Ever since it was enacted as part of the Trump-GOP tax law, some Democrats in Congress have been pushing to repeal the cap on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT). Recently several Democratic members have suggested that repeal of the cap should be part of COVID relief legislation.
While the cap on SALT deductions is problematic, repealing it without making other reforms would result in larger tax breaks for the rich. Instead, lawmakers should consider ITEP’s proposal to replace the SALT cap with a broader limit on tax breaks for the rich that would accomplish Biden’s goal of raising income taxes on people making more than $400,000, as he proposed on the campaign trail.
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.
The Trump-GOP tax law enacted at the end of 2017 includes a $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes (SALT) that people can deduct on their federal tax returns, and this is one of the few limits the law places on tax breaks for high-income people. Unfortunately, it is also the provision that some Democrats are most determined to remove.
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).
White House officials continue to discuss tax cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Wamhoff provides a roundup of these terrible ideas that would do little to boost investment or reach those who need it most.
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.
New tax cuts to incentivize bringing jobs back to the United States will fail. No new tax provisions can be more generous than the zero percent rate the 2017 law provides for many offshore profits or the loopholes that allow corporations to shift profits to countries with minimal or no corporate income taxes.
The Health Economic Recovery and Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes important changes to business tax provisions in the CARES Act, the most recent COVID-19 legislation enacted by Congress and…
A select group of millionaires will receive an average tax break of $1.6 million thanks to a CARES Act provision that is receiving delayed but well-deserved scrutiny. Wealthy business owners are receiving this windfall because the CARES Act provides tax breaks to people with losses from a business they own. This approach may seem sensible because businesses small and large are taking a hit from the economic recession, but on close inspection, these provisions benefit those least in need and can be easily abused.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides some needed relief for individuals and families, but two arcane tax provisions related to business losses will further enrich the wealthy and fail to boost our economy more broadly.
Americans need many things right now beyond tax cuts or cash payments. But for people whose incomes have declined or evaporated, money is the obvious, immediate need to prevent missed rent or mortgage payments, skipped hospital visits and other cascading catastrophes. So, what should Congress do next to get money to those who need it?
Last week, President Trump destroyed everyone’s coronavirus press conference bingo card by announcing that a conversation he had with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck inspired him to propose restoring a corporate tax deduction for business entertainment expenses. Trump’s own signature tax plan repealed this break two years ago.
The gigantic Coronavirus-related tax and spending bill enacted last week, the so-called “CARES Act,” sets aside $17 billion in loans for “businesses critical to maintaining national security.” It’s generally understood that the bill’s authors want much, if not all, of this $17 billion to go to a single company: Boeing. So it behooves us to ask whether Boeing benefits America and its economy in ways that merit this largesse.
The House Democrats have plenty of ideas to help workers and families and boost the economy, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent idea to repeal the cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) is not one of them. The 2017 Trump-GOP tax law includes many provisions that should be repealed. Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats have long made it clear that they want to start by repealing the $10,000 cap on SALT deductions, which is one of the law’s few provisions that restrict tax breaks for the rich.
At a time when record numbers of Americans are facing unemployment, state and local governments are facing a perfect storm of growing public investment needs and vanishing tax revenues, and small business owners are struggling to avoid even more layoffs, lavishing tax breaks on the top 1 percent in this way shouldn’t be in anyone’s top 20 list of needed tax changes.
A payroll tax cut would help those lucky enough to keep their job and would provide a bigger break to those with more earnings. Sending checks to every household would be a far more effective economic stimulus because it would immediately put money in the hands of everyone who would likely spend it right away, pumping it back into the economy.
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.
The Trump administration is floating a cut in the Social Security payroll tax as a measure to counteract a potential economic downturn related to the COVID-19 virus. It should go without saying that a public health crisis requires government interventions that have nothing to do with taxes. But even if policymakers want to find ways to stimulate the economy beyond solving the health crisis, the payroll tax cut is not likely to be very effective.
Some problems can only be solved when public officials have the resources to act. Today’s public health crisis is that kind of problem. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s deep tax cuts leave our health infrastructure knee-capped, just when we need it most.
Now that multiple data points reveal the current administration, which promised to look out for the common man, is, in fact, presiding over an upward redistribution of wealth, the public is being treated to pasta policymaking in which advisors are conducting informal public opinion polling by throwing tax-cut ideas against the wall to see if any stick. But the intent behind these ideas is as transparent as a glass noodle.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may as well have been called the Promise for Austerity Later Act.
The Treasury Department, tasked with issuing regulations to implement the hastily drafted Trump-GOP tax law, is concocting new tax breaks that are not provided in the law. This is the short version of what we learned while watching Tuesday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on “The Disappearing Corporate Income Tax.”
President Trump and GOP lawmakers often cited corporations’ abuse of tax havens, e.g. shifting profits offshore to avoid taxes, as justification for dramatically lowering the federal corporate tax rate under…
As usual, corporate spokespersons and their allies are trying to push back against ITEP’s latest study showing that many corporations pay little or nothing in federal income taxes. One way they respond is by stating that everything they do is perfectly legal. This is an attempt by the corporate world to change the subject. The entire point of ITEP’s study is that Congress has allowed corporations to avoid paying taxes, and that this must change.
Profitable Fortune 500 companies avoided $73.9 billion in taxes under the first year of the Trump-GOP tax law. The study includes financial filings by 379 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable in 2018; it excludes companies that reported a loss.