Category Tax Policy
Taxation Tuesday: Repatriation Games
Or, “Incorporate in Anguilla!” The United States doesn’t have a territorial tax system, meaning federal tax is collected on American income throughout the world, not just income earned within its borders. There is one notable exception to that: corporate income earned overseas, as long as that money stays overseas. Here’s how it works mechanically: A […]
Taxation Tuesday: This is Taxing
Taxation Tuesday is off today. It will return on the next available Tuesday. In the meantime, here’s SCOTUSblog on Marinello v. United States, which asks what counts as obstruction of tax administration. Can paying in cash be enough?
Taxation Tuesday: What’s the Alternative?
The Republican tax bill is going to conference, and updates are happening so quickly they are time stamped to the minute. So, let’s talk about the individual Alternative Minimum Tax, a decades-old smoking gun demonstrating the failures of the federal income tax. (There is also a corporate AMT, which is not the subject of this […]
Taxation Tuesday: A brief manifesto on deductions
The federal income tax was established to help pay for the Civil War, but it was never solely a mechanism for raising revenue. Deductions have always been there, and deductions are policy. The state and local income tax deduction, for example, was consubstantial with the first federal income tax. According to the Tax Foundation, it’s […]
Taxation Tuesday: Happy Thanksgiving
Like the rest of you, I’m phoning it in this week, so instead of a full blog post, here are some truly appalling tax jokes: Where did the homeless accountant go? To a tax shelter! Why don’t sharks attack tax inspectors? Professional courtesy. A fine is a tax for doing wrong; a tax is a […]
Taxation Tuesday: What Is Even Happening Here
The current tax reform plan is complicated and earth-shaking in a downstream kind of way. It’s doing a lot from a monetary perspective, but it’s not fundamentally changing the way federal taxes work. It’s a familiar reform story: the entrenched status quo turns out to be made of concrete, so the reformers have to dig […]
Taxation Tuesday: The State and Local Tax Deduction, or, Everyone’s a Little Bit Wrong
The federal income tax finds you everywhere. State taxes don’t: California takes up to 13.3% of your income, while Nevada takes nothing. Every state taxes property in some way, but at different levels. But state taxes don’t immediately overburden high-tax state residents as badly as this sounds, because of the State and Local Tax Deduction, […]
Taxation Tuesday: No One Depreciates Me
Two conflicting ideas underpin a lot of the conversation surrounding businesses and the federal income tax. First, that our current tax code is too complicated, and second, that we should use the tax code to manage economic policy. Cost recovery of capital investment is a good case study. It’s really complicated and it has huge […]
Taxation Tuesday: Is Nonprofit Tax Exemption a Scam?
In 2016, the comedian John Oliver established “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” a bogus church that received tax-exempt status as a religious organization. In 2015, the NFL cheerfully announced their front office was voluntarily giving up its nonprofit tax-exempt status. The MLB central office did so in 2007, while the NHL has remained tax-exempt. Country […]
Taxation Tuesday: Don’t Try to Pass a Wealth Tax
Good morning; let’s talk about tax policy! One of the ways Senator Bernie Sanders has offered to finance his suggested health care plan is a wealth tax. A wealth tax does what it says on the box: taxes assets, as opposed to our current tax structure, which taxes income. This is far from the first […]