Governor’s Estate Tax Plan Is Costly and Gives Biggest Breaks to Largest Estates – Better Options Exist
During the current legislative session, lawmakers will consider a number of proposals for changing the Massachusetts estate tax. Two proposals are compared here – one put forward by Governor Healey (H.42), and another, S.1784/H.2960, offered in the Senate and House.
With Rainy Day Fund Filling Up Fast, It’s Time to Invest in Community Needs
The state’s rainy day fund is fast approaching its capped “allowable balance.” It could exceed the cap at the end of Fiscal Year 2024. With so many unmet needs for revenue throughout the Commonwealth, lawmakers should ensure the fund’s value remains below the cap.
Preventing High-Income Tax Avoidance to Protect Education and Transportation
Problems with potential high-income tax avoidance can be solved by following many other states that require that taxpayers file their state income taxes with the same status they use on their federal taxes.
Massachusetts Capital Budget 101
The capital budgeting process takes place largely out of the public eye but is responsible for building and maintaining critical state infrastructure. Learn more about it here.
“Excess” as Mirage: How the 62F Tax Cap Distorts Our View of Massachusetts Tax Revenue
The 1986 tax cap law, also known as “62F,” artificially limits the amount of tax revenue available to address priorities like affordable, quality childcare, safer public transportation, and affordable housing. Moreover, there are flaws in the 62F law and its underlying formula. 62F tells a story about revenue in Massachusetts, but it is misleading.
Fair Share Would Increase Total Tax Rates Only Modestly for Most with Incomes Over $1 Million
Because the Fair Share surtax would apply a 4 percent surtax only to the portion of a household’s taxable income above $1 million, the total tax rate of the vast majority of Fair Share-affected filers would be much lower than the top rate of 9 percent.
The Myth of the One-Year Middle Class Millionaire
“One-time” occurrences of $1 million income are relatively rare overall, and in fact much rarer for the middle-class. It is far more common for tax filers who exceed $1 million in annual income to do so year over year. An examination of available data suggests that when a middle-class taxpayer sells their small business or home, they would be highly unlikely to have a taxable income over $1 million, the point at which additional income would be subject to the new proposed tax under ballot Question 1 (Fair Share).
Very Few Small Businesses Sell for More Than $1 Million; Even Fewer Would be Subject to Fair Share
Will small business owners be subject to the proposed Fair Share tax if and when they sell their businesses? Very unlikely.
Even Among Retirees with High Wealth, Few Will Pay the Fair Share Tax
The proposed “millionaire tax” only applies to the portion of a taxpayer’s annual taxable income over $1 million. For many retirees, much of their income is not subject to the income tax and therefore not subject to an additional tax on income over $1 million. And wealth, such as personal savings and investments, are not subject to the income tax. Even when wealth is sold to generate additional financial gains, this income is often tax-exempt or shielded by widely used deductions.
Fundamentally Flawed: 62F Formula Overstates “Excess” by $1.4 Billion
The $2.9 billion estimate of 62F “excess tax collections” recently certified by the State Auditor overstates these net Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 collections by $1.4 billion. The problem is not that the Auditor miscalculated but that the calculation as stipulated in the 62F statute fails to account for situations where taxes are received by the Commonwealth in one fiscal year, but corresponding, offsetting tax credits are not applied until the following fiscal year. This is one of the many fundamental flaws in the 1986 tax cap law (referred to as “62F”).