Tax-Writing Chairmen Seek Unified Tax Reform Plan

CCH Tax Day Report

House Ways and Means Committee Republicans have concluded a two-day tax policy retreat that focused, in particular, on American business competitiveness and middle-class tax cuts. The goal of the retreat was to move toward a single tax reform plan to deliver sustained economic growth that the House, Senate and Trump administration can all support, Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told reporters.

“We made very solid progress on a wide range of ideas and solutions that we will be bringing to the table as we begin discussions with the White House and the Senate over the coming weeks,” Brady said in a statement. Members also met with White House economic director Gary Cohn to discuss President Trump’s tax-reform priorities and establish further agreement on proposals, according to Brady.

Confirming a Ways and Means spokesperson’s previous forecast to Wolters Kluwer that tax reform hearings would be happening “soon” (TAXDAY, 2017/04/20, C.1), Brady told reporters he expects hearings to occur sometime in May. Committee rules require hearing announcements be made a week in advance, according to the committee’s spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, is urging Republican and Democratic colleagues to cooperate on tax reform so that it can reflect bipartisan efforts.” I’ve said many times that tax reform should not have to be a partisan exercise,” Hatch said this week on the Senate floor. “Our current tax system imposes undue hardships on Republican and Democratic voters alike.” He added that having the president take a lead on tax reform, irrespective of specifics within his tax plan, “should be viewed as a welcome sign for all tax reform advocates, regardless of their party affiliation.”

Many Democrats, however, continue to criticize the House GOP’s tax reform “blueprint,” as well as Trump’s brief tax-reform outline unveiled on April 26 (TAXDAY, 2017/04/27, W.1 1). Of particular concern to several Democrats is that Trump’s outline does not mention carried interest.

“Trump’s tax plan only helps the wealthy,” former Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., said in a tweet on May 2. “He promises to get rid of the carried interest loophole, but he didn’t mention it,” he added.

Levin, on May 2, reintroduced the Carried Interest Fairness Bill, which would end the carried interest “loophole.” “The president needs to make clear that he will keep his promise on carried interest regardless of the outcome of tax reform,” Levin said in a statement after reintroducing the bill. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) has estimated that closing the carried interest “loophole” would raise $15.6 billion in revenue, according to Levin.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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