Tips for understanding the candidates tax plans

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Barack Obama and John McCain are two candidates with a plan, but understanding their tax plans can be taxing in itself.

Obama's website features a tax calculator.  After a visitor answers a few simple questions, he or she can find out how much money can be saved with Obama's plan, compared to his Republican opponent.  But how accurate is it?

We asked University of Memphis Tax Law Professor William Kratzke to evaluate the online tax calculator.  He was skeptical at best.  Kratzke said it makes assumptions about your finances without asking some key questions.
"Are you buying a home? Do you have children? Do you have a child in school? Are you working?" Kratzke asked.

If you were in Kratzke's Tax Law class, you would probably have a lot of homework in order to understand both plans.  And don't expect to hear everything you need to know by watching the presidential candidates debate.

"It's hard to explain when you have two minutes and people are interrupting you," Kratzke said.

Kraztke recommends doing some research on your own, using non-partisan websites that analyze each plan.  Answering a few simple questions just does not cut it.

Tax Policy Center (click here to visit) is a good place to start online, he said.

"It's is too broad to think that you're going to save what they say," Kratzke said.

Kratzke said of any economic plan, the devil is in the details.

Click here to e-mail Anna Marie Hartman.