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(Aug 09, 2011) - T11-0270 - TPC Baseline Definitions

TPC Baseline Definitions

Current law refers to the law currently scheduled for a given year—that is, the law that will prevail if Congress does not act to change it. The definition of current law will typically change when Congress enacts a new tax law. For instance, in 2009, the top income tax rate scheduled for 2012 under current law was 39.6 percent. In 2011, however, the top tax rate under 2012 current law is 35 percent because of changes made by the Tax Relief Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.

Current policy generally assumes that Congress will extend tax provisions that are set to expire, or "sunset", under current law. This typically implies that the tax law for the current year will apply to all future years, regardless of any scheduled sunsets or other changes. For example, TPC’s current policy baseline for 2012 assumes that Congress will pass an AMT "patch," the latest version of which expired at the end of 2011. For 2013, current policy assumes extension of all temporary provisions in place for 2012 (except for the payroll tax cut) and an AMT patch. In estimates produced prior to 2011, TPC interpreted current policy differently and allowed certain temporary provisions to expire under that baseline.

The following tables provide a non-exhaustive list of tax law parameters assumed for each baseline used to develop revenue and distributional estimates. The links below display the baseline parameters used for model estimates posted after September 11, 2012. Links from each table go to Excel and PDF files showing those parameters as well as parameters used for estimates created during earlier periods:

January 6, 2012 to September 10, 2012
April 14, 2011 to January 5, 2012
January 3, 2011 to April 13, 2011
May 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011
March 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010