Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Joint Tax Committee Releases Tax Expenditure Estimates for 2015-2019

Joint Tax CommitteeJoint Committee on Taxation, Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2015-2019 (JCX-141-15):

Tax expenditure analysis can help both policymakers and the public to understand the actual size of government, the uses to which government resources are put, and the tax and economic policy consequences that follow from the implicit or explicit choices made in fashioning legislation. This report on tax expenditures for fiscal years 2015-2019 is prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (“Joint Committee staff”) for the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The report also is submitted to the House and Senate Committees on the Budget.

As in the case of earlier reports, the estimates of tax expenditures in this report were prepared in consultation with the staff of the Office of Tax Analysis in the Department of the Treasury (“the Treasury”). The Treasury published its estimates of tax expenditures for fiscal years 2014-2024 in the Administration's budgetary statement of February 2, 2015. The lists of tax expenditures in this Joint Committee staff report and the Administration's budgetary statement overlap considerably; the differences are discussed in Part I of this report under the heading “Comparisons with Treasury.”

The Joint Committee staff has made its estimates (as shown in Table 1) based on the provisions in Federal tax law enacted through September 30, 2015. Expired or repealed provisions are not listed unless they have continuing revenue effects that are associated with ongoing taxpayer activity. Proposed extensions or modifications of expiring provisions are not included until they have been enacted into law. The tax expenditure calculations in this report are based on the January 2015 Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) revenue baseline and Joint Committee staff projections of the gross income, deductions, and expenditures of individuals and corporations for calendar years 2014-2019.

Part I of this report contains a discussion of the concept of tax expenditures; Part II is a discussion of the measurement of tax expenditures; and Part III contains various estimates. Estimates of tax expenditures for fiscal years 2015-2019 are presented in Table 1 in Part III. Table 2 shows the distribution of tax returns by income class, and Table 3 presents distributions of selected individual tax expenditures by income class.

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