Millionaires likely would find legal ways to avoid paying higher taxes under President Barack Obama's proposed 'Buffett Rule,' a new congressional estimate finds.
The proposal -- spelled out in Mr. Obama's State of the Union address -- would impose a 30% minimum tax rate on those who make more than $1 million a year. It is named for the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who advocates higher taxes on the very wealthy.
Taxpayers' likely efforts to sidestep the rule's effects mean it would raise about $47 billion in extra revenue over the next decade, according to a new estimate by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. a congressional advisory body that functions as the official scorekeeper for legislation affecting government tax revenue. By contrast, the administration proposal to end the Bush-era tax cuts for high earners -- defined as couples making more than $250,000 -- would raise about $850 billion over the next decade. Mr. Obama also wants to limit the value of many deductions for families making more than $250,000, raising an additional $584 billion over the decade.
The White House hasn't released an estimate of how much money the Buffett proposal might raise, and it didn't respond to a request for comment on the committee's conclusions. It has emphasized the idea's importance as a way to make the tax system fairer. At a news conference this month, Mr. Obama called on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, 'so that we don't have billionaires paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.'
The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank (a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute), estimated recently that the Buffett Rule would raise about $114 billion over a decade.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), who requested the committee's estimate, termed the Buffett Rule 'a dog that just won't hunt.'
The committee found many millionaires would find ways to avoid the rule, mostly by cutting back on stock sales and other transactions that produce capital gains. Capital-gains income is taxed at relatively low rates -- well below the Buffett Rule threshold of 30% -- so earning a high percentage of capital-gains income would tend to make a household subject to the proposed minimum tax.
'We project taxpayers respond to increases in marginal and average tax rates by reducing their realization of capital gains,' the committee said.
Wealthy people also are likely to speed up asset sales so that they would occur before the new minimum tax goes into effect. That would reduce the government's projected tax take by about $6 billion for 2014, the committee's analysis suggests.
The top 1% of households -- with average pretax income of $1.9 million -- paid federal individual income taxes at a rate of about 19% in 2007, the latest year available. The middle fifth of households -- with average income of $64,500 -- paid federal individual income taxes, which exclude Social Security and Medicare taxes, at a rate of about 3.3%.
美国国会一项最新估计发现，针对美国总统奥巴马(Barack Obama)提出的“巴菲特规则”(Buffett Rule)，百万富豪可能会寻找各种法律途径以避免缴纳更高的税。
无党派组织税收联合委员会(Joint Committee on Taxation)的最新估计表明，纳税人可能努力回避“巴菲特规则”带来的影响。这意味着未来10年该法案能给美国政府增加的税收只有约470亿美元。税收联合委员会是美国国会下属的一个咨询机构，其主要职能是估计那些影响美国政府税收的法案可能造成的收益或损失。相比之下，如果奥巴马政府取消小布什主政时期推行的“给高收入者减税”的政策，那么未来10年政府的税收收入将增加约8,500亿美元。所谓“高收入者”是指年收入高于25万美元的夫妻。奥巴马还希望给收入超过25万美元的家庭享受的多种课税减免设置上限，未来10年政府税收能因此增加5,840亿美元。
Associated Press2010年，由于针对年收入超过100万美元的纳税人提出了一个征税办法，巴菲特还得到了一项荣誉。无党派智库税收政策中心(Tax Policy Center)最近估计，未来10年“巴菲特规则”将给美国政府增加约1,140亿美元的收入。税收政策中心是由布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)和城市研究所(Urban Institute)联合设立的智库。