Tax Analysts Blog

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
When you filed your tax return, did you claim a deduction for charitable giving? Chances are pretty good that you did, since roughly 80 percent of itemizers do. The charity deduction is one of the oldest provisions of the income tax, dating from 1917. And over the years, it's also been one of the...
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
As Americans rush to file their tax returns, there's no better time to reflect on how long we've been doing this. Monday will mark our 100th year of struggling with our tax forms and rushing them to the post office in time for a midnight deadline. (For a video exploring the last century of taxpay...
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Is there anything good about filing a tax return? For most of us, of course, it's a necessary ritual if we hope to stay on the right side of the law. And it certainly keeps the wheels turning for the federal government. But is there another, more high-minded value to this annual April unpleasantnes...
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Want to shrink the size of government? Then start by imposing a soda tax. It's the quickest way to jumpstart a tax revolt. In an article for the The New York Times last Sunday, Cornell economist Robert H. Frank endorsed a special tax on sugary sodas. “We have to tax something, after all, and taxi...
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
In case you needed another reason to support a special war tax, try this on for size: The United States is still paying veterans' benefits to the children of Civil War soldiers. According to the Associated Press, two survivors are each receiving $876 dollars a year. Meanwhile, 10 children are still...
Friday, March 15, 2013
Yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner blamed Republican losses in the last election on bad candidates rather than bad ideas. That's a comforting thought, especially if you're in the business of electing Republicans: just swap out the candidates and you're good to go. Bad ideas, on the othe...
Monday, February 25, 2013
Today is not the centennial of the income tax. If you're chomping at the bit to celebrate – and you're determined to ignore the Civil War version of the tax passed in 1862 – then you still have some waiting to do. Exactly 100 years ago, Secretary of State Philander Knox certified that the 16th...
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Originally, the income tax was a rich man's problem. Next week, Americans will celebrate – or mourn – the 100th birthday of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. On February 25, 1913, Secretary of State Philander Knox formally certified ratification, establishing once and for all that Congress...
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Apparently, the Italians have found a way to make their unpopular income tax even more unpopular. In the face of rampant cheating, they've adopted a new enforcement technique. Now, instead of just pawing through paychecks, bank statements and the like, officials will also scrutinize spending habits...
Friday, January 11, 2013
Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter and current Wall Street Journal columnist, thinks Republicans need to step up their game. Actually, her preferred metaphor has something to do with “pirate time,” which presumably implies political derring-do and all that. Ultimately, however, what Noonan'...
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Some day, I’d like to get President Obama at my poker table. Whatever your feelings about the fiscal cliff and its optimal resolution, one thing is clear: Obama doesn’t know a winning hand when he sees it. On the merits, yesterday's fiscal cliff deal is pathetic. It does nothing to solve the nati...
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In negotiations over the fiscal cliff, President Obama holds the stronger hand, thanks to the oddities of current law (with its myriad expiring provisions) and the electoral misfortunes of the GOP (including Mitt Romney's defeat, but also the party's failures in the Senate). But Republicans aren'...
Friday, December 14, 2012
A few years ago, Berkeley economist Brad DeLong proclaimed his faith in Paul Krugman. “If the past decade has taught me anything, it has taught me that mistakes are avoided if you follow two rules,” DeLong wrote. “(1) Remember that Paul Krugman is right; (2) If your analysis leads you to conclud...
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
President Obama's "fair share" rhetoric really drives some people crazy. And by some people, I mean conservatives, because liberals are generally happy to link morality and economics. But for a certain type of conservative, the link is both specious and dangerous; specious because economics and mor...
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Long the object of liberal scorn, Grover Norquist is now the source of left-leaning glee. In recent weeks, the polarizing president of Americans for Tax Reform has struggled with a series of defections from his famous anti-tax manifesto, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Which has got a lot of media...
Friday, November 16, 2012
Is tax reform simple? In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib suggests that maybe it is, at least in theory: The broad outlines of what needs to be done are pretty well known. There is even something of a consensus. Serious thinkers in both parties would agree that rates should be lo...
Monday, November 5, 2012
Soda taxes are one of those ideas that makes me want to be a Republican. They give substance to the (generally baseless) charge that liberals want a nanny state. Every sin tax makes sense to someone. In theory, we could craft millions of tiny little taxes to compensate for every "market failure" we...
Friday, November 2, 2012
Everyone likes a fan and no one likes a critic. Which is why the Congressional Research Service finds itself in hot water these days. The story begins in mid-September, when CRS – a division of the Library of Congress providing research support to lawmakers – released a study on the economic effe...
Monday, June 4, 2012
When two Democratic senators proposed a bill to increase the penalties on billionaire expatriates, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, offered a typically helpful suggestion. The lawmakers should look to Nazi Germany for inspiration, he said. "I think Schumer can probably find t...
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Enough already. It's time to stop begging, pleading, cajoling, and threatening. If we want our presidential candidates to release their tax returns, let's make it a legal requirement. Over the next couple of weeks, all the candidates running for president will release their 2010 personal tax return...