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.
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.
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.
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.
Read 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,…
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.
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.
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.
President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package, the American Rescue Plan, includes a significant expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The president’s proposal provides a $125 billion boost in funding for the program, which would essentially double the size of the existing federal credit for households with children. Combined with existing law, the CTC provisions in Biden’s plan would provide a 37.4 percent income boost to the poorest 20 percent of families with children who make $21,300 or less a year.
The $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan, known as the American Rescue Plan, announced by President-elect Biden contains, among other provisions, expanded cash payments and changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The House and Senate are about to pass the first COVID-19 relief legislation since the CARES Act was enacted in March. The new relief package includes, among other provisions, cash payments of $600 per person, which is half as large as the payments provided under the CARES Act, but also extends payments to spouses and children of certain undocumented immigrants who were left out of the previous payments.
Flat or graduated personal income taxes have varying effects on the annual individual tax liabilities of taxpayers at different income levels. Less examined is how tax structures affect income inequality and racial wealth gaps. This brief illustrates how Illinois’s historic flat income tax structure compares to the proposed Fair Tax through a multi-year retrospective analysis. It shows that Illinois’s flat income tax in lieu of a graduated rate tax used by most states amounts to a tax subsidy for the wealthiest Illinoisans that compounds income inequality and racial wealth gaps.
ITEP estimates that if Congress and the president eliminated all Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes paid by employers and employees from Sept. 1 through the end of the year, 64 percent of the benefits would go the richest 20 percent of taxpayers and 24 percent of the benefits would go to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, as illustrated in the table below. The total cost of this hypothetical proposal would be $336 billion.
We all need the public sector to protect public health, keep us safe, educate our children, and much more. Companies, particularly multinational corporations, could not function without the legal, infrastructure, financial, regulatory, health, and transportation resources that the government provides.
Having a sound understanding of who pays taxes and how much is a particularly relevant question now as the nation grapples with a health and economic crisis that is devastating lower-income families and requiring all levels of government to invest more in keeping individuals, families and communities afloat. This year, the share of all taxes paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans (24.3 percent) will be just a bit higher than the share of all income going to this group (20.9 percent). The share of all taxes paid by the poorest fifth of Americans (2 percent) will be just a bit lower than the share of all income going to this group (2.8 percent).
While lawmakers of both parties and policy experts discuss various ways to respond to the continuing COVID-19 crisis and resulting economic downturn, Republicans in Congress are offering a new solution. Their idea, which is still being discussed, is to waive existing limits on business tax credits. This could benefit corporations that are profitable but that nonetheless pay no taxes or very little in taxes because of the many tax breaks and legal loopholes they already enjoy.
The Trump administration and its congressional allies have proposed making permanent the expensing provision in the Trump-GOP tax law. Expensing is the most extreme form of accelerated depreciation, which allows businesses to deduct the cost of purchasing equipment more quickly than it wears out. But expensing and other types of accelerated depreciation already account for a very large share of corporate tax breaks and allows many companies to pay nothing at all.
The major provisions for cash payments and tax changes in the House Democrats’ Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act would provide nearly $600 billion to individuals and households and average benefits of more than $3,000 to families in all but the highest income levels.
Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Edward Markey released a proposal to provide a monthly payment of $2,000 for each member of a household (including up to three dependents), with benefits phased out at income levels starting at $200,000 for married couples. The proposal is partly a response to concerns that one-time cash payments under the CARES Act, which amount to $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples) and $500 for each child under age 17, are not sufficient to help families make ends meet or boost the economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinarily challenging time, as we see harm and struggle affecting the vast majority of our families, businesses, public services, and economic sectors. No one will be unaffected by the crisis, and everyone has a stake in the recovery and faces tough decisions. In the world of state fiscal policy, where revenue shortfalls are likely to be far bigger than can be filled by the initial $150 billion in federal aid or absorbed through funding cuts without causing major harm, tax increases must be among those decisions. Even with more federal support, states will need home-grown revenue solutions in the short, medium, and long terms as the crisis and its fiscal fallout intensify, subside, and eventually give way to a new normal. States must balance their budgets, and research shows that they harm their economies when they choose deep funding cuts to vital public investments over increasing tax contributions from those who can afford them.
Data available for download Congress passed and the president signed a $2 trillion plan that includes $150 billion in fiscal aid to states, $150 billion in health care spending, large…
President Trump has proposed to eliminate payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare through the end of the year. ITEP estimates that this would cost $843 billion and 65 percent of the benefits would go to the richest 20 percent of taxpayers, as illustrated in the table below.
For 45 years, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has benefited low- and moderate-income workers. Yet, throughout its history, the EITC has provided little or no benefit to workers without children in the home—a group that includes noncustodial parents whose children live the majority of the year with another parent.
State itemized deductions are generally patterned after federal law, though nearly every state makes significant changes to the menu of deductions available or the extent to which those deductions are allowed. This report summarizes the key details of each state’s itemized deduction policies and discusses various options for reforming those deductions with a focus on lessening their regressive impact and reducing their cost to state budgets.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s proposal An Economic Agenda for American Families: Empowering Working and Middle Class Americans to Thrive would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as modeled by the Working Families Tax Relief Act.