In recent months there has been a growing congressional interest in the advantages and disadvantages of revamping our current tax system for a flat-rate tax method. Supporters of the new proposal argue that such a plan would promote productivity, simplify present IRS tax forms, save the public billions of dollars that presently go to tax-preparation professionals, and enhance Federal revenue by closing numerous tax loopholes and special deductions that are now enjoyed by relatively few. Opponents believe, however, that the tax burden under a flat-rate plan might fall more heavily upon the middle class and, unless exceptions were made, would hurt educational institutions and charities. Problems with popular tax deductions, such as home mortgage interest, would have to be addressed. This packet provides background materials which discuss the practical and theoretical issues that surround a flat-rate tax, including the probable redistribution of the tax burden under various rates and income bases.
This report discusses Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRA) and their tax incentives. Many workers covered by employer-sponsored retirement plans do not work long enough with one employer to be entitled to a pension. Others may be covered by a profit-sharing plan to which the employer may have little or no profits to contribute. Since these individuals were "covered" by a retirement plan, they were ineligible to make tax-deductible contributions to a tax-sheltered Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA). Many observers considered this a tax inequity and felt that all employees should be eligible to establish their own IRAs or make tax-deductible contributions to their employer's plan. Congress responded to this situation by approving retirement savings incentives for all workers as part of the tax cut bill (H.R. 4242). All workers, whether or not covered by an employer pension plan, are now permitted tax deductible contributions to IRAs up to $2,000 a year.