The Democratic candidates’ tax plans: Changes for individuals

Democratic candidates for the presidency have offered a variety of different ideas, but have appeared to coalesce around a handful of common concepts. To get a sense of where they stand, the individual candidates' positions on a number of changes for individual taxes are laid out below.

For more, learn about their positions on business taxes, and read Grant Thornton's analysis of the overall trends among the Democratic contenders.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)
Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during theIowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO annual convention in Altoona, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Individual rate increases:
· Restore 39.6% bracket
· Raise top rate to 44% “very-high income” taxpayers

Capital gains and dividends: Tax “income from wealth” annually as ordinary income

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax:
· Eliminate basis step-up for inherited assets
· Return thresholds to pre-2009 levels.
· Raise rates for “extremely large” intergenerational wealth transfers

New individual tax benefits:
· Expand EITC up to $3,000 for childless workers
· Increase premium tax credit and expand it to those earning more than 400% of poverty line
· $3,000 tax credit for family caregivers.
Vice President Joe Biden
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Individual rate increases:
· Raise top rate to 39.6%
· Cap value of tax deductions at 28%

Capital gains and dividends: Tax capital gains as ordinary income

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax: Eliminate stepped up basis for inherited capital assets.

New individual tax benefits:
· Expand child tax credit to $8,000
· Expand EITC to workers over 65.
· Eliminate federal poverty line income cap for premium tax credit and lower limit on cost of coverage to 8.5% of income
· “Equalize” tax deferral benefit of defined contribution plans for low-middle income taxpayers.
· Create “Automatic” 401(k)s
· $5,000 credit for informal caregivers
· Catch-up contributions caregivers
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
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Individual rate increases:
· Raise top rate to 39.6%
· Impose 5% surtax on incomes above $5M

Capital gains and dividends:
· Tax capital gains as ordinary income
· Repeal like-kind exchanges
· Curb "avoidance and deferral" of cap gains by "wealthy"

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax:
· Eliminate basis step-up for inherited capital assets
· Lower estate tax threshold
· “Shut down” estate tax avoidance schemes

New individual tax benefits:
· Reform the EITC
· Increase CTC and make it fully refundable.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks with attendees during a campaign event in Ames, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.
Individual rate increases:
· Higher marginal rate for “top earners”
· Increase Social Security tax cap to $250k (single) and $500k (joint)

Capital gains and dividends: NA

Wealth tax: Unspecified “wealth tax”

Estate tax: More equitable” use of the estate tax

New individual tax benefits: NA
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 27: Tulsi Gabard, US Representative from Hawaii and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. The forum asked each participant to focus on what's next now that the First Step Act has been passed. Photographer: Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg
Individual rate increases: NA

Capital gains and dividends: NA

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax: NA

New individual tax benefits: NA
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Individual rate increases: Raise top rate to 39.6%

Capital gains and dividends: Tax capital gains as ordinary income

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax: NA

New individual tax benefits:
· Increase EITC by 30% and expand eligibility to childless workers 18 years old and trying the max age to the eligibility age for Social Security.
· Make the child and dependent care tax credit fully-refundable.
Governor Deval Patrick
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Individual rate increases: NA

Capital gains and dividends: Tax all income as ordinary income

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax: “Raise” the estate tax

New individual tax benefits: NA
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)
PLYMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 29: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign event at Plymouth State University on September 29, 2019 in Plymouth, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Individual rate increases:
· Raise top rate
· Eliminate payroll tax exemption for wages above $250,000

Capital gains and dividends: Tax capital gains as ordinary income
Wealth tax: Wealth tax (thresholds halved for singles):
· 1% for $32M+
· 2% for $50M+
· 3% for $250M+
· 4% for $500M+
· 5% for $1B+
· 6% for $2.5B+
· 7% for $5B+
· 8% for $10B+

Estate tax: Lower exemption to $3.5M and raise rates:
· 45% up to $10M
· 50% up to $50M
· 55% up to $1B
· 77% for $1B +

New individual tax benefits: NA
Tom Steyer (billionaire fund manager)
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Individual rate increases: Tax all income as ordinary income

Capital gains and dividends: NA

Wealth tax: Wealth tax
· 1% at $32M+
· 1.5% at $500M+
· 2% at $1B+

Estate tax: NA

New individual tax benefits: Reduce tax rate by 10% for individuals making less than $200,000 or families making less than $250,000.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
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Individual rate increases: Apply Social Security tax to both wages and investment income above $250k (single) and $400k (joint) at increased 14.8% rate

Capital gains and dividends: Mark-to-market annually on capital gains and tax at ordinary rates for top 1% of households.

Wealth tax: Annual “wealth tax” on household net worth:
· 2% at $50M+
· 6% at $1B+

Estate tax:
· Lower exemption to $3.5M
· Raise rates unspecified amount
· Eliminate basis step-up for inherited assets

New individual tax benefits: NA
Andrew Yang (entrepreneur and philanthropist)
Andrew Yang, founder of Venture for America and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. More than a dozen presidential candidates are descending on San Francisco this week to try and wow DNC members at their annual summer meeting. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg
Individual rate increases: NA

Capital gains and dividends: Tax capital gains like ordinary income

Wealth tax: NA

Estate tax: NA

New individual tax benefits:
· Universal basic income of $1,000 monthly cash payment for every U.S. citizen over 18
· Return-free tax filing
· Option to direct 1% of taxes to specific government project of taxpayer’s choosing