Better something than nothing? House Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan has thrown in the towel on broad-based tax reform—at least for the next two years. He says the best possible deal the GOP can manage while President Obama is in office would be a “down payment” that would address international taxation and a permanent solution for certain expired tax breaks. Off the table: Lowering corporate rates or tying reform to the highway funding bill. Ryan also rules out raising the tax on carried interest, private equity’s favorite tax break, until 2017.
Senator Bernie Sanders has a plan for free, universal college education. The Vermont independent and presidential hopeful introduced legislation to make college free in the United States. He’d levy a “speculation fee” on each securities trade that he figures could raise up to $300 billion a year. The total cost of his plan: $750 billion over ten years.
Lawmakers in Oregon propose a retail sales tax on marijuana. It would replace the voter-approved harvest tax and be part of a larger effort to implement the state’s marijuana legalization initiative. Legislators have yet to determine the tax rate, but the levy needs to raise as much as the $35 per ounce harvest tax on marijuana flowers and the $10 per ounce tax on leaves.
Emancipation Day and Patriots Day will delay Tax Day in 2016. Next year, the District of Columbia will celebrate the day President Lincoln freed slaves in DC on April 15. The next business day for the tax filing deadline will be Monday, April 18. If you’re in Maine or Massachusetts, April 18 is Patriots Day, the holiday to honor Revolutionary War battles in Lexington and Concord: Your tax filing deadline will be April 19.
Bidders back off Bermuda-based reinsurers. New IRS scrutiny of companies based offshore for tax avoidance may be scaring away buyers of some reinsurance companies. Bloomberg reports that Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. and Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd., have lost potential buyers because of tax-related risk. Last month, the IRS said if it determines companies hold more assets than they need to back their insurance operations, they could be inappropriately avoiding taxes.
Weigh in on a TA and TPC conversation on presidential candidates and their tax cut ideas. TPC’s Howard Gleckman thinks it is interesting that GOP presidential candidates aren’t channeling their inner Ronald Reagan and talking about tax cuts. But tax historian Joe Thorndike of Tax Analysts is more interested in what they are doing than what they are saying. He notes that many of their proposals do in fact cut taxes and add to the debt. You can WWTDNWTS (“Watch What They Do Not What They Say”), or you can wonder WDTSWTWTD. (“Why Don’t They Say What They Want To Do.”) PSYT (Please Share Your Thoughts).
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.