ATR Analysis of Rick Santorum Tax Plan


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, October 15th, 2015, 4:34 PM PERMALINK


Rick Santorum released his presidential campaign tax reform plan this week. Key highlights include:

Top tax rate of 20 percent on all personal and business income. All sources of income: wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, business income, rent, etc. would face the same tax rate of 20 percent. 

Wages would also face the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax unchanged from today.

All corporate profits would also face a 20 percent tax rate.

For businesses, that means that corporate and non-corporate businesses would be taxed at the same low rate. This rate, when combined with state business taxes, would move the U.S. to the developed nation average tax rate on companies. We'd have a lower business tax rate than principal trade competitors Japan, Mexico, Germany, and France. We'd be competitive with Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. No longer would our tax rate disadvantage us around the world.

No marriage penalty. Because there is only one tax rate, the marriage penalty is a thing of the past. It won't matter whether both spouses work, or if one stays home with the kids. The tax code will no longer subsidize cohabitation and punish marriage.

No death tax. The 40 percent death tax is fully repealed. This second layer of tax on savings is removed from the code.

No alternative minimum tax (AMT). This parallel bizarro-world tax system is repealed.

Full repeal of all Obamacare taxes. The 20 new or higher taxes in Obamacare are repealed. Notably, this includes the individual and employer mandate surtaxes, the 3.8 percentage point surtax on savings, the higher Medicare payroll tax rate, the Cadillac Plan tax, the medical device tax, and higher taxes on health savings accounts.

Full business expensing. All business investments in plant and equipment, as well as inventory, will be deducted in full in the year of purchase. This will replace a long, multi-year deduction process in place today called "depreciation." No longer will the tax code say that a pencil can be deducted in one year, but a computer will take five years.

Equal treatment of debt and equity. All debt and equity will be taxed at the same rate. Dividends and interest will not be deductible to companies. All dividends, interest, and capital gains will be taxed at the same 20 percent rate to bond and stock holders. Effectively, this creates an integrated 36 percent flat tax on portfolio income, much lower than today.

Progressivity retained. In order to preserve progressivity in a flat tax code, the plan creates a personal credit of $2750 and retains the $1000 child tax credit. It appears that a family of four with two children would face no income taxation on their first $65,000 of income after applying these credits. Larger families would see even bigger savings.

In addition, all charitable contributions would be fully deductible, and mortgage interest is deductible up to $25,000 per year.

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