Tax Policy Special Report
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On Our Site

Tax Time: A Business Special Report
This special report includes Post advice on the new tax laws, an updated guide to the Web's best tax resources, and online chat with a CPA.

IRS Report
Latest news and background on attempts to reform the Internal Revenue Service.


The Economics of Taxation
Throughout history, every organized society had some form of government. To meet their expenses, governments need income. The Treasury Department explains it all to you. Also see Frequently Asked Questions About the United States Tax System.

The Economic Effects of Comprehensive Tax Reform
An analysis from the Congressional Budget Office of proposals for a sales tax or flat tax, and their effects on the economy.

Economic Effects of Fundamental Tax Reform
This summary of a Brookings Institute book examines the consequences of tax reform on economic growth. It concludes that sharply reduced rates and simplified returns are possible, but would necessitate repeal of provisions that have long been regarded as untouchable. If all or most of these provisions are retained, however, tax reform would have little or no effect. Also see the institute's policy brief, Taxing Reforms: Assessing the Plans to Transform the IRS, and the report, No Free Lunch on Tax Reform.

Comparing Tax Burdens
This report from the liberal Progressive Policy Institute suggests that the United States has a lower tax burden than other major developed nations in almost all categories, including individual income and payroll taxes.

A Taxing Matter: Changes in Government Revenue and Spending Priorities, 1950 – 1996
This study from the conservative Heartland Institute traces major trends in government revenue and spending priorities from 1950 to 1996 and finds that the current tax burden is high by historical standards.

Flat Tax: For and Against

A Debate on the Flat Tax
Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), minority leader, U.S. House of Representatives, and Jack Kemp, co-director of Empower America, met at the American Enterprise Institute in 1996 for a debate on the proposed flat tax.

For the Flat Tax

Dick Armey's Flat Tax
This page from House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.) includes a summary of the plan, and "tax facts" about the current system.

America's Tax System
The current tax system is a disgrace, according to this report from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which argues that a flat tax is the best alternative. The report, part of a briefing book for the 1996 election, includes an easy to understand question and answer section, as well as numerous charts and tables on taxes. Also see the foundation's backgrounder, Flat Tax or Sales Tax? A Win-Win Choice for America.

Flat Tax: Vital for America's Future
This report from the House-Senate Joint Economic Committee argues that the flat tax would end the inherent unfairness, complexity, government micro-management, and economic damage caused by the current income tax system. Also see the committee's report on The Inefficiency of Targeted Tax Policies.

Report of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform
The final report of Jack Kemp's National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform recommends a flat tax as the way to achieve economic growth, and a simple, stable tax system.

Against the Flat Tax

Falling Flat: The Dubious Case for the Flat Tax
This issue brief from the liberal Economic Policy Institute argues that the flat tax affronts the traditional, popular principle that one's tax bill should be based on ability to pay and shifts the tax burden from rich to non-rich, from capital to labor and from elderly to non-elderly.

Flat Wrong
This report from the liberal Citizens for Tax Justiceargues that virtually any flat-rate tax plan that adds up must, by simple arithmetic, produce huge tax cuts for those with the highest incomes and therefore big tax increases on almost everyone else.

Why Fairness Matters: Progressive Versus Flat Taxes
Simplicity, equality and growth are the keys to an improved tax system in the U.S., argues the liberal Progressive Foundation, which recommends progressivity over a flat tax.

The Flat Tax – Double Standard
The AFL-CIO argues in this policy brief that the flat tax would create a double standard in which workers' hard-earned wages are taxed, while the interest, dividends and capital gains received primarily by the wealthy are not taxed directly at all.

Sales Tax

The Schaefer-Tauzin Plan
An explanation of the National Retail Sales Tax Act of 1997, authored by Reps. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.) and Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.). It calls for a 15 percent national sales tax. The working poor would get a credit applied to their Social Security payroll taxes.

The National Sales Tax: Who Bears the Burden?
This policy analysis from the libertarian Cato Institute suggests that if a universal rebate tied to poverty thresholds is coupled with the national sales tax, then the sales tax is about as progressive as the current income tax. Also see How a National Sales Tax Would Work and The ABCs of the Capital Gains Tax.

Other Proposals

The 10% Tax Plan Home Page
Web headquarters for the tax plan espoused by House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.). A "flatter" tax, this plan calls for the elimination of all credits and deductions save the mortgage interest deduction. Most Americans would pay tax at a 10 percent rate, while there would be four higher tax rates for the wealthy.

Pro-Family Tax Relief
From Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), this 10-point "pro-family" tax relief plan calls for eliminating the so-called "marriage penalty" and allowing workers to deduct Social Security payroll taxes from their income taxes.

The Case for Constitutional Tax Limitation
This policy brief from the conservative Americans for Tax Reform argues that a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority of Congress for all tax increases is the best method for limiting tax increases.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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