Details and Analysis of Canceling the Scheduled Business Tax Increases in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Key Findings Starting in 2022 and continuing through 2026, businesses will face several tax changes scheduled as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), including a switch to five-year amortization of R&D expenses, the gradual phaseout of 100 percent bonus depreciation, a tighter interest deduction limitation, and an increase in international tax rates. Canceling the business tax changes […]

Permanent 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation Even More Important When Inflation Is Elevated

Starting next year, 100 percent bonus depreciation for short-lived investment—originally enacted in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—will begin to phase down through the end of 2026. Making 100 percent bonus depreciation permanent would boost economic growth and American incomes in any economic environment, but this policy change would be especially valuable if inflation remains elevated in the […]

Should We Tax University Endowments?

Taxing university endowments has gained popularity recently, partly in response to the Biden administration’s forgiveness of student loan debt. Some view it as a means of holding universities accountable for the product they’re selling. Others view it as a tool to tamp down tuition rates or punish ideological opponents. But do these arguments hold water and is an endowment tax […]

2023 Tax Brackets

On a yearly basis the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adjusts more than 60 tax provisions for inflation to prevent what is called “bracket creep.” Bracket creep occurs when people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have reduced value from credits and deductions due to inflation, instead of any increase in real income. The IRS used to use the Consumer Price Index […]

Tax Treatment of Social Security Benefits Remains a Confusing Matter for Taxpayers

On Thursday, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security payments based on inflation over the previous year. This has brought renewed attention to how the tax code treats Social Security benefits, which can be a confusing subject for taxpayers. Each year, SSA adjusts Social Security benefits for inflation, much like how certain aspects of the […]

Understanding the Tax Treatment of Inventory: The Role of LIFO

Key Findings Last-in, First-out (LIFO) and First-in, First-out (FIFO) are two methods of inventory accounting used for both financial accounting and tax purposes. Both LIFO and FIFO rely on the accounting principle of deducting costs from income when goods are sold. This principle often comes into conflict with the economic principle of deducting costs when incurred, as inflation does not […]

Tax Hike Proposals Live on Despite Being Dropped in the Inflation Reduction Act

Over the past two years, policymakers and taxpayers have grappled with proposals to increase taxes as ideas introduced in the 2020 presidential campaign were transformed into legislation. This effort culminated in August with the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act. While many of the tax increases considered over the last two years were eventually shelved, they will continue to be […]

Focusing on Wealth Inequality Is Counterproductive

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on wealth inequality trends over the last 30 years has generated much concern that wealth inequality is too high. Some attribute this to policy choices that the U.S. has made over the past few decades, implying that policy changes could significantly reduce the wealth gap. While there is more we can do to […]

The “Inflation Tax” Is Regressive

Inflation operates much like a tax, a particularly egregious one that disproportionately falls on the poor and leads to a variety of economic problems, including, as we’re seeing, higher interest rates, slow economic growth, and reduced incomes. With inflation still running high, it is worth exploring who bears the cost of the surge in prices over the past year and […]

Combined Federal and State Corporate Income Tax Rates in 2022

Corporations in the United States pay federal corporate income taxes levied at a 21 percent rate. Forty-four states and D.C. also levy taxes on corporate income, with top marginal rates ranging from 2.5 percent in North Carolina to 11.5 percent in New Jersey. Fifteen of the states levy graduated corporate income tax rates, while the remaining 29 states and D.C. […]

The Sticks: Inflation Reduction Act’s Energy-Related Tax Increases

As noted in a Tax Foundation blog post last week, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) primarily uses carrots, not sticks, to incentivize reductions in carbon emissions. The Inflation Reduction Act creates or expands tax credits for various low- or no-emission technologies, rather than imposing a generalized penalty for emissions, such as a carbon tax. However, there are three small energy-related tax […]

How the Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Harmed the Economy

Key Findings The Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum raised the cost of production for manufacturers, reducing employment in those industries, raising prices for consumers, and hurting exports. The jobs “saved” in the steel-producing industries from the tariffs came at a high cost to consumers, at roughly $650,000 per job saved according to the Peterson Institute for […]

Inflation Is Surging, So Are Federal Tax Collections

The latest inflation report confirms that prices for just about everything continue to rise, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 8.3 percent over the last year and many categories up even higher, including food (11.4 percent) and energy (23.8 percent). While not part of the CPI, another measure of inflation (call it the Taxpayer Price Index?) is also surging: […]

Breaking Down the Inflation Reduction Act’s Green Energy Tax Credits

The Inflation Reduction Act created numerous tax subsidy programs intended to accelerate the transition to a greener economy. The justification for climate change action is strong, but there are two possible approaches to take which we might colloquially call carrots and sticks. Carrots are subsidies designed to reduce emissions—think tax credits for green energy or carbon capture technology. Sticks, such as […]

Ensuring Tax Rates Don’t Rise with Inflation

With record inflation now squeezing American household budgets, you can thank our Senior Fellow Emeritus Steve Entin for shielding U.S. workers from being pushed into higher tax brackets. If ever there was a paycheck protection program, defending people from bracket creep may be the most important one ever designed. It all started some 40 years ago. After Ronald Reagan was […]

The Economic, Revenue, and Distributional Effects of Permanent 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation

Key Findings 100 percent bonus depreciation allows firms an immediate tax deduction for investments in qualifying short-lived assets. The phaseout of 100 percent bonus depreciation, scheduled to take place after the end of 2022, will increase the after-tax cost of investment in the United States. Preventing the phaseout and making 100 percent bonus depreciation a permanent feature of the U.S. […]

IRS Is Raising More with Less, But New Funding Misses the Mark

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was one of the biggest winners in the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The new law approved roughly $80 billion in additional IRS funding over the next 10 years. This will boost the IRS budget from around $12 billion per year to roughly $20 billion, a 66 percent increase. Throughout the debate over the […]

The Tax Compliance Costs of IRS Regulations

In a pattern that has become all too common in recent decades, the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) added yet another layer of tax complexity to an already complex and burdensome federal tax code. While the Inflation Reduction Act increased the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget by roughly $80 billion over 10 years, it also created two new corporate […]

How to Think About IRS Tax Enforcement Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

Perhaps one of the most controversial pieces of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is the expansion of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There is a compelling case for strengthening the enforcement of existing taxes, rather than creating new ones, as a way to raise revenue. The economic costs of enforcing existing taxes are likely lower than the costs of the numerous […]