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The Tax Foundation is the nation’s
leading independent tax policy
research organization. Since 1937,
our research, analysis, and experts
have informed smarter tax policy
at the federal, state, and global
levels. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
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Analysis of Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders’
Wealth Tax Plans
• Wealth taxes on ultra-wealthy households have been proposed by
Democratic presidential candidates to fight against inequality and raise extra
revenue but there is substantial uncertainty about how much revenue can be
• Comparing wealth taxes to income taxes shows how seemingly low rates on
wealth equate to high income tax rates.
• Wealth taxes in European countries have had disappointing results and many
have been phased out.
• A wealth tax would face serious administrative and compliance challenges
due to valuation difficulties and tax evasion and avoidance issues.
• Using the Tax Foundation’s wealth tax model, and after factoring in the
macroeconomic feedback effects, we estimate that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s
proposal would raise about $2.2 trillion and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan would
raise $2.6 trillion over the 10-year period from 2020-2029.
• Warren’s wealth tax would reduce long-run GDP by 0.37 percent, while
Sanders’ plan would decrease it by 0.43 percent. Given that the model
assumes an almost completely open economy with highly efficient
international capital markets, the wealth tax also could have dramatic short-
run effects—including a more than doubling of the trade deficit.
Vice President for
Federal Tax and Economic Policy
TAX FOUNDATION | 2
Since Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed “The Ultra-
Millionaires Tax” in