Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

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Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
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Abbreviation ITEP
Motto Informing the Debate Over Tax Policy Nationwide
Formation 1980
Type Public Policy Think Tank
Headquarters 1616 P Street, NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank that works on state and federal tax policy issues. ITEP was founded in 1980, and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. ITEP describes its mission as striving to “keep policymakers and the public informed of the effects of current and proposed tax polices on tax fairness, government budgets and sound economic policy.”[1]


ITEP's flagship publication is its "Who Pays" report.[2] The report was originally released in 1996, and has since been updated in 2003, 2009, 2013 and 2015. The 2015 report includes tax changes enacted through December 31, 2014, modeled at 2012 income levels. "Who Pays" analyzes the distribution, by income level, of state and local taxes in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia. Its main finding is that: "nearly every state and local tax system takes a much greater share of income from middle- and low-income families than from the wealthy. That is ... most state tax systems are regressive." The majority of the data contained in this report is produced using the ITEP Microsimulation Tax Model.[3]

Other major reports released by ITEP include, "90 Reasons We Need State Corporate Tax Reform," which examines the effective state corporate income tax rates paid by large and profitable companies.[4]"Building a Better Gas Tax" measures the impact of construction cost inflation in preventing most state gasoline taxes from providing a sustainable source of transportation revenue.[5] "A Capital Idea" examines the revenue and fairness implications of state tax breaks for capital gains income, and "Writing Off Tax Giveaways" does the same for itemized deductions.[6][7] ITEP also reports on "Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contribution" made by nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants residing currently in the United States.[8] Many of ITEP’s reports deal with issues or proposals that are relevant to only a single state – often focusing on proposed tax changes or reforms, for example, "The ITEP Guide to Fair State and Local Taxes."[9][10]

ITEP has released a series of reports criticizing studies by Arthur Laffer about the economic impact of lowering or eliminating state personal income taxes and estate taxes.[11]


ITEP lists a number of foundations among its funders, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the New York Community Trust.[12] ITEP also accepts individual donations.

Political stance[edit]

ITEP's quantitative analyses are utilized by observers from across the political spectrum and by analysts within government.[13][14] ITEP, as well as the associated Citizens for Tax Justice, has been characterized as liberal.[15][16][17]

The ITEP Microsimulation Tax Model[edit]

Many of ITEP's analyses rely on the ITEP Microsimulation Tax Model. The ITEP model is a computer program capable of estimating the revenue yield and distribution of federal, state, and local taxes, as well as proposed changes to those taxes.[3]

According to ITEP, its model "relies on one of the largest databases of tax returns and supplementary data in existence, encompassing close to three quarters of a million records."[3] Three similar microsimulation models are used by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Congressional Budget Office.[3] The ITEP model, however, stands apart from each of these in that it adds state-by-state estimating capabilities.[3] The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation have also built their own tax models.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission & History". ITEP. 2010. 
  2. ^ "Who Pays". ITEP. 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "ITEP Microsimulation Tax Model". ITEP. 2010. 
  4. ^ "Corporate Tax Dodging in the States". ITEP. 2014. 
  5. ^ "Building a Better Gas Tax". ITEP. 2011. 
  6. ^ "A Capital Idea". ITEP. 2011. 
  7. ^ "Writing Off Tax Giveaways". ITEP. 2010. 
  8. ^ Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Released February 24th, 2016.
  9. ^ The ITEP Guide to Fair State and Local Taxes. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
  10. ^ "Archive". ITEP. 
  11. ^ "Debunking Laffer". ITEP. 2012. 
  12. ^ "ITEP Funding". ITEP. 2010. 
  13. ^ "How Much Did the Bush Tax Cuts Cost in Forgone Revenue?". Tax Foundation. 2010. 
  14. ^ "2011 Minnesota Tax Incidence Study" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Revenue. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Immigration Overhaul Could Bring States, Localities $2 Billion a Year". Pew Charitable Trusts. July 10, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  16. ^ "I Don't Hate Wal-Mart, but I Don't Mind Taxing It". State Tax Notes. Tax Analysts. July 31, 2006. 
  17. ^ Coombes, Andrea (April 15, 2012). "Taxes—Who Really Is Paying Up". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Overview of the Tax Policy Center Microsimulation Model". Tax Policy Center. 2008. 
  19. ^ "The Tax Foundation Small Comparative Statics Model of the U.S. Economy". Retrieved September 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]