The two men vying to occupy the White House for the next four years say they want to reform our current complicated tax system. But until that can be achieved, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are proposing tweaks to the existing tax code.
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Both candidates offer the American electorate only general outlines of their major tax proposals.
The Obama campaign's tax website touches on broad concepts such as raising tax rates on higher-income individuals and closing loopholes on millionaires and billionaires. As for more specifics, the president has elaborated on tax changes he supports in his annual budgets and State of the Union addresses, as well as in the corporate tax reform proposal issued by the U.S. Treasury earlier this year.
Romney also lists on his campaign website some general tax changes he favors, such as income tax rate reductions and maintaining the current tax treatment of investments. But the Republican candidate's plan also is light on details.
Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to be the Republican vice presidential nominee raised some tax watchers' eyebrows. As House Budget Committee chairman, Ryan created a plan that calls for just two individual income tax rates (10% and 25%) and no investment taxes for anyone regardless of income. However, Romney says he, not the new vice presidential candidate, is in charge of the campaign's fiscal proposals.
And while Obama makes no apologies for wanting to collect more money from some taxpayers, Romney insists that any tax changes should be revenue-neutral, meaning that if some taxes are hiked, others should be lowered to counter the increase. The Romney camp, however, has not provided any detail about what tax deductions or credits it would target to achieve federal revenue neutrality.
Here's a look at Obama's and Romney's positions on major tax areas affecting individual and business taxpayers. Not surprisingly, the two men's tax plans generally reflect the differences between their two political parties.