Trump Administration Weighing Border Adjustment Tax, Mnuchin Says

CCH Tax Day Report

The House Ways and Means Committee will soon hold hearings on tax reform, a committee spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer on April 19. There has been talk on Capitol Hill that these hearings will examine the controversial border adjustment provision within the House GOP tax reform “Blueprint.” While the committee spokesperson was unable to confirm the content and topic of the hearings, she told Wolters Kluwer that Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., “speaks regularly about the path forward on tax reform with members of President Trump’s economic team.”

A key figure within the Trump administration participating in such discussions has been Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has remained noncommittal to a border adjustment tax (BAT). “There are aspects that we like about the border adjusted tax, and there are aspects that we don’t like,” Mnuchin recently told the Financial Times. “We are working closely with the House and the Senate on the overall tax plan,” he added. According to Mnuchin, the administration has weekly meetings with House and Senate senior-level members as well as staff.

As for the estimated $1 trillion the BAT would raise over the first 10 years, that method would be just one of the ways that amount of money could be raised, Mnuchin said. “That’s not to say we’ve taken it off the table. It’s just one of many thing we’re looking at.”

The August timeline lawmakers and the administration originally put forth as a goal for enacting comprehensive tax reform continues to appear out of reach. “It’s unlikely that we’re going to have a plan passed before August,” Mnuchin said. “It doesn’t mean that we’ve given up on it, but I would say that realistically it started as an aggressive timeline, and it’s fair to say that it’s probably delayed a bit because of health care.”

As to whether tax reform is still expected to take place in time to effect 2017 tax returns, however, Mnuchin remains optimistic. “Absolutely,” he said.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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