Ramaswamy backs flat 12% federal income tax

CLEAR LAKE — A tax debate is looming for federal policymakers because Trump era tax cuts expire at the end of 2025. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is proposing a change in federal tax policy rather than an extension of the tax cuts approved in 2017.

“I do favor a simple, flat 12% flat tax across the board,” Ramaswamy said. “Income — ordinary income, capital gain, corporate — anything…Eliminate all the deductions.”

Ramaswamy has said the 59% inheritance tax he proposed in his book last year was “a thought experiment” and the flat tax he’s proposed this year would be assessed to all income, including inherited money or assets. Ramaswamy said a flat tax at 12% means a broad base of Americans would be paying the lowest possible rate.

“The simplicity of that tax code will not require a separate IRS,” Ramaswamy said, “and it will also avoid some of the risks of politicization that we have with the current IRS as well.”

Ramaswamy has proposed the complete elimination of some federal agencies, including the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service. “I’d take the small, minimal number of people who need to just process payments into the federal government, move them to the U.S. Department of Treasury outside of the IRS, which will just shut down,” Ramaswamy said.

The IRS is currently a bureau within the treasury department.

This is not the first time a GOP presidential candidate has proposed a flat tax. Steve Forbes made a 17% flat tax the hallmark of his campaigns in 1996 and 2000, but the Forbes plan included personal exemptions, so a family of four would pay no federal taxes on their first $36,000 of income. Ramaswamy’s 12% flat tax would apply to every dollar of income, without exemptions.