Income Taxation in U.S.: Current Trends

Keywords: tax reform, trickle-down economic theory, income tax, deduction from taxable income, pass-through taxation.


Essential components of D. Trump’s tax reform and its impact on the income distribution and economic growth in U.S. are investigated. The analysis covers innovations in the system of income taxation of citizens (tax rate on income of physical persons, change in the composition of itemized and standard deductions from the taxable income, the alternative minimum income tax, limitations on the inheritance tax, and change in the mode of taxation of pass-through income).

The essence of the trickle-down economic theory is explicated, with emphasizing its central role in tax policy development in the USA, which caused occurrence of common features specific to tax reforms over the last 40 years. The considerable attention is paid in this context to the experience of tax reform introduced by R. Reagan (1986); its comparative analysis with the tax reform of D. Trump shows that with respect to income taxation both are intended to provide incentives to business and reduce tax burden on the high income population strata. However, assessment of Reagan’s tax reform consequences shows that concentration of capital at the hands of businesses and high income population strata not only failed to increase employment and income, but aggravated the social and economic problems in the country, caused by revenue reduction in the American budget, the growing public debt and the enhanced social inequality in the American society. This gave experts grounds to expect an occurrence of the analogous scenario in the result of D. Trump’s tax reform. The article gives a series of short-term and medium-term projected estimates of international experts for budget losses and change in the structure of the population (household) income in US.

Innovations in the system of income taxation of U.S. citizens are investigated by the results of analysis of legal norms concerning changes in the scale of tax rates and in the system of deductions from the taxable income. A number of critical comments are given about the income tax policy, based on summing up strong and weak points of the trickle-down economic theory. The most essential of them is that the policy granting more beneficial tax preferences to the well-off population strata, with their negative effects for the vertical justice of the tax burden distribution, contradicts to the ability-to-pay tax principle. Recommendations on potential testing of selected innovations on line of the taxation reform in Ukraine are given using results of the analysis.


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How to Cite
FrolovаN. B. (2020). Income Taxation in U.S.: Current Trends. Statistics of Ukraine, 87(4), 107-116.