Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation
Tax-Foundation-logo.png
MottoEducating Taxpayers Since 1937
FormationDecember 5, 1937; 82 years ago (1937-12-05)
New York City, New York, U.S.
TypeThink tank
Headquarters1325 G Street NW, Suite 950
Location
President
Scott A. Hodge
Websitetaxfoundation.org

The Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, founded in 1937, that collects data and publishes research studies on U.S. tax policies at both the federal and state levels.[1] The Foundation's stated mission is to "improve lives through tax policy research and education that leads to greater economic growth and opportunity."[1] The Tax Foundation is organized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit educational and research organization.

The Tax Foundation was founded in 1937 by a group of prominent businessmen in order to "monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies".[2][3] It is generally critical of tax increases and high taxation.[4][5][6] The organization is organized into three primary areas of research, carried out by the Foundation's Center for Federal Tax Policy,[7] the Center for State Tax Policy[8] and the Center for Legal Reform.[9] The group is known for its annual reports such as Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare,[10] which was first produced in 1941,[11] and its "Tax Freedom Day" brochures,[12] which it has produced since the early 1970s.

History[edit]

The Tax Foundation was organized on December 5, 1937 in New York City by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., Chairman of the General Motors Corporation; Donaldson Brown, GM Financial Vice President; William S. Farish, President of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Exxon); and Lewis H. Brown, President of Johns-Manville Corporation, who later became the first Chairman of the Board of The Tax Foundation.[2] The stated goal of the organization was "to monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies".[3] Its offices were located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza and later 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The Tax Foundation's first project was a successful effort to stop a tax increase in Westchester County, New York, where they provided research and analysis (including an "Expenditure Survey" of state spending) to local activists.[3] By 1943, the Tax Foundation had helped set up taxpayers associations and expenditure councils in 35 states.[3]

During World War II, Tax Foundation research emphasized restraining government spending domestically to finance wartime expenditures. In 1948, the Tax Foundation opened an office in Washington, D.C., and in 1978 relocated there completely.[3] Its research and analysis has historically emphasized publicizing federal and state financial information, arguing against the use of tax systems for "social engineering," and urging "broad bases and low rates" tax reform.[3]

Beginning in 1990, the Tax Foundation "operate[d] as a separate unit" of Citizens for a Sound Economy.[13] By July 1991, it was again operating as an independent 501(c)(3) organization.[14]

Beginning in 2009, the Tax Foundation's offices were located in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.[15] In 2015, the organization moved to its current location on G Street.[16]

Goals and principles[edit]

The Tax Foundation states that its research is guided by what it calls the principles of sound tax policy: simplicity, transparency, neutrality, and stability.[17]

Tax Foundation research is generally critical of tax increases,[4][5][6][18] high business taxes,[19] excise taxes,[20] tax preferences for the housing industry,[21] and use of tax credits (which the Foundation views as "picking winners and losers").[22][23] The Foundation has spoken favorably of efforts to balance the federal budget with tax reform and significant spending cuts, such as the Bowles-Simpson plan,[24] the Ryan Plan,[25] and the Wyden-Coats plan.[26]

Organizational overview[edit]

Ideology[edit]

The Tax Foundation describes itself as an "independent tax policy research organization".[1] They are cited in the media as a nonpartisan or bipartisan organization,[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34] and are also described as business-friendly or conservative.[35][36][37]

Board of directors[edit]

As of 2019, the organization's board of directors consists of David P. Lewis (Chairman), James W. Lintott (Treasurer), Philip English, Dennis Groth, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Stephen Kranz, Sarah McGill, David Nicholson, Pamela F. Olson, Tom Roesser, and Scott Hodge (Tax Foundation President).[38]

Finances[edit]

The Tax Foundation accepts grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It does not solicit or accept funds from government sources.[39] The Tax Foundation has earned a 3 out of 4 star financial rating and 4 out of 4 star accountability and transparency rating from Charity Navigator.[40]

Year Revenues Expenses
2017[41] $5,115,594 $4,548,092
2016[42] $4,274,002 $4,178,093
2015[43] $3,557,681 $3,722,271
2014[44] $3,675,132 $2,971,778
2013[45] $2,953,060 $2,469,668
2012[46] $2,192,620 $1,900,821
2011[47] $1,885,201 $1,768,828
2010[47] $1,854,135 $1,925,936

Activities[edit]

The Tax Foundation publishes several major studies, including Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code, which details the economic and revenue impact of over 80 potential changes to the U.S. tax code.[48]

The group uses its Taxes and Growth (TAG) macroeconomic model to simulate the effects of tax policies and produce conventional and dynamic estimates of potential changes in revenue, GDP, wages, employment, and the distribution of the federal tax burden.[49] The TAG model is a "neoclassical, comparative-statics economic model coupled with a tax return simulator".[50] The economic model estimates supply of labor and cost of capital based on marginal tax rates calculated by the tax return simulator.[50]

Since 2014, the TAG model has been used to analyze legislative and campaign tax proposals, including the Tax Reform Act of 2014 proposed by Dave Camp,[51] plans put forth during the 2016 presidential campaigns,[52][53] the House GOP's 2016 Tax Reform Blueprint,[54] and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[55][56]

Since 2013, the Tax Foundation has offered guidance to same-sex married couples filing income taxes at the state level, where local laws recognizing same-sex marriage can vary considerably.[57][58]

Every year, the Tax Foundation calculates and announces Tax Freedom Days in the United States. These studies have been criticized by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a progressive think tank, and in turn the Tax Foundation has responded to or criticized CBPP reports.[59][60][61][62] However, the two groups have worked together on analysis of the marriage penalty in the US federal income tax.[63]

Reception[edit]

In a column for The New York Times blog The Upshot, Josh Barro, a former Tax Foundation employee, criticized the group's approach to scoring the Rubio-Lee tax plan as producing “implausibly rosy results.”[64] The Tax Foundation published a response to these criticisms, stating that their model results were "in line with analysis done by other mainstream economists for similar tax changes".[65]

In opinion editorials for the New York Times, economist Paul Krugman has characterized the Tax Foundation as "not a reliable source" while criticizing a report by the Tax Foundation comparing corporate tax rates in the United States to those in other countries.[66] Krugman has also accused the Tax Foundation of "deliberate fraud" in connection with a report it issued concerning the American Jobs Act.[67] The Tax Foundation has published various responses to Krugman's criticisms.[68][69]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Who We Are". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Celebrating Our 65th Year". Tax Foundation. September 1, 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Tax Foundation 1937–1987: The First Fifty Years" (PDF). Tax Foundation. December 5, 1987. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Portland Business Journal, Tax Foundation Criticizes State Tax Hikes". Taxfoundation.org. July 9, 2009. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Henchman, Joseph (December 29, 2008). "State Budgets: Maryland Tax Increases Can't Keep Up With Spending Increases". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Carroll, Robert (July 29, 2009). "The Economic Cost of High Tax Rates". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Center for Federal Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "Center for State Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Center for Legal Reform". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  10. ^ "Facts & Figures Handbook: How Does Your State Compare?". Tax Foundation. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  11. ^ "Tax Facts & Figures, First Edition". Tax Foundation. January 1941. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Tax Freedom Day". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  13. ^ "Tax Features" (PDF). Tax Foundation. January 1990. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  14. ^ "Tax Features" (PDF). Tax Foundation. July 1991. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Tax Foundation, Contact Us". Taxfoundation.org. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Office Warming Reception". Tax Foundation. taxfoundation.org. February 4, 2015. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  17. ^ "Principles of Sound Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. August 20, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  18. ^ Henchman, Joseph; Mountjoy, Jack (July 9, 2009). "The Dam Bursts in the Beaver State: Oregon's Wave of Tax Increases and New Spending". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  19. ^ "Business Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  20. ^ "Excise Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Prante, Gerald (December 3, 2007). "Giuliani Wrong on Mortgage Interest Deduction". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Henchman, Joseph (July 11, 2009). "Louisiana Tax Credits: Politicians Picking Winners and Losers". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  23. ^ Henchman, Joseph (May 5, 2009). "Tax Foundation, Remarks to the Shaftesbury Society Luncheon". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "Draft from President's Deficit Commission Stirs the Fiscal Pot in Washington". Tax Foundation. November 10, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  25. ^ Hodge, Scott (April 5, 2011). "Ryan Plan Smartly Marries Tax Reform with Spending Reform". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  26. ^ Hodge, Scott (April 8, 2011). "Wyden-Coats Tax Reform Plan Adds to Debate But Needs Fixing". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  27. ^ "Donald Trump's new tax plan could have a big winner: Donald Trump's companies". Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  28. ^ "Why Americans are giving up citizenship in record numbers". Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  29. ^ Rosen, Jan M. (December 5, 1988). "Tax Watch; Hidden Ways To Gain Revenue". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  30. ^ Akst, Daniel (February 4, 2001). "ON THE CONTRARY; How New Campaign Laws Would Help the Economy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  31. ^ O’shea, James (February 26, 2010). "Looking to Taxes as Solution to a Crisis". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  32. ^ Roberts, Sam (July 20, 2014). "Wealthier New Yorkers Aren't Fleeing the City for Tax Havens, a Study Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  33. ^ Sumerlin, Marc; Williams, Noah (March 4, 2016). "The Partisan Tax Policy Center". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  34. ^ White, Gillian B. (September 15, 2016). "Trump's Latest Economic Plan: New Promises, Same Old Problems". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  35. ^ "Trump's tax pitch". POLITICO. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  36. ^ Barro, Josh (October 29, 2015). "Fact-Checking Republicans on Tax Plans". New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  37. ^ Sloan, Allan (August 17, 2016). "The whopping $1.2 trillion omission in Trump's tax reform plan". Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  38. ^ "Meet Our Board". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  39. ^ "Financials". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  40. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – Tax Foundation". Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  41. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). taxfoundation.org. September 26, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  42. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). taxfoundation.org. August 11, 2017. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  43. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). taxfoundation.org. August 3, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  44. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). taxfoundation.org. May 13, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  45. ^ "2013 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  46. ^ "2012 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  47. ^ a b "2011 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  48. ^ Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code (Report). Tax Foundation. June 6, 2016. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  49. ^ "Written Testimony of Scott Hodge President of the Tax Foundation Before the Joint Economic Committee: The Positive Economic Growth Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" (PDF). September 6, 2018. p. 5. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  50. ^ a b Auerbach, Alan; Brinberg, Itai (December 2017). "Macroeconomic Modeling of Tax Policy: A Comparison of Current Methodologies" (PDF). National Tax Journal. 70 (4): 819–836. doi:10.17310/ntj.2017.4.06. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  51. ^ Hodge, Scott (July 30, 2014). "Written Testimony of Scott A. Hodge, President, Tax Foundation: Dynamic Analysis of the Tax Reform Act of 2014 Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures" (PDF). Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  52. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (October 30, 2015). "The pluses and minuses in Ted Cruz's tax plan". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  53. ^ Barro, Josh (October 29, 2015). "Fact-Checking Republicans on Tax Plans". The Upshot. The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  54. ^ Rubin, Richard (November 15, 2016). "House Republicans Aim to Cut Taxes Without Increasing Deficits". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  55. ^ The Wall Street Journal. November 26, 2017 https://www.wsj.com/articles/tax-reform-growth-and-the-deficit-1511730170. Retrieved February 20, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  56. ^ "House GOP Tax Plan Is Little Help To High-Tax States Like New Jersey". November 9, 2017. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  57. ^ Henchman, Joseph (September 13, 2013). "Wisconsin Offers Constructive Tax Filing Guidance for Same-Sex Couples". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  58. ^ Henchman, Joseph (March 20, 2015). "10 Remaining States Provide Tax Filing Guidance to Same-Sex Married Taxpayers". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  59. ^ Brooks, Neil (2005). Tax Freedom Day: A Flawed, Incoherent and Pernicious Concept. Canadian Center for Public Policy Alternatives. p. 26. ISBN 9780886274382.
  60. ^ Brunori, David (April 24, 2016). "Why Tax Freedom Day Matters". Forbes. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  61. ^ ""Tax Freedom Day" Analysis Can Give a Misleading Impression of Tax Burdens". Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. April 8, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  62. ^ Ahern, William (March 30, 2006). "Analysis Shows Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Criticism of Tax Freedom Day Flawed and Inaccurate". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  63. ^ "Tax Day: Are You Receiving a Marriage Penalty or Bonus?". The New York Times. April 15, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  64. ^ Barro, Josh (March 17, 2015). "Tax Cuts Still Don't Pay for Themselves". The Upshot. The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  65. ^ Hodge, Scott; Lundeen, Andrew (March 17, 2015). "A Response to Josh Barro on Dynamic Scoring". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  66. ^ Krugman, Paul (August 24, 2008). "The Tax Foundation is not a reliable source". The Conscience of a Liberal blog, nytimes.com. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  67. ^ "Stocks, Flows, and Fuzzy Math". Krugman.blogs.nytimes.com. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  68. ^ McBride, William (July 26, 2012). "Grasping at Straws: A Response to Paul Krugman". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  69. ^ Hodge, Scott (October 11, 2011). "Response to Paul Krugman on "Millionaire" Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2017.

External links[edit]