Tax Reform

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Donald Trump

Trump's Tax Reform (section page) agenda seeks to fulfill four goals: DTW-TR

  1. Tax relief for middle-class Americans
  2. Simplify the tax code
  3. Grow the American economy
  4. Don't add to Debt or Deficit


  • An individual filing single that has earned less than $25,000 will not pay any income tax. DTW-TR
  • An individual filing head of household that has earned less than $37,500 will not pay any income tax. DTW-TR
  • Couple married filing jointly that have earned less than $50,000 will not pay any income tax. DTW-TR
  • Eliminate the marriage penalty DTW-TR
  • Eliminate Alternative Minimum Tax DTW-TR
Trump Tax Brackets and Rates DTW-TR
Income Tax Rate Long Term Cap Gains/ Dividends Rate Single Filers Married Filers Heads of Household
0% 0% $0 - $25,000 $0 - $50,000 $0 - $37,500
10% 0% $25,001 - $50,000 $50,001 - $100,000 $37,501 - $75,000
20% 15% $50,001 - $150,000 $100,001 - $300,000 $75,001 - $225,000
25% 20% $150,001+ $300,001+ $225,001+


  • Corporate tax rate reduced to 15%, regardless of business size. DTW-TR Current rate hovers ~39.1%[1]
  • Companies are required to bring their funds back from overseas accounts and pay a 10% tax on those funds. Funds used for overseas operating activities are exempt. DTW-TR

Funding for Tax Cuts

Trump pledges to propose alternative ways to keep revenue stable whilst reducing taxes. DTW-TR

  • Eliminate loopholes and deductions for the very rich. Steepening the curve of the Personal Exemption Phaseout and the Pease Limitation on itemized deductions.DTW-TR
  • 10% repatriation tax for corporate funds located overseas. DTW-TR
  • End the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad. DTW-TR
  • Phase in a "reasonable cap" on the deductibility of business interest expenses. DTW-TR

Ted Cruz

Cruz's Tax Reform (section page)

Repeal Tax Code and Institute a "Flat Tax" Policy

  • Wants to institute a "simple flat tax policy"
    • Up to 36,000 dollars in untaxed income for a family of four (TCWTR)
    • A flat 10% tax rate for all individuals exceeding the income cutoff (TCWTR)
    • An additional flat 16% "business tax" that effectively acts as a value-added tax (TCWTR)
    • Child Tax Credit and deductions for mortgage interest payments will remain in effect (TCWTR)
  • "I am campaigning on a flat tax that would allow every American to fill out his or her taxes on a post card [or iPhone app] that allow us to abolish the IRS."(WE)
  • Supports elimination of other taxes such as the Inheritance Tax, Overseas Profit Tax, Alternative Minimum Tax, and any "Obamacare" taxes (TCWTR)

Bernie Sanders

Bernie's Tax Reform (section page)

Prevent large corporations from shifting profits overseas to avoid paying US taxes. Increase taxes on capital gains and dividends. Close loopholes on corporate taxes. (BSWII)

  • 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers
  • 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
  • Progressive income tax rates.

Under this plan the marginal income tax rate would be:

37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000. 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million. 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (0.08% of population) 52 percent on income above $10 million. (.01% of the population)

  • Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work
  • Limit tax deductions for rich
  • The Responsible Estate Tax

Creation of progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million.


"I want Wall Street now to help kids in this country go to college, public colleges and universities, free with a Wall Street speculation tax." (DD1)

"I am proud that, along with Senator Barbara Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon." (DD1)

Rand Paul

Paul's Tax Reform (section page)

In consultation with some of the top tax experts in the country, including the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes and Reagan economist Arthur Laffer, Rand Paul devised his Fair and Flat Tax proposal. The Tax Foundation, estimates that in 10 years it will increase gross domestic product by about 10%, and create at least 1.4 million new jobs. Rand Paul's tax reform consists of "The Fair and Flat Tax" proposal. (RPW-TR)

The Fair and Flat Tax" proposal

  • A $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code
    • Replaces the tax code with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses applied equally to all personal income, including wages, salaries, dividends, capital gains, rents and interest
    • Eliminates every special-interest loophole
    • Eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs
    • Eliminates all deductions except for a mortgage and charities
    • Does not tax first $50,000 of income for a family of four
    • Retains the earned-income tax creditFor low-income working families
    • Levies the 14.5% tax on revenues minus allowable expenses, such as the purchase of parts, computers and office equipment
    • Immediately expenses all capital purchases, ending complicated depreciation schedules


"President Obama talks about “middle-class economics,” but his redistribution policies have led to rising income inequality and negative income gains for families. Here’s what I propose for the middle class: The Fair and Flat Tax eliminates payroll taxes, which are seized by the IRS from a worker’s paychecks before a family ever sees the money. This will boost the incentive for employers to hire more workers, and raise after-tax income by at least 15% over 10 years." (RPW-TR)

"Polls show that “fairness” is a top goal for Americans in our tax system. I envision a traditionally All-American solution: Everyone plays by the same rules. This means no one of privilege, wealth or with an arsenal of lobbyists can game the system to pay a lower rate than working Americans." (RPW-TR)

Distrust of IRS

"Another increasingly obvious danger of our current tax code is the empowerment of a rogue agency, the IRS, to examine the most private financial and lifestyle information of every American citizen. We now know that the IRS, through political hacks like former IRS official Lois Lerner, routinely abused its auditing power to build an enemies list and harass anyone who might be adversarial to President Obama’s policies. A convoluted tax code enables these corrupt tactics." (RPW-TR)

Audit the Fed

"The Federal Reserve was created by Congress and is supposed to be overseen by Congress. The Fed is now in every nook and cranny of banking with unprecedented regulatory powers and no Congressional oversight. I believe the Fed should be audited and the regulatory power should be placed back under the control of Congress.

A complete and thorough audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington. For too long, the Fed has been operating under a cloak of secrecy. The American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation's money supply.

I will continue my fight to audit the Fed and restore transparency and fiscal sanity to our nation’s checkbook." (RPW-TR)

Chris Christie

Links: Christie | Tax Reform | (section page)

“Flatter, Fairer And Simpler Individual Income Taxes”

  • Lower Rates For Every American: Simplify the income tax system to just three individual income tax rates, instead of the current six. The top rate will be no higher than the 28% set in the last major successful tax reform effort in this country – the Bradley-Gephardt-Reagan law signed in 1986. and the bottom rate should be single digit.
  • Keep Taxes Simple By Reducing Deductions And Giveaways: Eliminate or modify deductions, credits, and targeted provisions in the code – both on the personal and the corporate side – to ensure that the plan does not increase the deficit. One approach in this regard is to cap the total amount of deductions and credits that an individual or married couple could take.
    • Governor Christie would keep in place the deduction for charitable contributions and that for interest on home mortgages – at least for a first home.


“Putting Capital To Work In America”

“U.S. companies are declining to make investments here at home.”

  • Encourage Capital Investments In Equipment: “Companies are not making capital investments in the U.S. in part because they are concerned about the anti-growth direction of Washington.” Christie wants to permit the full expensing of corporate investments in capital equipment and encourage this type of very important investment to “spur the type of growth that will create middle class jobs.”
  • A One-Time Repatriation Holiday: Allow American companies a one-time opportunity to repatriate profits earned overseas over the last two decades at a much lower tax rate - 8.75%.
    • “This would unleash well over a trillion dollars of capital that would be invested in the United States of America to expand companies in the U.S, build factories and warehouses, improve our infrastructure and create jobs.”
  • A Territorial Tax System: As it stands now, America is among a tiny handful of nations which have a system that taxes profits twice. Christie would have his “one-time repatriation holiday” be combined with a permanent transition to a Territorial Tax System going forward, in which profits are taxed just once in the country in which they are generated.


“A More Competitive Corporate Tax Rate”

“While other countries have been reducing their rates to improve their competitive position, the United States has been stuck at 35% which discourages investment and job creation.”

  • Reduce The Corporate Tax Rate From 35% To 25%: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) studies have shown that corporate taxes are the most harmful to growth. In fact, Standard & Poor’s reported that cutting the corporate tax rate by ten percentage point could create as many as 10 million jobs over the next five years, while improving labor force participation. NEED TO FACT CHECK THIS
  • Repeal The Medical Device Tax: Repeal one of Obamacare’s 2.3% tax on medical devices. “The medical device industry has been a source of growth for the U.S. economy, a source of exports, and a source of innovation.”


Eliminate The Payroll Tax For Those At The Beginning And End Of Their Careers

In outlining his entitlement reform proposals, Governor Christie recommended eliminating the payroll tax for those above age 62. Today, Governor Christie is also calling for a similar tax break for those newly entering the work force, below age 25. This will encourage those nearing retirement to keep working should they want to; and make it easier for the young to enter the work force. (CCWEG)

Hillary Clinton

Clinton's Tax Reform (section page):

  • Raise the minimum wage and figure out how to make the tax system a fairer one. Right now, the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much. (DD1)
  • Income Tax: Rates on Ordinary Income -- Adds a 4% surtax on income over $5 million.(TF)
  • Income Tax: Itemized Deductions -- Caps the tax benefit of itemized deductions at 28% of the deduction.(TF)
  • Income Tax: Credits -- Makes the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.(TF)
  • Income Tax: Alternative Minimum Tax -- Creates a new minimum 30 percent rate on individuals earning over $1 million.(TF)
  • Income Tax: Rates on Capital Gains and Dividends -- Adds a 4% surtax on income over $5 million. Raises rates on medium-term capital gains (investments held for less than six years) to between 24% and 39.6%.(TF)
  • Corporate Income Tax: International Income -- Strengthens rules preventing inversions. Imposes an "exit tax" on unrepatriated earnings of U.S. firms going through inversions.(TF)
  • Estate Tax -- Increases the top estate tax rate to 45%, and lowers the estate tax exclusion to $3.5 million.(TF)
  • Other Taxes -- Establishes business tax credits for profit-sharing and apprenticeships. Taxes carried interest at ordinary income rates. Establishes a tax on high-frequency financial transactions.(TF)

Rick Santorum

Rick's Tax Reform (section page)

The 20/20 Flat Tax Plan

  • Repeal the tax code (RSWTR)
  • 20% flat tax on individual income, with no marriage penalty, death tax, alternative minimum tax (RSWTR)
  • 20% flat tax on business income (RSWTR)
  • Dramatically downsize the IRS (RSWTR)
  • Deductible capital investments (RSWTR)
  • Fully Repeal Obamacare (RSWTR)
  • "Tariffs only hurt working men and women." (CNBC)
  • "If you look at my flat tax, it actually takes the best of what many have been advocating for a long time, which is a strong pro-growth tax code. We have a system that has a low single rate, but we take care of American families. I'm talking about $2,750 per person. That means a family of four has a $11,000 dollar tax credit. " (CNBCRS)

Ben Carson

Carson's Tax Reform (section page)

Repeal the Entire Tax Code and Replace It With a True 14.9 Percent Flat Tax

  • "Everybody should pay the same proportion of what they make. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. You also have to get rid of deductions." (Fox)
  • Tax all income at 14.9%, with "no deductions, tax shelters, or loopholes", applied only to those whose income exceeds 150% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Eliminate deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable giving and state and local taxes. Carson claims "the overwhelming majority of Americans do not benefit from these itemized deductions." (BCWTR)
  • Eliminate Alternative Minimum Tax (BCWTR)
  • Abolish the death tax (BCWTR)

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina's Tax Reform (section page)

Simplify the tax code

  • The tax code is too complicated and "needs to go from "73,000 pages down to about three pages." (CFWTR)
  • Move from revenue-neutral to revenue-reducing tax reform (CFWTR)

Lower rates and close loopholes

  • Supports a low, flat tax for businesses and individuals (CFWTR)
  • Supports The Hoover Institution and Congressman Michael Burgess's plans

Martin O'Malley

O'Malley's Tax Reform (section page)

Although Martin O'Malley has not yet released a formal tax plan, he supports the creation of a financial transactions tax. (TPC) He has also suggested creating a new tax bracket for people earning over $1,000,000 and taxing capital gains at ordinary marginal income tax rates. (DD3)

While governor of Maryland, O'Malley used tax increases to fund many government programs. (PBS) He made the Maryland tax code more progressive by increasing taxes on the wealthy. He believes in funding Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on Social Security taxes. (TPC)

Jeb Bush

Bush's Tax Reform (section page)

"I'm gonna fight as hard as I can to make sure that we shift power away from Washington, simplify the tax code, to spur economic activity in this country."(RD-4)

Tax Proposal

Jeb Bush released a plan that would reduce personal income tax brackets down to three brackets: 28%, 25%, 10% like the Reagan administration’s second tax reform. In the business world he says that his administration would "eliminate a lot of deductions and cut the rates down. A corporate rate of 20 percent, which puts us 5 percent above -- below that of China, and allows us full expensing of investing. It would create an explosion of investment back into this country, creating higher-wage jobs"(RD-4). Bush's campaign claims that "The plan nearly doubles the standard deduction now taken by roughly two-thirds of all filers. It eliminates the marriage penalty, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, ends the death tax, retires the Alternative Minimum Tax and ends the employee’s share of the Social Security tax on earnings for workers older than 67"(JBW-J)

  • 2% cap of filer’s gross income on total tax deductions(NPR)
  • double size of standard deduction(NPR)
  • double income tax credit for childless workers(NPR)
  • eliminate carried interest loophole(NPR)
  • estimate increasing number of Americans that don’t pay tax by 15 million, bringing the number of filers with zero taxes from 40% up to 50%(NPR)
  • plan estimated to cost up to $3.4 trillion over the next decade without growth(NPR)
  • businesses deduct new capital investments (NPR)

John Kasich

Kasich | Tax Reform | (section page)

Tax Cuts for Individuals and Families:

Lowering income tax rates, reducing the number of brackets, and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit will allow all taxpayers, especially low and middle income earners, to keep more of their own money and be better able to save and invest for the future. l

  • Lower Income Tax Rates: Simplify and cut taxes for Americans by reducing the number of brackets from seven to three, cutting the top rate from the current 39.6 percent to 28 percent—the same rate President Reagan used in his 1986 tax cut—and cutting the other rates as well.
  • Low-Income Tax Relief: Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit by 10 percent.
  • Lower Capital Gains Tax Rates: Reduce long-term capital gains rates to 15 percent.
  • Eliminate the death tax.
  • Simplify Deductions: Preserve the tax deduction for charitable donations for all taxpayers and the mortgage interest deduction (maintaining current limits).


Tax Cuts for Job Creators:

Lower taxes and incentives to invest will restore global competitiveness to America’s business to help create new jobs.

  • Lower Tax Rates: John Kasich will cut the top business rate to 25 percent from 35 percent to make America more competitive.
  • Double the Research & Development Tax Credit for Small Businesses: To help small businesses innovate, be competitive and create jobs, John Kasich will double the value of the research and development tax credit for businesses under $20 million in gross revenues.
  • Repatriation: America’s current high corporate tax rate and worldwide tax system discourages U.S. multi-national corporations from bringing their foreign-earned profits back to the U.S. where they can create jobs for Americans. To encourage businesses to bring these profits back from overseas John Kasich will apply a low rate on the estimated $2 Paid for by Kasich for America, 2 trillion in previously deferred active foreign earned income.
  • Territoriality: To keep U.S. businesses’ foreign-earned profits flowing back into the U.S., Kasich will replace our current worldwide tax system with a territorial system that only taxes profits businesses generate in the U.S. This will make the U.S. more competitive and put it on the same footing as Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and most other major industrialized nations.
  • Immediate Expensing: John Kasich will let businesses immediately deduct the full cost of new equipment, machinery and buildings. Accelerating the tax deductibility will encourage more company investment, resulting in greater growth and job creation.


Tear Down Barriers to Innovation:

Initiate a comprehensive review of federal policies to identify and eliminate barriers to research, innovation, commercialization of new breakthroughs and start-up business success. (JKWTR)

Reform the Internal Revenue Service to eliminate inefficiency, bias and corruption:

The Kasich Administration will launch an independent, top-to-bottom review of the Internal Revenue Service and its practices with the goal of improving simplicity, fairness and integrity. No more will the IRS be used to target individuals or groups based on ideology or other irrelevant factors. (JKWTR)

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee's Tax Reform (section page)

FairTax System

Proposed a FairTax system (MHWTR)

  • abolish IRS and tax code
  • eliminate all income tax, including payroll, Medicare, Social Security, and investment income taxes
  • establish national sales tax
  • “senior bonus payment” instead of Social Security
  • bonus payments to poor individuals
  • claim: the FairTax system will ensure that everyone including criminals will be required to pay the tax, since it is a sales tax instead of income tax, reinvest $22 trillion parked offshore back to the United States, grow economy by 6% each year, create millions of manufacturing jobs

FairTax is better than punishing productivity

"If we got rid of all the taxes on our work, got rid of the taxes on our savings, investments, capital gains, and inheritance, and made a zero tax, we'd pay at the point of consumption. Why should we punish people for their productivity? The FairTax doesn't punish people for doing well and building the economy. Give a person his whole paycheck because every American would no longer have a payroll tax taken out." (RD3)

FairTax gets rid of IRS and sifts power back to the states

"Q: Will you abolish or cut the size of the EPA, the IRS, the Department of Education?

HUCKABEE: There are a lot of things happening at the federal level that are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of the Constitution. This is power that should be shifted back to the states, whether it's the EPA or the Department of Education. We can get rid of the Internal Revenue Service if we would pass the FairTax, and move power back where the founders believed it should have been all along."(RD1)

FairTax broadens tax base to include non-wage-earners

"Q: You say that changing entitlements would be breaking a promise to the American people, and you say that you can keep those programs, save Social Security, save Medicare, without major reforms through a FairTax, which is a broad tax on consumption. How that would work?

HUCKABEE: One of the reasons that Social Security is in so much trouble is that the only funding stream comes from people who get a wage. The people who get wages is declining dramatically. Most of the income in this country is made by people at the top who get dividends and capital gains. The FairTax transforms the process by which we fund Social Security and Medicare because the money paid in consumption is paid by everybody, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now. That's why it ought to be a transformed system." (RD1)

Marco Rubio

Rubio's Tax Reform (section page)

A Pro-Growth, Pro-Family Tax plan

  • Simplify the tax code to reduce the number of brackets from seven to three (MRWTR)
  • Unorthodoxically wants to keep the tax rate ~35% for the top household income earners (Politico)
  • Rubio plans to get rid of the tax burdens on dual earning married couples (MRWTR)
  • Wants to repeal ObamaCare and all associated $1 trillion in taxes (MRWTR)
  • Wants to create a partially refundable Child Tax credit of up to $2500 per child that phases out above an individual income of 150k and a joint income of 300k (MRWTR)
  • Eliminates all itemized deductions and tax “extenders” (MRWTR)
  • Charitable contribution deduction and mortgage interest deduction available for all (MRWTR)
  • Implements a single $2500 universal tax incentive for post secondary education or job skill training under the 400-500% threshold of the federal party line (MRWTR)

Businesses and Corporations

  • Marco Wants to cut taxes for small business to 25% down from the current tax rate of 35% (MRWTR)
  • Wants to implement a tax credit to any business offering between four and twelve weeks of paid family leave (MRWTR)
  • Rubio’s plan aims to allow for immediate expensing of capital expenditures (MRWTR)
  • Wants to reduce the double taxation of corporations doing business overseas (MRWTR)
  • Aims to eliminate the federal estate tax that penalizes family owned farms and businesses (MRWTR)
  • Interest income would not be taxable (MRWTR)
  • Provides a transition period, which requires a one-time booking of investment at current law capital gains and dividend rates, minus the 3.8% investment tax hike from ObamaCare (MRWTR)