Three Waves of Increased Taxes

Three waves of new taxes are coming. And what the hell is the "Economic Substance Doctrine"?

Resurrection of the death tax, however, isn't the only tax problem that will be ushered in Jan. 1. Many other cuts from the Bush administration are set to disappear and a new set of taxes will materialize. And it's not just the rich who will pay.

The lowest bracket for the personal income tax, for instance, moves up 50% -- to 15% from 10%. The next lowest bracket -- 25% -- will rise to 28%, and the old 28% bracket will be 31%. At the higher end, the 33% bracket is pushed to 36% and the 35% bracket becomes 39.6%.

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But even more tax headaches lie ahead. This "second wave" of hikes, as Americans for Tax Reform puts it, are designed to pay for ObamaCare and include:

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- The Medicine Cabinet Tax. Americans, says ATR, "will no longer be able to use health savings account, flexible spending account, or health reimbursement pretax dollars to purchase nonprescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)."

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- Brand Name Drug Tax. Makers and importers of brand-name drugs will be liable for a tax of $2.5 billion in 2011. The tax goes to $3 billion a year from 2012 to 2016, then $3.5 billion in 2017 and $4.2 billion in 2018. Beginning in 2019 it falls to $2.8 billion and stays there. And who pays the new drug tax? Patients, in the form of higher prices.

- Economic Substance Doctrine. ATR reports that "The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks 'economic substance.'"

- A third and final (for now) wave, says ATR, consists of the alternative minimum tax's widening net, tax hikes on employers and the loss of deductions for tuition:

- The Tax Policy Center, no right-wing group, says that the failure to index the AMT will subject 28.5 million families to the tax when they file next year, up from 4 million this year.

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- The deduction for tuition and fees will no longer be available and there will be limits placed on education tax credits. Teachers won't be able to deduct their classroom expenses and employer-provided educational aid will be restricted. Thousands of families will no longer be allowed to deduct student loan interest.

- Then there's the tax on Americans who decline to buy health care insurance (the tax the administration initially said wasn't a tax but now argues in court that it is) plus a 3.8% Medicare tax beginning in 2013 on profits made in real estate transactions by wealthier Americans.

All emphasis mine. Via The Tax Tsunami On The Horizon - Investors.com.