Closing in on a coronavirus relief bill? Could President Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19 finally break the five-month logjam over another stimulus? Trump tweeted that he wants lawmakers to “work together and get it done.” Pelosi said yesterday that while she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were making progress they still had no deal. The House passed a revised $2.2 trillion bill last week, Mnuchin put a $1.6 trillion counter-offer on the table that is a somewhat scaled back version of the Democrats’ plan, including another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $250 billion in state and local aid, and $400 in weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year. With Trump well behind in most polls, he has a strong incentive to up his bid.
Will AI soon be helping the IRS? Bloomberg Tax reports that the IRS plans to use machine learning and data analytics to help prepare civil lawsuits. While the IRS uses these technologies in litigation in modest ways, computers may soon be able to write complaints and motions. IRS counsel Kenneth Gaul says the agency would expand the tools to assemble partial pleadings or assess the agency’s chances of winning cases based on historical data.
How do President Trump’s $750 tax bills compare to other Americans'? TPC’s Howard Gleckman reports on TPC analysis: Fewer than half of one percent of very high-income households paid as little tax as The New York Times reports Trump paid through 2017. There is no way to know how much economic income Trump made in those years. But “if Trump made $1 million or more and paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016, he was an extreme outlier. Of the 420,000 households that reported at least $1 million in AGI for 2016, fewer than 2,000 paid as little as Trump did.”
Why would Democratic candidate Joe Biden start tax increases at a $400,000 income threshold? The Wall Street Journal considers (paywall) Biden’s promise to raise taxes only on those making more than $400,000 annually. Will the vow paint him into a policy corner? That threshold covers 1.8 percent of households that the Penn Wharton Budget Model projects will earn about one-quarter of adjusted gross income in 2021. But policies like paid family leave and Social Security expansion, favored by Democrats, could require payroll tax increases that would be paid by all households—unless those taxes are reworked.
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