The ultimate fate of the tax cut now before Congress will probably depend more on fairness than competitiveness. But what is fairness?
Tax Analysts Blog
Tax Analysts reports that Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady will release a description and statutory text of his long-awaited tax plan on November 1. Markup will begin on November 6. No matter how smart you are, five days doesn’t provide a lot of time to evaluate an extremely complex piece of legislation.
Currently, in poll after poll, Americans by a large majority believe that U.S. corporations pay too little in taxes, and they fear future tax cuts will favor corporations and the wealthy. Business-only tax reform may be good economics, but no member of Congress from either party will seriously consider it.
The October 16 study from the Council of Economic Advisors — which I will take the liberty here to rename “The Economic Effects of a Yet Unspecified Corporate Tax Reform: Some Theory and Some Evidence” — is a classic example of how industry and partisan interests use economic analysis to give the public the impression their views are scientifically proven.
For years—especially since the Republican Congress and President Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts to all but those in the highest brackets -- passthrough businesses have been bemoaning their potentially unfair treatment under the next tax reform.
Corporate tax cuts are in the air. Pretty much every elected Republican is determined to slash the tax rate on corporate income, and even some Democratic politicians like the idea. But you know who doesn’t? Almost everyone else.
I recently pondered whether the widely anticipated federal tax reform effort would include a corporate integration proposal from the Senate Finance Committee. That post presented the rationale for eliminating – or at least minimizing – the double taxation of corporate profits. It also outlined how a hypothetical partial dividends paid deduction might be structured.
There’s no shortage of lofty ambitions when it comes to tax reform. Among the list of aspirational goals is the concept of corporate integration—that is, rationalizing the treatment of corporations and their shareholders in a way that mitigates the double taxation of business profits. Doing so would make our tax code more neutral and reduce distortions such as the bias in favor of debt financing.
President Trump wants to make the income tax simple again. Unfortunately, it’s never been simple – not in the last year, the last decade, or even the last century. And it’s probably going to stay that way.
Tax reform is hard work, despite what President Trump said during the House’s attempt to repeal Obamacare. It requires filling in a lot of details and anticipating opposition from business and interest groups that don’t like the idea of winners and losers. Despite talking about tax reform as a centerpiece of their agenda since 2010, the GOP really hasn’t done much of the work to build support within their caucus and the public at large for a real plan.