Thursday, February 27, 2014
Kimberly S. Blanchard (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York) presents Individual Income Tax Reform: Back to the Base, 138 Tax Notes 307 (Jan. 21, 2013), at Temple today as part of its Tax Policy & Administration Colloquium Series hosted by Alice Abreu & Andrea Monroe:
Nearly all the individual income tax reform proposals under discussion in Washington follow the approach of broadening the tax base by eliminating tax expenditures or imposing dollar caps on deductions. This report argues that these types of proposals are regressive and would increase taxes disproportionately on middle-income earners, who are already paying aggregate taxes much higher than is generally understood or acknowledged. It also argues that the proposals are distortive because they fail to account for the differences in the cost of living in different parts of the United States. A better approach would be to restore progressivity and transparency to the individual income tax by significantly expanding the exempted base of the tax and imposing steeply graduated rates over that exempted base. Arbitrary caps, thresholds, and phaseouts would be eliminated because they distort measurement of the tax base, exacerbate horizontal inequity, and mask true effective tax rates, making it difficult to compare tax burdens among similarly situated individual taxpayers.