Distributional Effects of Individual Income Tax Expenditures After the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Research Report

Distributional Effects of Individual Income Tax Expenditures After the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of the total cost of and distributional effects of nonbusiness tax expenditures claimed on individual tax returns after enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taking account of interactions among provisions. Nonbusiness tax expenditures will reduce tax liability by $1.2 trillion in 2019, about 5 percent more than the sum of the costs of the separate provisions. Tax expenditures, on average, reduce taxes as a share of income more for upper-income than for lower-income taxpayers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the total cost of tax expenditures and made their distribution among income groups slightly less unequal.

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