We have a few proposed changes under consideration that very much need a deep policy discussion rather than only a cost estimate and a general like or dislike. Here are three such items:
1. What is an appropriate phase-out rule for the next economic impact payments? The current ones cause a credit to still be allowed for high income taxpayers who have a few children. The CASH Act (H.R. 9051; 116th Congress) that the House passed late 2020, called for EIP of $2,000 including for dependents. If a married couple has 4 dependents, they credit would be $12,000. The phaseout rule would not cause this entire credit to reach $0 until AGI reached $390,000! That is not an income level in need of assistance typically.
2. Should the TCJA be made permanent? On 12/22/20, Senator Grassley sent a letter to President-elect Biden suggesting this. While this could be done with a single piece of legislation, it really needs major tax policy discussions. This should include what the goals were of the TCJA beyond the need to reduce the corporate tax rate and move the international tax system for businesses to be more territorial rather than worldwide. Examples of things to discuss:
I think that often, there is some common sense consideration of tax policy before enacting or changing tax rules. One example was the 1954 decision to enact IRC section 174 to allow for expensing of R&D expenditures. That simplified the law to avoid uncertainties and taxpayer/IRS disputes on the life for amortization purposes of these expenses. It also incentivized these expenditures that also benefit the economy through new technologies to improve our lives. I’m sure we can find more recent examples too.
Of course, before leaving my example, I should note that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modified the R&D expensing rule starting after 2021 to require R&D expenditures to be capitalized each year and amortized over 5 years (15 years for foreign R&D). That’s an odd provision for a piece of legislation intended to improve international competitiveness of our tax system when most other countries have research incentives in their tax law, but oh well. (I think we’ll see this rule forever postponed and hopefully repealed at some point to go back to expensing.)
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to communicate with their elected representatives. Congress is comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Although Members of both Houses are technically Congressmen/Congresswomen, in the public minds the word Congressmen identifies Members of the House of Representatives. However, when you refer to individual members use Congressman (Name) and Congresswoman (Name).
You may address both current and former Congressmen as Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr. (Name) which is the same way the House of Representatives formally address each other. It is very important to make certain you are sending your message to the right person representing you in your district. The best way to do this is go to http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com/ and type in your zipcode. Once you have identified the Representative in the United States Congress for your district we will show you how to address them properly in writing.
The United States is “making noises” about “tax reform”. Senator Orrin Hatch requested submissions from “stake holders” on what should be included in tax reform. He has clearly received (as did the Ways and Means Committee in 2013 and the Senate Finance Committee in 2015) many suggestions advocating the repeal of “citizenship-based taxation”.
As noted at a site compiling the submissions of those affected by U.S. extra-territorial taxation: Read More
As a forward to this Special Article, I want to tell you it has been written by our new TaxConnections Member Tom Kerester. Tom has extensive experience on Capitol Hill in the United States Congress as a Legislative Attorney on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (that served five committees of the Congress) and on the House Committee on Ways and Means. As a Former Executive Director of Tax Executives Institute (1985-1992) in Washington, D.C., Tom then went on to a Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation under the Administration of George H.W. Bush as Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the United States Small Business Administration and in the Congressional Office of Congressman Bill Thomas (CA). Tom also was the 1st President of the Capitol Hill Chapter of the Federal Bar Association whose members included over 300 Attorneys working on the Hill, and now has over 13,000 lawyer members worldwide.
I commented on an article titled: “Why is the IRS Collecting Taxes for Denmark?” which appeared at the “Procedurally Speaking” blog. The article is about the “assistance in collection” provision which is found in 5 U.S. Tax Treaties (which include: Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France and the Netherlands). I am particularly interested in this because of a recent post at the Isaac Brock Society.
Q. How does the inability of the state of Rhode Island to pay its employee pensions help us understand the “net worth” of a U.S. citizen wanting to renounce U.S. citizenship?
A. The answer (like most wisdom in the modern world) is explained in the following tweet.
After years of following presidential races, what can we believe these days? As you look over the tax policies of Clinton and Trump, you have to wonder what these new proposals will do for the citizens of the United States. According to the Tax Foundation, here are Clinton’s and Trump’s proposals on how US citizens should be taxed.
What do you think?
Continuing with my list of ten news items and activities from 2015 that I think have particular tax policy relevance. Today, for my fourth item is an odd and unfortunate way that the IRS is telling us they disagree with a 2013 court decision. In August 2015, the IRS issued proposed regulations under Section 199, Income attributable to domestic production activities – REG–136459–09 (8/27/15). This provision was added in 2004 and provides a “bonus” deduction for taxpayers engaged in domestic manufacturing which is broadly defined to include some construction, film production, and software development. It is a fairly complex provision that involves numerous definitions and allocations to identify the specified income that then generally produces a 9% deduction for the taxpayer.
The issue helps show the complexity that is involved when special rules exist. Special rules require precise definitions to know what qualifies and what does not. The particular issue I’m referring to what constitutes minor assembly (no 199 deduction) versus production (generates a 199 deduction).
On December 18th, President Obama, signed H.R. 2029, the tax (the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015”) and spending bills (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016) to fund the government for its 2016 fiscal year.
The PATH Act ITIN renewal requirements: individuals who were issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) before 2013 to renew their ITINs on a staggered schedule between 2017 and 2020 either in person before an IRS employee or a certified acceptance agent or by mail under procedures to be developed. Documentation proving identity, foreign status and residency is required for renewal. The Act also provides that an ITIN will expire if an individual fails to file a tax return for three consecutive years.
Similar rules apply to individuals residing outside the United States such as Canadians who applied for ITINS and file U.S. tax returns reporting their net rental income from U.S. real estate. It’s important to keep in mind that the
The Broad Tax Extenders Coalition (hereinafter “the Coalition”) are recommending to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take immediate action on over fifty tax provisions that previously expired on December 31st of 2014. In a recent letter dated September 10th of 2015, the Coalition comprised of over two thousand organizations informed members of Congress that failure to timely extend the tax provisions will result in a significant increase in tax liabilities on both business entities as well as individuals.
As a background it should be duly recalled that previously on July 21st of 2015th, the Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly passed a tax extenders bill with a bipartisan vote of 23 to 3 that planned to extend over fifty previously expired tax provisions for a two year period (e.g., retroactively to cover all of calendar year 2015 and prospectively to cover Read More
The Premium Tax Credit (PTC) for individuals who purchased health insurance on the Exchange (Marketplace) is an important tax break. As income goes up, this subsidy in the form of a refundable credit decreases. Then, it hits a cliff and completely disappears if one’s household income exceeds 400% of the Federal poverty line (FPL). This can result in a tax bill of thousands of dollars!
Here is an example. A married couple, both age 64, thought their 2014 income would be about $62,000. Being eligible for insurance on the Exchange, they purchased a policy and obtained a PTC of $14,112. When they file their return, they realize they actually have $63,000 of income for 2014. this is above 400% of the FPL so they must repay all of the $14,112 PTC! If they can drop their income to $62,040 (400% of the FPL for 2014), they Read More