Featured Articles

‘Phase Two’ Tax Bill in the Works, Brady Says

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Dylan F. Moroses

The House’s top taxwriter again teased the idea of another major tax bill being developed and considered this year.

In a FOX Business interview March 14, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said “we are” working on a second tax bill, but offered no specific details. “We think even more can be done. We want to make sure that we’re encouraging innovation in America; we want to help families save for the long term. Also, while the tax cuts for families were long term, they’re not yet permanent, so we’ll address issues like that.”

Brady noted that the bill would be separate from the committee’s efforts to identify and produce a technical corrections package to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97).

President Trump also mentioned the additional tax bill in a tax roundtable discussion in St. Louis, Missouri. “We’re actually going for a phase two, which will help, in addition to the middle-class, will help companies,” he said, adding, “Kevin Brady is working on it with me.”

One House taxwriter suggested that work on another major tax bill could signal a new trend in which Congress routinely explores ways to improve the code. Ways and Means member David Schweikert, R-Ariz., told Tax Analysts that he hopes the new tax law will become “a living document of sorts.”

“There’s no question there are still certain disincentives, outliers, and mechanics that would require some real thinking and data. It was insane we went 30 years. If you look at other industrialized countries, [their tax code] is almost like a living document that’s constantly having to move with technology,” Schweikert said, adding that how to properly tax sharing-economy businesses and the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies are examples of policy areas for the committee to consider.

Despite Brady's assurance otherwise, Democrats suspect that the “phase two” proposal could be another way to cover for Republican attempts to fix their first tax bill, according to Ways and Means member Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. He told Tax Analysts there are several pieces of the TCJA that need corrections, and said he would be interested in whether the new tax bill would “focus on the middle class.” He added that because Republicans are not likely to pursue a reconciliation bill this year, a technical corrections package, which traditionally is bipartisan and has no revenue effect, could be a legislative vehicle for tax policy changes.

Brady previously teased the idea of another tax bill in February after Trump met with Republicans during a policy retreat in West Virginia, offering policy examples for consideration that included changing the tax treatment of capital gains or retirement savings.

Stephen K. Cooper and Zachary Abate contributed to this article.

Follow Dylan Moroses (@DMoroses3244) on Twitter for real-time updates.