Given increased income and wealth inequality, much recent attention has been devoted to proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy (such as imposing a tax on accumulated wealth). Since capital income is highly skewed toward the ultra-wealthy, methods of increasing taxes on capital income provide alternative approaches for addressing inequality through the tax system. Marking the value of assets to their market prices is a way of taxing asset appreciation annually instead of waiting until the assets are sold and the gain is realized. Other capital income taxation proposals are being developed and discussed, and they share key features.
All proposals seeking to increase and accelerate the tax imposed on capital income raise a number of design and implementation questions. A keynote address and two panel discussions deepened the conversation by addressing the following:
- What are the challenges of mark-to-market taxation?
- How would assets be valued each year?
- Would all assets be subject to this new tax regime?
- How would a taxpayer who hasn’t sold an asset pay the associated capital gains tax?
- Could the IRS administer these types of taxes easily?
- Are some approaches better than others?