The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act hasn’t done much cutting, according to a new survey. One week from Tax Day, and a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 17 percent of respondents believe their taxes will go down as a result of the 2017 GOP tax law. Of those surveyed 28 percent believe they’ll pay more, 27 percent expect to pay about the same, while 28 percent don’t know enough to say. Perceptions of the law reflect party affiliation, with more than 30 percent of Republicans believing they received a tax cut.
How to improve tax administration. The Bipartisan Policy Center has recommended a dozen ways. The report proposed simplifying tax rules, especially for refundable credits; more resources to hire and train IRS employees, and better oversight of paid tax preparers. Its authors were BPC’s Jason Fichtner, TPC’s Bill Gale, and Jeff Trinca of Van Scoyoc Associates.
State Democrats in New York try a different path to President Trump’s tax information. Some lawmakers in Albany want Trump’s state returns, which could contain much of the same financial information as his federal tax returns. They’d allow the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by leaders of three legislative committees for any “specific and legitimate legislative purpose.”
Minnesota Democrats have a revenue-raising plan. Their $1.2 billion revenue plan would give tax relief to most Minnesota families but raise taxes on the foreign income of Minnesota corporations. A family of four would have to earn $32,900 before paying any state income tax. But the proposal would increase taxes on corporate foreign income and introduce a 3 percent tax on all capital gains above $500,000, excluding agriculture. The plan would increase state aid to school districts by 3 percent next year and 2 percent the following year.
Watch out for a new kind of Tax Day malware. A trojan called TrickBot attacks Windows computers by emailing an infected Excel document designed to impersonate the largest accounting and payroll providers, including ADP and Paychex. Once a recipient opens and downloads the file, the attacker can scan the computer for passwords and banking information to steal funds and file fake income tax refund requests.
If you’re keeping track… As of March 29, the average federal income tax refund was $2,873, or only $20 less than last year. So far, about 1.6 million fewer people are getting refunds, though filers have returned about 1.3 million fewer returns so far. The IRS received more self-prepared returns but fewer from paid preparers.
In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe calls for quick tax cuts. The results of the French government’s “big debate” are in. Responding to months of yellow-vest demonstrations, President Emmanuel Macron gave 1.5 million people the chance to express their opinions on the French economy and democracy. Philippe responded by calling for quick tax and spending cuts but did not reintroduce a wealth tax.
In the US, Trump may push back against France’s digital tax. Earlier, France announced a tax on digital revenues from companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook. In recent days, top Trump Administration said the White House is weighing ways to respond.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.