tax policy center

Tax Topics

2009 Tax Stimulus
2012 Election Tax Plans
2015 Budget
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
American Jobs Act of 2011
Brief Description of the Model 2015
Camp Tax Reform Plan
Current-Law Distribution of Taxes
Deficit Reduction Proposals
Distribution of the 2001 - 2008 Tax Cuts
Dynamic Scoring
Earned Income Tax Credit
Economic Stimulus
Education Tax Incentives
Estate and Gift Taxes
Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts
Explanation of Income Measures 2013
Federal Budget
Fiscal Cliff
Fiscal Crisis
Guide to TPC Tables
Health Insurance Tax Incentives
How to Interpret Distribution Tables 2013
Marriage Penalties
Model FAQ 2013
Model Related Resources and FAQs
Payroll Taxes
Presidential Transition - 2009
Recent Tax Stimulus Legislation
Retirement Saving
Tax Encyclopedia Index
Tax Expenditures
Tax Reform Proposals
TPC’s Methodology for “Off-Model” Revenue Estimates
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Who Doesn't Pay Federal Taxes?
Working Families

E-mail Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address to receive periodic updates on TPC publications and events.

> newsletter archive

tax topics

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 2012, the individual income tax rates scheduled for 2013 under current law were 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent. Now, however, the tax rates under 2013 current law are 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6 percent because of changes made by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA).

Prior to the passage of ATRA, TPC typically analyzed proposals against both current law and an alternate baseline, current policy. Current policy generally assumed that Congress would extend tax provisions that were set to expire, or "sunset", under current law. Because ATRA dramatically reduced the number of temporary provisions in the tax code, TPC no longer uses a current policy baseline.

The following links to a table containing a non-exhaustive list of tax law parameters assumed for the current law baseline TPC uses to develop revenue and distributional estimates. It displays the baseline parameters we use for model estimates posted on or after December 22, 2015, as well as links to Excel and PDF files showing the baseline parameters used for estimates created during earlier periods.

Current Law Parameters
December 22, 2015 to Present
January 2, 2013 to December 18, 2015
September 11, 2012 to January 1, 2013
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

Current Policy Parameters
Used Before December 22, 2015
Current Policy Parameters
Side-by-Side Current Law and Current Policy Parameters