Adopted by the Board of Directors
November 2020 | Washington, DC
In our efforts to create a more equitable economic future and better regulate our unjust economic system, humanists believe that the United States of America’s tax system must be reformed, with businesses and wealthy individuals taking on more responsibilities and economically disadvantaged people being unburdened. Given the complexity and breadth of our tax system—spanning all types and levels of taxation—this resolution begins to address these issues.
WHEREAS to our detriment, American corporations normally will not spend money to address social problems or to reduce their negative impacts without incentives or regulations, and
WHEREAS tax avoidance is harmful to an equitable tax system and yet, corporate income taxes comprise less than 10% federal tax revenue, and profitable American corporations generally pay an average effective federal income tax rate far below the statutory rate, and
WHEREAS international tax law ambiguities and insufficient international cooperation have sustained opaque corporate and individual tax havens abroad, and
WHEREAS wealthy individuals and corporations cooperate to limit their tax responsibilities, and
WHEREAS the wealthiest households have accrued vastly disproportionate percentages of total wealth over time while their tax responsibilities have decreased, which has exacerbated wealth hoarding and wealth inequities, and
WHEREAS tax responsibilities and tax shifting practices in the United States burden economically disadvantaged people, and are disproportionately shouldered by Black people, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, immigrants, poor people, and women, and
WHEREAS the complexity of the United States tax code disproportionately penalizes the least financially literate and the most economically disadvantaged, and
WHEREAS individual and corporate tax deductions for charitable contributions and tax credits for private religious education effectively work to privatize public services and disproportionately divert funds away from secular and public services, and
WHEREAS religious nonprofits that are exempt from filing financial disclosures are able to evade public accountability and oversight, and are exempted from property taxes in almost every state, a privilege enjoyed by no other type of nonprofit.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION, in the pursuit of an equitable tax policy,
AFFIRMS support for tax incentives that lead individuals and corporations toward more humanistic practices, and
AFFIRMS support for a substantial corporate Alternative Minimum Tax and a surtax on reported corporate profits for the most profitable corporations, alongside measures to close corporate tax loopholes, and
AFFIRMS support for increased transparency of corporate financial information held internationally through filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and policies to disincentivize tax havens, and
AFFIRMS support for increasing capital gains and dividend taxes on the most wealthy, reining in companies’ reliance on executive stock options to reduce corporate tax responsibilities, and implementing other policies to eliminate tax avoidance collusion between corporations and wealthy individuals, and
AFFIRMS support for disincentivizing wealth hoarding via policies that increase tax responsibilities on the most wealthy individuals and families, such as new stratified tax brackets for the very wealthy, raising the individual Alternative Minimum Tax, instituting a graduated estate tax, and closing individual tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, and
AFFIRMS support for policies that shift tax responsibilities away from those disparately impacted by economic injustices, as well as tax credits to counter injustice in our economy, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and
AFFIRMS support for simplifying the U.S. tax code in order to unburden economically disadvantaged individuals and families, and
AFFIRMS support for capping charitable contribution tax deductions with lower caps for corporations and the wealthiest individuals and families, and opposes tax credits that divert revenue to private religious organizations, and
AFFIRMS support for greater transparency in the finances of religious nonprofits, including policies that would require all nonprofits to submit 990 tax forms and hold religious nonprofits to the same tax responsibilities as their secular counterparts.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Humanist Association calls upon all who are able and should be concerned about tax equity to do your part to make this a better world for us all now and in the future. Support, with your voice, vote, time, energy, resources, and participation, the legislation, candidates, and action groups that work toward an equitable and humanistic tax policy.