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Tax Foundation's educational events, lectures, and panel discussions bring together today's leading, independent voices to help you navigate the complicated world of tax and economics. Subscribe to our Events podcast for regular recordings of discussions ranging from the basics of state tax policy to what the experts expect will be the future of federal tax reform in the U.S.
12 Episodes
The fifth and final session of Tax Foundation University will be dedicated to audience feedback and questions from the first four weeks.Topics could include upcoming and recent legislation related to COVID-19 recovery or energy policy, Tax Foundation’s Options Guide, or other concepts that attendees express interest in throughout the prior month.Areas of Focus:1. COVID-19-Related Tax Relief2. Energy Tax Policy3. Onshoring and Supply Chain Incentives4. Workforce Training IncentivesSee more educational sessions and explore related resources at:
In the fourth session, we will feature the second edition of our popular guide, Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code, which analyzes more than 70 discreet tax policy changes, encompassing both the individual and business tax codes.The Options Guide will be used as a teaching tool to discuss the unique trade-offs among revenue, economic growth, and the distribution of the tax burden inherent in all tax policy changes.Using the Options Guide, this session will review tax policy issues facing the 117th Congress and long-term tax policy considerations and discuss the range of options available to policymakers.Learn more:
In the third session, we will explore how corporations pay taxes through the corporate income and international tax code, the impacts of the current system, and changes that some policymakers have suggested.The 2017 tax law reduced the corporate income tax rate, changed the corporate tax base, and reformed the way foreign profits of U.S. multinationals are taxed. Many major business-related provisions of the 2017 tax law are scheduled to change in the coming years, and the Biden administration has proposed increasing the corporate income tax rate, changing international taxes, and instituting a corporate alternative minimum tax.This session will provide an overview of the corporate and international tax landscape and discuss the implications of scheduled and potential changes. 
In the second session, we will cover the key parts of the individual tax code that contain elements of income taxes and consumption taxes, and apply to a growing share of businesses, colloquially known as “pass throughs.”Our experts will also discuss work and child-related tax benefits, which have led to a growing share of households that receive net benefits through the individual income tax, and several individual income tax elements that are scheduled to expire in the coming years.Finally, you will learn about progressivity in our current income tax system and some of the proposals the Biden administration has put forward to change the way income is taxed.Learn more:
In the first of five sessions, we’ll explain how to view the economy, the role that taxes play in the economy, and the various measures economists use to talk about the impact of taxes, including growth, wages, and employment.Our experts will explain how the various tax cuts have different impacts on the U.S. economy and how specific tax changes grow or shrink GDP by changing incentives to work and invest.This session will also introduce you to the Tax Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model, used to estimate the economic, revenue, and distributional effects of tax policy changes, as well as the other major tax models in use today.Learn more at:
State revenues have not taken as much of a hit as was once feared, but state lawmakers still face the difficult task of balancing responses to reduced revenues with efforts to help facilitate the economic recovery.In this final session, we will review the latest revenue data, survey state responses to the Great Recession and prior economic downturns, explore the state tax implications of federal relief packages, and outline states’ options.Drawing upon earlier discussions, we will close out the legislative boot camp with a timely discussion of tax policy choices, on issues ranging from UI tax adjustments to tax conformity measures to the advantages and disadvantages of different revenue-raising options.Learn more at:
Recent years have seen expanded interest in new or less common forms of taxation—things like wealth taxes, digital advertising taxes, excess compensation taxes, and financial transaction taxes.States have little or no experience with these taxes, leaving basic questions about the proper structure of such taxes unresolved and creating significant uncertainty around fundamental issues such as their revenue potential, impact on tax competitiveness, and even, in some cases, constitutionality.In this session, we will dive into several of these notable additions to the tax debate, outlining the arguments made for and against each tax, exploring some of the design and implementation challenges policymakers have encountered or are likely to encounter, and surveying the legal hurdles such tax proposals would have to clear.Areas of Focus:Wealth taxes and the mark-to-market taxation of capital gains incomeFinancial transaction and stock transfer taxesDigital advertising and data taxes, contrasted with sales taxation of digital goods and servicesExcess compensation taxes, business head taxes, and other new developments in state taxationLearn more at:
With revenues short of pre-pandemic projections, many states are looking to excise taxes as a way to plug revenue gaps, sometimes by raising existing tax rates (particularly on tobacco and vapor products) and other times by legalizing and taxing new markets, like sports betting and marijuana.States often struggle with the trade-offs inherent in these so-called “sin taxes,” trying to navigate sometimes competing public health and revenue generation goals. They must also grapple with often unstable revenues and questions of how to design taxes on newly legalized markets.In this session, we explore these and similar questions related to excise taxes, along with a review of the basic theory of excise taxation.Learn more at:
The pandemic has changed how we live and work, and for many, some of those changes may be permanent. But what are the tax implications of remote work?In this session, we will delve into the tax implications of multistate living or working arrangements. We’ll look at what this means for tax withholding, where an individual might have liability, how credits for work performed in another state function, and what scenarios can yield actual double taxation. We will also examine the business side, identifying scenarios in which remote workers could trigger business tax liability in a state where a company previously lacked nexus.Remote work is here to stay, but state tax codes aren’t ready for it. This session is about how states can remove impediments to remote work, what they can expect from a dramatically more mobile workforce—and how to respond to it.Learn more at:
In the second part of our overview of major state and local taxes, we tackle sales and excise taxes, property taxes, severance taxes, and other forms of state and local tax revenue.In this session, we discuss states’ different approaches to defining the sales tax base, and where there is room for reform. We also explore local sales tax authority, how services are sourced for tax purposes, and how states have responded to the Wayfair court decision on the taxation of remote sales. We discuss the design of marketplace facilitator laws, which require sales platforms to remit on behalf of their sellers, and look at some of the complexities that have arisen under these laws.We also tackle property taxes, both real (land) and personal (machinery and equipment, etc.), talking about assessments, split roll taxation, and other structural issues. We explore the merits and demerits of different state approaches to mitigating property tax burdens, either through property tax limitations or through tax swaps. And we discuss the different approaches to severance taxes, and the basic theory of excise taxation, all in an informative one-hour session.Learn more at:
In the first of our six sessions, we will explore individual and corporate income taxes plus the timely subject of unemployment insurance taxes.Everyone knows income taxes—but sometimes the details can be murky.  How long does someone have to work in a state to pay income taxes there, and how does that affect their tax burden in their home state?Unemployment insurance (UI) taxes, meanwhile, are opaque to even the most senior policymakers. We will walk through the basic structure of unemployment insurance taxation, explaining how each business’s rate is determined, outlining some of the key provisions of UI taxation, and highlighting how the exhaustion of state unemployment compensation funds yields automatic UI tax increases.Learn more at: February 16, 2021)
The sheer size and scope of the tax changes within the CARES Act and subsequent relief legislation created significant administrative challenges for the IRS and taxpayers alike.The National Taxpayer Advocate found that despite the significant relief Congress has provided, many taxpayers and businesses have had difficulty navigating the various tax provisions.And even though the most recent relief legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, addressed some issues with the CARES Act, confusion and compliance challenges remain. For example:Taxpayers with direct deposit information with the IRS received their recovery rebates quickly, while others lacking this information, such as non-tax filers and beneficiaries of programs such as Social Security, waited longer.Uncertainty persists among individuals who received recovery rebates or unemployment benefits about whether those benefits are taxable.As Tax Day 2021 approaches, confusion will likely increase as taxpayers receive different refund amounts than expected due to their eligibility under relief provisions.Despite clarifications in the most recent COVID-19 relief legislation, some businesses may still be unsure about the deductibility of expenses paid for with Paycheck Protection Program loans and differences between various payroll tax provisions, among other things.This experience highlights the importance for policymakers to prioritize simplicity in future relief efforts and in tax legislation in general.To discuss this issue and other lessons we can learn from COVID-19 relief legislation so far, Tax Foundation and the The Tax Institute at H&R Block hosted a special Talking Tax Reform webinar discussion, which was moderated by Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge and featured several of today’s leading economic and tax experts:Elaine Maag, Principal Research Associate, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy CenterKevin Martin, J.D., LL.M., Principal Tax Research Analyst, The Tax Institute at H&R BlockErica York, Economist, Tax Foundation
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