Itemized deductions are problematic tax subsidies that need to close. The mortgage interest deduction, for instance, is often lauded as a way to help middle-class families afford homes and charitable deductions are touted as incentivizing gifts to charitable organizations. But the dirty little secret is that itemized deductions primarily benefit higher-income households while largely failing to achieve their purported goals.
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.