Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Updated Obama and McCain Tax Calculator Link

I've switched our tax calculator link at left to the Obama campaign's tax calculator site. It is set up to be a bit more user-friendly than the calculator we linked to before. Here is an analysis from Politifact that examines the Obama calculator. The heart of their writeup is the following:

Now, let's look at the Obama tax calculator and evaluate its accuracy. We ran a number of scenarios through the calculator, which allows you to select an income range and plug in other factors that would be affected by Obama's plan. We also asked Bob Williams of the Tax Policy Center to check it out for us. Generally speaking, if you accept its methodology and premises, the Obama tax calculator appears mostly accurate. That is, it does not significantly distort either candidate's tax plans. The Obama tax calculator has a lengthy "frequently asked questions" list that spells out its assumptions. But it does present Obama's tax policies in their best light, and it makes a few assumptions that may not be true for all taxpayers.

"It gets reasonable answers and is not really wrong," said Williams, the Tax Policy Center's principal research associate. "That said, it is simplistic. It allows only broad ranges of income, which results in only approximate answers. Some people with income in the given ranges would get larger cuts while others would get less."

This criticism of the Obama calculator applies equally to the calculator we linked to previously, which uses numbers directly from the Tax Policy Center's tables.

If you want to get an estimate of the effects of the candidates' proposals tailored to your particular tax situation, try ElectionTaxes.com , which requires you to input detailed information from your tax forms.

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