The Trump Tax Flap Moves One Step Closer To Court


House Ways & Means Chair subpoenas Treasury and IRS. Chairman Richard Neal issued the subpoenas to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig demanding they turn over President Trump’s personal and business tax returns to the panel. So far, Mnuchin has refused. Said Neal, “While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to obtain the requested material.” Ways and Means joins the House Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, Financial Services, and Intelligence committees in issuing such summons. Waiting loves company?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo backs congressional access to state tax returns. The governor gave his full support on Friday to a state Senate-passed bill  to  allow the state to release  tax returns of many public officials, including  the president and vice president, if  the congressional House Ways & Means Committee,  Senate Finance Committee, or  Joint Committee on Taxation requests them. The state assembly will consider the bill today.  

How long will lawmakers cheer on a trade war? The National Taxpayers Union estimates that President Trump’s tariffs have reversed about 25 percent of the expected tax relief from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Senate Majority Whip John Thune told The Wall Street Journal that “The tariffs that are currently in place have had a very detrimental impact on agriculture… so we don’t need more bad news piling on.” Such as: The 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion in additional Chinese imports Trump levied on Friday, up from 10 percent.

In Illinois, does a bump in state revenue knock down prospects for a tax increase? State revenues reached $4 billion in April, 38 percent more than last year and $1.5 billion more than projected. GOP House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and his caucus now say Governor JB Pritzker’s plan to change the state’s flat income tax rate structure to a graduated structure; tax hikes on plastic bags and cigarettes; and other tax increases are unnecessary. 

San Francisco leaders consider a tax on stock compensation. City leaders would boost  a  tax on stock-based compensation to fund housing and other programs.  The plan would raise the levy on corporations that pay employees with equity  from 0.38 percent to 1.5 percent—restoring the rate to its 2011 level. The increase would apply to all Initial Public Offerings made after the proposal was introduced last week. That includes Uber, which started trading on Friday. The mayor is non-committal and the measure would need voter approval. 

Who runs Free File? Not the IRS. ProPublica reports that 16 individuals have asked TurboTax  for refunds after learning that they could have used the Free File product instead of paying. In recordings, TurboTax employees say that Free File is a government product run by the IRS. However, the service was created and run by Intuit’s TurboTax and other for-profit tax prep companies and offered as part of an agreement with the IRS. The IRS does not provide its own free online filing product.

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