Website of the Month: Tax Policy Center

Article excerpt

The Tax Policy Center (TPC) is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution that focuses on providing independent analysis of tax policy for both experts and the public. TPC states that its resources address four tax policy areas: 1) fair, simple, and efficient taxation; 2) social policy in the tax code; 3) long-term implications of tax and budget choices; and 4) state tax issues. The frequency of tax law changes presents an opportunity to examine the free materials on TPCs recently redesigned www.taxpolicycenter.org.

The website's main sections include "tax topics," "numbers," "tax facts," "library," "events," "legislation," "press room," The Tax Policy Briefing Book, and the 'Tax Vox" blog. Some sections include handy help features that provide additional background information. TPCs homepage highlights certain resources, including new articles, a guide to TPC's many tables, a tax fact of the day, and recent and popular publications.

Facts and Figures

'Tax topics" offers an overview of the site's resources, such as materials on the 2008 election, estate and gift taxes, and individual alternative minimum tax (AMT). There are several tax topics on healthcare reform, including healtii financing options, revenues to fund healthcare reform, and tax incentives for health insurance.

The subsidiary page for the 2010 budget tax proposals summarizes the tax revenue increases and decreases of individual and business tax provisions. The page for AMT tables includes characteristics of taxpayers by income, number of children, and filing status. The economic stimulus page covers TPC report cards for major bills, economic analyses of bills, and links to a variety of House, Senate, and Joint Committee on Taxation materials. 'Tax topics" also offers a guide to dozens of TPC data tables.

"Numbers" presents TPC's estimates of the economic impact of tax proposals. Distribution tables are organized by income class, income percentile, and size of tax cut. Revenue tables show the effects of tax changes on federal tax receipts. Other tables organize estimates by laws, bills, and proposals; by tax topic; and by year of impact.

The featured numbers section highlights specific resources, for example, the distributional effects of the 2010 budget which estimates the revenue effects of numerous proposals, such as setting the two top individual tax rates at 36% and 39.6%. Another promoted item is a collection of tables showing the revenue and distributional effects for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRA) of 2009.

'Tax facts" provides data from a variety of sources, such as the TPC, the IRS, and Congress. "Tax facts" also covers historical statistics, as well as summaries of past and present tax law. …