Public, Society Benefit

Tax Foundation

  • Washington, DC
  • www.taxfoundation.org

Mission Statement

One of America's most established and relied-upon think tanks, the Tax Foundation has since 1937 worked for simple, sensible tax policy at the federal, state, and local levels. We do this by informing Americans about the size of tax burdens and providing economically principled analysis of tax policy issues.

Main Programs

  1. Tax Freedom Day
  2. Interactive Tax Calculators
  3. CompeteUSA
  4. Center for Legal Reform
  5. Center for State Tax Policy
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

United States (federal and each state).

ruling year

1990

President since 2000

Self-reported

Mr. Scott Hodge

Keywords

Self-reported

Tax Foundation, Tax, Tax Freedom Day, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Budget, Federal tax, state tax, excise tax, local tax, Tax Policy, Public Policy, Research, Nonpartisan, Education, Economy, Economic Research, Economic Stimulus

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EIN

52-1703065

 Number

1542610368

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public Finance, Taxation, Monetary Policy (W22)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Tax Foundation is the nation's leading independent tax policy research organization. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Our distribution of information has helped provide policymakers and the public with the lay of the land in the ongoing debate over tax and budget policies and a greater understanding of the policies proposed. We continue this hands-on approach to working with policymakers, stakeholders, and taxpayers to make their tax systems simpler, more transparent, more neutral, more stable, and more pro-growth.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Tax Freedom Day

Our annual calculation of the calendar representation of the nation’s federal, state, and local tax burden receives wide media attention and helps inform the debate on the price the nation is paying for government. Derived from official government figures for total tax collections and total income, we also produce 50 state-specific Tax Freedom Days. In 2013, the nation's Tax Freedom Day arrived on April 18, and the dubious distinction of being the last state Tax Freedom Day celebrator was Connecticut on May 13.

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Program 2

Interactive Tax Calculators

To advance the discussion toward deficit reduction and tax reform, we seek to enable taxpayers and policymakers to monitor and evaluate the various proposed tax policy plans presented by Congress, the president and presidential candidates. We accomplish this with simple, easy-to-use calculators so
that taxpayers can get a bottom line answer to the question they care about most: how does all this affect me? The interactive calculator gives you an estimate of your federal tax burden under an almost endless variety of scenarios. You begin by inputting
basic information such as marital status, number of dependents and income earned.  To increase the calculator accuracy there are several options such as dividends received, charitable deductions, medical expenses, etc. That can be taken into consideration. Individuals can simply use the information from their last tax return to see how they would fare under the proposed tax policies. You can find this calculator on our website at:  http://interactive.taxfoundation.org/taxcalc/#calculator

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Program 3

CompeteUSA

Since 2008, the Tax Foundation’s CompeteUSA project has aggressively worked to raise public awareness to the fact that the U.S. corporate income tax is badly out of step with the rest of our major trading partners. As of April 2012, the U.S. corporate income tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world, and the average effective rate is one of the highest. As a result, the competiveness of the U.S. economy is at risk as is our long-term economic health. A path breaking 2008 study by economists at the OECD outlined a new hierarchy of taxes in a global economy where capital is highly mobile. The study found that corporate income taxes are the most harmful tax to a country’s long-term economic growth. Academics are also finding that workers bear a major share of the economic burden of corporate taxes. This means that a significant cut in the corporate income tax rate will lead to significant improvements in workers’ wages and living standards over time. Through research reports, congressional testimony, Capitol Hill briefings, advertising, videos, and roundtable discussions, we have worked to educate the public on the need for corporate tax reform. Key topics have included comparing corporate tax rates and burdens with major trading partners, evaluating options for a territorial system and how it could be implemented, issues of repatriation, and how corporate tax reform would advance U.S. economic growth.

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Program 4

Center for Legal Reform

Courts play an important role in developing tax policy, by interpreting tax codes, applying sections in individual cases, and dealing with circumstances unforeseen when legislation was drafted. By explaining complex tax legal reform issues to policymakers, the media, state groups, and the public, the Center for Legal Reform encourages judicial and policy decisions that protect taxpayers and promote sound tax policy in federal and state law. Specifically, our legal team focuses on cases and issues involving one or more of the following areas: (1) Limiting state tax powers to their geographic borders, preventing overreaching; (2) Delineating taxes from fees and preventing political subterfuge that undermines taxpayer safeguards; (3) analyzing taxes based on real-world economic impacts and not merely "legal incidence"; and (4) upholding and expanding taxpayer protections that treat like parties alike, with rules that are simple, transparent, stable, and neutral. Since its founding in 2005, the Tax Foundation’s Center for Legal Reform has filed briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and courts in 8 states. Key victories include invalidation of a $300 million tax in northern Virginia, a successful challenge to a “tax on a tax” in San Diego, and avoiding a judicial takeover of state education funding in Indiana. We filed briefs continuously as opportunities are presented.

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Program 5

Center for State Tax Policy

Elected officials and state-based groups and activists have come to rely heavily on the Tax Foundation’s Center for State Tax Policy for timely, high-quality, and user-friendly data and analysis on tax and budget issues. We provide state policymakers and thought leaders with reliable facts and principled analysis so that they can pursue simple, sensible tax policy. Our state team has three sets of tools to achieve this: (1) major annual projects, (2) smaller annual projects, and (3) day-to-day outreach. Major Annual Projects include Facts & Figures (a pocket- and purse-sized guide to how states rank on tax rates, collections, burdens, spending, and more; routinely praised by elected officials as a handy, easy-to-read, and essential reference. The online Facts & Figures is downloaded over 125,000 times a year.); State & Local Tax Burdens (For 18 years we have calculated the combined state-local tax burden shouldered by the residents of each of the 50 states. This “how much” ranking is highly anticipated and used heavily as one of the most accurate calculations available of state-local tax burdens.); State Business Tax Climate Index (This annual study looks at how state tax structures raise revenue, ranking the “tax friendliness” to business of each state’s tax system and providing a roadmap for improving it. Comparing over 100 variables in five categories (individual income, corporate income, sales, property, and unemployment insurance taxes), the Index makes the case that the most competitive tax systems are found in states with simple rates and flat bases, sales taxes that avoid layered taxes on business, and institutional restraints on the level of taxation. Our Index report is downloaded over 500,000 times each year, mentioned in Governors' State of the State addresses each January, and we routinely issue reports acting on legislative requests for “Index runs” to see how a proposed change would affect their state’s rank.); and Location Matters (Produced for the first time in 2012, this study takes an apples-to-apples approach to calculate and compare the estimated state and local corporate tax burden for hypothetical firms in the 50 states). Our emphasis on timely research often means anticipating new trends and new proposals. During 2011 and 2012, we authored well-received reports on film tax credits, sales tax holidays, taxes on online travel companies, unemployment insurance taxes, online sales taxes, tobacco taxes, and dozens of proposals in specific states.

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Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    We improve lives through tax policy research and education that leads to greater economic growth and opportunity.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Principled Research
    We publish usable, clear research and data on taxes.

    Insightful Analysis
    We provide creative and actionable pro-growth tax reform solutions to policymakers.

    Engaged Experts
    We educate taxpayers, policymakers, and the media about the effect of taxes on individuals, businesses, and the economy.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Tax Foundation's ambitious tax research and program agenda has had a large impact on state and federal tax debates. At the federal level, we have built the tools and intellectual arguments for initiating a multi-year debate over fundamental tax reform and restoring America's global tax competitiveness. At the state level, we advise policymakers how to make their tax systems more pro-growth and use our various state rankings to foster tax competition between the states. Our research receives a record number of citations, ranging from newspaper and television journalists (over 10,000 media citations per year) to governors and presidential candidates. In addition to traditional outreach and media cultivation, our widely-viewed videos have done much to advance public education on key tax issues, as has our blog (ranked in the top two in the nation by the Wall Street Journal) and our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Ultimately, we will measure our success by the extent our work results in policies that promote economic growth and prosperity. We also measure:
    ·· Number of meetings requested by elected officials at the state and federal levels
    ·· Number of invitations to testify before legislative committees
    ·· Number of citations in each of the top 100 newspapers in the United States
    ·· Number of citations in local newspapers covering work by our state teams
    ·· Number of citations describing us as “neutral" or “non-partisan"
    ·· Number of views on our TaxFoundation.org website and daily blog
    ·· Number of Facebook and Twitter impressions
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Our lineup of publications has elevated the Tax Foundation to one of the preeminent organizations influencing tax policy at the federal and state levels. In 2014, the Tax Foundation and our publications were cited 13,000 times by over 3,200 media outlets across all 50 states. We are seeking support to expand the awareness of these publications and promote greater policy impact.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

United States (federal and each state).

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

General support and support for specific projects.

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

TAX FOUNDATION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Tax Foundation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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President

Mr. Scott Hodge

BIO

Scott Hodge is the President of the Tax Foundation and is recognized as one of Washington's leading experts on the federal budget and government spending. He has written and edited three books on the federal budget and streamlining the government and has authored over 100 studies on government spending and fiscal policy. He has also authored dozens of editorials and opinion pieces for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Post and The Washington Times. Mr. Hodge has conducted over 500 radio and television interviews -- including NBC Nightly News, CBS Nightly News, CNN, Fox Network, and C-Span. In addition, he has contributed to stories on wasteful spending aired by ABC's Prime-Time Live and and NBC's Fleecing of America. Before joining the Tax Foundation, Mr. Hodge was Director of Tax and Budget Policy at Citizens for a Sound Economy. Mr. Hodge also spent ten years at The Heritage Foundation, including eight years as Heritage's Senior Budget Analyst.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. David P. Lewis

Eli Lilly and Company

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?