For the Press

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2017
July 4, 2017

Lanny Keller: Jindal's 'voodoo economics' hurt Louisiana; here's why state will continue to suffer

“That was a significant amount of money the state lost in revenue,” Maria Koklanaris, a senior reporter with Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan tax publishing news service, told the Topeka Capital-Journal.
June 29, 2017

Will a corporate tax cut benefit the middle class?

There's nothing wrong with that argument qualitatively, said Martin Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts. Given the globalization of business, and the fact that other countries have been lowering their corporate rates, "it's more important than ever that the United States lowers its rates to remain competitive and not lose investment and jobs to foreign competition," Sullivan said.
June 26, 2017

Lawmakers Want Trump's Tax Returns, but Won't Release Their Own

“Tax return disclosure is painful to candidates,” said Joseph Thorndike, who directs the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan group that provides analysis and commentary on tax policy. “Unless they feel compelled to do it, or there is some advantage to doing it, they don’t like to do it, and they will try to find their way around doing it.” The Tax History Project has compiled an archive of presidential tax returns on its website, a project that began partly because those documents had a tendency to disappear from the public record, Thorndike said. He said he knew of no attempts to catalog such documents from members of Congress.
June 23, 2017

100 Must-Follow Tax Twitter Accounts For 2017

@MariaKoklanaris and @TaxAnalysts were featured in the list.
June 19, 2017

ABF and Tax Analysts Launch New Panel Series Dedicated to Exploring U.S. Tax Reform

This spring, the American Bar Foundation and Tax Analysts have partnered to host Tax Reform: Perspectives From Across the Nation, a new conference series featuring panels of leading taxation experts and scholars series dedicated to examining and advancing the conversation around tax reform in the United States. 
June 16, 2017

There's a new pathway to Trump's tax returns

“They have a strong case on standing,” says Bob Goulder, a lawyer for the publishing firm Tax Analysts. “I’d bet there’s greater than a 50% chance they can overcome a standing objection. I see this case actually going to trial.”
June 11, 2017

Kansas’ economic outlook shifting with reversal of Brownback tax policy

“That was a significant amount of money the state lost in revenue,” said Maria Koklanaris, a senior reporter with Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan tax publishing news service.
June 8, 2017

Republicans bet political fortunes on tax reform, with little evidence that it's wanted

Republicans enjoy an advantage on the general question of taxes, said Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, but won't do "necessarily all that well after the fact, after legislative changes have been made" when voters feel the results of specific changes.
May 16, 2017

Lobbyists everywhere

Tax Analysts’ Marty Sullivan: Republicans “will be extremely lucky if their tax reform reaches the 10-year mark unscathed” if they decide against revenue-neutrality.
May 15, 2017

Lobbyists everywhere

William Paul, the IRS’s acting chief counsel, said at a recent American Bar Association Conference that there’s no list of tax rules that he’s looking to toss out, and that the agency still wants practitioners to comment on regulations — despite what Tax Analysts’ Lee Sheppard called “the new administration’s public antipathy toward them.”
May 12, 2017

Trump lawyers push back against Russia ties in letter

Joseph Thorndike, a tax historian and contributing editor to an accounting trade publication, Tax Analysts, said he still believes Trump should release his tax returns like other presidents have and questioned the value of the letter released Friday.
May 8, 2017

Tom Price misleads on Obamacare tax penalty

The penalty hasn’t had its intended effect of driving people to sign up for health care, said Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts. "To be effective, the penalty almost certainly needs to be bigger," he said. "And for a lot of obvious political reasons, that sort of tougher penalty is not in the cards now, nor was it plausible when the ACA was drafted. A weak penalty was the original sin of Obamacare."
May 5, 2017

Trump's next legislative fight looks to be even more taxing than health care

A House Republican blueprint on taxation proposes dramatically changing the system, said Martin Sullivan, a former Treasury Department tax specialist and chief economist for the non-profit Tax Analysts research organization.
May 3, 2017

Trump's 15% business tax could give rise to new tax shelters

But in the context of Trump's other proposals, it also may help individuals shelter their income, warned Martin Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts.
May 2, 2017

The Trump Administration Dilemma on Tax Reform

Tax historians Joseph Thorndike and Elliott Brownlee have shown that almost all major income tax increases came about as a result of war. Others, generally raising annual revenues by well less than 1 percent of GDP, have been enacted, for instance, as part of several deficit reduction agreements between 1982 and 1997.
April 28, 2017

Trump loves corporate tax cuts. Voters, not so much

“Lowering the corporate rate is like the chicken soup of tax policy — it makes everything better,” said Marty Sullivan, chief economist at the nonpartisan Tax Analysts. “There’s more incentives to invest in the United States and there’s less incentive to engage in tax shelters.”
April 28, 2017

How Trump Wants to Change Your Tax Deductions

The standard deduction is a fixed amount taxpayers can subtract from income if they don't itemize write-offs for mortgage interest, donations to charity, state and local taxes and other items on Schedule A. This benefit dates to 1944, when Congress wanted to simplify filing as it broadened the income tax from a "class tax" to a "mass tax" to help finance World War II, said Joseph Thorndike, a historian with Tax Analysts.
April 28, 2017

Trump's tax cuts promise to pay for themselves -- so will they?

"There's no great correlation between tax cuts and growth," Joseph Thorndike, a historian and director of the Tax History Project, told CBS MoneyWatch.
April 26, 2017

Trump’s Tax Plan Is a Reckoning for Republican Deficit Hawks

Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, said the Trump plan appeared to have strong parallels with Reagan’s 1981 cuts. Mr. Thorndike recalled that the Reagan administration soon realized the problem of the red ink it was facing and started looking for new sources of revenue.
April 26, 2017

A majority of Americans find the tax system unfair, Pew study finds

Caroline Bruckner, managing director of American University's Kogod School of Business Tax Policy Center and Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, joined MPR News host Kerri Miller for a conversation on tax proposals and public perception of the tax code.
April 18, 2017

What Trump's Taxes Would Not Show About His Finances

But the president's returns — due on Tuesday — might ultimately prove less revealing about Trump's finances than many of his critics suppose, says Lee Sheppard, columnist at Tax Analysts' Tax Notes.
April 18, 2017

Americans' Feelings About Paying Taxes Have Changed. Here's How

“Americans don’t hate paying taxes, they hate other people not paying taxes. Nobody is happy to write a check to the government. It’s painful,” says Joseph Thorndike, Director of the Tax History Project. “But people are by and large willing to write that check as long as they are confident other people are writing similarly painful checks.”
April 17, 2017

A Guide to the Guide to the Republican Better Way Plan

 It is worth noting, however, as Martin Sullivan has done in the pages of Tax Notes, that if the past experience is any guide, the official dynamic revenue estimate that may be eventually produced by the Joint Committee on Taxation is likely to be fairly close to the one offered by the Tax Policy Center.
April 17, 2017

The president always gets audited (and the veep too)

The IRS didn't offer a formal rationale for auditing the president and vice president every year. Part of it may be to make sure the highest officers in the government are adhering to the law, tax historian Joseph Thorndike surmised.
April 14, 2017

Episode 24: The IRS

On this episode, Joe Thorndike, Director of the Tax History Project, walks us through the history and role of the IRS. 
April 13, 2017

The Costa Report

This year Americans will spend over six billion hours of productivity filing their taxes, with each individual spending an average of thirteen hours! Imagine how much further the IRS and government would be if that time were reallocated to additional taxable wages. Senior Tax Policy Counsel, Robert Goulder, joins us today to discuss our biggest misconceptions about taxes and whether the current tax code can be reformed or if Congress would be better off starting with a fresh sheet of paper.
April 12, 2017

Trump’s tax returns will be immediately under audit

Now that he's president, the integrity of the tax system is at stake, said Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project and an editor for Tax Analysts. "Can we trust the IRS to enforce the law against their boss? Putting it in the baldest terms, that's really the question," he said. "This is an important threshold we're about to cross."
March 30, 2017

A survey of potential GOP border tax compromises

Tax Analysts’ Lee Sheppard has remarked that the DBCFT is economically the same as a border adjusted value-added tax (VAT) plus repeal of the employer-level payroll tax.
March 29, 2017

Even Republicans think the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes, but …

Instead, the process of filing income taxes reminds people of the system’s complexity. “The tax form itself reveals that there are a lot of moving parts here — and you don’t get to take advantage of all of them,” says Joe Thorndike, a tax historian at Tax Analysts. “You see these little categories, and it’s logical to think: ‘Why are all these other people getting these special deals?’”
March 27, 2017

The House tax plan won't stop big companies from gaming the system

In a recent article, Marty Sullivan, chief economist at the nonpartisan Tax Analysts, was quoted saying that “the basic, fundamental structure of it seems much more resilient to gaming — by far.”
March 22, 2017

Taxpayer Rights Around the World (Part 1)

A panelist from Tax Analysts stated that “there must be no secret law.” He indicated that more than 90 countries have the equivalent of the United States’ Freedom of Information Act. He also discussed country-by-country (CbC) reporting and the looming question of whether CbC reports should be made public and whether taxpayer names should be redacted.
March 15, 2017

6 Times Presidential Tax Returns Made Us Go Hmmm…

FDR didn’t release his tax returns, but his presidential library later made many of them available. As it turns out, those returns would have caused quite the scandal if they had been released during his presidency, according to tax historian Joseph Thorndike.
March 11, 2017

When it comes to corporate tax reform, the GOP may be on to something. Really.

Because of these and myriad other problems, the Ryan and Brady proposal needs lots more study and debate — it shouldn’t be rushed through to meet artificial political deadlines. But by the same token, it deserves serious consideration. “I’m very intrigued by it, particularly the economic benefits,” said Martin Sullivan, the respected columnist and chief economist at Tax Notes. “There are concerns with it, no question. But the reason we are still talking about it is that there is no obvious alternative.”
February 17, 2017

Reforming ain’t easy

It’ll probably still be a while before there’s any legislative text from House Republicans on tax reform, but even some GOP tax writers are already starting to make the case for exemptions. One potential carveout: allowing small businesses to continue to deduct interest expenses, Tax Notes’ Dylan Moroses reports.
February 15, 2017

Mr. Retail heads to Washington

Still, Joe Thorndike, a tax historian for Tax Analysts, said the threat of Democrats regaining at least one congressional chamber in the coming years might make Trump more apt to release his returns on his own. “The fact that this power exists changes the debate,” he told Morning Tax. Thorndike added that Brady was right to say the tax code provision, 6103, that would allow for the release of Trump’s returns is at least partly aimed at ensuring taxpayer privacy. But he also scoffed at the idea that Democrats were subverting its intent with their latest moves. “It’s hard to say this is inconsistent with the spirit of 6103 when it’s in 6103,” he said.
February 10, 2017

Awaiting phenomenal

Even so, Marty Sullivan of Tax Analysts said there’s little doubt the House blueprint would be an improvement from the current set-up. “I do not doubt that lawyers will figure out ways to game this system. But the basic, fundamental structure of it seems much more resilient to gaming — by far.”
February 10, 2017

Haven our cake and eating it

In a recent interview with Tax Analysts, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, was asked how concerned he was that the UK will end up going the tax haven route following withdrawal from the EU.
February 2, 2017

A fight is coming over the border adjustment tax

The concept of a stronger dollar offsetting the effects of price changes induced by border adjustment is something "non-economists should not be expected to grasp intuitively," wrote Martin Sullivan, chief economist for Tax Analysts, which publishes tax policy news and analysis.
February 2, 2017

A fight is coming over the border adjustment tax

The tax's two main Republican proponents, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, get high marks for pushing the envelope. But Jeremy Scott, editor in chief of commentary at Tax Analysts, thinks it may be time to put the idea aside for now. "If House Republicans were serious about enacting a completely different form of corporate taxation in 2017, they should have been holding hearings and drafting language in 2016," he wrote. "Ryan and his supporters did neither."
January 31, 2017

White House Petition To Release Trump's Tax Returns Closes In On A Half Million Signatures

You can read more on historical presidential candidate returns, including those from 2016 (Trump excepted) as part of the Tax Analyst's Tax History Project here.
January 30, 2017

Mnuchin’s day in Finance

Tax Analysts’ Marty Sullivan reads the tea leaves, and finds that a Mnuchin-led Treasury Department might find reason to like border adjustments.
January 26, 2017

Presidential tax returns: It started with Nixon. Will it end with Trump?

The audits won't end anytime soon. Presidents have been automatically audited for some time, said Joe Thorndike, a historian with Tax Analysts and director of the Tax History Project.
January 23, 2017

Trump right to question GOP tax plan

Economist Martin Sullivan, has reported, however, that “probably a majority of commentators have argued [the House Republican border adjustment plan]… violates WTO rules.” We've had experience in the past with tax reform measures that needed to be repealed because of their non-compliance with WTO rules.
January 11, 2017

FactChecking Trump’s Press Conference

Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax Analysts’ Tax History Project, wrote in a May 12 blog post on taxnotes.com that “[r]eturns can shed light on the way a candidate lives his life. It can tell us about charitable giving as well as personal borrowing and investment activity. Returns can also illuminate the complicated business arrangements that often provide the bulk of a candidate’s income, especially for a real estate mogul like Trump.” And the returns “tell us a lot about how candidates conduct themselves in the gray areas of the tax law,” Thorndike wrote.
January 10, 2017

Let’s talk tax reform

Over at Tax Analysts, Marty Sullivan maintains that the House GOP plan isn’t a VAT. But he also says that the border adjustment framework would distort trade, something its advocates believe wouldn’t be the case. “Because the appreciation of the dollar should exactly offset border tax adjustments on exports and imports, a U.S. VAT would have no effect on the balance of trade,” Sullivan writes. “But a destination-based cash flow tax like that described in the House Republican blueprint does subsidize exports and penalize imports.”
January 9, 2017

Ways & Means Looking at Retirement ‘Reforms’?

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) told Tax Analysts that the working groups would not be like the ones organized by former Ways & Means Chair Dave Camp, adding that, “these are informal, inside the committee, [and] just for education so we can reach a consensus” and share it with the committee. No white papers or formal reports would be published by the groups, he said.