Tax Incentives for Pass-Through Income

Brief

Tax Incentives for Pass-Through Income

Abstract

This chartbook explores the implications of the tax-advantaged treatment of pass-through income enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Section 199A of the TCJA allows a deduction from taxable income of 20 percent of certain pass-through income. We look specifically at the incentives that deduction created for taxpayers to shift the form of entity through which they choose to receive income. We then analyze the revenue and distributional effects of permanently extending that deduction, which is currently scheduled to expire after 2025. We demonstrate that such an extension could have a significant impact on the form of income chosen by taxpayers among wages, corporate earnings, or pass-through income. Moreover, such income shifting could have a substantial effect on the revenue cost of extension and could affect the distribution of the tax benefits of the deduction.

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