Signed and Declared? The House and Senate passed the spending deal yesterday. The 1,159-page bill funds nine Cabinet departments and agencies, including Treasury and IRS, through Sept. 30. It provides about $1.4 billion for border barriers, far less than the $5.7 billion President Trump has demanded for a wall since December. Trump has indicated he will sign the spending bill, but also declare a national emergency to fund more of his long-desired wall. That step will set off a contentious legal battle.
The IRS finally gets a budget. The deal gives the agency $11.3 billion for this fiscal year: $2.5 billion for taxpayer services, $4.9 billion for enforcement, and $3.9 billion for operations and IT upgrades.
Amazon walks away from its New York expansion. Even though New York city and state offered Amazon about $3 billion in tax subsidies to open a big east coast office in Queens, some local lawmakers and union leaders contended that Amazon did not deserve the tax benefits. So yesterday Amazon said it will abandon plans for an expansive campus in Long Island City. It still will open a new facility in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.
Confusion turns to (misplaced) anger. In its second weekly update, the IRS reports that those who have filed so far still are getting smaller refunds than last year. And some taxpayers are complaining they are getting smaller refunds than they expected. TPC’s Mark Mazur told NPR: “A lot of people are focused on the amount of refund they get, and when they have a smaller refund than they expected, they're unhappy. In addition, there are some people who are having a tax increase. And I think what you're seeing on Twitter and elsewhere is kind of a conflation of both of those things.”
Better than Valentine’s Day chocolates? Want to find out if it is worth it—tax-wise—to get married? TPC’s updated marriage calculator allows you to create specific situations to see whether a married couple would pay more or less than if they had stayed single. A couple pays a “marriage penalty” if it owes more income tax filing jointly than if each spouse stayed single. But couple receives a “marriage bonus” if the partners pay less income tax than if they had not married.
Speaking of partners… Congressman Andy Levin introduced a bill yesterday that replaces the words “husband” and “wife” with gender neutral terms in the tax code. The tax code would then be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. “Marriage equality became the law of the land four years ago, and it is past time for our laws to reflect that,” said Levin.
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