The Deduction

By Tax Foundation

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The Deduction is your independent guide to the complicated world of tax and economics. From the impacts of tariffs and trade wars to debates over who pays and how much, each episode, our experts untangle another aspect of the tax code. Listen to the leading tax podcast!

Episode Date
Windfall Profits Taxes?

Oil prices have skyrocketed, posing a new risk to the post-pandemic recovery. Feeling the pressure to respond, policymakers have proposed everything from gas tax holidays, tapping into strategic reserves, and even rebate cards. One idea that has crawled back from the dead: “Windfall Profits Taxes.”

This idea is seemingly simple: legislation targeted at the “excess” profits of oil companies. However, as with anything in tax policy, the reality is much more complicated.

But why exactly have windfall profits taxes risen from the grave, and what put them there in the first place? Host Jesse Solis sits down with Tax Foundation policy analyst Alex Muresianu to find out more.


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Jun 28, 2022
Clean Up on the Grocery Tax Aisle

Amidst soaring inflation, policymakers across the political spectrum proposed many ideas to soften the blow of higher prices—especially for low-income workers and families.

One idea that caught on quickly: sales tax relief on groceries.

The idea had its merits, but Tax Foundation research shows that it may have missed the mark. Tax Foundation Vice President of State Projects Jared Walczak joins Jesse Solis to discuss how grocery sales tax relief became a popular idea, and why it is so hard to nail down progressive vs. regressive tax policy.


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Jun 09, 2022
Pondering Property Taxes

Property taxes are one of the most substantial tax burdens businesses face. In 2020 alone, property taxes accounted for almost 38 percent of all taxes paid by businesses to state and local governments.

These taxes are highly unpopular and can get extremely confusing. But when done right, property taxes can actually be quite good. Janelle Fritts, a state tax policy analyst, joins Jesse Solis to talk through what a well structured property tax should look like, which states have good property tax structures in place and which ones don't, and how these taxes impact a state's competitiveness in an increasingly mobile economy.


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May 26, 2022
Clearing up Carbon Taxes

Amidst bipartisan climate negotiations on Capitol Hill, there have been renewed calls for a carbon tax.

Carbon taxes have long been magnets for political controversy. But from an economic standpoint, they deserve to be taken seriously.

Federal policy analyst Alex Muresianu joins Jesse Solis this week to talk through the history of climate tax policy, how a pro-growth carbon tax could be designed, and what its chances in DC actually are as the climate crisis worsens.

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May 12, 2022
States' Taxes Go Flat

Episode Description: State lawmakers have been on the move this year. One major trend that has been taking place? A push for flat taxes.

In more than 100 years of state income taxes, only four states have ever moved from a graduated-rate income tax to a flat tax. Another four may adopt flat tax legislation just this year.

Jared Walczak, vice president for state projects, joins Jesse Solis this week to discuss what flat taxes are, what they mean for taxpayers, and why so many states are making a push for them this year.

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Apr 28, 2022
Biden’s Budget Battle

President Biden this week released his annual budget. In a letter to lawmakers, the 46th President said that this $5.8 trillion package would “[grow] our economy, while ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share.”

This week, Garrett Watson joins Jesse Solis to break down what the President is proposing for this upcoming fiscal year. Garrett discusses what the budget could actually means for the policy debate in D.C., as well as what its impact would be on the U.S. economy in the face of record-high inflation.

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Mar 31, 2022
Let’s Make a Global Tax Deal

Late last year, over 130 countries agreed to a global minimum tax, a purported end-all and be-all to the "race to the bottom."

But this policy is complex, and countries are already struggling to implement these new rules. Daniel Bunn, Vice President of Global Projects, joins Jesse to talk through how this policy came to be, identify where problems are beginning to arise, and dispel some common myths about this emerging new tax system.

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Mar 17, 2022
A Gas Tax Holiday

The cost of gas is going up. To address this, policymakers have proposed suspending the gas tax as a way to give taxpayers immediate relief at the pump.

Alex Muresianu, a federal policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, argues that a gas tax holiday could actually make matters worse; that instead of lowering prices and easing inflation, it could have the opposite effect.

He joins Jesse Solis on this week's episode of The Deduction to discuss why suspending the gas tax would be a mistake and what lawmakers could do to help with the rising costs of gas.

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Mar 03, 2022
The Child Tax Credit Score

The expanded Child Tax Credit from the American Rescue Plan was touted as a once-in-a-lifetime achievement toward reducing child poverty. But it was passed as a temporary tax measure. Temporary tax policy makes tax filing confusing, and the IRS has shown that it isn’t able to keep pace with being a social administrator and a tax collector.

Senior economist Erica York joins Jesse Solis to discuss what taxpayers need to know about the ever-changing Child Tax Credit and how it may impact taxpayers’ this spring as they continue to file their taxes.

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Feb 17, 2022
States on the Move: Cutting Across Party Lines

After a whirlwind of cuts and reforms in 2021, it looks like 2022 might be an even bigger year for state tax codes. Republican and Democratic governors alike used their annual State of the State addresses to call for tax reform, and there is already serious momentum from state lawmakers nationwide to get the job done.

Jared Walczak, Vice President of State Projects, joins host Jesse Solis to discuss why exactly states are looking to make so many tax changes now and how these proposals might play out in statehouses.

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Feb 03, 2022
Tax Season's Greetings

The 2022 tax filing season is about to begin. But before the first returns have even been processed, the IRS is warning Americans to prepare for the worst.

With expected delays, pandemic-related troubles, and a backlog of over 8 million unprocessed returns from the 2021 tax filing season, Garrett Watson joins Jesse Solis to discuss what all these troubles will mean for taxpayers in what is shaping up to be a chaotic spring.

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Jan 20, 2022
A Stimulating COVID-19 Discussion

New research shows that the United States had the second largest fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic globally. But did this magnitude of stimulus have the economic impact policymakers were hoping for? Alex Durante, economist at the Tax Foundation, joins host Jesse Solis to take a deeper dive into what these fiscal measures actually achieved and what Capitol Hill might do next in response to the omicron variant.

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Jan 13, 2022
Taxing Decisions, 2021: Minisode 4 Waiting on the Senate

The House has passed the Build Back Better Act, a multi-trillion-dollar package funding a number of social programs that President Biden has made tenets of his agenda. Its chances are still shaky in the Senate, where Democratic leaders have pressed for urgency while moderates have called for a pause. Senior policy analyst Garrett Watson joins host Jesse Solis to discuss the bill's prospects and what tax changes--ranging from SALT to the Child Tax Credit--could change in order to gain enough support for passage.

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Dec 02, 2021
Taxing Decisions, 2021: Minisode 3 Revenge of the SALT

Infrastructure has made its way across the finish line, but the tax debate is far from over on Capitol Hill. Senior policy analyst Garrett Watson joins host Jesse Solis to walk us through the latest iteration of Democrats' trillion-dollar reconciliation package and the myriad tax changes that are being proposed to finance this deal.

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Nov 11, 2021
Taxing Decisions, 2021: Minisode 2

We have a new framework! President Biden and Congressional Democrats introduced a scaled-back proposal of their reconciliation package this week, with House leadership saying they hope to vote on this new trillion-dollar package ASAP.

Senior policy analyst Garrett Watson joins host Jesse Solis to talk through what made it into the deal, what was cut, and what the impact of these tax changes would be.

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Oct 28, 2021
Wireless with Strings Attached

As of 2020, there were more active cell phone and wireless plans in the U.S. than there were Americans—about 448 million, to be precise. The taxes on those plans brought in approximately $11.3 billion and constituted a record 24.96 percent of the cost of an average cell phone bill.

One thing is clear, these increasing taxes aren't being used to fund fewer robocalls, so what are they for?

On this episode of The Deduction, host Jesse Solis and Tax Foundation excise tax expert Ulrik Boesen discuss why wireless taxes are climbing, the places they're the highest, the consumers they impact the most, and how things can be improved.

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Oct 18, 2021
Federal Policy is Hard

Federal policy is hard. Federal health care policy during reconciliation while governing with razor-thin margins is really, really hard. This week, senior economist Erica York joins host Jesse Solis to break down the debate on Capitol Hill over drug pricing. They discuss why this policy found its way into the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package and what the tradeoffs would be of having the federal government set prescription drug prices.

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Oct 01, 2021
Taxing Decisions, 2021: Minisode 1

The reconciliation process on Capitol Hill is underway. Senior policy analyst Garrett Watson joins host Jesse Solis this week to give an update on where the package stands. The two also talk through recent Tax Foundation modeling of the proposal, which found that the plan may not have the economic boost its proponents have claimed.

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Sep 24, 2021
Wake Me Up when Reconciliation Ends

Reconciliation. One word that drives D.C. crazy, yet has been the way some of Congress’s most monumental bills have become law.

On this episode, host Jesse Solis is joined by federal tax policy experts Erica York and Garrett Watson to discuss why this complex budget process is back in the mix as Congress gears up to advance President Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar tax agenda.

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Sep 14, 2021
The One About Crypto

The quick-moving world of cryptocurrency can be confusing and, at times, comical.

On this episode of The Deduction, join Tax Foundation's Jesse Solis, Garrett Watson, and Alex Muresianu as they dive down the rabbit hole of cryptocurrency taxation.

How should policymakers view crypto in the first place—as an asset, like stocks, or as a currency? How big is the issue of tax evasion in the cryptocurrency market and what can realistically be done to curb it? Is it possible to design a rational tax system around what, at times, can appear to be a less-than-rational market and, if so, what should it look like?

Tune in to find out.

Look Busy by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (



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Sep 01, 2021
Tackling the Tax Gap: What Can Be Achieved?

Increasing enforcement of existing laws instead of increasing taxes is an appealing way to raise revenue.

But would stronger enforcement have costs for law-abiding taxpayers too? 

On this episode of The Deduction, host Jesse Solis and Federal Policy Analyst Alex Muresianu discuss the tax gap, what it is, how the U.S. compares to other countries, and recent proposals aimed at closing it.

They also explore how much revenue could actually be raised through increased tax enforcement, the current challenges the IRS faces, and how stronger enforcement could impact taxpayers at large.

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Aug 14, 2021
The State of State Income Taxes

As final state revenue figures come in for fiscal year 2021, many states are finding they are in a much healthier position than they ever would have anticipated this time last year.

And as a result, a remarkable trend has emerged: so far in 2021, eleven states have responded by reducing income tax rates and making related structural reforms.

On this episode of The Deduction, host Jesse Solis and Senior Policy Analyst Katherine Loughead explore how stronger-than-expected revenues and increased workplace flexibility have led to a wave of reforms aimed at enhancing tax competitiveness in states around the country. 

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Jul 16, 2021
Semiconducting Tax Policy

If you've read any headlines in the last few months,  you've no doubt heard about the semiconductor shortage gripping global supply chain—and if you've tried to buy anything from a toaster to a car, you've witnessed it firsthand.

But what's really driving today's crisis, can the U.S.  manufacture its way out of it,  and what role does tax and economic policy have to play in all this?

On this episode of the Deduction, Jesse Solis talks to Tax Foundation Economist Erica York about the complicated world of semiconductor manufacturing and all the ways policymakers should (and shouldn't) respond to today's challenges.

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Jul 06, 2021
G7 Agrees to Global Minimum Tax

One of the hottest topics in the tax world today is the recent announcement by G7 finance ministers that they would support enacting a new, 15 percent global minimum tax.

On this episode of The Deduction, Scott Hodge is joined by Tax Foundation's Daniel Bunn and Elke Asen to discuss this agreement and answer an important question: how much weight does it really carry?

We dive into the economic and political implications of a 15-percent global minimum tax, how such a tax would impact global economies, revenues, and real people, and what the path forward looks like.

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Jun 14, 2021
States Consider Digital Taxes Amidst Conflicting Rationales

Across the U.S., policymakers of both parties have developed a strong interest in taxing large technology companies through digital advertising taxes, social media taxes, and data taxes.

What is notably absent is any consistent rationale for these new proposals. 

On this episode of the Deduction, Tax Foundation's Daniel Bunn and Jared Walczak untangle the complex and sometimes contradictory world of state digital taxes.

Learn more about the legal difficulties, administrative challenges, and economic inefficiencies this emerging area of state tax policy faces.

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Jun 07, 2021
Pleading GILTI: A Guide to the Complicated World of Global Intangible Low Tax Income

Policymakers in Washington are edging closer to a deal on an infrastructure package. But while many believe it will be an economic boon to workers across the country, one provision tucked deep into the American Jobs Plan could jeopardize jobs across the country. 

On this episode of The Deduction, we speak with Pam Olson, Tax Foundation Board Member and Consultant on Tax Policy Services at PwC, about the tax on Global Intangible Low Tax Income, or “GILTI."

In 2017, GILTI was implemented as a minimum tax designed to disincentivize U.S. companies from shifting profits overseas, but it doesn't work how drafters intended, and now President Biden has proposed doubling it.

Learn more about this niche international policy and its deceivingly large impact on U.S. competitiveness and the economy.

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May 24, 2021
Recreational Marijuana Taxes

Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge is joined by Senior Policy Analyst Ulrik Boesen to discuss the taxation of cannabis (marijuana).

The legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana remains one of the hottest trends in state taxation. New York recently became one of the latest states to legalize it.

Join us as we dive into the complex world of marijuana taxation and explain how policymakers should approach designing such taxes.

Creative Commons Attribution:  "Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Kevin MacLeod

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Apr 02, 2021
The World of Excise Taxation

Senior Policy Analyst Ulrik Boesen joins Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge discuss and explore the wide and varied world of excise taxation.

Marijuana, betting,  soda, ride-sharing—over the last decade, the excise tax family has grown significantly and it's more crucial than ever that lawmakers, businesses, and consumers understand the possibilities and, more importantly, limitations of excise tax application.

Learn about the history of excise taxes, how they impact government revenues and the economy, and where we see today's trends leading in this episode of The Deduction.

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Mar 22, 2021
How Should R&D Be Taxed?

Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge is joined by economist Erica York and Senior Policy Analyst Garrett Watson to answer a question U.S. policymakers have been asking for decades: how should we tax research and development (R&D)?

R&D is more important than ever as pharmaceutical companies and governments around the world invest in coronavirus research and supply chains.

But are the policies currently on the books—the R&D credit and immediate deduction for R&D expenses (soon to be amortized over 5 years)—the best way to encourage innovation? 

What other tools do policymakers have at their disposal and what does the future hold for the taxation of R&D in America?

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Mar 08, 2021
Interview: Ken Kies, former Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) Chief of Staff

Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge interviews Ken Kies, former Chief of Staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) from 1995 to 1998.

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Feb 22, 2021