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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2008
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Estate Tax Legislation in the 110th Congress

Estate Tax Legislation in the 110th Congress

Date: February 14, 2008
Creator: Noto, Nonna A.
Description: This report examines current legislation regarding estate taxes. Under provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA, P.L. 107-16), the estate tax exclusion is scheduled to continue to rise, from $2 million for decedents dying in 2008, to $3.5 million in 2009. The estate tax is repealed for decedents dying in 2010 only.
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Statutory Individual Income Tax Rates and Other Elements of the Tax System: 1988 through 2008

Statutory Individual Income Tax Rates and Other Elements of the Tax System: 1988 through 2008

Date: May 21, 2008
Creator: Shvedov, Maxim
Description: This report summarizes information about the tax brackets and other key elements of the tax system that determine taxpayer's statutory marginal tax rate. Such elements include tax brackets, exemptions, standard deductions, etc. Statutory individual income tax rates, also referred to as “statutory marginal tax rates,” are the rates of tax applicable to the last (marginal) increment of taxable income. Statutory rates play an important role in determining the real marginal tax rates, which affect taxpayers' economic behavior.
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Taxation of Unemployment Benefits

Taxation of Unemployment Benefits

Date: October 14, 2008
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M.
Description: Unemployment compensation (UC) benefits have been fully subject to the federal income tax since the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514). Individuals who receive UC benefits during a year may elect to have the federal (and in some cases state) income tax withheld from their benefits. H.R. 6844 would provide a two-year suspension of the taxation of UC benefits. This report provides an overview of the taxation of UC benefits and legislation related to taxing UC benefits.
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Tax Gap: Proposals in the 110th Congress to Require Brokers to Report Basis on Publicly Traded Securities

Tax Gap: Proposals in the 110th Congress to Require Brokers to Report Basis on Publicly Traded Securities

Date: October 8, 2008
Creator: Bickley, James M.
Description: Recent and projected large deficits and the need for revenue to offset spending or tax reduction proposals generated congressional and executive branch interest in different proposals to reduce the tax gap; and consequently, raise additional revenue. Proposals in the 110th Congress to require brokers to report adjusted basis on publicly traded securities sold by individuals are examined in this report.
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The Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals: Legislative Activity in the 110th Congress

The Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals: Legislative Activity in the 110th Congress

Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Maguire, Steven & Teefy, Jennifer
Description: The alternative minimum tax (AMT) for individuals was originally enacted to ensure that all taxpayers, especially high-income taxpayers, pay at least a minimum amount of federal taxes. However, the AMT is not indexed for inflation, and this factor, combined with recent reductions in the regular income tax, has greatly expanded the potential impact of the AMT. This report explains legislation for the FY2009 budget compromise, which includes an offset AMT patch.
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Superfund Taxes or General Revenues: Future Funding Issues for the Superfund Program

Superfund Taxes or General Revenues: Future Funding Issues for the Superfund Program

Date: February 4, 2008
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.; Reisch, Mark & McCarthy, James E.
Description: This report discusses the role of dedicated taxes and other sources of revenue in funding the Hazardous Substance Superfund Trust Fund.
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Tax Treaty Legislation in the 110th Congress: Explanation and Economic Analysis

Tax Treaty Legislation in the 110th Congress: Explanation and Economic Analysis

Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report discusses the proposals that are designed to curb “treaty shopping” — instances where a foreign parent firm in one country receives its U.S.-source income through an intermediate subsidiary in a third country that is signatory to a tax-reducing treaty with the United States.
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Calculating Estate Tax Liability: 2001 to 2011 and Beyond

Calculating Estate Tax Liability: 2001 to 2011 and Beyond

Date: May 7, 2008
Creator: Noto, Nonna A.
Description: This report provides a basic explanation of how to calculate the federal estate tax liability for a taxable estate of any given size, using the schedule of graduated marginal tax rates and the applicable exclusion amount or the applicable credit amount for the year of death. The “applicable exclusion amount” is the amount of any decedent’s taxable estate that is free from tax. It is known informally as the estate tax “exemption.” The “applicable credit amount” or “unified credit” is the corresponding tax credit. It is equal to the tax that would be due on a taxable estate that is the size of the applicable exclusion amount.
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Taxes and Offshore Outsourcing

Taxes and Offshore Outsourcing

Date: March 11, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report discusses the impact of taxes on international trade and investment has been debated for decades. Most recently, a variety of bills addressing international taxation have been introduced in the 110th Congress—some would cut taxes for U.S. firms overseas, while others would increase taxes on foreign investment. The debate over taxes and foreign outsourcing has tended to grow more heated during times of domestic economic weakness and high unemployment; questions arise over whether taxes contribute to such weakness by discouraging exports (or encouraging imports) or by encouraging U.S. firms to move abroad. The debate over international taxation has again become prominent as a part of the wider debate over “outsourcing.” With taxes, the debate asks how the current system affects outsourcing, and whether policies designed to limit the phenomenon might be desirable.
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Estate and Gift Taxes: Economic Issues

Estate and Gift Taxes: Economic Issues

Date: March 19, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J. & Gravelle, Jane G.
Description: The unified estate and gift tax is levied on the transfer of assets that occurs when someone dies or gives a gift. Filing an estate tax return can be difficult depending on the value and complexity of the estate. The purpose here is to outline the mechanics of the estate and gift tax. The first section begins with a brief review of the general rules accompanied with a numerical example. There are some minor provisions of the law that are not discussed here, however, such as the phase out of the graduated rates and the credit for taxes on property recently transferred. The second section summarizes the special rules for farms and small businesses. And, the final section briefly describes the generation skipping transfer tax. The appendix of this report provides detailed data from returns filed in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.
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Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues

Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues

Date: June 10, 2008
Creator: Lazzari, Salvatore
Description: This report discusses the history, current posture, and outlook for the federal energy tax policy. It also discusses current energy tax proposals and major energy tax provisions enacted in the 109th Congress.
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Research and Experimentation Tax Credit: Current Status and Selected Issues for Congress

Research and Experimentation Tax Credit: Current Status and Selected Issues for Congress

Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Guenther, Gary
Description: This report examines the current status of the credit, summarizes its legislative history, discusses some key policy issues it raises, and describes legislation in the 110th Congress to modify or extend it.
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The Foreign Tax Credit's Interest Allocation Rules

The Foreign Tax Credit's Interest Allocation Rules

Date: August 20, 2008
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G. & Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report discusses the foreign tax credit's interest allocation rules, which alleviate the double-taxation that would result if U.S. investors' overseas income were to be taxed by both the United States and a foreign country.
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Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k) Plans: Early Withdrawals and Required Distributions

Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k) Plans: Early Withdrawals and Required Distributions

Date: October 27, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report summarizes the provisions of law that govern the taxes applicable to pre-retirement distributions from retirement accounts, and the situations in which distributions must be taken from a plan in order to avoid a tax penalty.
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Tax Gap: Administration Proposal to Require Information Reporting on Merchant Payment Card Reimbursements

Tax Gap: Administration Proposal to Require Information Reporting on Merchant Payment Card Reimbursements

Date: April 28, 2008
Creator: Bickley, James M.
Description: The high current and forecast budget deficits as well as pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) procedures have resulted in congressional and executive branch interest in raising additional revenue through proposals for improved tax compliance. The Bush Administration’s FY2009 budget includes a proposal (the proposal) to require each payment card processor to inform the IRS on the net dollar amount paid to reimburse each merchant (i.e., seller) for his payment card receipts in a calendar year. Payment cards consist of both credit cards and debit cards. This report examines the proposal by describing current law, presenting the proposal contained in the FY2009 budget, describing the structure of the payment card industry, analyzing the justifications for the proposal, explaining the criticisms of the proposal, and offering concluding observations.
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Tax Deductions for Catastrophic Risk Insurance Reserves: Explanation and Economic Analysis

Tax Deductions for Catastrophic Risk Insurance Reserves: Explanation and Economic Analysis

Date: June 5, 2008
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: According to the Insurance Services Office, Inc., (ISO), the property/casualty (p/c) insurance industry paid $62.2 billion in catastrophe losses from 24 disasters and more than 4.4 million claims in 2005, making 2005 the most costly year for catastrophe losses. This report begins by providing some background on the market for catastrophe insurance. It continues by describing the proposal for tax-deductible reserve accounts as set forth in H.R. 164/S. 926 of the 110th Congress, and concludes by providing an economic analysis of the plan.
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U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues

U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues

Date: May 21, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report analyzes how the current U.S. tax system applies to foreign investment undertaken by U.S. firms abroad, and how that application was changed by recent legislation. It also assesses the impact of the tax system and legislation, and concludes by discussing a variety of issues in international taxation that Congress may face in 2008 and beyond. It begins with a brief examination of the data on international investment.
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A History of Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes

A History of Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes

Date: January 3, 2008
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Description: Three primary categories of legislation pertaining to transfer taxes have been introduced in the 110th Congress. As noted above, the repeal of the estate and generation-skipping taxes is not permanent. One category would make the repeal permanent. (See, H.R. 411 and H.R. 2380). Another category would accelerate the repeal of these transfer taxes. (See, H.R. 25, H.R. 1040, H.R. 1586, H.R. 4042, S. 1025, S. 1040, and S. 1081). The third would reinstate these taxes at lower rates and/or in a manner more considerate of family-owned business. (See, H.R. 1928, H.R. 3170, H.R. 3475, H.R. 4172, H.R. 4235, H.R. 4242, and S. 1994). In this report, the history of the federal transfer taxes has been divided into four parts: (1) the federal death and gift taxes used between 1789 and 1915; (2) the development, from 1916 through 1975, of the modern estate and gift taxes; (3) the creation and refinement of a unified estate and gift tax system, supplemented by a generation-skipping transfer tax; and (4) the phaseout and repeal of the estate and generation-skipping taxes, with the gift tax being retained as a device to protect the integrity of the income tax.
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Conservation Reserve Program Payments: Self-Employment Income, Rental Income, or Something Else?

Conservation Reserve Program Payments: Self-Employment Income, Rental Income, or Something Else?

Date: April 14, 2008
Creator: Pettit, Carol A.
Description: This report outlines the history of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the changing positions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), pertinent case law, and other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Several possible approaches to the taxation of CRP payments are discussed.
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Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations

Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations

Date: August 5, 2008
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Description: This report focuses on deductions for charitable contributions, and on institutions that are generally eligible for deductible charitable contributions, such as social welfare organizations, educational institutions, nonprofit hospitals, and churches, along with conduits to those institutions such as private foundations, donor-advised funds, and supporting organizations.
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An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Date: October 15, 2008
Creator: Keightley, Mark P.
Description: This report discusses the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which is a federal provision that reduces the income tax liability of taxpayers claiming the credit. These taxpayers are typically investors in real estate development projects that have traded cash for the tax credits to support the production of affordable housing. The credit is intended to lower the financing costs of housing developments so that the rental prices of units can be lower than market rates, and thus, presumably, affordable.
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An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Date: August 22, 2008
Creator: Keightley, Mark P.
Description: This report discusses the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which is a federal provision that reduces the income tax liability of taxpayers claiming the credit. These taxpayers are typically investors in real estate development projects that have traded cash for the tax credits to support the production of affordable housing. The credit is intended to lower the financing costs of housing developments so that the rental prices of units can be lower than market rates, and thus, presumably, affordable.
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Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes: A Description of Current Law

Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes: A Description of Current Law

Date: January 5, 2008
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Description: This report contains an explanation of the major provisions of the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. The discussion divides the federal estate tax into three components: the gross estate, deductions from the gross estate, and computation of the tax, including allowable tax credits. The federal estate tax is computed through a series of adjustments and modifications of a tax base known as the "gross estate." Certain allowable deductions reduce the gross estate to the "taxable estate," to which is then added the total of all lifetime taxable gifts made by the decedent. The tax rates are applied and, after reduction for certain allowable credits, the amount of tax owed by the estate is reached.
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An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Keightley, Mark P.
Description: This report discusses the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which is a federal provision that reduces the income tax liability of taxpayers claiming the credit. These taxpayers are typically investors in real estate development projects that have traded cash for the tax credits to support the production of affordable housing. The credit is intended to lower the financing costs of housing developments so that the rental prices of units can be lower than market rates, and thus, presumably, affordable.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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