Thursday, 14 November, 2019

GOP tax bill will slash corporate rate, drop levies on rich

Patty Aguilar | 16 December, 2017, 05:57

Bob Corker of Tennessee, a fiscal conservative who had been the only Senate Republican to vote against the chamber's initial tax proposal, also said he would vote for the bill, despite reservations over the likelihood that the reforms would substantially increase the national debt.

Here's a quick rundown of how the GOP's final bill will (reportedly) differ from the party's earlier versions. The reductions in personal income tax rates are temporary, ending in 2026.

According to a summary of the measure circulating among lobbyists, today's 35 percent rate on corporations would fall to 21 percent, the crown jewel of the measure for many Republicans. House Republicans tried to eliminate the tax break.

The tax legislation would cut the top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. The Senate version lowered it to 38.5 percent.

Though the proposed legislation will maintain the same seven-bracket structure that's now in force, Republicans have made tweaks to the rates and the income levels at which they apply.

Marco Rubio injected some last-minute intrigue into the conference committee's proceedings Thursday, when he announced that he would oppose the final legislation if it did not make more of the child tax credit refundable. Up to $1,400 of the $2,000 credit is available as a tax refund to lower- and middle-income families with relatively small tax bills.

But later in the day, he wrote, "Increased the refundability of the Child Tax Credit from 55% to 70% is a solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker", suggesting he had been swayed to vote with his party. Thus, the final bill still gives a bigger subsidy to affluent families than to the working poor.

A slightly more generous state-and-local tax deduction.

A tax credit for production of wind energy was also retained in its current form; the House bill had proposed eliminating that provision for renewable energy as well. The deduction is especially important to residents of high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California.

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Student loans. The legislation continues the deduction of up to $2,500 on interest for such borrowing. The cap would apply to any combination of property and either income or sales taxes.

Repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate.

According to the source, the language from the Senate bill for both credits was adopted by the conference committee that is reconciling the two bills.

The Congressional Budget Office said the repeal would reduce the number of people with insurance by 13 million within 10 years because fewer will enroll in Medicaid or buy coverage in government-managed exchanges, including some who will no longer be able to afford insurance because rates will rise about 10% annually. Interest on existing mortgages is unaffected.

Home mortgage interest deduction: Limits the deduction to interest paid on the first $750,000 of a new loan for a first or second home.

The bill does not change the ban on churches and other charities from endorsing political candidates. The Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision violated the rules of budget reconciliation.

Other deductions: Allows deduction for medical expenses not covered by insurance for 2018 and 2019 when expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.

The stuff that would have made a higher education (even more) unaffordable for ordinary Americans. The deferred tuition provided to graduate students who teach or the children of university employees would not be taxable.

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