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U.S. tax code full of holes

Tax breaks and loopholes cost the U.S. $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012. Budget cutters are under pressure to get that figure down.

U.S. tax code full of holes

Everybody loves a little tax break here and there, right? Everybody but Uncle Sam. They are really “tax expenditures,” which represent lost revenue to the federal government and account for $1.1 trillion. That’s about the size of the federal deficit for fiscal 2012.

Budget cutters may no longer look the other way with the potential savings so great. Topping the list of costliest expenditures is the exclusion from tax on the value of employer-provided health insurance. Coming in second is the popular deduction allowed on mortgage interest.

Check out our infographic for more on the tax breaks and loopholes that are under increased scrutiny. See “What Do Others Say?” for more opinions on tax policy, then add to the discussion below. Should we get rid of all tax breaks? Should we overhaul the whole system and create a simpler, more transparent tax code? 

What do others say?

  • : Council on Foreign Relations: "Tax expenditures and the budget deficit" More

  • : Wall Street Journal infographic: “Tax breaks under fire” More

  • : Tax Policy Center: "How have they changed over time?" More

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