Tax policy promises to play an important role in the 2016 presidential election. All of the candidates have promised significant changes to the federal tax system.
- Donald Trump proposes to cut individual and corporate income taxes across the board, reducing federal revenues by an estimated $9.5 trillion over ten years. He claims that spending cuts and economic growth will offset the revenue loss.
- Ted Cruz wants to replace federal income and payroll taxes with a 10 percent income tax on individual income and a 16 percent value-added tax, which TPC estimates would cut federal revenues by $8.6 trillion over the coming decade. He also claims that spending cuts and economic growth will offset the revenue loss.
- Hillary Clinton would raise taxes by a total of $1.1 trillion over ten years, with all of the additional taxes on high-income households. She would spend the additional revenue on programs to help low- and middle-income households.
- Bernie Sanders would increase federal revenue by more than $15 trillion over the next decade by raising taxes on virtually all Americans and the largest increases on the rich. He promises to use the additional revenue to provide Medicare for All, free college tuition, and other social benefits.
(John Kasich also promises to cut taxes but he has not offered enough detail for TPC to evaluate his plan. TPC’s 2016 Election matrix summarizes his and the other candidates’ tax plans.)
The Tax Policy Center has teamed with Vox to create a calculator that shows how each of the candidates’ plans would affect the taxes Americans pay. Just enter income, marital status, and number of children and the calculator shows the average effect of each plan on all households with those characteristics.
The calculator won’t show you the taxes that you’d pay under each candidate’s plan—that’s too complicated to model at this stage of the election cycle. What it does show is averages: the average tax change each plan would have for people like you in terms of marital status, number of children, and basic income level.