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As Washington politicians rush to pass another end of the year bill extending billions of dollars in tax breaks for special interests, a new report highlights over $900 billion of giveaways throughout the tax code.

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More than 165 tax expenditures worth over $900 billion this year and more than $5 trillion over the next five years are revealed in Tax Decoder, a new report decoding the tax code.

Gamblers who lose at the casino or horse track can still win on their tax return by writing off gambling losses. Hollywood movie makers aren’t just collecting at the box office, they are also downloading tax subsidies from the IRS. There is no shortage of tax subsidies for the rich and famous, such as credits to renovate vacation homes and purchase luxury cars and deductions for yachts. 

Ideally, Congress would throw out the entire tax code and start over, but at the very least the code should be made simpler, fairer and flatter. This report provides a list of options for Congress to streamline and simplify the tax code to achieve that goal. While many of the tax breaks identified throughout this report should be phased out or eliminated, others could also be reformed to better achieve their intended purpose.

Read the full report here.

Read the introduction here.

Read the highlights here

The Tax Decoder highlights reel features Lady Gaga, Starbucks, IHOP and other tax subsidies for the rich and famous. Watch it here

Examples of just a few of the tax preferences highlighted in Tax Decoder include:

  • Billions of dollars in tax breaks go to wealthy pro sports team owners, who can count the roster of players as a depreciable asset.
  • The Tuna Tax Break provides nearly $10 million to certain domestic corporations operating in American Samoa.
  • Tax credits for historic and nonhistoric structures result in lost revenue of $1 billion annually, subsidize beach front resorts, Major League Baseball stadiums, and luxury hotels.
  • Ani DiFranco, a Grammy award winning artist, took advantage of $1.5 million in historic preservation tax credits and $3.7 million in New Market Tax Credits to build her Righteous Babe record label headquarters.
  • Many charities give little to their cause, despite paying no taxes. For example, Lady Gaga’s 501(c)(3), the Born This Way Foundation, raised $2.6 million in 2012, but only gave away $5,000 for “grants to organizations or individuals.”
  • For FY 2014, the tax gap will likely be about $500 billion.  If this amount were fully paid, virtually the entire deficit currently projected for FY 2014, $483 billion, could be eliminated.