Mnuchin says Treasury lawyers consulted with White House lawyers about President Trump’s tax returns. In testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged the White House was trying to influence Treasury’s decision on whether to release Trump’s tax returns in response to a request by Congress. Mnuchin said while he had not spoken with any White House officials about the matter, members of his team had.
Mnuchin calls IRS’s outdated technology “embarrassing.” At the same hearing, Mnuchin asked Congress to support a multi-year $290 million Administration request for IT upgrades at the IRS. Even some House Republicans, who previously tried to slash the IRS budget, say they’ll back Trump’s request.
Meanwhile, Trump celebrates retaliatory tariffs. The World Trade Organization ruled that European Union subsidies to Airbus adversely impacted the US. The Trump Administration then said it would retaliate by imposing new US tariffs on $11 billion in EU imports.
Will Congress stop IRS from offering free online tax filing? ProPublica reports on legislative efforts to permanently ban the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system. The Taxpayer First Act, passed yesterday by the House, would prohibit the IRS from creating its own online tax filing system. Such a system would compete with for-profit companies such as TurboTax.
Trying to finesse a budget deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is trying to work out a two-year budget agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Neither chamber is likely to make much progress on a formal budget process. The leaders will try to avoid another government shutdown by working around both President Trump and hard-line House Democrats who say they’ll oppose any increases in military spending.
Senator Kamala Harris introduces a new rental tax credit. The presidential contender would create an income-dependent credit for renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. It would be available to those who earn $125,000 or less and would be delivered monthly rather than annually.
California’s legislature passes a remote sales tax bill. The legislation would require online sellers and marketplaces to collect and remit sales tax when their annual California sales exceed $500,000. Online marketplaces such as Amazon would have to collect on their own sales as well as those they facilitate for third-parties. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the bill, which was passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s South Dakota v .Wayfair decision. Nearly all sales tax states have passed similar bills.
The IRS releases its Winter 2019 Statistics of Income Bulletin. The report is available here. The quarterly online Bulletin includes data from tax and information returns filed by US taxpayers.
And, the IRS seeks volunteers for Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. The agency is looking for civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). The TAP is a federal advisory committee that identifies major taxpayer concerns and recommends improvements in IRS customer service. Taxpayers interested in serving on the panel may apply through May 3, 2019.
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