Charles Rettig to be sworn in as IRS Commissioner October 1. The IRS confirmed the date to TaxNotes Today but warned the schedule may change. Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter will remain in charge until Rettig, a tax attorney, is sworn in. He’ll be the first tax professional to hold the position since 2002. Kautter will continue to serve as Treasury’s assistant secretary for tax policy.
About that new W-4? Wait ‘til 2020. The IRS hoped to have a new tax withholding form ready for 2019, but yesterday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the project won’t be completed until 2020. As a result, the 2019 form will look a lot like this year’s. Treasury wants a revised form that better reflects the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Many observers are worried that taxpayers will be substantially over- or under-withheld because of the many changes in the law.
Farewell to a public finance giant: Professor James Mirrlees. TPC’s Mark Mazur writes that the Nobel-prizing winning economist continues to have enormous influence on the shape of tax policy in the United Kingdom and the US. Namely, Mirrlees found that “by flattening tax rates at the top of the income distribution, the government potentially could raise more taxes from top earners and redistribute that revenue to lower-income people, increasing the overall well-being of society.” That provided the theoretical framework for policymakers who lowered top income tax rates in the US and the UK in the 1980s. Concludes Mazur, “Mirrlees has the rare distinction of influencing not only the theory of public finance but its policy execution.”
State tax payments will come in 2020 for many in Colorado. The state’s latest revenue forecast says that the majority of Colorado residents likely won’t see state tax payments next year. Colorado collected $37.5 million more than expected during its 2017-2018 fiscal year that must be returned to taxpayers under the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). But taxpayers will have wait for the payments because a law passed last year requires that first disbursements go to the state-administered senior homestead exemption and disabled veterans property tax exemption.
Should gubernatorial candidates release their tax returns? Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor, Scott Wagner, who has earned millions of dollars through a trash-hauling business, does not want to release his tax returns. “How much I make or don’t make is nobody’s business, frankly,” he said during a community forum. The Associated Press explains that the nation’s governors, like the President, are not required to release their tax returns. They often do not, and in this election year the issue is coming up in many states, not just Pennsylvania..
The Netherlands: Maybe not a tax haven, but still tax planning heaven… for now. The New York Times reports that the country’s Finance Ministry has, in a major reversal, asked Parliament to OK levies on profits being transferred to low-tax jurisdictions and prevent companies from exploiting inconsistent national laws to take the same deduction twice. Debate will likely continue through December. Said the state secretary of finance, “We must be fair in recognizing that some companies are misusing the open tax system that the Netherlands has.”
Next week: Capitol Hill Policy Briefing on the EITC. Each year, the Earned Income Tax Credit helps nearly 26 million working Americans keep more of their income, and serves as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools in the tax code, lifting 6 million people out of poverty. What if it were expanded? Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families hosts a briefing on the topic on Tuesday, September 25, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. Panelists include Jill Hunter-Williams, Legislative Director for Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL); TPC’s Elaine Maag; and Robin McKinney, CEO of the CASH Campaign of Maryland. You can register here for the event.
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