Tag Archives: Income Tax Reform

CBO: Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Would Save $338 Billion

With Republicans scrambling to find every possible dollar to pay for Trump’s “massive” tax reform package, on Wednesday morning a new analysis by the CBO (congressional budget office) calculated that repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate – an idea that had been floated previously by Trump – would save $338 billion over 10 years. CBO previously estimated repeal would save $416b over 10 years due to reduced use of Obamacare subsidies, demonstrating once again how “fluid” government forecasts are.

The report was released as the Senate prepares to unveil its own version of the Tax reform bill amid growing GOP dissent, and comes as some Republicans are pushing for repealing the mandate within tax reform, as a way to help pay for tax cuts. Still, as The Hill reports, that idea has met resistance from some Republican leaders who do not want to mix up health care and taxes. Previously the CBO had come under fire on Tuesday from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who slammed the agency after Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told The Hill that he had been informed that the CBO was changing its analysis of the mandate to find significantly less savings.

Just as notable was the CBO’s announcement that it was changing the way it analyzes the mandate, which Republicans suspect would show less government savings and fewer people becoming uninsured as a results.

“The agencies are in the process of revising their methods to estimate the repeal of the individual mandate,” he said. “However, because that work is not complete and significant changes to the individual mandate are now being considered as part of the budget reconciliation process, the agencies are publishing this update without incorporating major changes to their analytical methods.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has been one of the most vocal advocates of including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill, has touted the savings that would come as a result. His team said it is confident that the scoring will include similar numbers to previous reports. “We’re confident the CBO estimate will still show a substantial — north of $300 billion — savings for tax reform,” Caroline Tabler, spokeswoman for Cotton, told the Washington Examiner in an email.

CBO has been criticized for years for its analyses on the effects of the individual mandate. Republicans have charged that the mandate isn’t as effective as CBO concludes and have said they want to see it repealed. Some Obamacare supporters also have said it should be stronger by becoming more expensive or should be more heavily enforced.

While the CBO calculation is a boost to Republicans who want to repeal the mandate in tax reform, because it means there are still significant savings to be had from repealing the mandate, mandate repeal still faces long odds. Repealing the mandate – a broadly unpopular decision in many states – could also destabilize health insurance markets by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.

Earlier in the day, the CBO said that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would increase deficits over the next decade by $1.4 trillion, which is good enough to slip under the $1.5 trillion limit required for reconciliation. The CBO did however add that the additional debt service would boost the 10-year increase in deficits to $1.7 trillion.

Source: ZeroHedge

Trump Releases His Plan for Tax Reform and What that Could Mean for You

The Trump Administration just released its Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.  This Framework outlines general principles for tax reform.  There is still a long way to go in the legislative process, but based on what we have seen so far, here are some general thoughts on how these policies might affect you or your business:

Lowering the Tax Burden on the Middle Class

The proposal seeks to consolidate the current seven tax brackets into three brackets of 12%, 25%, and 35%. Currently the highest individual rate is 39.5%. The proposal provides tax relief to middle class families by roughly doubling the standard deduction to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly (up from $12,600) and $12,000 for single filers (up from $6,300). The standard deduction is the amount of income that is not subject to federal income tax. A tax filer may choose to take the standardized deduction or to itemize his or her deductions.

Increases in other tax credits such as the child tax credit and additional tax relief will be decided through the legislative process. While most itemized deductions will be eliminated, tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions will remain. The proposal also leaves the door open to add an additional top rate above the 35% rate if necessary. 

The Proposal aims to eliminate the alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). The AMT is a federal supplemental income tax imposed on certain taxpayers in addition to their regular income tax. It was first enacted to prevent those with very high incomes from using special tax benefits to pay little or no tax. However it has since been expanded to reach individuals without very high incomes or those who do not claim special tax benefits and creates significant complexity in the Tax Code.

Elimination of the Death Tax and Generation Skipping Tax

The proposal also repeals the federal death tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax. However, currently the estate tax exemption is $5.49 million for an individual and $10.98 million for a married couple and applies to a limited number of people. The threshold amounts for an estate to go through probate in California still remains at $150,000 in assets or $50,000 in real property value.

New Tax Structure for Small Businesses

The proposal creates a new tax structure for small businesses including limiting the maximum tax rate applied to business income of small and family-owned businesses conducted as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations to 25%. The proposal also reduces the corporate tax rate to 20% which is below the average corporate tax rate of the industrialized world and would allow businesses to immediately write off the cost of new investments in depreciable assets other than structures made after September 27, 2017.

Other goals of the proposal include to partially limit the deduction for net interest expense incurred by C corporations, eliminate the current-law domestic production (section 199) deduction, preserve business credits in research, and development and low-income housing, and modernize the rules for certain industries and sectors.

Repatriating Foreign Assets

The proposal exempts foreign profits repatriated to the United States and 100% of dividends from foreign subsidiaries in which a U.S. parent owns at least a 10% stake. Foreign earnings that have accumulated overseas will be treated as repatriated. Accumulated foreign earnings held in illiquid assets will be subject to a lower tax rate with payment of any tax liability being spread out over several years.   

As mentioned, this proposal is likely to change as it goes through the legislative process.  But, it’s a good starting point to understand how the proposed reforms may affect you.