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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Tax Expenditures and the Federal Budget

Tax Expenditures and the Federal Budget

Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Hungerford, Thomas L.
Description: This report discusses tax expenditures, the federal budget and the reform of the federal tax system and provides tax expenditure analysis. The perception that the federal tax system is too complex and unfair could lead to public support for tax reform. Past efforts to reform the federal tax system have included policies to rein in the use and expense of tax expenditures--the special deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and credits resulting in revenue losses.
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Disaster Tax Relief for the Midwest

Disaster Tax Relief for the Midwest

Date: August 20, 2008
Creator: Lunder, Erika
Description: The Midwestern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 is intended to assist with the recovery from the severe weather that affected the Midwest during the summer of 2008. The Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 includes some similar provisions, but these are not limited to the Midwest disaster. The disaster relief in the three bills is similar to that provided to assist with the recovery from the 2005 hurricanes and the 2007 Kansas tornadoes. This report broadly discusses the disaster relief provisions in other relevant legislation.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: The U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 affirmed the constitutionality of the so-called beef check-off program, one of the 18 generic promotion programs for agricultural products that are now active nationally. Supporters view check-offs as economically beneficial self-help activities that need minimal government involvement or taxpayer funding. Producers, handlers, and/or importers are required to pay an assessment, usually deducted from revenue at time of sale - thus the name check-off. However, some farmers contend they are being "taxed" for advertising and related activities they would not underwrite voluntarily. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the beef check-off is considered significant for the future of the other programs, although the Court left open the possibility of additional challenges.
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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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The Tax Exclusion for Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Policy Issues Regarding the Repeal Debate

The Tax Exclusion for Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Policy Issues Regarding the Repeal Debate

Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: Lyke, Bob
Description: Employer-provided health insurance is excluded from the determination of employees' federal income taxes, resulting in significant tax savings for many workers. The federal income tax exclusion -- the focus of this report -- is criticized for several reasons. These arguments about the exclusion merit careful consideration as Congress is starting to debate broad health care reform for the first time in 15 years. This report discusses this issue at length, including advantages and disadvantages to keeping the income tax inclusion as Congress undergoes the health policy reform process.
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The Foreign Tax Credit's Interest Allocation Rules

The Foreign Tax Credit's Interest Allocation Rules

Date: January 28, 2009
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G. & Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report discusses the "worldwide" allocation of interest rule, which was a provision of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357; the Jobs Act). The provision relates to the taxation of multi-national corporations and allows more generous rules for multinationals to use in allocating interest expense for purposes of the U.S. foreign tax credit.
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Using Business Tax Cuts to Stimulate the Economy

Using Business Tax Cuts to Stimulate the Economy

Date: January 29, 2009
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Description: This report discusses issues associated with the use of business tax subsidies. First, is fiscal policy appropriate? Second, how successful are subsidies likely to be and what form might they take to be most effective? Finally, what other consequences might flow from the use of business tax subsidies, especially if they are to be permanent?
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The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: An Economic Analysis

The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: An Economic Analysis

Date: February 19, 2009
Creator: Keightley, Mark P.
Description: This report analyzes the ability of the first-time homebuyer tax credit to stimulate home buying and stabilize home prices. It includes information about current economic conditions, the tax credit with an economic analysis, marginal first-time home buyers, the cost of home ownership, the influence of the economy, and information about policy options and specific ways to adjust the tax credit.
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The Economic Effects of Capital Gains Taxation

The Economic Effects of Capital Gains Taxation

Date: March 4, 2009
Creator: Hungerford, Thomas L.
Description: This report discusses tax policy in relation to capital gains. Proposals dealing with the taxation of capital gains have ranged from the outright elimination of capital gains taxation to the reduction of capital gains tax rates for certain classes of taxpayers to the elimination of the preferential tax treatment.
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Tax Reform: An Overview of Proposals in the 111th Congress

Tax Reform: An Overview of Proposals in the 111th Congress

Date: March 5, 2009
Creator: Bickley, James M.
Description: This report examines three main categories of tax reform: fundamental tax reform, tax reform based on the elimination of the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT), and proposals for reforming the corporate income tax in the 111th Congress.
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Federal Taxation of the Drug Industry and Its Effects on New Drug Development

Federal Taxation of the Drug Industry and Its Effects on New Drug Development

Date: March 18, 2009
Creator: Guenther, Gary
Description: This report examines the impact of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development. More specifically, it looks at the provisions in current tax law that affect the performance of the drug industry, compares the industry's federal tax burden with that of other major industries, and assesses the effect of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development.
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Business Tax Issues in 2009

Business Tax Issues in 2009

Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report discusses the tax climate for businesses, while economic stimulus proposals dominate the congressional debate. During 2009, it is anticipated that congressional deliberations will once again turn towards the extension of several expiring business tax provisions, energy taxation, tax shelters, and international taxation, while continuing to examine opportunities to stimulate the economy.
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Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses various issues that impact the retirement income of Americans. About half of all workers in the United States participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan of some kind, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over the past thirty years. Because the majority of assets held in retirement accounts are invested in stocks, trends in stock prices have a significant impact on households' retirement account balances.
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Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Date: April 16, 2009
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Description: Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
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Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Date: July 9, 2009
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Description: The federal government loses both individual and corporate income tax revenue from the shifting of profits and income into low-tax countries, often referred to as tax havens. The revenue losses from this tax avoidance and evasion are difficult to estimate, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around $100 billion per year. Recent actions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 industrialized nations have targeted tax haven countries, focusing primarily on evasion issues. There are also a number of legislative proposals that address these issues including the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 506, H.R. 1265); draft proposals by the Senate Finance Committee; two other related bills, S. 386 and S. 569; and a proposal by President Obama. This report discusses this issue in detail.
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The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens

The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens

Date: July 24, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: This report examines the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its role in changes to U.S. laws related to bribery, tax havens.
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The Role of Federal Gasoline Excise Taxes in Public Policy

The Role of Federal Gasoline Excise Taxes in Public Policy

Date: September 11, 2009
Creator: Pirog, Robert
Description: This report examines the effects of the federal excise tax on gasoline and analyzes the positive and negative effects of the tax. The report also evaluates the incentive structure that a higher gasoline tax would likely create, and examines a revised version of the tax, a variable gasoline tax.
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Net Operating Losses: Proposed Extension of Carryback Period

Net Operating Losses: Proposed Extension of Carryback Period

Date: November 13, 2009
Creator: Keightley, Mark P.
Description: This report explains the current law regarding the tax treatment of net operating losses (NOLs). In addition, this report highlights a number of policy considerations relating to the extension of the NOL carryback period.
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