Online Tool Estimates Taxes Under McCain, Obama

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PORTLAND, Maine - Voters whose bottom line is taxes can use a new online tool to calculate what their own bottom line would be with the IRS under a Barack Obama or John McCain administration.

The model developed by a business software company and an accounting professor in Maine estimates how individual income taxes would be affected under plans put forth by the two presidential candidates.

The Portland-based company Quantrix says taxpayers who log onto and enter their income can obtain a free estimate of what they would pay in taxes for 2009 through 2012 under each of the two presidential candidates.

"The economy is a key factor in this presidential election, and our interactive tool enables individuals to make an informed choice when casting their vote," said professor Jeffrey Gramlich of the University of Southern Maine. "With just a few keystrokes, this model enables voters to see how these tax plans will impact their personal bottom line."

For example, the model indicates that a couple with two children earning $100,000 with $20,000 in itemized deductions would have a net tax bill for 2009 of $9,555 under McCain and $9,002 under Obama. That compares with a $9,505 tax bill for this couple under current law, the site says. In another example, a single taxpayer making $50,000 and using the standard deduction would pay $6,867 under McCain and $6,325 under Obama, compared with $6,827 under current law.

Neither campaign responded to requests for comment on the site or its results.

McCain and Obama both have vowed to reduce the overall tax load, although Obama wants to raise taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year. McCain's proposals include extending President Bush's tax cuts for all incomes, a move Obama opposes for those upper incomes.

"It's easy to become confused by political rhetoric during an election season, and the average citizen would need an accountant to determine the real impact of each plan," Quantrix CEO Chris Houle said. "Professor Gramlich and Quantrix have analyzed both campaign's tax plans and developed a working model that people can use to better understand the impact of each plan on their personal finances."

Individuals who log onto the site may enter only their income or provide more detailed information such as deductions, retirement plan contributions, child care expenses and income subject to capital gains treatment. Users are not required to provide names or other personal information.