Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Kathryn Birkeland

Second Advisor

Thomas Davies

Third Advisor

Gregory Huckabee


Tax, Accounting, Law

Subject Categories

Accounting | Accounting Law


The three largest tax reforms in recent years, The 1986 Tax Reform Act (TRA of 1986), The Bush Tax Cuts Act, and The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), differed in the treatment of taxable income through capital gains tax rate, depreciation treatment, limitation of losses, standard deduction, and the marginal rates in general. These provisions were studied to provide insight into how they affected various stakeholders. The TRA of 1986 and the Bush Tax Cuts Act have data determining whether they benefitted high-income taxpayers to the highest extent. The low-income taxpayers were also given tax breaks, however, not to the extent of high-income earners. The TCJA was passed in 2017 and does not have enough evidence on the long-term impact, but there were short-term effects and preliminary impacts to these stakeholders. Lastly, the economy, in the aggregate, was targeted for each tax reform to determine the effectiveness of the provisions on growing the economy. Both the TRA of 1986 and The Bush Tax Cuts Act proved to be successful in the short term at growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but there were recessions not long after each one was passed.



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