IncomeOn June 27, 2013, Senator Baucus, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Hatch, Ranking Member of the committee issued a call to everyone asking them to submit justification for keeping any tax break they believe should be in the federal tax law. They refer to this as a “blank slate”approach. That is, assume that none of the 200+ special tax breaks (“tax expenditures”) are in the tax law. If you believe any should be there, send them the reasons why. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp called this idea “welcome news” (6/27/13 press release).

The senators refer to the Joint Committee on Taxation tax expenditure report to define what a tax expenditure is. The Joint Committee on Taxation does not count rules tied to the basic design of a type of tax as tax expenditures. For example, the JCT states in its February 2013 report:

“Under the Joint Committee staff methodology, the normal structure of the individual income tax includes the following major components: one personal exemption for each taxpayer and one for each dependent, the standard deduction, the existing tax rate schedule, and deductions for investment and employee business expenses.” (page 3) The JCT also notes that the carryover of net operating losses is a normal part of an income tax. (page 8) Read More