Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Flat Tax Proposals and Fundamental Tax Reform: An Overview
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Tax Implications of SILOs, QTEs, and Other Leasing Transactions with Tax-Exempt Entities
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Tax Subsidies for Expanding Health Insurance Coverage: Selected Policy Issues for the 108th Congress
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Tax Expenditures Compared with Outlays by Budget Function: Fact Sheet
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Tax Subsidies for Expanding Health Insurance Coverage: Selected Policy Issues for the 108th Congress
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Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance for the Uninsured: An Economic Analysis of Selected Policy Issues for Congress
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Tax Deductions for Catastrophic Risk Insurance Reserves: Explanation and Economic Analysis
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.
Tax Gap: Administration Proposal to Require Information Reporting on Merchant Payment Card Reimbursements
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.
Conservation Reserve Payments and Self-Employment Taxes
Farmers enrolling their land in the Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) receive payments for refraining from farming their property and for engaging in certain conservation practices mandated by the Department of Agriculture. These payments are described in the contract with the Department of Agriculture as "rental payments." Farmers would like to treat the income as "rental income" because it would not be subject to self-employment taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) insists that under certain conditions, the payments are income from the trade or business of farming and thus subject to self-employment taxes.
Comparison of 501(c )(3) and 501(c )(4) Organizations
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U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues
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.
State and Local Sales and Use Taxes and Internet Commerce
In theory, state sales and use taxes are based on the destination principle, which prescribes that taxes should be paid where the consumption takes place. States are concerned because they anticipate gradually losing more tax revenue as the growth of Internet commerce allows more residents to buy products from vendors located out-of-state and evade use taxes. The size of the revenue loss from Internet commerce and subsequent tax evasion is uncertain. Congress is involved in this issue because commerce conducted by parties in different states over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The degree of congressional involvement is an open question.
Internet Commerce and State Sales and Use Taxes
State governments rely on sales and use taxes for approximately one-third (32.3%) of their total tax revenue – or approximately $174 billion in FY2000. Local governments derived 16.4% of their tax revenue or $51.6 billion from local sales and use taxes in FY1999. Both state and local sales taxes are collected by vendors at the time of transaction and are levied at a percentage of a product’s retail price. Alternatively, use taxes are not collected by vendors if they do not have nexus (loosely defined as a physical presence) in the consumer’s state. Consumers are required to remit use taxes to their taxing jurisdiction. However, compliance with this requirement is quite low. Because of the low compliance, many observers suggest that the expansion of the internet as a means of transacting business across state lines, both from business to consumer (B to C) and from business to business (B to B), threatens to diminish the ability of state and local governments to collect sales and use taxes. Congress has a role in this issue because commerce between parties in different states conducted over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Congress can either take an active or passive role in the “Internet tax” debate. This report intends to clarify important issues in the Internet tax debate.
Internet Commerce and State Sales and Use Taxes
State governments rely on sales and use taxes for approximately one-third (32.3%) of their total tax revenue – or approximately $174 billion in FY2000. Local governments derived 16.4% of their tax revenue or $51.6 billion from local sales and use taxes in FY1999. Both state and local sales taxes are collected by vendors at the time of transaction and are levied at a percentage of a product’s retail price. Alternatively, use taxes are not collected by vendors if they do not have nexus (loosely defined as a physical presence) in the consumer’s state. Consumers are required to remit use taxes to their taxing jurisdiction. However, compliance with this requirement is quite low. Because of the low compliance, many observers suggest that the expansion of the internet as a means of transacting business across state lines, both from business to consumer (B to C) and from business to business (B to B), threatens to diminish the ability of state and local governments to collect sales and use taxes. Congress has a role in this issue because commerce between parties in different states conducted over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Congress can either take an active or passive role in the “Internet tax” debate. This report intends to clarify important issues in the Internet tax debate.
Internet Commerce and State Sales and Use Taxes
State governments rely on sales and use taxes for approximately one-third (33.6%) of their total tax revenue - or approximately $179 billion in FY2002 .' Local governments derived 12.4% of their tax revenue or $44 .1 billion from local sales and use taxes in FY20012 Both state and local sales taxes are collected by vendors at the time of transaction and are levied at a percentage of a product's retail price. Alternatively, use taxes are not collected by the vendor if the vendor does not have nexus (loosely defined as a physical presence) in the consumer's state . Consumers are required to remit use taxes to their taxing jurisdiction . However, compliance with this requirement is quite low. Because of the low compliance, many observers suggest that the expansion of the internet as a means of transacting business across state lines, both from business to consumer (B to C) and from business to business (B to B), threatens to diminish the ability of state and local governments to collect sales and use taxes . Congress has a role in this issue because commerce between parties in different states conducted over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.' Congress can either take an active or passive role in the "Internet tax" debate. This report intends to clarify important issues in the Internet tax debate .
A History of Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes
This report details the history of the three federal transfer taxes, tracing their development from their 18th-century roots to the present.
State Investment Tax Credits, the Commerce Clause, and Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler
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Internet Commerce and State Sales and Use Taxes
In theory, state sales and use taxes are based on the destination principle, which prescribes that taxes should be paid where the consumption takes place. States are concerned because they anticipate gradually losing more tax revenue as the growth of Internet commerce allows more residents to buy products from vendors located out-of-state and evade use taxes. The size of the revenue loss from Internet commerce and subsequent tax evasion is uncertain. Congress is involved in this issue because commerce conducted by parties in different states over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The degree of congressional involvement is an open question.
State and Local Sales and Use Taxes and Internet Commerce
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State and Local Sales and Use Taxes and Internet Commerce
No Description Available.
State Corporate Income Taxes: A Description and Analysis
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State Corporate Income Taxes: A Description and Analysis
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Taxes, Exports and Investment: ETI/FSC and Domestic Investment Proposals in the 108th Congress
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A History of Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes
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.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
This report provides both an in-depth description of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, an analysis of its economic impact, and an overview of various policy options.
Estate and Gift Taxes for Nonresident Aliens
This report explains the major provisions of the federal estate and gift transfer taxes for transfers by nonresident aliens in 2014. This discussion highlights the different tax rules for estates of nonresident aliens as compared to the estates of U.S. citizens and resident aliens.
An Analysis of the Geographic Distribution of the Mortgage Interest Deduction
This report analyzes variation in the mortgage interest deduction tax expenditure across states. Tax expenditures, such as the mortgage interest deduction, can generally be viewed as government spending administered via the tax code, or as tax incentives that are intended to achieve particular policy objectives. Regardless of the interpretation, tax expenditures provide a benefit to qualifying taxpayers by lowering their federal tax liabilities.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment.
Tax Deductible Expenses: The BP Case
Following the release of BP's second quarter earning statement, which showed a $10 billion reduction in tax liability for oil-spill-related cleanup and expenses, media headlines have generated public concern, and in some cases outrage, over these tax savings. Further, the ability of BP to realize these tax savings has generated a number of inquiries as to how and why BP is entitled to this reduction in tax liability. This report discusses the nature of BP's $10 billion "credit" and the nature of corporate tax deductions.
Early Withdrawals and Required Minimum Distributions in Retirement Accounts: Issues for Congress
In response to the economic downturn, Congress considered providing relief to Americans by suspending two tax penalties on defined contribution retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). This report discusses the reasons offered in support of suspending these provisions, as well as the drawbacks. This report also presents data that estimates the number of households that these proposals would impact. Borrowing from retirement plans as an alternative to withdrawals is also discussed. Finally, the report discusses the kinds of proposals offered to either suspend or eliminate the early withdrawal penalty or the required minimum distribution provision.
An Overview of the Tax Provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
This report provides an overview of the tax provisions (Titles I-IV and Title X of P.L. 112-240) included in the "fiscal cliff deal," including the permanent extension and modification of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, often referred to collectively as the "Bush-era tax cuts"; the temporary extension of certain tax provisions originally included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5), often referred to as the "2009 tax cuts"; the permanent extension of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch; the temporary extension of a variety of other temporary expiring provisions for individuals, businesses, and energy often referred to as "tax extenders" and the expansion of in-plan conversions of traditional employer-sponsored retirement accounts (like 401(k) plans) to employer-sponsored Roth accounts (like Roth 401(k) plans).
Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report begins with a brief discussion of relevant portions of the U.S. corporate income tax system before examining how inversions were commonly structured. The report then looks at how Congress and Department of the Treasury have reduced the benefits of inversions. The report concludes with an examination of methods that remain to invert and policy options available to prevent or limit these inversions.
The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens
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.
Taxation of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers
This report discusses the major issues surrounding the tax treatment of hedge fund and private equity managers and will be updated as legislative developments warrant.
Distribution of the Tax Burden Across Individuals: An Overview
This report discusses in the first section different philosophies about how the tax burden should be distributed, and what those philosophies imply for the shape of the tax system. In particular, it addresses the question of the justifications for a progressive tax system (one where the share of income collected as a tax rises as income rises). This section is presented for the interested reader, but is not a necessary preliminary to examining the analysis in the second section, which presents estimates of the distribution of the federal and total U.S. tax burden. The third section of the report discusses the measures that can be used to characterize the distributional effects of tax changes.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
This report provides both an in-depth description of this tax credit and an analysis of its economic impact. This report is organized to first provide an overview of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), followed by a legislative history that highlights the evolution of education tax credits from proposals in the 1960s through the recent extension of the AOTC at the end of 2012. This report then analyzes the credit by looking at who claims the credit, the effect education tax credits have on increasing college attendance, and administrative issues with the AOTC. Finally, this report concludes with a brief overview of various policy options, including tax law changes proposed in Chairman Camp's tax reform bill3 and in the President's FY2015 budget request.
The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens
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.
Conservation Reserve Program Payments: Self-Employment Income, Rental Income, or Something Else?
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.
The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens
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.
Addressing the Long-Run Budget Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches
The growth of the national debt, which is considered unsustainable under current policies, continues to be one of the central issues of domestic federal policy making. On August 2, 2011, Congress adopted, and the President signed, the Budget Control Act (BCA; P.L. 112-25), which might be viewed as an initial step in addressing long-run debt issues. This report examines alternative approaches to reducing the deficit, relating to the immediate issues arising from the BCA and the extended tax cuts as well as to ongoing, longer-term decisions about how to bring the debt under control. It focuses on the trade-offs between limiting the provision of defense and domestic public goods, reducing transfers to persons including entitlements for the elderly and those with low income, reducing support for state and local governments, and raising taxes. Using projections of the debt and deficit, it also addresses how limiting reliance on one source of deficit reduction creates pressure on other sources.
Tax-Preferred College Savings Plans: An Introduction to 529 Plans
This report provides an overview of the mechanics of 529 plans and examines the specific tax advantages of these plans for those families saving for college.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
This report gives an overview of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)—enacted on a temporary basis by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and extended through the end of 2012 by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010— which is a partially-refundable tax credit that provides financial assistance to taxpayers who are attending college, or whose children are attending college. There are a variety of policy options mentioned in the report regarding the AOTC, including extending the credit, extending a modified AOTC, or repealing the Hope and Lifetime Credits and extending a modified AOTC that includes provisions included in these credits.
Constitutionality of Retroactive Tax Legislation
Report that examines the constitutional provisions that might be implicated by retroactive tax legislation, including legislation that seems intended to punish past behavior.
Federal Taxation of Aliens Working in the United States
This report outlines issues regarding the taxation of aliens since several pieces of current legislation have been introduced that would impose restrictions for claiming child tax credits or for claiming credits and refunds. The report includes an overview of immigration status, resident or nonresident aliens, taxation of income for various classifications, and Social Security and medicare taxes.
Higher Education Tax Benefits: Brief Overview and Budgetary Effects
This report provides a brief overview of the higher education tax benefits that are currently available to students and their families. The report contrasts higher education tax benefits with traditional student aid, presents a brief history of higher education tax policy over the past 60 years, summarizes key features of the available tax benefits, and provides JCT estimates of revenue losses resulting from individual tax provisions.
Higher Education Tax Benefits: Brief Overview and Budgetary Effects
This report provides a brief overview of the higher education tax benefits that are currently available to students and their families. The report contrasts higher education tax benefits with traditional student aid, presents a brief history of higher education tax policy over the past 60 years, summarizes key features of the available tax benefits, and provides JCT estimates of revenue losses resulting from individual tax provisions.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment.
The 2001 and 2003 Bush Tax Cuts and Deficit Reduction
This report uses the context of the current and long-term economic environment to examine the tax cuts implemented by the George W. Bush Administration, including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.