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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer hearings on comprehensive tax reform

On June 5, 2014, Senators Wyden and Hatch of the Senate Finance Committee announced three hearings for the summer on comprehensive tax reform. The topics:

June - Education incentives

July - (1) Identity theft and taxpayer privacy protection
          (2) Modernizing corporate taxation

They also mention:
  • Simplification
  • Promoting economic prosperity
  • Innovative ways to fix the depleted Highway Trust Fund
A few observations:
  • Education incentives - there are over ten today. There really is no need for any. Any government subsidy can take place through existing systems such as Pell grants. Also, a lower rate would help people save for higher education.  The existing provisions are for college, not for vocational training, so are limited. Also, they benefit higher income taxpayers more than lower income taxpayers.
  • Modernizing the corporate tax - ideally, this should include some effort at integration, but that is unlikely. I'm guessing that they are mostly looking at a lower rate and a changed international taxation scheme.  If the result includes longer life for intangibles (such as 20 rather than the current 15), we are not really modernizing. The Camp and Baucus proposals included extending the life to help pay for a lower corporate tax rate.
  • How to fix the depleted Highway Trust Fund.  While they are studying it, why not raise the rate from 18.4 cents per gallon, where it has been since 1993, to at least the inflation adjusted amount (30 cents).
What do you think?

1 comment:

Ari Hershowitz said...

Annette, thanks for highlighting these. I thought that the reform idea was dead in this Congress. I'd love to see Silicon Valley weighing in on simplification, both from a business perspective (improved efficiency) and a technical perspective (how to make filing and collecting taxes simpler, more transparent and predictable).