March 31, 2021
Taxes and Racial Equity: An Overview of State and Local Policy Impacts
Historic and current injustices, both in public policy and in broader society, have resulted in vast disparities in income and wealth across race and ethnicity. Employment discrimination has denied good job opportunities to people of color. An uneven system of public education funding advantages wealthier white people and produces unequal educational outcomes. Racist policies such as redlining and discrimination in lending practices have denied countless Black families the opportunity to become homeowners or business owners, creating extraordinary differences in intergenerational wealth. These inequities have long-lasting effects that compound over time.
March 25, 2021
Testimony to Senate Budget Committee on Ending a Rigged Tax Code: The Need To Make the Wealthiest People and Largest Corporations Pay their Fair Share of TaxesFollowing is testimony of ITEP Executive Director Amy Hanauer before the Senate Budget Committee to consider “Ending a Rigged Tax Code: The Need To Make the Wealthiest People and Largest…
report March 7, 2021
Estimates of Cash Payment and Tax Credit Provisions in American Rescue Plan
Update: On March 10, the House passed the Senate version of the COVID relief bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act, and sent it to President Biden for his signature. This means that the Senate version of the bill described herein is the final legislation enacted into law.
brief March 5, 2021
How Long Has It Been Since Your State Raised Its Gas Tax?
Many state governments are struggling to repair and expand their transportation infrastructure because they are attempting to cover the rising cost of asphalt, machinery, and other construction materials with fixed-rate gasoline taxes that are rarely increased.
report February 24, 2021
Comparing Flat-Rate Income Tax Options for Alaska
Alaska lawmakers are facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis. The state is more dependent than any other on oil tax and royalty revenues but declines in oil prices and production levels have sapped much of the vitality of these revenue sources. One way of diversifying the state’s revenue stream and narrowing the yawning gap between state revenues and expenses would be to reinstitute a statewide personal income tax. Alaska previously levied such a tax until 1980. This report contains ITEP’s analysis of the distributional impact and revenue potential of a variety of flat-rate income tax options for Alaska, based on draft legislation provided by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.