Trump's Tax Plan: An Overview

Donald Trump's campaign announced his tax reform plan today, which it claims will reduce taxes on the middle class, simplify the tax code, and "grow the American economy" and adding a "huge" number of jobs while remaining revenue neutral.

Some of the key provisions:

  • Consolidating Income Tax Brackets. Taxpayers will pay at four different levels (instead of the current seven) according to income: 0, 10, 20, or 25 percent. Individuals earning less than $25,000, and joint filers earning below $50,000, will owe no federal income tax. Trump says those taxpayers will "get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, 'I Win'".
  • Ending the Alternative Minimum and Death Taxes. Trump also proposes to eliminate the marriage penalty, along with "loopholes used by the very rich and special interests made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rates on individuals and companies."
  • Reducing Rates for Businesses. Trump's plan cuts the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, well below the current 39 percent and the OECD average of about 25 percent. 

Trump's plans would lower rates for businesses and individuals alike; however, he proposes to "pay for" these reductions to maintain revenue neutrality via revenue increases elsewhere. Some of those policies include:

  • Phasing Out Certain Loopholes and Deductions.* Trump specifically mentions ending the current treatment of carried interest "for speculative partnerships that do not grow businesses or create jobs and are not risking their own capital". A similar plan has also been proposed by Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Bernie Sanders, though some sources claim that Trump's is different in that it does not target private equity partnerships (which are managed differently than hedge funds). He would also end the exemption on life insurance for high-income earners, and eliminate "other loopholes for the very rich and special interests."
  • A One-Time Tax On Overseas Cash. The Trump plan tries to incentivize businesses to repatriate some of their earnings held overseas by assessing a one-time 10 percent tax on such income. The idea behind the proposal is that businesses would no longer need to hold cash overseas in lower-tax countries if America's rates are more competitive. A similar repatriation tax (but at 14 percent) was included in President Obama's FY 2016 budget proposal.
  • Ending Deferral Of Overseas Taxes. Under the plan, businesses could no longer defer paying U.S. taxes on income earned overseas. (Under current law, multinational corporations can delay those payments until income is repatriated.)
  • Capping Business Interest Expenses. Trump says he will reduce or eliminate "some corporate loopholes that cater to special interests" and that many of the current system's deductions would be unnecessary if rates are lowered. His campaign says he would phase in a "reasonable" cap on the deductability of business interest, but did not offer specifics.

For information on other candidates' tax and spending plans, visit NTUF's Information on the cost of Trump's immigration reform plan is also available here.

*Note: this section has been updated as of 9/29/2015 for clarity.