The President’s lawyers have reviewed 10 years of his tax returns. They assure that, with a few exceptions, the returns show no income from Russian sources or debt owed to Russians. But Ed Kleinbard of the University of Southern California tells The New York Times that “You would have to dig down to books and records of underlying entities” to learn details of various sources of income, and that without seeing the actual returns “asserting that [Trump Organization] counter-parties are not ‘Russian’ is genuinely meaningless.”
Paying taxes? Happy to. Through the AMT? Not so much. TPC’s Bob Williams, like millions of other American taxpayers, has to calculate his taxes twice thanks to the Alternative Minimum Tax. TPC estimates that by 2027, 5.6 million taxpayers will pay almost $60 billion of AMT, up from $35 billion today. While the AMT “serves as a brake on high-income tax cuts… it makes the income tax even more impenetrably complex.” That’s not good for taxpayers’ belief in the fairness of or overall trust in the tax system.
The IRS will no longer use refunds to collect deceased relatives’ government debts. The Treasury Department announced that it will stop seizing tax refunds from taxpayers whose deceased family members had received Social Security overpayments. Taxpayers had pressured the federal government for three years to stop the practice. The change applies to debts from 2002 or earlier. The tax refund seizures began with the 2008 US Farm Bill. The agricultural policy bill contained one line that allowed the government to take tax refunds from citizens whose parents had incurred debts to the federal government at least 10 years earlier.
Kansas House moves toward expanding state sales taxes. The state’s House gave first-round approval to an expansion of the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax on some services to raise $115 million over two years. The bill would also cut the sales tax on groceries to 5.5 percent in July 2020. The House will vote today before sending the bill to the Senate.
Alaska Senate rejects a House-approved income tax. The GOP-led chamber rejected the state’s Democratic House Bill 115, which would establish a progressive personal income tax, ranging from 2.5 percent on individual income over $10,300 to 7 percent on individual income over $250,000. The tax would raise an estimated $700 million to help reduce the state's $2.5 billion deficit.
On the Hill… The House Ways & Means’ Oversight Subcommittee holds a hearing with National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson on Friday, May 19. Olson and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George will testify before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on Tuesday, May 23.
UK’s Conservative Party wants social media firms to chip in to protect user data. It wants to “introduce an industry-wide levy from social media companies and communication service providers to support awareness and preventative activity to counter Internet harms.” The statement comes in the wake of complaints that companies like Facebook and Twitter have done too little to curtail extremist content online or help victims of abuse.
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