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A Helpful Guide to Wonky Tax Terminology

Different groups have weighed in on the cost and impact of the various versions of the tax plans and bills. Here are some of the major players listed in the Marketplace.

Congressional Budget Office: The CBO is the greatest ally and enemy of members of Congress trying to push legislation. The agency “scores” legislation to determine how much a bill will cost the government and how it will affect Americans. When those scores don’t line up with what someone wants to hear, the agency is often labeled as biased. The director of the CBO is appointed by House and Senate leadership, and the current director, Keith Hall, was appointed by Republicans.

Joint Committee on Taxation: This committee helps members of the House and Senate with research on tax-related matters. Its primary function is to provide reports to members of Congress, but some of its information is public. Often when you hear about reports from the JCT, members of Congress have leaked them to the media or think tanks, rather than them being available to the public.

Tax Foundation: The Tax Foundation is generally considered a right-leaning think tank and provides many detailed analyses of how the various tax plans could impact the economy. The group faced some criticism for the way it crunched the numbers on the House plan, and subsequently changed its model and issued a correction.

Tax Analysts: This is the nonprofit arm of a group that also runs Tax Notes, a tax-focused news outlet that sells newsletter subscriptions to individuals and businesses.