Then there’s I Heart Taxes, a website devoted to all the things our taxes pay for, and where you can buy mugs that say stuff like “Taxes Pay Our Soldiers” and tee shirts featuring famous taxpayers like Oliver (“Taxes and what we pay for civilized society”) Wendell Holmes. And when you buy these things, 100% of the profits go to the US Treasury. So what if you lose a friend or two?
The Citizens for Tax Justice is another great resource. Their analyses pack a tremendous amount of information into short, fact-based reports, with great numbers AND great values. Their tax model is one of the few that has the capacity to analyze both federal and state/local tax policies. Also, they’re uniquely good at explaining complicated stuff, like how the international loopholes work, in plain English. (BTW, CTJ are among the folks behind research like this.)
The Tax Policy Center here in DC is the deepest source of data on the distributional impacts of tax policy past, present, and future. They’ve got tremendous authority and scope and provide useful backup material, like the underlying income levels of the different income classes from the very bottom to the top 0.1%. They also have spreadsheets up there with great historical data, like capital gains rates over time. Their tables assume you’re bringing some knowledge with you—e.g., you’ve got to understand the difference between budget baselines—so it’s a less welcoming site than others I’ve mentioned here. But they’re indispensible to the debate.
I’m sure I’m leaving out some good ones. CBOs tax page is very good and perfectly intelligible, often with lots of spreadsheet backup. The JCT is a key source of official scores of federal tax proposals, but even experienced budget wonks have gotten lost in there, never to be heard from again.
Feel free to note your favorites in comments and I’ll try to post them.