Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Tax Issue Area

Resources for Tax Reform

Sep 27, 2017 | Taxes

Last Updated 9/27/2017

Efforts to reform the tax code are underway, and they will pick up further this fall when the legislative process formally begins. CRFB has published several resources on recent tax reform plans, policies that may be included, gimmicks lawmakers may use, the status of the current tax code, and other tax issues. Below are links to each of these publications, which will also be updated as new analyses are published.

Recent Tax Reform Plans

There have been several tax reform plans released by various policymakers, including one by the Trump campaign, a broad framework released by the White House in April, and the House GOP "Better Way" plan released by House Speaker Paul Ryan last year.

Fiscal Responsibility

Tax reform should be used to improve the nation's fiscal situation, not worsen it.

Economic Growth

While well-designed reform can increase growth, tax cuts do not pay for themselves. Legislation should also be realistic and only use growth estimates from Congress's official scorekeepers – the Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office. Tax reform that dramatically increases deficits or includes retroactive or temporary tax changes are unlikely to have a large growth impact.

Specific Provisions

The tax code has $1.6 trillion of annual tax expenditures, many of which could be eliminated or made more efficient in order to finance tax reform. Our Tax Breakdown series describes many of these provisions, listing arguments for and against, and options for reform. 

Reconciliation Process

Tax reform will likely be considered under reconciliation, a procedure that allows legislation to pass with a simple majority (50+1 votes) in the Senate rather than 60 votes. However, reconciliation also comes with other restrictions, such as not being able to increase the long-term deficit or make changes unrelated to the budget. 


Tax reform should be fiscally responsible and avoid using gimmicks that can make it appear more responsible than it is.

Tax Facts

When considering a major overhaul of the tax code, it is important to keep several facts about the U.S. tax system in mind.