In case you were wondering, major legislation remains stalled. On tax reform Speaker Ryan said: “The House has a plan, but the Senate doesn’t quite have one yet. They’re working on one. The White House hasn’t nailed it down, so even the three entities aren’t on the same page yet on tax reform.” Things aren’t looking any clearer when it comes to the tax credit-driven American Health Care Act, though the House intends to modify it to include high-risk pools. Maybe things will change while Congress is in its two-week recess?
More fighting in the GOP family over the BAT. Two conservative groups, Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity (a group largely funded by the Koch brothers), put out a report blasting the House GOP leadership’s border adjustable tax. Asked what he thought about it, House Ways & Means chair Kevin Brady pulled no punches: “That so-called study will be easily discredited and it probably fits the definition of fake news." That recess may be coming just in time.
Meanwhile, protestors plan to march. Activists have organized an estimated 80 marches around the country for Saturday, April 15. Participants in the “Tax Day March” call on President Trump to disclose his tax returns.
Another data breach at the IRS. Up to 100,000 taxpayers using a digital tax return retrieval tool to complete student loan applications were vulnerable to hackers. Identity thieves used stolen tax return information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to file fake returns to seek refunds. The IRS issued about 8,000 fraudulent refunds as a result, totaling $30 million. IRS filters succeeded in stopping 52,000 returns and 14,000 fraudulent refunds.
And IRS Commissioner John Koskinen plans to stay. The commissioner has no plans to leave his post before his term ends in November, despite a new push to fire him by some Ways & Means Committee Republicans. “I still am cheerily managing the place.” He also noted that while the Trump Administration has not sought his counsel, he thinks “it would be in everybody’s interest to have a commissioner chosen and confirmed and ready to take over in November.” He hasn’t “seen any names bandied about.”
Did you know the US tried a national soda tax one hundred years ago? The Washington Post tells the tale. Congress levied national taxes on soda-makers and consumers during World War I t to help fund the war effort. The levies raised the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $789 million, according to tax historian Joe Thorndike. But the revenue didn’t outweigh the political opposition to the taxes, which were rolled back within two years.
Congress will be in recess for the next two weeks. The Daily Deduction will post Monday, April 10, and Monday, April 17, and will resume its regular schedule when Congress returns.
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