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Tax Filing Season: Options for Improvement

Tax Day came and went on April 18th with the regular tax filing deadline, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is facing difficulties. It struggled to manage a deluge of 282 million calls made in fiscal year 2021, only answering 11 percent, and a backlog of several million returns from 2021 were left to be […]

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Chaotic IRS Filing Season Shows the Perils of Running Social Policy Through the Tax Code

As the deadline for the 2022 tax filing season nears, the IRS faces scrutiny for its backlog of returns, inaccessible taxpayer service, and delays in issuing certain refunds. As of January 28th, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had 23.7 million returns awaiting action, compared to a typical backlog at that point of roughly 1 million […]

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10 Tax Reforms for Growth and Opportunity

Key Findings The waning pandemic and robust economic recovery have come with many benefits—plentiful jobs and fast-growing (nominal) incomes—but also serious challenges such as high and rising inflation. Rather than pushing for more fiscal stimulus or leaving it to the Federal Reserve to handle inflation through higher interest rates, policymakers should focus on boosting the […]

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Business Tax Refunds Must Be Provided Quickly During Future Downturns

During the pandemic, policymakers relied on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to administer business relief through the tax code. The emergency relief, including business tax refunds for net operating losses (NOLs), was intended to quickly help businesses that lost their source of income during the pandemic. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) […]

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Bumpy Tax Filing Season Ahead Due to IRS Backlog and Pandemic Tax Relief

Taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are set to face a bumpy 2022 tax filing season, which the IRS announced will begin January 24th and run through April 18th. Two major challenges await taxpayers: a second year of navigating pandemic-related tax relief on their returns and IRS backlogs that may delay processing and refunds. […]

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5 Things to Consider in the Tax Gap Discussion

Increasing tax compliance is a major part of the Biden administration proposal to raise revenue for physical and social infrastructure. Reducing the tax gap—the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid—is a good way to raise revenue, but it doesn’t come without trade-offs, and it’s important to go about it in the right way. Point […]

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Considering Trade-offs to Improving Tax Collections

Recent Biden administration proposals rely heavily on revenue from better Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax collections to fund spending initiatives. The American Families Plan uses several avenues to reduce the tax gap (or the difference between taxes paid and taxes owed), from increasing the IRS’s tax enforcement budget to improving information technology and expanding reporting […]

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Return-Free Filing: A Better Fit for a Better Tax Code

Binyamin Applebaum of The New York Times recently authored an op-ed calling for the adoption of return-free filing. Under return-free filing, many taxpayers would receive an already-completed return that they could amend. It’s an appealing idea, but for it to deliver its promised benefits, the U.S. tax code would have to be much simpler. The […]

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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Avoids Tax Increases, Undermines User-Pay Principle, and Misses Chance to Modernize Obsolete Programs

The Senate has begun deliberations over a bipartisan plan to provide $550 billion in new spending for a wide range of infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, public transit, broadband, and the electrical grid. The good news is that lawmakers avoided raising taxes to cover the cost of the new spending and instead used some reasonable […]

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Simplifying the Tax Code and Reducing the Tax Gap: What Can Be Achieved?

Table of Contents Key Findings The tax gap is the gap between what taxpayers owe the U.S. government, and what the government actually collects from taxpayers. Tax compliance efforts ensure that tax law applies evenly to all taxpayers. At the same time, we would like to avoid placing undue compliance burdens on taxpayers. Reducing the […]