While tax expenditures are commonly thought of as tax breaks given to specific businesses or industries, they actually represent a much broader set of tax policies that benefit every resident of the state. Tax expenditures include all exemptions from the state sales tax, as well as exclusions, deductions, and credits that the state allows on personal and corporate income taxes.
The state estimates that these expenditures will total over $26 billion in fiscal 2013. However, that total includes nearly $11 billion derived from two policies that directly benefit virtually every resident of the Commonwealth: the sales tax exemptions on food, clothing, and medicine, and the exclusion of personal and professional services from the sales tax. Other sales tax expenditures total an additional $7.5 billion, while exclusions, deductions, and credits on the personal income tax account for $6.8 billion. Corporate tax expenditures account for just $1.3 billion, or 5 percent, of the total.