Tax reform Feed

The 115th Congress has been in session less than a week, but the Representatives and Senators are wasting no time in introducing legislation. The 115th Congress convened on Jan. 3. During their first short week of work, Representatives and Senators have introduced eight tax measures. (Photo by Ottojula via Wikimedia Commons) Since the Jan. 3 swearing in (and my Congess.gov search this afternoon), 490 bills have been introduced, 428 in the House and 62 in the Senate. And even though there's greater hope that we'll finally get some sort of comprehensive tax reform, that's not stopping individual lawmakers from putting... Read more →


There weren't any major tax bills in 2016. That's going to change in some form in 2017 now that the Republicans control Congress and the White House. via GIPHY But there still were plenty of tax-related matters that got attention last year. Below is my list of top 10 tax stories of 2016, starting with the one I saw as most important. And as a bonus, I also pulled out my slightly cracked crystal ball -- really, who saw the presidential election turning out like it did? -- to forecast five tax issues that we're likely to see in 2017.... Read more →


With Republicans soon to be in control of Congress and the White House, the tax focus has shifted to a major rewrite of the Internal Revenue Code. But this legislative approach means that more than 30 temporary tax provisions will disappear from the tax code on Jan. 1, 2017. Whether they are resurrected in any new tax overhaul depends on how persuasive the various laws' lobbyists are, how committed Senators and Representatives are to streamlining the tax code and how much tax revenue is gained or lost by their continued absence or revival. Extenders usually long lives: These tax laws,... Read more →


Come January, Republicans on Capitol Hill will officially start looking at ways to cut taxes. It's been the Grand Old Party's goal since President Obama was successful via the fiscal cliff deal of 2012-2013 in getting Congress to let the top level George W. Bush tax cuts lapse, pushing up the top individual tax rate to 39.6 percent. First focus on corporate taxes: While individual taxes will be part of the coming tax reform debate, it's likely that corporate taxes will get the most attention in the beginning. After all, ways to use the tax code to lure U.S. companies... Read more →


Donald J. Trump has rewritten a lot of rules so far this presidential election season. Today, however, he learned one of the old ones when it comes to taxes. Sometimes you have to compromise. Donald J. Trump, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, presents his economic policies and revised tax plan to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Click image to watch the C-SPAN video of the full speech. Zero tax rate zeroed out: In a speech today at a packed Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee presented a glimpse of his economic plan, including some changes... Read more →


Hillary Clinton says the U.S. tax code is "'riddled with scams and loopholes" that benefit the wealthy and corporations. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says she'll address those inequities if elected. Donald Trump, her likely Republican opponent, is at the center of questions about tax code loopholes. Since he's yet to release his personal tax returns, there's much speculation that he's used some of them to zero out his recent tax bills, much like he apparently did back in the late 1970s. Don't email me! I'm not saying anything that The Donald might have done with his taxes was/is illegal.... Read more →


William Cobb, president and CEO of H&R Block, agrees -- to a point -- with folks who are calling for tax reform. H&R Block top executive Bill Cobb talks tax reform on CNBC's Squawk CEO Call. Click image to view the video. Cobb was in New York City on Tuesday (Feb. 16) to tout Block Advisors, his company's new tax and financial planning option for small businesses, and ring the NY Stock Exchange's opening bell. Since he was in town, he made the media rounds, dropping by CNBC studios to talk about tax reform. Some "silly" tax laws: The panel... Read more →


A recent report on how the rich are able to take advantage of the U.S. tax code to keep their bills lower has (re)generated a lot of talk about replacing our current system. That's easier said than done, but lots is still being said about the options. One of the more popular replacement proposals is a flat tax. As I noted last week at my other tax blog, several Republicans who want to be their party's 2016 presidential candidate support some sort of flat tax. Essentially, they want to scrap our current system employing seven progressive tax rates and enact... Read more →


Maybe this last Sunday you were watching continuing coverage of the horrific terrorist attacks on Paris. Or perhaps, needing a break from the evil that humans too often inflict upon each other, you switched over to the Sunday night NFL game. Regardless of why, you missed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's appearance on 60 Minutes. Click image to watch the CBS video. That meant you also missed the former Republican presidential nominee and GOP budget guru sharing a few thoughts on tax reform. You're really kicking yourself now, aren't you? No worries. Thanks to, or maybe curses on, the Internet,... Read more →


Donald Trump was among the millions of taxpayers who sent their 1040s to the Internal Revenue Service on Oct. 15. He even shared some photos of him signing his tax return on Twitter. Trump's implication, of course, is that the ginormous stack of apparent tax paperwork in his photos will be negated under his 'amazing' tax reform plan. Ran Paul's retort: One of the Republicans chasing Trump in the GOP presidential nomination race, however, didn't imply anything. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky used The Donald's tweet to tout his own flat tax simplification proposal. The direct approach is nothing new... Read more →


The Donald sure knows how to sell, that's for sure. As part of Trump's just-released tax plan, in April some taxpayers won't owe the Internal Revenue Service a red cent. But they still will get to send in a form, one that simply says, "I win!" What person wouldn't welcome no taxes and an in-your-face message to the hated IRS? Well, some sane people who question whether, despite Trump's promises, that his repackaging of a trickle-down tax system will work might have their doubts. But The Donald hasn't ever let the haters-gonna-hate crowd stop him. Zero tax bracket: The no-tax... Read more →


House Speaker John Boehner swears it wasn't a literal come-to-Jesus talk he had with Pope Francis that led him to announce today that he's resigning his Ohio House seat, and thus the U.S. House leadership post, at the end of October. We'll take the soon-to-depart Republican Speaker at his word. He is, after all a devout Catholic, so he wouldn't be making up stuff so soon after spending face time with the head of his global church. He did acknowledge, however, that he took the Pope's words to heart. At his press conference this afternoon, during which Boehner was in... Read more →


Donald Trump has yet to release his tax reform plan, but he dropped a hint during an interview with CBS News on Sunday morning. "The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They're making a tremendous amount of money. They have to pay taxes. I want to lower the rates for the middle class. The middle class is the one, they're getting absolutely destroyed. This country doesn't have, won't have a middle class very soon," Trump told Face the Nation. I don't agree with much of what Donald Trump says, either in his personal, TV or political life. But... Read more →


More than 32,000 people petitioned the White House asking the president to take an hour to talk with conservative talk-show host and author Neal Boortz about the FairTax plan (yes, it's referred to as one word). The request was posted Jan. 8, 2013, on We the People, the White House's online petition site. The 32,421 digital signatures it collected earn this week's By the Numbers honor. That total, however, was not enough to convince President Obama to make room in his schedule for the requested meeting. "We've taken your request seriously and while we appreciate the suggestion, we respectfully decline,"... Read more →


Comprehensive, complete tax code rewrite? Not a good idea. It simply puts off the possible when it comes to improving our tax system. That's the word from Bruce Bartlett, who served in two Republican administrations, Ronald Reagan's and George H.W. Bush's, each of which had historic tax connections. "Doing major tax reform, tearing the tax system out by it roots and starting from scratch has an enormous amount of attraction, but in many cases it prevents us from doing stuff that is doable now, which is to fix glaring problems in the tax code," Bartlett said in his opening remarks... Read more →


While millions of us are still struggling with our annual tax filing, members of Congress are toying with the idea of making this annual task easier. Tuesday, March 10, the Senate Finance Committee will hold yet another hearing on the tax code. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) already has released his thoughts about tax reform. Tomorrow, he wants to hear about the merits of tax simplification. I'm willing to bet that those of us still working on our 1040s have lots of good things to say about a simplified Internal Revenue Code. We'll find out tomorrow what four expert witnesses... Read more →


Who do people dislike more than politicians? Internal Revenue Service employees. So what the heck is former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson thinking in making a run for the White House? Everson, addressing "Fellow Citizens of the United States" in his website's "Letter to America," says that "Americans deserve constructive solutions to the challenges facing our country." OK, I think we get the focus on the good ol' U.S. of A., although I must admit that "fellow citizens" salutation did have a bit of an alien spaceship feel to me. Maybe I've just read/watched too much science fiction over the years.... Read more →


What the most important policy issue to you this year? According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, it's defense against terrorism. Seventy-six percent of those who responded to Pew's annual policy priorities poll named terrorism as their top concern. It is the first time in five years that Americans have focused so much on terror, probably in large part because in recent months violent attacks have been in the news. The poll was conducted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 11. The move to the top spot, however, is not totally unexpected. Pew notes that there has been little change... Read more →


They're baaaaack! Representatives and Senators returned Jan. 6 to Washington, D.C., this time with both chambers under Republican control. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was selected House Speaker for the third time. And once again, Boehner had to fight off conservative insurgents in his party. Boehner got a total of 216 votes, with 25 Republicans voting for someone else or "present" as a protest of what they see as too conciliatory of an approach by the Speaker in dealing with President Obama. Across Capitol Hill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) takes over as Majority Leader of the Senate from Sen. Harry Reid... Read more →


Happy Holidays tax world! Last night, Dec. 16, the Senators decided they'd had enough and finally rubber-stamped the House version of tax extenders. The bill now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. But did the Senate act in time? Oh sure, Congress got the job done retroactively for the 2014 tax year so for the next two weeks folks can make some tax moves they've been postponing while the tax breaks were in limbo. But did the Senate approval come soon enough for tax filing season 2015 to start on time? We're still waiting on official... Read more →