Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based right-leaning think tank, founded in 1937 by a group of prominent businessmen in order to "monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies". The Tax Foundation collects data and publishes research studies on U.S. tax policies at both the federal and state levels. Its stated mission is to "improve lives through tax policy research and education that leads to greater economic growth and opportunity." The Tax Foundation is generally critical of tax increases and high taxation.

The Tax Foundation is organized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit educational and research organization, with three primary areas of research: The Center for Federal Tax Policy, The Center for State Tax Policy, and The Center for Legal Reform. The group is known for its annual reports such as Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare, which was first produced in 1941, and its "Tax Freedom Day" brochures, which it has produced since the early 1970s.


The Tax Foundation was organized on December 5, 1937, in New York City by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., Chairman of the General Motors Corporation; Donaldson Brown, GM Financial Vice President; William S. Farish, President of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Exxon); and Lewis H. Brown, President of Johns-Manville Corporation, who later became the first chairman of the board of The Tax Foundation. The stated goal of the organization was "to monitor the tax and spending policies of government agencies". Its offices were located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza and later 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The Tax Foundation's first project was a successful effort to stop a tax increase in Westchester County, New York, where they provided research and analysis (including an "Expenditure Survey" of state spending) to local activists. By 1943, the Tax Foundation had helped set up taxpayers associations and expenditure councils in 35 states.

During World War II, Tax Foundation research emphasized restraining government spending domestically to finance wartime expenditures. In 1948, the Tax Foundation opened an office in Washington, D.C., and in 1978 relocated there completely. Its research and analysis has historically emphasized publicizing federal and state financial information, arguing against the use of tax systems for "social engineering," and urging "broad bases and low rates" tax reform.

Beginning in 1990, the Tax Foundation "operated as a separate unit" of Citizens for a Sound Economy. By July 1991, it was again operating as an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

Beginning in 2009, the Tax Foundation's offices were located in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. In 2015, the organization moved to its current location on G Street.


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