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State Inflation-Indexing of Gasoline Taxes

December 4, 2014 Comments off

State Inflation-Indexing of Gasoline Taxes
Source: Tax Foundation

We’ve been asked which states adjust their gasoline tax for inflation. Most states (and the federal government) define their gas tax in so many cents per gallon, which can make a difference as time passes and inflation erodes the purchasing power of that tax rate. For example, the federal motor fuels tax today generates one-third fewer dollars in real terms since 1993, when it was last increased. Inflation-adjusting your gasoline tax can prevent this, although it also means you’re writing automatic tax increases into law.

3 states adjust their gasoline tax for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index: Florida, Maryland (effective 1/1/13), and New Hampshire (effective 7/1/14). Massachusetts will begin doing so on 1/1/15, assuming it is not repealed by voters in November. Maine formerly adjusted for CPI but repealed that effective 1/1/12.

4 additional states and DC adjust some portion of their gasoline tax for the wholesale price of gasoline: Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

1 additional state adjusts the gasoline tax for state transportation revenue needs: Nebraska.

Additionally, some states collect their sales tax in whole or in part on gasoline purchases: Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. California applies a partial “sales tax” on gasoline on the wholesale price. New York collects local sales taxes on gasoline.

See also: Map of State Gasoline Tax Rates in 2014

Losing the Future: The Decline of U.S. Saving and Investment

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Losing the Future: The Decline of U.S. Saving and Investment
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • Saving and investment are necessary for a society to adequately provide for its future.
  • Saving and investment have declined substantially as a percentage of GDP over the last 40 years, and have collapsed almost entirely since the financial crisis.
  • American private saving barely keeps pace with total government deficits. On the whole, the country saves very little.
  • American investment barely keeps pace with depreciation; U.S. private and public capital stock and infrastructure deteriorates almost as quickly as it can be repaired or replaced with new investment.
  • The U.S., overall, does not save enough money to fund all of the worthwhile domestic investments and relies substantially on foreign investors to make up the difference.
  • Tax reform could help the U.S. become a forward-looking economy that invests and saves at more prudent rates.

Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • Americans pay an average of 17.05 percent in combined federal, state, and local tax and fees on wireless service. This is comprised of a 5.82 percent federal rate and an average 11.23 percent state-local tax rate.
  • The five states with the highest state-local rates are: Washington State (18.6 percent), Nebraska (18.48 percent), New York (17.74 percent), Florida (16.55 percent), and Illinois (15.81 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest state-local rates are: Oregon (1.76 percent), Nevada (1.86 percent), Idaho (2.62 percent), Montana (6.00 percent), and West Virginia (6.15 percent).
  • Four cities—Chicago, Baltimore, Omaha, and New York City—have effective tax rates in excess of 25 percent of the customer bill.
  • The average rates of taxes and fees on wireless telephone services are more than two times higher than the average sales tax rates that apply to most other taxable goods and services.
  • Excessive taxes on wireless consumers disproportionately impacts poorer families.

Tax Reform in the UK Reversed the Tide of Corporate Tax Inversions

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Tax Reform in the UK Reversed the Tide of Corporate Tax Inversions
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • The United States is not the only country to experience the phenomenon of corporate tax inversions.
  • Despite cutting the corporate tax rate from 52 percent in 1980 to 28 percent by 2008, the UK levied one of the higher corporate tax rates in Europe and operated under one of the few remaining worldwide tax systems.
  • As a result of the high rate and worldwide tax system, many British companies left or announced plans to “invert”; the UK faced an “exodus of British companies fleeing the tax system.”
  • In response, the UK government implemented both a territorial tax system and a series of corporate tax reforms that will lower the corporate tax rate from 28 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2015.
  • After these changes, UK corporate inversions reversed, and many American companies now aim to move to the UK. Further, the total number of UK corporations has grown to 1.1 million as of 2012, and it is on track to overtake the U.S. in number of corporations by 2017.
  • Lawmakers in the U.S. would do well to follow the British example on corporate inversions by lowering our corporate tax rate—the third-highest in the entire world—and replacing our worldwide tax system with a modern territorial system.

The Impact of Piketty’s Wealth Tax on the Poor, the Rich, and the Middle Class

October 24, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of Piketty’s Wealth Tax on the Poor, the Rich, and the Middle Class
Source: Tax Foundation

In his bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty recommends a wealth tax as a remedy to inequality. The basic version of Piketty’s wealth tax would impose a tax rate of 1 percent on net worth of $1.3 million and $6.5 million and 2 percent on net worth above $6.5 million. Piketty contemplates additional tax brackets, including a bracket of 0.5 percent starting at about $260,000.

We used the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth (TAG) model, augmented with wealth data from the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics, to estimate how the U.S. economy would respond to Piketty’s wealth taxes.

2015 Tax Brackets

October 23, 2014 Comments off

2015 Tax Brackets
Source: Tax Foundation

Every year, the IRS adjusts more than 40 tax provisions for inflation. This is done to prevent what is called “bracket creep.” This is the phenomenon by which people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have reduced value from credits or deductions due to inflation instead of an actual increase in real income.

The IRS uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the past year’s inflation and adjusts income thresholds, deduction amounts, and credit values accordingly. Rather than directly adjusting last year’s values for annual inflation, each provision is adjusted from a specified base year. For more information, see the methodology, below.

The Real Value of $100 in Each State

August 21, 2014 Comments off

The Real Value of $100 in Each State
Source: Tax Foundation

This week’s tax map shows the real value of $100 in each state. Because average prices for similar goods are much higher in California or New York than in Mississippi or South Dakota, the same amount of dollars will buy you comparatively less in the high-price states, or comparatively more in low-price states. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that we’ve written about previously, we adjust the value of $100 to reflect how prices are different in each state.

For example, Tennessee is a low-price state, where $100 will buy what would cost $110.25 in another state that is closer to the national average. You can think of this as meaning that Tennesseans are about ten percent richer than their nominal incomes suggest.

The states where $100 is worth the least are the District of Columbia ($84.60), Hawaii ($85.32), New York ($86.66), New Jersey ($87.64), and California ($88.57). That same money goes the furthest in Mississippi ($115.74), Arkansas ($114.16), Missouri ($113.51), Alabama (113.51), and South Dakota ($113.38).

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