Explore each candidates position on various tax reform issues or toggle the switch below to compare two candidates. This site was last updated 1/3/2020.
Biden will restore the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6%, up from 37% under the TCJA. He will also equalize among the very wealthy the top tax rates on investment income and wage income by requiring those making over $1 million a year to pay a top capital gains rate of 39.6%, instead of the current 20%. Biden will eliminate the stepped-up basis loophole, which allows taxpayers to avoid paying any taxes on the growth in the value of assets such as stocks if they are passed on to heirs of estates before they are sold. He will cap the value of itemized deductions at 28%, instead of the up-to-37% value they now have for wealthier Americans. Finally, Biden ends capital gains loopholes for real estate left in the TCJA.
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $1.7 Trillion
Sources: Bloomberg, CNN, Biden Plan to Protect and Build on Obamacare, Politico, Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School
Biden will raise the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28%. He will double the minimum tax on the offshore profits of U.S. corporations from 10.5% to 21% and impose penalties on foreign nations that facilitate tax avoidance by those firms. He will end the ability of huge, profitable corporations to pay little or no federal income taxes by establishing a 15% minimum tax on the “book” earnings of the roughly 1,200 firms with over $100 million in annual profits. (Book earnings are usually higher than taxable earnings because they are not reduced by credits, deductions, allowances and other modifications. Because this minimum tax would still allow credits for foreign taxes paid and prior-year U.S. tax credits, the number of firms affected would be reduced to about 300.) He will end special tax breaks for fossil-fuel producers.
Biden’s “climate and environmental justice proposal,” central to which are infrastructure investments that will “prevent, reduce, and withstand the impacts of [the] climate crisis.” Projects include $400 billion for clean-energy research and innovation; $100 billion for school modernization; $50 billion for tax credits that promote community development in low-income areas; $40 billion for regional infrastructure programs; and $20 billion for expansion of rural broadband.
Sources: Biden for President (Climate), Biden Plan to Invest in Middle Class Competitiveness (Infrastructure)
Biden stated “I think we should have a financial transaction tax” but provided no further details.
Buttigieg supports reversing the TCJA’s tax cuts for high earners and would impose a wealth tax but has not provided any details. He would also “roll back the Trump tax cuts on corporations.”
Source: Los Angeles Times, Twitter
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: Not Available
Buttigieg’s rollback of Trump’s corporate tax cuts would fund his “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan.
Buttigieg says he will consider raising the top marginal tax rate from 37% to 49.9999%.
Buttigieg will return the top corporate tax rate to 35% from the 21% set by the TCJA. Buttigieg also supports “single sales factor apportionment,” which limits international corporate tax dodging by taxing multinational corporations based on the volume and country location of their sales.
Source: Yahoo Finance, You Tube, Tax Policy Center
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $1.3 Trillion
Buttigieg’s “Medicare For All Who Want It” plan, which would allow Americans to buy into a Medicare system while leaving the private insurance system in place.
Source: Yahoo Finance
Buttigieg will reform the taxation of capital gains by increasing tax rates to match those on wages. Currently, the top rate on wages is 37%, while the top rate on investment income is just 20%. Buttigieg will institute “mark-to-market” taxation of capital gains. It will require the top 1% to pay an annual tax on their investment income as it appreciates, instead of being able to defer taxation until an asset is sold and a gain realized, as under current law.
Revenue raised over 10 years: $2.1 Trillion
A variety of Buttigieg’s plans such as an investment of $700 billion for early childhood and K-12 education, $500 billion for higher education and college affordability, $430 billion for housing, $400 billion for his EITC plan, and $50 billion for workforce training.
Source: Bloomberg, Forbes
Buttigieg would expand the EITC by 25% for families with children and improve the currently meager benefits for childless adults. He would also reform another tax credit important to working families -- the Child Tax Credit (CTC) -- by making it fully refundable so it serves those who need it most, and adding a Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. These are all provisions of the Working Families Tax Relief Act currently introduced in Congress.
Source: Buttigieg's Economic Agenda for American Families, CBPP, S.1138
Cost Over 10 Years: $99 Billion (1 year)
“I’m interested also — if we could find the right way to implement it and the devil’s in the details — in a financial transactions tax. Because you see preposterous levels of wealth sometimes being created around these millisecond differences in financial transactions that nobody can explain to us whether it adds any actual real value to the economy.”
Revenue raised over 10 years: Not Available
Buttigieg supports instituting “additional Social Security taxes” to personal income above $250,000. The current Social Security payroll tax of 12.4% is split between the employee and the employer, and only applies to incomes up to $132,900 in 2019. Buttigieg will require individuals making at least $250,000 per year to pay taxes towards Social Security as well. His campaign claims that this will affect about 2% of workers.
Source: WSJ, Buttigieg’s Dignity and Security in Retirement Plan
Buttigieg’s “Dignity and Security in Retirement” plan, which would “protect Social Security for the next generation.”
Source: Buttigieg’s Dignity and Security in Retirement Plan
Buttigieg says he will try to “pass an economy-wide price on carbon, which will automatically increase each year,” and that “revenue will be rebated back to Americans.” He also says he “will work to eliminate tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industries— including the intangible drilling oil and gas deduction, excess over cost depletion, and other subsidies.” Buttigieg does not specify the level of the carbon tax he proposes or how much it would raise.
Buttigieg says his climate plan will cost $1.5-$2 trillion. Among other things he proposes to “quadruple federal clean energy R&D funding to $25 billion per year by 2025;” capitalize an American Clean Energy Bank with $250 billion; use $250 billion for a Global Investment Initiative; “invest $100 billion over 10 years in surface transportation for cities;” extend “tax credits for solar, wind, geothermal, and other clean energy technologies;” and expand the tax credit to capture carbon, and increase the electric vehicle tax credit to a maximum of $10,000 per vehicle.
Source: Buttigieg: Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge, Politico
Revenue Raised over 10 Years: Not Available
The TCJA (H.R. 1), also known as the Trump-GOP tax cuts, will cost $1.9 trillion over 10 years. The tax cuts heavily favor corporations and the wealthy.
Source: Roll Call Vote
Klobuchar says that to pay for certain priorities and reduce the federal debt she will “repeal the regressive portions of 2017 Republican tax reform, equalize tax rates for capital gains and ordinary income, put the Buffet rule in place [which will establish a minimum tax rate of 30% on individuals making over $1 million], and close the carried interest and big oil loopholes.”
Source: Amy’s First 100 Days
Klobuchar’s priorities include investing in quality childcare; providing paid family leave; supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs; establishing portable, worker-owned UP Accounts for retirement savings; allowing students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, providing tuition-free community college and technical certifications, and expanding Pell Grant eligibility and award amounts; and reducing the federal debt.
Klobuchar “will make a number of corporate tax reforms including adjusting the corporate tax rate to 25% [up from 21%], closing loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to move jobs and operations overseas, establishing a financial risk fee on our largest banks, and increasing efforts for tax enforcement.”
Source: Amy’s Plan to Build America’s Infrastructure
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $359 Billion from corporate tax increase
Klobuchar’s infrastructure plan, which includes $650 billion in federal funding for transportation, housing, schools, rural broadband, and green energy.
Klobuchar is the lead sponsor of the “Removing Incentives for Offshoring Act of 2018” (S. 3674). It will ensure that U.S. companies pay the full domestic tax rate on any earnings they ascribe to tax havens, thereby preventing the shifting of U.S. profits to low- or zero-tax countries. It will also eliminate a U.S. corporation’s “ability to deduct 10 percent of their tangible assets before the tax rate on foreign income applies,” which will end a tax incentive to shift jobs and operations offshore.
Sources: S. 3674, Klobuchar Press Release
Klobuchar wants to end the loophole that allows wealthy investment managers of private equity, real estate and hedge funds to pay the 20% capital-gains tax rate on “carried interest,” which are earnings tied to a percentage of the fund’s profits. Because this income from managing other people’s money is employment income, closing the loophole would result in it being taxed at regular income tax rates, which is 37% at the top. Klobuchar will also assess a 2 cents per milligram fee or tax on active opioid ingredients in a prescription pain pill paid by the manufacturer or importer.
Source: NYT, ATF
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $14 Billion (carried interest only)
Investments to improve access and treatment for substance use and mental health, as well as increased funding for related research.
Source: Amy’s Plan to Combat Addiction and Prioritize Mental Health
Klobuchar is cosponsoring two bills that will expand these working family tax credits. The “Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2019” (S. 1138) will expand the EITC by 25% for families with children, makes the CTC fully refundable and adds a Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. The bill will also substantially strengthen the EITC for childless workers. The “American Family Act of 2019” (S. 690) will significantly increase the Child Tax Credit, bringing maximum payments from $2,000 a year today to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 16 and to $3,600 a year for children 5 and under.
Sources: S. 1138, CBPP, S. 690, Vox
Cost Over 10 Years: $99 Billion for EITC (1 year) and $105 Billion for CTC (1 year)
Klobuchar is cosponsoring the “FAMILY Act” (S. 463), which will fund 12 weeks of paid family leave by assessing a 0.2% tax on workers’ wages, to be split evenly between employer and employee. Both shares together would amount to less than $4 per worker per week, on average.
Source: S. 463, Vox
Twelve weeks of guaranteed paid leave, either for the birth of a child, illness or to take care of a relative. It would pay out 66% of workers’ salaries, including at least $250 per month to each worker, capped at $4,000 per person per month.
Klobuchar is “open” to a carbon tax, but “would not support one that increased prices for lower- and middle-income Americans.”
Sources: H.R. 1185, Vox
To help finance his Medicare for All plan Sanders will require employees to pay a 4% income-based premium (exempting the first $29,000); require employers to pay a 7.5% premium (exempting the first $2 million in payroll); raise the income tax rate to 70% on the portion of individual income above $10 million; limit tax deductions for filers in the top tax bracket; raise the current 20% top rate on long-term capital gains and dividend income to match the 37% rate on wages and salaries; make the estate tax more progressive; establish a tax on “extreme wealth”; impose a fee on large financial institutions; and repeal corporate accounting gimmicks.
Source: Sen. Sanders
Sanders proposes an annual tax on the wealth of households with a net worth above $32 million (about 180,000 households), which is approximately the richest 0.1%. His plan would assess a 1% tax on net worth above $32 million with increasing marginal rates topping out at 8% on net worth over $10 billion. For single filers, the brackets would be one-half those for married couples and start at $16 million.
Sources: Sanders’ Tax on Extreme Wealth, NYT
Revenue Raised over 10 years: $4.35 Trillion
Sources: Sanders’ Tax on Extreme Wealth
Sanders’ has proposed using revenue from his wealth tax for a forthcoming universal child care plan, his Medicare for All plan and his Housing for All plan. Sanders’ housing plan includes a $1.48 trillion investment over 10 years in the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to build and maintain 7.4 million affordable housing units, a $400 billion investment to build 2 million mixed-income social housing units, $70 billion to repair and modernize public housing and $410 billion to fully fund tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance.
Sources: NYT, Sanders Housing for All
Sanders is the lead sponsor of the "For the 99.8 Percent Act" (S. 309), which will restore estate-tax exemption amounts to 2009 levels and raise rates. The amount of estates exempt from taxation will fall from $11 million for individuals ($22 million for couples) under the TCJA to $3.5 million and $7 million. Tax rates will increase from the current 40% flat rate to 45% for the portion between $3.5-$10 million, 50% for the portion between $10-$50 million, 55% for the portion between $50 million and $1 billion, and 77% for the portion over $1 billion. It will also closes several loopholes in the estate and gift tax. This reform will affect between 0.2% and 0.5% of estates.
Sources: Sen. Sanders, S. 309, Tax Policy Center
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: About $315 Billion
Source: Washington Post
Sanders will increase the corporate tax rate to 35% from its current 21%, and ensure more companies actually pay that rate by closing loopholes like “accelerated depreciation” and excessive interest deductions. He will eliminate the 20% deduction on pass-through business income and apply corporate taxes to larger pass-through businesses. He will also address offshore corporate tax avoidance by equalizing foreign and domestic corporate tax rates (the TCJA created a 21% rate on domestic profits and about a 10% rate on most offshore profits), ending corporate inversions and making other reforms contained in his “Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2017” (S. 586).
Sources: Sanders’ Corporate Accountability and Democracy Plan,
S.586, Sen. Sanders, Jacobin,
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: Up to $3 Trillion
Sources: Sanders’ Corporate Accountability and Democracy Plan
“$2 trillion will be used to help fund Bernie’s Green New Deal to combat climate change, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure…” $1 trillion will be used to “help create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent.”
Sources: Sanders’ Corporate Accountability and Democracy Plan
Sanders is the lead sponsor of the "Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2019" (S. 1587), which would tax Wall Street stock trades at a rate of 0.5%, bond trades at 0.1%, and derivatives trades at 0.005% -- adding $5 to the cost of every $1,000 in stock traded, much less to other trades.
Sources: S. 1587, Sen. Sanders
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: Up to $2.2 Trillion
Source: Pollin, Heintz and Herndon
Eliminating all student debt held by 45 million Americans, which is estimated to cost $1.6 trillion, and providing a tuition-free education to public universities, community colleges and trade schools.
Sanders will “mak[e] the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminat[e] federal fossil fuel subsidies” and “massively rais[e] taxes on corporate polluters’ and investors’ fossil fuel income and wealth.” It would partially pay for a $16.3 trillion public investment over 10 years for a “nationwide mobilization centered around justice and equity during which climate change will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”
Source: Sanders: The Green New Deal
Revenue Raised over 10 Years: Not Available
Sanders is the lead sponsor of the “Social Security Expansion Act” (S.478) which will lift the Social Security payroll tax cap and subject all earned income above $250,000 to the tax. Currently, the payroll tax of 12.4% only applies to income up to $132,900. Sanders’ plan applies this tax to the income of high earners (the top 1.8%) but leaves earnings between $132,900 and $250,000 unaffected.
Sources: Sanders: Right to a Secure Retirement, S. 478, Sanders Social Security Expansion Act Fact Sheet.
Sanders’ plan extends the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund by 52 years, from 2034 to 2071, according to the Social Security actuary. In addition, the legislation would make various improvements to the program, such as increasing benefits by $1,342 a year for seniors now making less than $16,000 annually and increasing annual cost-of-living adjustments by more accurately measuring the spending patterns of seniors.
Sources: Sanders Social Security Expansion Act Fact Sheet, Sanders Press Release
Sanders is cosponsoring two bills that will expand these working family tax credits. The “Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2019” (S. 1138) will expand the EITC by 25% for families with children, makes the CTC fully refundable and adds a Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. The bill will also substantially strengthen the EITC for childless workers. The “American Family Act of 2019” (S. 690) will significantly increase the Child Tax Credit, bringing maximum payments from $2,000 a year today to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 16 and to $3,600 a year for children 5 and under.
Sanders will increase the income tax rates for corporations with large pay gaps between their CEO and median worker salaries. Sanders’ plan imposes a higher tax starting at “0.5 percentage points for companies that pay their top executives between 50 and 100 times more than their typical workers,” which would raise the corporate tax rate to 21.5%. The tax gets progressively larger as the discrepancy between a CEO’s pay and the average worker’s pay increases, topping out at 26% for a company that pays its CEO 500 or more times the average worker’s pay. This tax will apply to “all private and publicly held corporations with annual revenue of more than $100 million.” Sanders also mandates that “the pay ratio data for privately held corporations will be made public in the same manner that it is currently disclosed for publicly held corporations.”
Source: The Sanders Income Inequality Tax Plan
Revenue Raised over 10 years: $150 Billion
Sanders’ plan to eliminate current medical debt, which has been estimated at $81 billion.
Source: The Sanders Income Inequality Tax Plan, Sanders: Eliminating Medical Debt
Sanders is cosponsoring the “FAMILY Act” (S. 463), which will fund 12 weeks of paid family leave by assessing a 0.2% tax on workers’ wages, to be split evenly between employer and employee. Both shares together would amount to less than $4 per worker per week, on average.
Steyer ran ads in opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in November 2017, which said: “They won’t tell you that their so-called tax reform plan is really for the wealthy and big corporations while hurting the middle class. It blows up the deficit, and that means fewer investments in education, healthcare and job creation.”
Source: Need to Impeach
“Congress should institute a new type of tax altogether: a 1 percent annual wealth tax on the top .1 percent of Americans. Here’s what that would look like. If you are worth more than $20 million, you'll pay a single penny on every dollar you have above that level. No deductions, no exemptions, no loopholes at all. Every .1 percenter pays.” Steyer suggests the revenue raised from a wealth tax could be used to invest in education, healthcare, or retirement security.
Source: USA Today op-ed
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $1.3 Trillion
Steyer calls for “raising the estate tax and closing trust fund loopholes” the wealthy use to evade paying the estate tax, but he has not provided more details.
Warren proposes an “Ultra-Millionaires Tax,” which will levy a 2% annual tax on the portion of household net worth over $50 million and a 6% tax on the portion over $1 billion. It is estimated to affect only 75,000 households, or the richest 0.1%.
Source: Sen. Warren, The Wall Street Journal
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $3.75 Trillion
Source: Saez and Zucman, The Wall Street Journal
$1 trillion for Warren’s Medicare for All plan, which would guarantee government healthcare coverage for every American; $1.25 trillion to cancel student debt ($640 billion) and fund a “Universal Free College” program; $800 billion to fund her K-12 education plan; and $700 billion to create a universal child care program.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Warren proposes a package of tax increases focused on corporations and wealthy investors to fund a “Medicare for All” universal healthcare plan. Proposed tax changes include:
Source: Warren’s Medicare for All Plan
Total Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $18 Trillion from the tax changes above. Other expected revenue increases from existing taxes and from various spending-policy shifts would raise the total to $20.5 Trillion.
Source: Warren’s Medicare for All Plan
“Medicare for All” universal government healthcare coverage for every American, “including long-term care, audio, vision, dental, and mental health benefits,” with no “premiums, deductibles, copays, [or] out-of-pocket costs.”
Warren proposes to “revers[e] Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and giant corporations.” She also supports a carbon tax but has not specified at what level or said how much it will raise.
Source: Warren Plan: 100% Clean Energy for America, NYT
Revenue Raised over 10 Years: $1 Trillion from TCJA repeal
Source: Warren’s 100% Clean Energy for America
Warren proposes to use the funds to “subsidize the economic transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings.” This is part of $3 trillion in federal spending on green technology and environmental initiatives she proposes (see below).
Warren proposes three significant changes in corporate taxes that would raise about $1.25 trillion. Her "Real Corporate Profits Tax” will levy a 7% surtax on a company’s global corporate profits of more than $100 million. This is in addition to current U.S. tax obligations. Warren says it will affect 1,200 firms. She proposes to close TCJA corporate tax loopholes that incentivize offshoring, such as repealing the lowering of the corporate tax rate for profits earned offshore. She will also end federal tax subsidies for the oil and gas industries.
Sources: Sen. Warren, Moody's Analytics
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $1.25 Trillion: $1.05 Trillion from the 7% surtax, $150 Billion from higher taxes on offshore profits, and $100 Billion from ending fossil fuel subsidies.
Sources: Saez and Zucman, Moody's Analytics
Most of Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan for America, which is a $2 trillion federal investment in clean energy research, manufacturing and exporting.
Source: Sen. Warren
Warren will eliminate the stepped-up basis loophole, which allows taxpayers to avoid paying any taxes on the growth in value of assets such as stocks if they are passed on to heirs of estates before they are sold.
Source: The Washington Post
Warren’s $100 billion plan to tackle the opioid crisis, her $7 billion plan to create a small business equity fund, and her $20 billion election security plan.
Warren has introduced the has "American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019" (S. 3503), which will restore estate-tax exemption amounts to 2009 levels and raise rates. The amount of estates exempt from taxation will fall from $11 million for individuals ($22 million for couples) under the TCJA to $3.5 million and $7 million. Tax rates will increase from the current 40% flat rate to 55% for the portion between $3.5-$13 million and 60% for the portion between $13-$93 million. It will also levy a 10% surtax on the portion of estates over $1 billion—effectively creating a 75% rate. This reform will affect 0.5% of estates.
Sources: S. 3503, Moody's Analytics, Tax Policy Center
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $400 Billion
Source: Moody's Analytics
"American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019" (S. 3503), which will help control the cost of renting or buying a home by leveraging federal funding to build up to 3.2 million new housing units, bringing down rents by 10% for lower-income and middle-class families and creating 1.5 million new jobs.
Warren will levy a new 14.8% payroll tax on individuals who earn more than $250,000 a year to be split by workers and their employers (7.4% for each). Currently, the Social Security payroll tax of 12.4% only applies to income up to $132,900. Warren will also assess a 14.8% tax on investment income that would apply to married couples making more than $400,000 and singles making more than $250,000 -- roughly the top 2%.
Sources: Warren Plan to Expand Social Security, NYT
Revenue Raised Over 10 Years: $4.2 Trillion
Sources: Moody’s Analytics, NYT
A $200 a month increase in Social Security benefits for 64 million recipients, an average increase of $200 a month for certain Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, and other benefit improvements. Warren’s plan also extends the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund from 2035 to 2054 and reduces the deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years.
Warren is cosponsoring two bills that will expand these working family tax credits. The “Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2019” (S. 1138) will expand the EITC by 25% for families with children, makes the CTC fully refundable and adds a Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. The bill will also substantially strengthen the EITC for childless workers. The “American Family Act of 2019” (S. 690) will significantly increase the Child Tax Credit, bringing maximum payments from $2,000 a year today to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 16 and to $3,600 a year for children 5 and under.
Cost Over 10 Years: $99 Billion for EITC (1 year) and $105 Billion for CTC (1 year)
Warren is cosponsoring the “FAMILY Act” (S. 463), which will fund 12 weeks of paid family leave by assessing a 0.2% tax on workers’ wages, to be split evenly between employer and employee. Both shares together would amount to less than $4 per worker per week, on average.
Warren will raise the excise tax on gun and ammunition sales from 10% on handguns and 11% on other types of guns and ammunition to 30% on handguns and 50% on other guns and ammunition. She proposes to use this new federal revenue for “gun violence prevention and enforcement.”
Source: Elizabeth Warren Medium Post
Warren will tax “every corporation and trade organization that spends over $500,000 per year lobbying our government.” Companies that spend between $500,000 and $1 million per year on lobbying will have their expenditures taxed at a 35% rate. Amounts spent between $1 million to $5 million will be taxed at 60%. Spending over $5 million will be taxed at 75%.
Source: Warren: My Plan to Tax Excessive Lobbying
Revenue Raised over 10 years: $10 Billion
The establishment of a “Lobbying Defense Trust Fund,” which will work to “strengthen congressional independence from lobbyists,” “give more money to federal agencies that are facing significant lobbying activity,” and establish a new “Office of the Public Advocate,” which will fight for the public interest.