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Work on Passthrough Taxation Remains Unsettled, Cohn Says

Posted on June 30, 2017 by Jonathan Curry

The Trump administration is still trying to figure out how it plans to resolve issues surrounding passthrough business taxation, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said June 28 at a meeting to discuss tax reform with energy sector representatives.

According to an account reported by Politico and confirmed as accurate to Tax Analysts by a White House spokesperson, Cohn said at the meeting that the administration has been getting feedback on the taxation of passthroughs but still hasn’t settled on a plan. Figuring that out is essential to boosting job growth, Cohn said.

The one-page White House tax plan released April 26 called for establishing a 15 percent business tax rate that would be applicable to both corporations and small and medium-size passthrough businesses. Left unsaid was how the administration would prevent tax gaming, a concern that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged when he presented the tax plan. Mnuchin later said that they were considering a check-the-box concept for passthrough owners to claim the 15 percent business rate.

The meeting — attended by 10 energy trade association representatives, according to Politico — occurred the same day that the heads of several prominent business associations sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to pick up the pace on tax reform.

“No initiative likely to be considered in this Congress offers more promise than comprehensive tax reform to accelerate out of the current pattern of slow economic growth,” the heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Association of Manufacturers wrote in the letter. They urged Congress to quickly pass a fiscal 2018 budget resolution with reconciliation instructions for tax reform, so that those instructions “will be available to move tax reform legislation expediently.”

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