Tax Foundation Article

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Tax Foundation
MottoEducating Taxpayers Since 1937
FormationDecember 5, 1937; 81 years ago (1937-12-05)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Type Think tank
Headquarters1325 G Street NW, Suite 950
Scott A. Hodge

The Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, founded in 1937, that collects data and publishes research studies on U.S. tax policies at both the federal and state levels. [1] [2] The Foundation's stated mission is to "improve lives through tax policy research and education that leads to greater economic growth and opportunity." [3] The Tax Foundation is organized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit educational and research organization.

The Tax Foundation was founded in 1937 by a group of prominent businessmen in order to "monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies". [4] [5] It is generally critical of tax increases and high taxation. [6] [7] [8] The organization is organized into three primary areas of research, carried out by the Foundation's Center for Federal Tax Policy, [9] the Center for State Tax Policy [10] and the Center for Legal Reform. [11] The group is known for its annual reports such as Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare, [12] which was first produced in 1941, [13] and its " Tax Freedom Day" brochures, [14] which it has produced since the early 1970s.


The Tax Foundation was organized on December 5, 1937 in New York City by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., Chairman of the General Motors Corporation; Donaldson Brown, GM Financial Vice President; William S. Farish, President of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Exxon); and Lewis H. Brown, President of Johns-Manville Corporation, who later became the first Chairman of the Board of The Tax Foundation. [4] The stated goal of the organization was "to monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies". [5] Its offices were located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza and later 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The Tax Foundation's first project was a successful effort to stop a tax increase in Westchester County, New York, where they provided research and analysis (including an "Expenditure Survey" of state spending) to local activists. [5] By 1943, the Tax Foundation had helped set up taxpayers associations and expenditure councils in 35 states. [5]

During World War II, Tax Foundation research emphasized restraining government spending domestically to finance wartime expenditures. In 1948, the Tax Foundation opened an office in Washington, D.C., and in 1978 relocated there completely. [5] Its research and analysis has historically emphasized publicizing federal and state financial information, arguing against the use of tax systems for "social engineering," and urging "broad bases and low rates" tax reform. [5]

Beginning in 1990, the Tax Foundation "operate[d] as a separate unit" of Citizens for a Sound Economy. [15] By July 1991, it was again operating as an independent 501(c)(3) organization. [16]

Beginning in 2009, the Tax Foundation's offices were located in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. [17] In 2015, the organization moved to its current location on G Street. [18]

Goals and principles

The Tax Foundation states that its research is guided by what it calls the principles of sound tax policy: simplicity, transparency, neutrality, and stability. [19]

Tax Foundation research is generally critical of tax increases, [6] [7] [8] [20] high business taxes, [21] excise taxes, [22] tax preferences for the housing industry, [23] and use of tax credits (which the Foundation views as "picking winners and losers"). [24] [25] The Foundation has spoken favorably of efforts to balance the federal budget with tax reform and significant spending cuts, such as the Bowles-Simpson plan, [26] the Ryan Plan, [27] and the Wyden-Coats plan. [28]

Organizational overview


The Tax Foundation describes itself as an "independent tax policy research organization". [29] They are cited in the media as a nonpartisan or bipartisan organization, [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] and are also described as business-friendly or conservative. [38] [1] [2]

Board of directors

As of 2016, the organization's board of directors consists of David P. Lewis (Chairman), James W. Lintott, Bill Archer, Philip English, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Stephen Kranz, Sarah McGill, and Pamela F. Olson, Tom Roesser, and Scott Hodge. [39]


The Tax Foundation accepts grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It does not solicit or accept funds from government sources. [40] The Tax Foundation has earned a 3 out of 4 star financial rating and 4 out of 4 star accountability and transparency rating from Charity Navigator. [41]

Year Revenues Expenses
2015 [42] $3,557,681 $3,722,271
2014 [43] $3,675,132 $2,971,778
2013 [44] $2,953,060 $2,469,668
2012 [45] $2,192,620 $1,900,821
2011 [46] $1,885,201 $1,768,828
2010 [46] $1,854,135 $1,925,936


Since 2013, the Tax Foundation has offered guidance to same-sex married couples filing income taxes at the state level, where local laws recognizing same-sex marriage can vary considerably. [47] [48]

Every year, the Tax Foundation calculates and announces Tax Freedom Days in the United States. These studies have been criticized by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a progressive think tank, and in turn the Tax Foundation has responded to or criticized CBPP reports. [49] [50] [51] [52] However, the two groups have worked together on analysis of the marriage penalty in the US federal income tax. [53]

Criticism from Paul Krugman

In opinion editorials for the New York Times, economist Paul Krugman has characterized the Tax Foundation as "not a reliable source" while criticizing a report by the Tax Foundation comparing corporate tax rates in the United States to those in other countries. [54] Krugman has also accused the Tax Foundation of "deliberate fraud" in connection with a report it issued concerning the American Jobs Act. [55] The Tax Foundation has published various responses to Krugman's criticisms. [56] [57]

See also


  1. ^ a b Barro, Josh (October 29, 2015). "Fact-Checking Republicans on Tax Plans". New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Sloan, Allan (August 17, 2016). "The whopping $1.2 trillion omission in Trump's tax reform plan". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ "About Us | Tax Foundation". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  4. ^ a b "Celebrating Our 65th Year". Tax Foundation. 2002-09-01. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Tax Foundation 1937–1987: The First Fifty Years" (PDF). Tax Foundation. 1987-12-05. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  6. ^ a b "Portland Business Journal, Tax Foundation Criticizes State Tax Hikes". 2009-07-09. Archived from the original on 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  7. ^ a b Henchman, Joseph (2008-12-29). "State Budgets: Maryland Tax Increases Can't Keep Up With Spending Increases". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  8. ^ a b Carroll, Robert (2009-07-29). "The Economic Cost of High Tax Rates". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  9. ^ "Center for Federal Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  10. ^ "Center for State Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  11. ^ "Center for Legal Reform". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  12. ^ "Facts & Figures Handbook: How Does Your State Compare?". Tax Foundation. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  13. ^ "Tax Facts & Figures, First Edition". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  14. ^ "Tax Freedom Day". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  15. ^ "Tax Features" (PDF). Tax Foundation. January 1990. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  16. ^ "Tax Features" (PDF). Tax Foundation. July 1991. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  17. ^ "Tax Foundation, Contact Us". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  18. ^ "Office Warming Reception". Tax Foundation. February 4, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  19. ^ "Principles of Sound Tax Policy". Tax Foundation. August 20, 2007. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  20. ^ Henchman, Joseph; Mountjoy, Jack (2009-07-09). "The Dam Bursts in the Beaver State: Oregon's Wave of Tax Increases and New Spending". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  21. ^ "Business Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  22. ^ "Excise Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  23. ^ Prante, Gerald (2007-12-03). "Giuliani Wrong on Mortgage Interest Deduction". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  24. ^ Henchman, Joseph (2009-07-11). "Louisiana Tax Credits: Politicians Picking Winners and Losers". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  25. ^ Henchman, Joseph (2009-05-05). "Tax Foundation, Remarks to the Shaftesbury Society Luncheon". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  26. ^ "Draft from President's Deficit Commission Stirs the Fiscal Pot in Washington". Tax Foundation. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  27. ^ Hodge, Scott. "Ryan Plan Smartly Marries Tax Reform with Spending Reform". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  28. ^ Hodge, Scott. "Wyden-Coats Tax Reform Plan Adds to Debate But Needs Fixing". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  29. ^ "About Us". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  30. ^ "Donald Trump's new tax plan could have a big winner: Donald Trump's companies". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  31. ^ "Why Americans are giving up citizenship in record numbers". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  32. ^ Rosen, Jan M. (1988-12-05). "Tax Watch; Hidden Ways To Gain Revenue". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  33. ^ Akst, Daniel (2001-02-04). "ON THE CONTRARY; How New Campaign Laws Would Help the Economy". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  34. ^ O’shea, James (2010-02-26). "Looking to Taxes as Solution to a Crisis". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  35. ^ Roberts, Sam (2014-07-20). "Wealthier New Yorkers Aren't Fleeing the City for Tax Havens, a Study Says". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  36. ^ Sumerlin, Marc; Williams, Noah (2016-03-04). "The Partisan Tax Policy Center". Wall Street Journal. ISSN  0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  37. ^ White, Gillian B. "Trump's Latest Economic Plan: New Promises, Same Old Problems". Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  38. ^ "Trump's tax pitch". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  39. ^ "Meet Our Board". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  40. ^ "Financials". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  41. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – Tax Foundation". Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  42. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  43. ^ "Form 990 Return of Organization Exemption From Income Tax" (PDF). 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  44. ^ "2013 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  45. ^ "2012 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  46. ^ a b "2011 Form 990, Tax Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  47. ^ Henchman, Joseph (2013-09-13). "Wisconsin Offers Constructive Tax Filing Guidance for Same-Sex Couples". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  48. ^ Henchman, Joseph (2015-03-20). "10 Remaining States Provide Tax Filing Guidance to Same-Sex Married Taxpayers". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  49. ^ Brooks, Neil (2005). Tax Freedom Day: A Flawed, Incoherent and Pernicious Concept. Canadian Center for Public Policy Alternatives. p. 26. ISBN  9780886274382.
  50. ^ Brunori, David (April 24, 2016). "Why Tax Freedom Day Matters". Forbes. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  51. ^ ""Tax Freedom Day" Analysis Can Give a Misleading Impression of Tax Burdens". Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  52. ^ Ahern, William (March 30, 2006). "Analysis Shows Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Criticism of Tax Freedom Day Flawed and Inaccurate". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  53. ^ "Tax Day: Are You Receiving a Marriage Penalty or Bonus?". The New York Times. April 15, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  54. ^ Krugman, Paul (2008-08-24). "The Tax Foundation is not a reliable source". The Conscience of a Liberal blog, Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  55. ^ "Stocks, Flows, and Fuzzy Math". October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  56. ^ McBride, William (July 26, 2012). "Grasping at Straws: A Response to Paul Krugman". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  57. ^ Hodge, Scott (October 11, 2011). "Response to Paul Krugman on "Millionaire" Taxes". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2017-02-15.

External links