On the Hill: A Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Redesign the IRS. The Taxpayer First Act would restructure the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the first time in more than 20 years. It includes more than “45 provisions, including the creation of an independent appeals process, strengthening the IRS’s ability to proactively combat identity theft tax refund fraud, and improving the taxpayer experience across the IRS’s suite of taxpayer services.” The bill reflects bipartisan support from both the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees.
You too can see some of President Trump’s financial records. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen supplied three years of “Statements of Financial Condition” to The Washington Post. The documents, the Post explains, “were deeply flawed. Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.” As noted yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is still waiting for an answer to its request for 10 years of these documents.
If a Democrat wins the White House in 2020, is the middle class in for a tax hike? The Washington Post considers the question: “Democrats in Congress and on the 2020 presidential campaign trail have proposed a number of new or expanded federal programs, but have been largely silent on how to pay for them, arguing the details can be filled in later or during the process of passing legislation.” Those who have endorsed tax increases have focused on the wealthy or those with high incomes.
The end of the line? The Senate Budget Committee approved a 2020 budget resolution on a party-line vote. But there is little chance the full Senate will approve it. The House budget panel may not even try to pass its own version since Democrats are deeply divided over revenues and military funding.
Is the economy on the edge of a wealth bubble? TPC’s Gene Steuerle warns that it may very well be. Asset prices for stocks and real estate may be artificially high, much like they were before the 2000 market crash and the 2007 beginning of the Great Recession. If there is a bubble, what will happen should it burst… and what would it mean for the post-2017 tax law?
Kentucky will not easily make bank. Governor Matt Bevin just signed a law that cuts taxes by $106.6 million a year on banks and other corporations, individual income, and some sales taxes. To balance its budget, the state may have to cut programs such as education and social services. The Kentucky Bankers Association made political donations exceeding $180,000 since the start of 2017 and surprisingly won a $56 million annual tax cut starting in 2021.
Scammers are now impersonating the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They used to impersonate IRS agents, but they’ve moved on. A person or a robocall will ask for a call back, and ask for personal information including Social Security or individual taxpayer identification numbers. The real TAS staff, like the IRS, never will call unless taxpayers contact them first.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.