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Reconsidering Tax Expenditure Estimation: Challenges And Reforms

Author

Listed:
  • Rosanne Altshuler

    () (Rutgers University Department of Economics)

  • Robert Dietz

    () (National Association of Home Builders)

Abstract

We examine the measurement of tax expenditures and offer recommendations aimed at improving their value to analysts and policymakers. We use calculations from NBER’s TAXSIM to illustrate some of the problems with the current methodology for estimating tax expenditures. Unlike most previous work on the topic, we focus on how features of the current tax system complicate and compromise the value of information provided by the tax expenditure budget. Our recommendations for reform include presenting revenue estimates for major tax expenditures, reporting some negative tax expenditures, grouping expenditures by conceptually-linked categories, and establishing an appendix for tax expenditure estimates of permanent versions of expiring provisions and AMT interaction effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosanne Altshuler & Robert Dietz, 2008. "Reconsidering Tax Expenditure Estimation: Challenges And Reforms," Departmental Working Papers 200804, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200804
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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/2008-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barthold, Thomas A. & Koerner, Thomas & Navratil, John F., 1998. "Effective Marginal Tax Rates Under the Federal Individual Income Tax: Death by One Thousand Pin Pricks?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 3), pages 553-64, September.
    2. Davie, Bruce F., 1994. "Tax Expenditures in the Federal Excise Tax System," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(1), pages 39-62, March.
    3. Davie, Bruce F., 1994. "Tax Expenditures in the Federal Excise Tax System," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 39-62, March.
    4. Feenberg, Daniel R. & Poterba, James M., 2004. "The Alternative Minimum Tax and Effective Marginal Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 407-427, June.
    5. Ackerman, Jonathan Z. & Altshuler, Rosanne, 2006. "Constrained Tax Reform: How Political and Economic Constraints Affect the Formation of Tax Policy Proposals," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(1), pages 165-187, March.
    6. Todd Sinai & Joseph Gyourko, 2004. "The (Un)Changing Geographical Distrituion of Housing Tax Benefits: 1980-2000," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 175-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Burman, Leonard E., 2003. "Is the Tax Expenditure Concept Still Relevant?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(3), pages 613-627, September.
    8. Barthold, Thomas A. & Koerner, Thomas & Navratil, John F., 1998. "Effective Marginal Tax Rates Under the Federal Individual Income Tax: Death by One Thousand Pin Pricks?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(3), pages 553-564, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. William G. Gale & Samuel Brown, 2013. "Tax Reform for Growth, Equity, and Revenue," Public Finance Review, , vol. 41(6), pages 721-754, November.
    2. James M. Poterba & Todd M. Sinai, 2008. "Income Tax Provisions Affecting Owner-Occupied Housing: Revenue Costs and Incentive Effects," NBER Working Papers 14253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Tatiana Malinina, 2010. "Recognition and Measurement of Tax Expenditures: International Experience and Russian Practice," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 146P.
    4. Rosanne Altshuler & Robert D. Dietz, 2008. "Tax Expenditure Estimation and Reporting: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 14263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Poterba, James M. & Sinai, Todd, 2011. "Revenue Costs and Incentive Effects of the Mortgage Interest Deduction for Owner-Occupied Housing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(2), pages 531-564, June.
    6. Květa Kubátová & Martin Jareš, 2011. "Identifikace a kvantifikace daňových úlev v ČR v roce 2008
      [Identification and Quantification of Tax Reliefs in the Czech Republic in the Year 2008]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(4), pages 475-489.
    7. Evridiki Tsounta, 2011. "Home Sweet Home; Government's Role in Reaching the American Dream," IMF Working Papers 11/191, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Altshuler, Rosanne & Dietz, Robert, 2011. "Reconsidering Tax Expenditure Estimation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(2), pages 459-489, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax expenditures; tax incentives; tax revenues;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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