Obama Tax Plan – and Economic Stimulus

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A top presidential campaign adviser to Sen. Barack Obama , D-Ill., was on Capitol Hill recently for private discussions with Democratic lawmakers about Obama’s economic plans. Taxes were a major subject of the discussions. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center recently released an analysis that included Obama’s tax plans.

Partial extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts: Obama’s plan would extend the tax cuts affecting the middle class while eliminating those benefiting the wealthiest Americans.

Alternative minimum tax patch: Obama plans to extend and index the 2007 AMT patch.

Estate tax: Obama plans to freeze the estate tax law in its 2009 form – an exemption of $3.5 million with a top tax rate of 45 percent.

New tax cuts: Obama plans to:

  • Credit 6.2 percent of earnings up to $8,100 for wage earners and the self-employed.
  • Create a refundable credit equal to 10 percent of mortgage interest – a maximum of $800 – for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions.
  • Eliminate the income tax for seniors making less than $50,000 per year.
  • Extend the phase-in maximum income range for the earned-income tax credit (EITC) for childless filers and increase the phaseout threshold.
  • Increase the EITC phase-in credit rate to 45 percent for families with three or more children.
  • Increase to $5,000 the add-on to the EITC phaseout threshold for married filers.
  • Make the child and dependent care tax credit refundable and increase the maximum credit rate to 50 percent.
  • Make the tax credit for retirement savings fully refundable and change its formula to a 50 percent match up to $1,000 of contributions.
  • Make permanent the research and development tax credit and renewable-energy production tax credit.
  • Mandate automatic 401(k) and IRA accounts through employers.
  • Increase the higher education tax credit to a 100 percent match rate on up to $4,000.

Health: Obama would create a new insurance exchange and mandate income-related subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchange. His plan would penalize employers who fail to provide health insurance to their employees.

Tax increases: Obama tax increases would include:

  • Increasing the capital gains rate to 25 percent.
  • Treating carried interest as ordinary income.
  • Eliminating oil and gas industry tax breaks.
  • Requiring publicly traded financial partnerships to pay the corporate income tax.
  • Codifying the economic substance doctrine that requires transactions qualifying for tax benefits to have economic justifications beyond those benefits.
  • Reallocating multinational tax deductions.
  • Requiring information reporting of basis for gains.

Simplification of the tax process: Under Obama’s plan, taxpayers who file simple returns would have the option of submitting pre-filled tax forms that only need the taxpayer’s signature.


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