Who is driving the Trump tax bus? The proverbial “White House official” says that it is White House adviser Gary Cohn, according to Bloomberg. But Steven Mnuchin, who is likely to be confirmed as Treasury Secretary as soon as today, told the Senate Finance Committee that he’d be the point man. Meanwhile, President Trump says he’s working with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on a plan that will reflect “incentive-based policy.” No word on what role Finance panel chair Orrin Hatch or Ways & Means chair Kevin Brady are playing.
And what will be in it? Cohn says the White House’s latest goals include cutting corporate income taxes and individual income taxes—especially for low earners. “We’re not spending a lot of time with the high earners,” he says. That suggests a plan vastly different than any Trump proposed on the campaign trail or what House Republicans have thus far described.
Plans are flexible but budget rules and calendars are not. Federal budget expert Stan Collender explains how GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care and enact tax reform through two filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bills may not happen at all. In a nutshell: Collender gives Republicans about three months to agree on ACA repeal and replace. Think they can do it?
Taxpayers are slow filing their returns this year. Tax return volume is down by about a third compared to last year, according to the IRS. Filers might be waiting to see whether the President’s promise of tax reform results in tax benefits for 2016. Or some low-income households may have gotten caught up in a new law that is delaying refunds for those filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit. TPC’s Howard Gleckman reminds taxpayers that any changes enacted in 2017 would affect 2017 taxes at the earliest.
The number of people giving up US citizenship each year is growing, fast. In 1998, 398 individuals canceled their citizenship or ended long-term US residence. By 2016, that number climbed to 5,411. That’s a 26 percent increase over 4,279 people in 2015. But it still represents only 0.0024 percent of adult US citizens. The reasons aren’t likely political, but financial. US citizens pay US taxes no matter where they live. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act makes it especially difficult to avoid doing so.
Would repealing the Johnson Amendment actually help churches? Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter doesn’t think so. He explains why repeal would not be a blessing for churches, even in disguise.
No corporate tax reform in Switzerland? Early indications suggest that voters said no to corporate tax reform. “No” voters were concerned that they’d cover the cost of new business tax breaks with public service cuts or higher personal income taxes.
Today on the Hill. The Senate plans to vote on the nomination of Steven Mnuchin to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. The House Small Business Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday about the impact of the tax code and on entrepreneurship. Also Wednesday, the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging holds a hearing on stopping senior scams, including those involving IRS impersonation.
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