Itemized Tax Deductions for Individuals: Data Analysis
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[Excerpt] Reforming or limiting itemized tax deductions for individuals has gained the interest of policymakers as one way to increase federal tax revenue, increase the share of taxes paid by higher-income tax filers, simplify the tax code, or reduce incentives that might lead to inefficient economic behavior. However, limits on deductions, in the views of some, would have adverse economic effects or changes in the distributional burden of the federal income tax code. Discussions about itemized tax deduction reform are informed by scrutiny of tax filer data. This report analyzes the most recently available public data from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Statistics of Income (SOI) to provide an overview of who claims itemized deductions, what they claim them for, and the amount in deductions claimed. In addition, the revenue loss associated with several of the larger deductions is presented using data obtained from the Joint Committee on Taxation’s (JCT) tax expenditure estimates. This report concludes with a brief discussion of the implications of various policy options to reform or limit itemized deductions. More in-depth discussion on options for reforming itemized tax deductions, as a whole or individually, can be found in other CRS reports.
itemized tax deductions; tax revenue; policy