The President’s budget will be out tomorrow. Will anyone notice? There is almost always something perfunctory about the last budget of an outgoing president, but this year’s will generate even less interest than usual. In the ultimate insult, the GOP-run congressional budget committees won’t even invite White House officials to describe their fiscal plan. There will be some budget-related hearings, however: The Senate Finance Committee will hear from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday, and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Thursday. Koskinen will appear before Finance on Wednesday and the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Congress faces a very tight timeline to get a budget passed given this year’s shortened Congressional calendar, though the president and Congress have already agreed to a broad fiscal framework for the year.
New tax-related efforts to help savers are on the 2016 horizon. Top Treasury pension official Mark Iwry says the upcoming budget would expand access to Multiple Employer Plans for small businesses, Tax Analysts reports (paywall). Meanwhile, top Democrat Senator Ron Wyden introduced legislation to make the current saver’s credit refundable, and require that the credit amount be contributed directly to a tax-favored retirement plan.
“That’s entertainment!” The state of Nevada will tax tickets to Burning Man under its newly expanded entertainment tax. The counterculture festival held in Black Rock City sold 15,000 tickets to its 2016 event. Burning Man organizers insisted the gathering should be exempt from the tax since attendees, not organizers, provide the entertainment. Nevada’s Department of Taxation, however, said it doesn’t matter: “The activities that take place during Burning Man constitute live entertainment, whether or not those activities are provided by patrons of the event.”
Speaking of entertainment… GOP candidates on Saturday held their last debate before the New Hampshire primary tomorrow. There were lots of fireworks, but little talk of their tax plans.
In the United Kingdom: Are banks deducting the fines they pay from their tax bills? The UK fined banks millions of pounds for wrong doing, and prohibits banks from booking those fines as a cost that could reduce profits and thus, their tax bill. Members of the Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee have asked Chancellor George Osborne to clarify banks’ activities. Committee Chairman Andrew Tyrie doesn’t want taxpayers to end up paying part of the bank’s burden.
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