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Effort to Make Bonus Depreciation Permanent Is Economically Unjustified and Fiscally Irresponsible

May 29, 2014

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) is proposing to make permanent a tax provision known as “bonus depreciation,” which lets businesses take bigger upfront tax deductions for certain new purchases such as machinery and equipment.  The proposal to make it permanent, which Chairman Camp plans to bring before his committee today, is economically unjustified and fiscally...

One Easy Improvement to Senate “Tax Extenders” Bill: Don’t Outsource the IRS

May 20, 2014

A bill to extend various temporary corporate tax breaks (“tax extenders”), which failed to advance in the Senate last week, will likely reemerge in coming weeks.  While it suffers from several flaws, one is easy — and important — to correct.  The bill would outsource to private debt...

Technical Change Doesn’t Fix Real Flaws With House Approach to Tax Extenders

May 8, 2014

House Republicans have scrambled to make a technical change to the first of six “tax extender” bills that the Ways and Means Committee has approved to ensure that it won’t lead to a new round of sequestration budget cuts.  But this change doesn’t fix the serious flaws with the House approach toward the extenders.

The bill, which would expand and make permanent the...

A Misguided Approach to Tax Extenders

April 28, 2014

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to begin considering a proposal tomorrow to make permanent a group of heavily lobbied corporate “tax extenders” — known as “extenders” because Congress routinely extends them only a year or two at a time.  The proposal, however, wouldn’t offset the costs of making these provisions permanent by, for instance,...

Increase the EITC to Help Lift "Childless Workers" Out of Poverty

April 15, 2014

It’s time for policymakers to fix a glaring hole in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as I explain today in an op-ed for National Journal:

While the tax credit reduces poverty among families with


The Top 10 (Well, 11) Federal Tax Charts

April 15, 2014

To usher in Tax Day, here are our top 11 charts on federal taxes, which provide context for debates on issues like tax reform and deficit reduction.

Our first chart shows the sources of federal tax revenue.

Individual income tax revenues have held steady for many decades at a...

Tying Jobless Benefits to Corporate Tax Cuts Would Be Inappropriate

April 10, 2014

Key House Republicans reportedly want to tie resuming federal unemployment insurance to extending various corporate tax cuts — including permanent extension of “bonus depreciation.”  Policymakers should reject any such effort, given that permanently...

GAO: Give IRS Needed Authority to Oversee All Tax Preparers

April 10, 2014

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week added its voice to those calling on Congress to give the IRS the needed authority to require all paid tax preparers to demonstrate basic competence.

While some paid preparers (such as attorneys and certified public accountants) are subject to Treasury Department regulation and...

Reducing EITC Errors

April 8, 2014

“[W]ith almost no regulation of the [commercial tax preparer] industry and a tax code that is forbiddingly complex, the billions flowing into low-income households this time of year, primarily in the form of the earned-income tax credit [EITC], present a ripe target for the unscrupulous,” the New York Times...

Leading Senator Adds to Momentum for Helping Childless Workers

March 26, 2014

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) proposed today to build on the Earned Income Tax Credit’s (EITC) pro-work success story by significantly boosting the credit for low-wage workers not raising minor children — the only group that the federal tax code taxes into (or deeper into) poverty.