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IRS Releases FY 2014 Data Book

March 26, 2015 Comments off

IRS Releases FY 2014 Data Book
Source: Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2014 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

The report describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, and the IRS budget and workforce among others. The 2014 Data Book contains charts that show trends, such as the decline in the number of audits and the decline in telephone and in-person tax assistance and increases in the use of online resources and volunteer tax assistance.

During fiscal year 2014, the IRS collected almost $3.1 trillion in federal revenue and processed almost 240 million returns. About 65 percent of all returns were filed electronically. Of the 147 million individual income tax returns filed, 84 percent were e-filed. Over 116 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled over $330 billion. The IRS examined less than 1 percent of all tax returns filed. About 3 percent of all individual tax returns examined resulted in additional refunds.

The IRS provided taxpayer assistance through 437 million visits to IRS.gov and assisted over 69 million taxpayers through its toll-free telephone helpline or at walk-in sites.

CRS — Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources (March 19, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The majority of energy produced in the United States is derived from fossil fuels. In recent years, however, revenue losses associated with tax incentives that benefit renewables have exceeded revenue losses associated with tax incentives benefitting fossil fuels. As Congress evaluates the tax code and various energy tax incentives, there has been interest in understanding how energy tax benefits under the current tax system are distributed across different domestic energy resources.

This report provides an analysis of the value of energy tax incentives relative to primary energy production levels. Relative to their share in overall energy production, renewables receive more federal financial support through the tax code than energy produced using fossil energy resources. Within the renewable energy sector, relative to the level of energy produced, biofuels receive the most tax-related financial support.

The report also summarizes the results of recently published studies by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) evaluating energy subsidies across various technologies.

CRS — Health Insurance Premium Credits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2015 (March 18, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Health Insurance Premium Credits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2015 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

New federal tax credits, authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended), first became available in 2014 to help certain individuals pay for health insurance. The tax credits apply toward premiums for private health plans offered through exchanges (also referred to as health insurance marketplaces). The ACA also established subsidies to reduce cost-sharing expenses.

Health insurance exchanges operate in every state and the District of Columbia (DC), per the ACA statute. Exchanges may be established and administered by states, the federal government, or a combination of both. Exchanges are not insurers, but they provide eligible individuals and small businesses with access to private health insurance plans. Generally, plans offered through the exchanges provide a comprehensive set of health services and meet all of the ACA’s insurance market reforms, as applicable.

The new premium credits established under the ACA are advanceable and refundable, meaning tax filers need not wait until the end of the tax year to benefit from the credit and may claim the full credit amount even if they have little or no federal income tax liability.

Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations: Identifying the Large Companies that Dominate Federal Subsidies

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations: Identifying the Large Companies that Dominate Federal Subsidies (PDF)
Source: Good Jobs First
From press release:

Two-thirds of the $68 billion in business grants and special tax credits awarded by the federal government over the past 15 years have gone to large corporations. During the same period, federal agencies have given the private sector hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, loan guarantees and bailout assistance, with the largest share going to major U.S. and foreign banks.

These are key findings of Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations, a study with accompanying database released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit and non-partisan research center on economic development accountability based in Washington, DC. They derive from the first comprehensive compilation of company-specific federal subsidy data. The study and database are available at http://www.goodjobsfirst.org.

The database, which collects more than 160,000 awards from 137 programs, expands Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker, which since 2010 has posted economic development data from states and localities. The federal data was enhanced with Good Jobs First’s proprietary subsidiary-parent matching system, enabling users to see individual entries linked to more than 1,800 corporate parents, along with each parent’s total subsidies.

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2011 Federal Income Tax Return

March 20, 2015 Comments off

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2011 Federal Income Tax Return
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Federal income tax refunds totaling $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2011, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. To collect the money, these taxpayers must file a 2011 tax return with the IRS no later than Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

“Time is running out for people who didn’t file a 2011 federal income tax return to claim their refund,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People could be missing out on a substantial refund, especially students or part-time workers. Some people may not have filed because they didn’t make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund.”

The IRS estimates half of the potential refunds for 2011 are more than $698.

Do Tax Incentives Increase 401(k) Retirement Saving? Evidence from the Adoption of Catch-Up Contributions

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Do Tax Incentives Increase 401(k) Retirement Saving? Evidence from the Adoption of Catch-Up Contributions
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The U.S. government subsidizes retirement saving through 401(k) plans with $61.4 billion in tax expenditures annually, but the question of whether these tax incentives are effective in increasing saving remains unanswered. Using longitudinal U.S. Social Security Administration data on tax-deferred earnings linked to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the project examines whether the “catch-up provision,” which was enacted in 2001 and allows workers over age 50 to contribute more to their 401(k) plans, has been effective in increasing earnings deferrals. Compared with similar workers under age 50, the study finds that contributions increased by $540 more among age-50-plus individuals who had approached the 401(k) tax-deferral limits prior to turning 50, suggesting that the older individuals respond to the expanded tax incentives. For this group, the elasticity of retirement savings to the tax incentive is quite high: a one-dollar increase in the tax-deferred limit leads to an immediate 49-cent increase in 401(k) contributions.

Lessons the United States Can Learn From Other Countries’ Territorial Systems for Taxing Income of Multinational Corporations

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Lessons the United States Can Learn From Other Countries’ Territorial Systems for Taxing Income of Multinational Corporations
Source: Urban Institute

The United States has a worldwide system that taxes the dividends its resident multinational corporations receive from their foreign affiliates, while most other countries have territorial systems that exempt these dividends. This report examines the experience of four countries – two with long-standing territorial systems and two that have recently eliminated taxation of repatriated dividends. We find that the reasons for maintaining or introducing dividend exemption systems varied greatly among them and do not necessarily apply to the United States. Moreover, classification of tax systems as worldwide or territorial does not adequately capture differences in how countries tax foreign-source income.

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