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If You Paid $1 in Income Tax, You Paid More than 15 Fortune 500 Companies — Put Together

Our friends at Citizens for Tax Justice have posted five facts you should know for Tax Day. We were particularly taken by their chart, which we pasted below. It shows that in 2014, 15 profitable Fortune 500 companies that made combined profits of over $23.5 billion paid zero federal income tax. Actually, they did better than that—they got tax refunds totaling $731 million! Read more »

Multimillionaires Win, Moms Lose: House Leaders’ Plan for Tax Day

Millions of Americans will be filing their taxes this week. House Republican leaders are planning to mark the occasion by scheduling a vote to give a lavish tax break to the wealthiest 0.2 percent by repealing the federal estate tax.

Estates worth up to $5.4 million for an individual ($10.9 million for a couple) are already completely exempt from the estate tax, so repealing the estate tax would only benefit the very largest estates—about 5,400 nationwide this year. They’ll get an average tax break of over $3 million. And the uber-rich—those with estates worth over $50 million—do even better, with tax breaks averaging than $20 million each.

Cost of this giveaway to the heirs of the richest 0.2 percent? $269 billion [PDF] over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Read more »

Teeing Up a Massive Tax Break for Multimillionaires

It’s shameful and shameless.

Today, the House is expected to vote on a disastrous budget that would cut $5.5 trillion from the federal budget over 10 years, targeting programs that help millions of women put food on the table, afford child care and higher education, and access health care for themselves and their families. More than two-thirds of the cuts in the House budget are to programs for low- and moderate-income people, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Read more »

3 Things You Could Get For $79 Billion Other Than Business Tax Breaks

Before heading out for the President’s Day recess, the House of Representatives passed a package of business tax breaks that would cost $79 billion over the next 10 years. The bill doesn’t close any tax loopholes, so all of its cost would be added to the deficit.

At the National Women’s Law Center, we’ve been reviewing President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget—and it proposes much better ways to invest $79 billion: Read more »

Working Families Pay Too Much in State and Local Taxes

Remember when a presidential nominee famously said, “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. …” ?

According to the Tax Policy Center [PDF], that was the approximate fraction of households that paid no federal income tax for 2009. But, as the Tax Policy Center went on to explain, almost two thirds of the 47 percent work and contribute payroll taxes that help finance Social Security and Medicare. The temporarily unemployed, those who used to work and have now retired, those who make too little to be subject to the income tax, and entrepreneurs whose businesses experience a loss may not be paying income tax or payroll tax in a particular year but will have contributed a great deal over time. And let’s not forget the wealthy and big corporations who exploit loopholes to avoid taxes. Read more »

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 5 Key Developments in Budget & Tax Policy in 2014

  • The government didn’t shut down—although it came very close--and Congress agreed to fund most agencies through the end of Fiscal Year 2015. A few programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant, received modest increases.  But most domestic programs face freezes or cuts in FY 2015—on top of years of cuts in programs vital to women and their families—and even deeper cuts in FY 2016.

Stem the Rising Tide of Corporate Inversions

Taxpayers scored a major win this week when Walgreen Co. nixed plans to become the latest U.S. corporation to move its corporate address abroad in order to dodge tax bills here at home. Public outcry against the legal loophole known as “inversion” is reaching a fever pitch; clearly, Walgreen was listening. Let’s hope Congress is, too.

Inversion is a scheme by which a company based in the U.S. can merge with a company abroad and then re-incorporate in that other country – one with a more advantageous tax structure, typically the UK, Ireland, or Switzerland – to avoid paying taxes at home.

These U.S. inverters are, literally and figuratively, un-American. With each new deal that’s struck, they push even more of the tax burden onto workers, families, and small business [PDF]. Read more »

Two Simple Tax Code Changes that Would Make a Big Difference for Working Families

I have an almost 2 year old daughter, Lilly. She is so many things: funny, loving, adventurous, curious…expensive. I mean she’s worth it and all, but man does that girl eat her way (literally and figuratively) through our family budget every month.  I know our family is not alone. It seems like everyone is talking about the rising cost of raising children—and it turns out that talk is actually true. And despite the rising cost of living and child rearing, most family income is not keeping up, delivering a one-two punch to working families’ bottom lines.

On June 23rd, the White House will hold a Working Families Summit to focus on the current needs of America’s working families, and potential policy solutions that can help address those needs. I’m hopeful that the Summit will be the beginning of a concerted push for changes that will respond to the economic realities of working families—including some changes in our tax code. There are many tax provisions that can help families make ends meet while raising kids—and a couple of commonsense proposals to make those tax provisions even more meaningful. Read more »

IRS Announces Bill of Rights for Taxpayers

You’re a taxpayer. Do you know what your taxpayer rights are? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is probably no. In fact, only 11% of taxpayers surveyed in 2012 [PDF] said they knew what those rights entailed—and less than half believed they had any rights at all.

Yesterday, the IRS took aim at these dismal statistics with the adoption of a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The document mirrors the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, in that it groups the dozens of existing rights in the tax code into 10 fundamental rights that every taxpayer should know, understand, and use. The National Taxpayer Advocate has long called for this document—a foundational framework that will encourage taxpayer “confidence in the integrity and fairness of the system.” With knowledge and confidence comes voluntary compliance at tax time—something we can all agree is beneficial to maintaining and building upon our current social structures.

So without further ado, I present the newly adopted Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Read on and get to know your rights, Taxpayer! Read more »


Here's a Better Idea: Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks by Closing Other Corporate Loopholes

Earlier this week, legislation that would extend through the end of 2015 nearly all of the tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013 (and two provisions scheduled to expire at the end of this year) — known as the “tax extenders” because they’ve been routinely extended from year to year — cleared a procedural hurdle when the Senate voted 96 to 3 to begin debate on the bill.  

Guess what? The package will cost $85 billion over ten years. And the Senate has no plan to pay for it. More than 80% of the tax breaks benefit businesses, including multinational firms that ship jobs and profits overseas, NASCAR track owners, and racehorse owners.

It’s especially disturbing that the Senate would — like the House — consider spending billions on corporate tax subsidies without requiring that they be paid for before Congress acts on the far more urgent matter of extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits for over 2.7 million Americans who have lost their benefits since Congress refused to extend the program in December.   Read more »