Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

The Weekly Report for October 23, 2017, discusses Congress’s progress in passing tax reform and recent IRS guidance. Marking a significant step forward in the tax reform process, the Senate approved the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, which unlocks the reconciliation process for tax reform legislation. In addition, the House is schedule to return to session the week of October 23. Further, the IRS officially withdrew controversial regulations dealing with estate valuation and tax-exempt bonds. It also released inflation-adjusted tax amounts for 2018, and other guidance.

Congress

President Trump is expected continue tax reform discussions with lawmakers during the week of October 23 at a scheduled Senate Republican Policy Committee policy luncheon.

Senate

The Senate passed a budged resolution (BR) this week. The BR is intended to be used as the legislative vehicle for a tax reform bill without the need for any Democratic members’ support.

House

The House is schedule to return to session the week of October 23. Members will take up the budget resolution passed by the Senate.

White House

A bipartisan group of senators continued a dialogue with President Trump at the White House on a bipartisan approach toward tax reform.

IRS

2018 Pension/Retirement Plan COLAs

The 2018 pension plan cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) have been released. These adjustments affect pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions.

2018 Inflation-Adjust Rate Brackets, Other Amounts

The IRS has released inflation-adjusted amounts for 2018. These adjustments include the tax-rate brackets standard deduction, exemption and 2018 amounts for over 50 other items.

Tax-Exempt Bonds

The IRS and Treasury officially withdrew the February 2016 proposed regulations defining the term “political subdivision.” This definition was proposed to be used for determining who could issue tax-exempt bonds under Code Sec. 103.

Troubled Banks/Thrifts

The IRS released final regulations  that modify and clarify the treatment of certain transactions in which Federal Financial Assistance (FFA) is provided to troubled banks and thrift institutions and related parties.

AFRs for November

The IRS released the applicable federal rates (AFRs) to be used for federal income tax purposes for November 2017.

Identity Theft

The IRS continues to show improvement in preventing identity theft, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. See IRS News Release IR-2017-176

Special Valuation

The IRS and Treasury officially withdrew the August 2016 proposed regulations concerning the special valuation of property under Code Sec. 2704. This special valuation rule concerns the estate, gift and generation-skipping (GST) treatment of certain lapses of liquidation rights and the valuation of interests in certain family-owned entities.

California Wildfires

Victims of wildfires that have ravaged parts of California may qualify for extensions for filing returns and making certain payments. See IRS News Release  IR-2017-172

By Jessica Jeane, George Jones, and George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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