A bipartisan bill to restructure the IRS. Senate Finance Committee members Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Protecting Taxpayers Act yesterday before the panel’s Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight hearing. Among the bill’s features: It would give the agency authority to regulate paid tax return preparers and offer premium pay to IT professionals. It would expand taxpayer appeal rights and bar private debt collectors from going after low-income households. The measure is similar to a separate bill from Finance Chair Orrin Hatch and senior Democrat Ron Wyden, but differs in some respects.
It is campaign season. Congress and the President spend money like there’s no tomorrow. TPC’s Howard Gleckman reviews the list of their tax cuts and spending plans. “All this profligacy is happening at a time when the unemployment rate is near historic lows and the economy is growing smartly. So why all this fiscal stimulus? That may be the wrong question. Perhaps it is better to think of it as priming the political pump, not the economic one.”
Kentucky’s sales tax is going to hit some nonprofits. Under the state’s new law, a 6 percent sales tax on numerous services also applies to all tickets sold for fundraisers held by churches and other charities. Organizers can pay the tax themselves or bill attendees. A spokesperson for the Kentucky Nonprofit Network says “Nonprofits have a great deal of anxiety and frustration from all levels… they’re confused how it will impact them.”
Tariff reactions trickle on. Coca-Cola is raising soda prices because of the rising costs of delivery and metal prices resulting from US tariffs of $50 billion on Chinese products. Mexico’s grain processing companies are shifting from US suppliers to a cheaper source: Russia. Speaking of wheat: Farm groups in the US say the $12 billion in aid promised by President Trump won’t be sufficient to overcome tariff damage to their bottom lines.
Are the President’s tax returns going to go public? A federal judge will allow two state attorneys general to proceed with a lawsuit that claims President Trump is violating the emoluments clause. The Constitution bars public officials—including the president—from receiving payments from a king, prince, or foreign state. The plaintiffs will now seek access to the Trump Organization’s internal records and interview the company’s employees about foreign governments that have done business at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. They may also ask for the president’s tax returns to see if he has personally benefited from foreign government business with his properties.
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