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
Sen. Michael Bennet speaking in Iowa in August 2019.
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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U.S. Vice President Joseph "Joe" Biden speaks during an interview in Singapore, on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Biden said the U.S. is pushing China to negotiate quickly with Southeast Asian nations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea, an area that's a "major, major, major highway of commerce." Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Joe Biden
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.
Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg campaigns in Iowa in January 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
Rep. Tulsi Gabard speaking in South Carolina in October 2019.
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.
Amy Klobuchar Photographer: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg
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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Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, speaks during a news conference at the statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. Patrick said he will work with state lawmakers to allow appointment of a temporary replacement for the late Senator Edward Kennedy before a Jan. 19 special election to choose someone to serve out his term. Photographer: Michael Springer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Deval Patrick
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)
Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign event at Plymouth State University on Sept. 29, 2019 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
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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Tom Steyer, co-founder of NextGen Climate Action Committee and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks to the media following the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.
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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Elizabeth Warren
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
Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang at a Democratic National Committee meeting in August 2019.
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
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