Tax Basics

Who pays taxes? What is stepped-up basis? When is a job creator not a job creator? Learn the essentials of tax policy from Patriotic Millionaires, a group of millionaires who believe they are not being asked to pay enough in taxes. They know all the tricks of the trade that have led to their fortunes and with this self-guided tour through tax policy, you will be prepared to speak the language of tax justice.

Patriotic Millionaires University: Tax Basics
Patriotic Millionaires

Corporate Tax Avoidance in the Trump Years

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) made news reporting on the 55 profitable corporations that paid nothing in federal income taxes for 2020. ITEP followed that report by taking a longer look at the three-year period following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to find that 39 profitable corporations paid no federal income taxes over those three years and another 73 that paid less than half the statutory rate of 21 percent–combining for an effective rate of just 5.3 percent. See the full list that details who these companies are and how they get away with paying less than their fair share of taxes.

Corporate Tax Avoidance Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July 29, 2021

The Price of Zero

When the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy revealed that 55 corporations paid zero federal income taxes for 2020, there was understandable anger. How do we allow this?

Well, that question was in part answered by Public Citizen who followed that report with their own research detailing how these 55 corporations spent nearly $450 million on lobbying and campaign contributions over the last three election cycles. So, when corporations hide behind statements of, “we’re just following the laws on the books” as their rationale for not paying their fair share of taxes, remember they are doing everything they can to ensure the laws on the books make it easier for them to pay nothing.

The Price of Zero
Public Citizen, June 09, 2021

How Students Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks

When local governments subsidize corporations that move into their communities, students are the ones who pay. Good Jobs First calculated that in sum, 149 school districts lost $1,000 per student in 2019 alone due to these tax abatements. Read the report that details how tax abatements are robbing students of the education they deserve and what localities can do to protect students and their futures.

Abating Our Future: How Students Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks
Good Jobs First, March 30, 2021

Taxes and Racial Equity

Historic and current injustices, both in public policy and in broader society, have resulted in vast disparities in income and wealth across race and ethnicity. State and local tax policies interact with this severe inequality in important ways. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy provides an overview of how these state and local tax policies serve to either exacerbate or narrow these racial income and wealth gaps, concluding with a set of policy recommendations state and local governments could enact or expand to advance racial equity.

Taxes and Racial Equity: An Overview of State and Local Policy Impacts
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, March 31, 2021

Resources on President Biden’s Tax Proposals

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda includes personal income tax increases on very well-off individuals to finance investments in people—in childcare, education, higher education, reducing child poverty, and other related measures. It also features corporate tax increases to finance investments in physical infrastructure left out of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy provides more information about the revenue proposals in the Biden agenda.

Resources on President Biden’s Tax Proposals
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, May 27, 2021

The Payoffs of Child Tax Credit Payments

What happens when families, particularly low-income families, receive an unconditional monthly income supplement? Small demonstration projects show it boosts outcomes on many levels, from improving mental health to securing or maintaining employment.

In this discussion on why tax credits like the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion are good economic policy, anti-poverty experts discuss why Congress should extend the policy beyond 2021 and what we can learn from an initiative providing low-income mothers in Jackson, Miss., $1,000 cash on a monthly basis, no strings attached. From theory to practice and what it means for American families, this CTC webinar provides a unique angle through which to view this transformative policy.

The Child Tax Credit in Practice: What We Know About the Payoffs of Payments
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July 13, 2021

How SALT Cap Repeal Would Mostly Benefit Upper-Income White Families

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed by President Trump, capped the deduction for state and local taxes paid (SALT) at $10,000 per year through 2025, after which the cap is scheduled to expire. The cap was undoubtedly a punitive measure designed to bring the cost of their tax giveaway to the rich and corporations down by reducing tax breaks for residents primarily in states that voted Democratic in 2016. It is this political backdrop that has led a bipartisan group of Congressmembers to seek speeding up the repeal of that cap at a cost of roughly $100 billion in 2022 alone. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has analyzed the effects of repeal and finds that the tax cut would exacerbate racial inequities.

Not Worth Its SALT: Tax Cut Proposal Overwhelmingly Benefits Wealthy, White Households
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, April 20, 2021

American Billionaires By the Numbers

A new website is using Forbes’ billionaires data to provide insights into growing wealth inequality, tracking the real-time net worth of U.S. billionaires by state and their growing political influence. U.S. billionaires have continued to amass exorbitant amounts of wealth even as millions of people are unemployed and struggling to make ends meet amid the pandemic.

American Billionaires by the Numbers
Americans for Tax Fairness, Institute for Policy Studies – Inequality Program

CEO to Worker Pay Ratio

How companies compensate their employees and executives matters. For the last decade, corporate profits have continually hit record levels, but aside from recent wage growth (that still has only modestly exceeded the rate of inflation, and may only be up temporarily due only to the tightened labor market), the benefits of economic growth have flowed mostly to executive suites. In other words, corporations haven’t invested in their rank-and-file workforces in a way that would create family-sustaining jobs and improve family economic security.

Executive Paywatch
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)