The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: the fairest of them all?
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Second Faculty Advisor
tax equity; homeowner subsidy; Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
This study explores how the tax law changes made through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) had an impact on horizontal equity within the tax system. Through simulations of the “typical taxpayer,” or the median situated taxpayer and homeowner, homeownership tax benefits were computed using the TCJA law as well as the prior tax law. This was completed for both single and married filing joint taxpayers. The typical taxpayer’s benefits under each tax law were compared across various regions of the country to evaluate how horizontal equity had been changed. The simulations’ findings indicate that as a result of the tax law changes, horizontal equity increased for the typical married filing joint taxpayer, whereas the typical single filer did not achieve an increase of horizontal equity. The findings suggest that the improvement to horizontal equity under the TCJA is primarily due to the doubling of the standard deduction. The findings also suggest that Pierce’s proposition (1989), to place greater limitations or even elimination of the homeowner subsidy completely, would have resulted in a greater improvement to horizontal equity.