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Taxes in America

Author: Leonard E Burman
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Book : English

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Genre/Form: Lehrbuch
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Leonard E Burman
ISBN: 0199890269 9780199890262 9780199890279 0199890277
OCLC Number: 785862039
Description: 224 S.
Contents: I. How are we taxed? ; 1. The view from 35,000 feet ; a. Why is everyone always so worked up about taxation? ; b. What is a tax? ; c. What are the major kinds of taxes? ; d. How are taxes like ducks? ; e. Are there "hidden" taxes? ; f. Are there ways to raise revenue other than taxes? ; g. How can regulations be like taxes? ; h. How have taxes changed over time? ; i. How do they vary across states? ; j. How do tax burdens vary around the world? ; k. How does the composition of tax change between fed, state, and local? ; l. Federal taxes in the US have been at about 18 percent of GDP for 50 years. Does that mean that this is the natural rate of taxation? ; m. Why is the long-term fiscal outlook so dire? ; 2. PERSONAL INCOME TAXES ; a. What's the difference between a personal tax and a business tax? ; i. Why do economists say that it doesn't matter who actually pays a tax? ; ii. Aren't there cases in practice where it does matter who writes the check? ; b. What is the personal income tax? ; i. What's the difference between a credit, deduction, and exemption? ; ii. What's a refundable tax credit? ; 1. What are the biggest refundable credits? ; iii. Is it true that most people don't pay income taxes? ; 1. Who are they? Why does it happen? ; 2. Is that bad for democracy? ; c. Do we tax capital income as much as labor income? ; i. What's the effect of tax breaks for pensions and retirement accounts? ; ii. How do we tax capital gains and dividends? Why do we do it that way? ; iii. Would a Scandinavian style dual income tax make more sense? ; iv. Are there other better options to lessen the tax burden on capital? ; d. What is "economic income" Why don't we tax that? ; i. You want to tax my imputed rent????? ; e. What is the AMT? ; i. Where the heck did it come from and why is it so hard to get rid of? ; f. Does Uncle Sam really want you to live in sin? ; g. How does inflation affect the income tax? ; h. What are payroll taxes, and how are they different from income taxes? ; 3. BUSINESS INCOME TAXES ; a. How do we tax corporations' income? ; b. Why tax corporations? ; c. Corporations earn trillions of dollars every year. Why do they pay so little tax? ; i. Who pays the corporate income tax? ; ii. Why is it hard to tell who ultimately bears the burden of the corporate income tax? ; d. Why do economist say that we "double tax" corporation income? ; i. What are the impacts of double-taxing corporate income? ; ii. What would happen if we just eliminated the corporate income tax? ; e. How can some companies get away with paying no income tax despite billions in profits? ; i. Why is it troublesome that some companies view their tax departments as profit centers? ; f. What is depreciation? ; i. Why not let businesses write off their investments right away? ; ii. What is "bonus depreciation?" ; iii. What are investment tax credits? ; g. Are there implicit spending programs run through the corporate income tax too? ; i. Why do we have ethanol tax subsidies, oil and gas special tax breaks, etc.? ; h. What are tax havens? ; i. What is a foreign tax credit? Why are they allowed? ; i. Why do we try to tax corporations on their worldwide income? Why not follow the practice in most of Europe and simply exempt foreign income from tax? ; ii. What is transfer pricing? Why is it important to multinationals (and taxpayers)? ; iii. What is formulary apportionment? Would that be a better option? ; j. What are the others ways business income is taxed? ; i. What is an S-corporation, LLC, etc? ; ii. How are partnerships and sole proprietorships taxed? ; 4. TAXING SPENDING ; a. What is a consumption tax? ; b. What is a retail sales tax? ; c. What is a luxury tax? ; d. What is an excise tax? ; i. What is a sin tax? ; e. What is a VAT? ; i. Why doesn't the US have one? ; ii. Would it be more complex in the US because of state sales taxes? ; iii. Does a VAT promote exports? ; iv. Is it self-enforcing? ; f. What is the flat tax? ; i. Wouldn't a flat tax be super simple and fair? ; ii. Is the flat tax advocates call for in the US the same as has been introduced around the world? ; g. What is the X-tax? ; h. Do consumption taxes disproportionately burden the elderly, or the poor? ; i. What can be done about that? ; 5. OTHER KINDS OF TAXES ; a. What is the difference between an estate and an inheritance tax? ; b. What are wealth taxes? ; c. What is the property tax? ; d. What is a gross receipts tax? ; e. What is a lump-sum tax? ; f. Why do economists like the idea of a poll tax or a tax on ability? ; i. Does this explain why people don't like economists? ; II. The costs and benefits of taxation ; 6. TAXES AND THE ECONOMY ; a. How do taxes affect the economy? ; b. Why do economists think that most taxes cost much more than their sticker price? ; c. Do some taxes help the economy? ; i. Some discussion of carbon taxes, cap and trade, and the relative advantages of each. ; d. Is it ever a good idea to run deficits? ; e. What are built-in stabilizers? ; f. Which is a better economic stimulus during an economic downturn, tax cuts or spending? ; g. What kind of tax cuts are the best stimulus? ; h. When interest rates are low, why not run giant deficits? ; i. If people care about their children, won't they just save more to make up for any deficits? I.e., do deficits matter at all? ; j. What kind of tax system is most conducive to economic growth? ; k. Is there a trade-off between economic growth and other objectives, like fairness? ; l. Why do smart, serious people disagree about optimal tax policy? ; m. How do taxes affect international competitiveness (and what does that mean)? ; i. Are some taxes "job killers," and others "job creators"? ; ii. Do taxes affect where companies locate their headquarters? ; iii. Do they affect the balance of trade? ; n. What is "trickle-down" economics? ; o. What is the Laffer curve? Can tax cuts pay for themselves? ; p. How do taxes affect working and saving? ; q. How do they affect entrepreneurship? ; r. How do they affect research and innovation? ; s. Does it matter if our tax rates are higher than other countries'? ; 7. THE HIDDEN WELFARE STATE ; a. Are a trillion dollars in middle class entitlement programs really hidden in the tax code? ; b. How should we decide whether to run a subsidy through the tax system? How do we do it in practice? ; c. Is the budget process biased in favor of tax expenditures compared with direct spending? ; d. Does the income tax subsidize housing? ; e. Does the income tax subsidize health spending? ; f. Why not subsidize everything? ; g. Isn't it a good idea to reward people (and businesses) for good behavior? ; h. Are there too many tax expenditures? ; 8. THE BURDEN OF TAXATION ; a. What makes a tax system fair? ; b. Why is the there often a trade-off between fairness and efficiency? ; c. What is the burden of taxation? Why is it hard to measure? ; d. What is the burden of deficits? ; e. How is the tax burden distributed? ; f. Is a progressive tax system class warfare? ; 9. TAX ADMINSTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT ; a. How does tax remittance and collection work? ; b. How much does it cost the IRS to run the US tax system? ; c. Why does the IRS like e-filing? ; d. What is tax withholding? Can it be extended to other forms of income? ; e. What is information reporting? ; f. Why do people cheat on their taxes? Why do they comply? ; g. How much cheating is there? ; h. Why are some taxes easier to evade than others? ; i. Is the income tax constitutional? ; j. What's the DIF? (Who gets audited?) ; k. How much more tax could the IRS collect with better enforcement? ; l. Why not audit everyone? ; m. Would a VAT be self-enforcing? ; n. Are refundable tax credits especially prone to tax evasion? ; m. What are tax shelters? ; n. Should I get a tax refund? ; o. Do most people get tax refunds? ; p. How many people use tax preparers? ; q. Why is the tax system so complex? ; i. How should tax complexity be measured? ; ii. How high are the costs of compliance? ; iii. Who benefits from tax complexity? ; iv. Do fewer tax brackets promote simplicity? ; v. What are phase-outs and phase-ins? ; vi. Why is there a trade-off between simplicity and other goals? ; r. What are the consequences of the Internet for the tax system? ; a. Should states be able to tax internet and mail-order sales from other states? ; s. If almost everyone uses tax software or paid preparers, why should we care about complexity? ; III. A tour of the sausage factory ; 10. TAX POLITICS ; a. What does the public know about taxes? ; b. What does the public think about taxes? ; c. How does do new taxes get enacted? ; d. How does the tax sausage get made? (House and Senate rules) ; e. What is the "two Santa Claus" theory? ; f. What is the "starve the beast" strategy? ; i. Is there evidence that it has worked? ; g. Is the system biased in favor of tax expenditures? ; h. What is dynamic scoring? ; i. Raise taxes, or cut spending? ; 11. TAX RHETORIC ; a. How to recognize Fool's Gold tax reform plans? ; i. Fairtax ; ii. Flat tax ; iii. Ryan's optional alternative tax ; iv. Financial transaction tax (securities transfer tax) ; b. What are would-be tax reformers favorite cliches (and do they help advance the goal)? ; i. "level playing field" ; ii. "neutral" ; iii. "broad-based, low-rate" ; iv. "competitive" ; v. "job creator" ; vi. "pro-growth" ; vii. "simpler" ; 12. TAX REFORM ; a. Is the broadest base always the best base? ; b. Which level of government should levy, and collect, taxes? ; c. How should federal and state taxes be coordinated? ; d. Does the framing of taxes affect behavior? ; e. What is a revenue-neutral tax change? ; f. Should tax reform and deficit reduction be separated? ; g. Could most taxpayers be spared any filing requirement (as in the UK)? ; h. Could the IRS fill out our tax returns for us? ; i. Would simplifying tax compliance be unfair to H&R Block and Intuit? ; i. The bizarre story of California's experiment with pre-filled returns. ; j. Are there some sensible tax reform ideas?
Responsibility: Leonard E. Burman.
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"A valuable new primer on the nation's wild and crazy revenue system. Taxes in America is a clear, concise, and easy-to-read tour of the U.S. revenue system. It is written in a simple Read more...

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