A House committee votes to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. To the surprise of no-one, the Oversight and Government Reform panel voted to censure Koskinen yesterday on a party-line vote. The resolution “condemns Koskinen for a pattern of conduct ‘that is incompatible with his duties and inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an officer of the United States.’” The panel’s top Democrat Elijah Cummings said, “This resolution is a waste of time. It is going nowhere, has no practical effect.”
The House also passed a bill to ban the IRS from collecting donor information. On a mostly party line vote on Tuesday, the House voted to prohibit the IRS from requiring tax-exempt groups to report the identities of donors on annual returns. Republicans say the bill protects taxpayer privacy. Democrats say it allows groups to operate in the shadows.
And a Senate panel voted to freeze the IRS budget. The Senate Appropriations financial services subcommittee OK’d a spending bill that would freeze the IRS budget at $11.2 billion. The spending level appears to have the support of both Democrats and Republicans.
GOP nominee Donald Trump’s available tax returns sure are mysterious… David Cay Johnston digs into two of Trump’s tax appeals in the 1990s, both of which he lost. They concern Trump’s 1984 tax return, which shows that he paid no federal income taxes that year. There exists no documentation for Trump’s claimed deductions, nor is the original copy of the return available. It also remains uncertain whether “Trump or someone acting on his behalf substituted a return that he or someone else prepared and then transferred [a lawyer and Trump’s then-tax accountant’s] signature using a photocopier.” (The Washington Post found that Trump also paid no income taxes in 1978 and 1979.)
A Chicago property tax rebate wouldn’t rebate much. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing a property tax rebate to mitigate the city’s historic property tax increase, which averages about $413. He fought for the tax hike to pay for police and firemen’s pensions. the rebates would cost between $10 million and $50 million, but cut taxes for homeowners only by between $100 and $195. Three of the four mayoral options would exclude the majority of city homeowners.
Meanwhile in Detroit… property tax incentives will soon lose their luster. Twenty years ago, Michigan’s Neighborhood Enterprise Zone property tax incentive program was designed to boost new construction and rehabilitate older buildings in distressed communities. But in Detroit, hundreds of those breaks will expire over the next several years, generating substantial tax increases for homeowners across pockets of the city. For instance, property taxes on a on a $300,000 condo could shoot up from $500 to $12,000 in seven years. Affluent households own a substantial share of NEZ units.
Brexit impact: Maybe not gloom and doom, but tax hikes and spending cuts. So warns British finance minister George Osborne. The United Kingdom votes next week on a referendum to leave the European Union. Osborne says fiscal measures worth £30 billion, with half from tax increases and half from spending cuts, will be necessary to offset the forecasted impact of an exit from the EU.
Tomorrow at 9:00 am…. If you can’t be there in person, tune in to the webcast of the launch of a new paper by TPC’s Eric Toder and the American Enterprise Institute’s Alan Viard. Their new proposal for corporate tax reform suggests basing tax liabilities for corporate profits on the residence of individual shareholders rather than on the residence or income source.
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