Out of time for a pre-election day COVID-19 relief deal? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s State of the Union yesterday that she remains optimistic that Congress and the White House will reach a deal before November 3. But she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remain at odds over key issues. President Trump continues to insist the GOP-controlled Senate would approve any bill the White House accepts. But Senate Republican leaders are increasingly public in their opposition to a big bill.
What do President Trump’s taxes reveal about his charitable giving? The New York Times continues its reporting on Trump’s taxes. Most of the president’s charitable tax deductions, $119.3 million worth, resulted from agreements to leave land undeveloped. But in several cases he had already canceled development plans. The New York attorney general is investigating whether two of three agreements involving conservation easements used improperly inflated land appraisals to maximize their tax benefits.
Trump paid $188,561 in taxes to China between 2013 and 2015. One of his companies, Trump International Hotels Management, holds a bank account in China, according to The New York Times, which also reports that China’s biggest state-controlled bank rented three floors in Trump Tower, which drew conflict of interest accusations for Trump.
What do Trump’s tax returns reveal about wealth inequality and economic growth? TPC’s Gene Steuerle argues that Trump’s returns show how the tax code exacerbates wealth inequality. If Congress focuses only on Trump’s own taxes it will miss an opportunity to address broader issues of fairness, equity, and economic growth.
Who owns US stock? For the most part, foreigners and rich Americans. TPC’s Steve Rosenthal and Theo Burke illustrate a new TPC analysis. It found that in 2019 foreign investors owned about 40 percent of US corporate equity while tax-free retirement accounts of US households held about 30 percent. Only about 25 percent of corporate stock was held in taxable accounts of US investors. They’ll present their analysis tomorrow at NYU’s Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium and Seminar.
Steuerle: A first-time homebuyer tax credit bests the mortgage interest deduction. TPC’s Gene Steuerle finds that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s proposed first-time homebuyer (or “down payment”) tax credit of up to $15,000 “is a significant improvement” over the current mortgage interest deduction. “A tax credit for first-time homebuyers focuses on homeownership rather than the accumulation of mortgage debt,” and the credit would target subsidies toward those who do not yet own a home.
Will the IRS be ready for the 2021 tax filing season? House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal and oversight subcommittee chairman Bill Pascrell express concern about IRS capacity to handle tax returns, given the ongoing pandemic. “With the current backlogs, it appears the processing of 2019 returns likely will extend into 2021,” they wrote IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. They asked whether the coming filing season will start on time, what its expected start date will be, and if the IRS is prepared for 2020 returns.
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