Weighing Tax Cuts, Increases, And Recessions

Wyden may propose rewriting the 199A pass-through deduction today. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden is expected to roll out major changes to the 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses that was included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Wyden is expected to phase-out the deduction for those making $400,000 or more but retain, and possibly, expand it for small businesses. For more about 199A, tune in on Thursday at Noon for TPC’s The Prescription with guest Tony Nitti, a partner in RubinBrown’s Tax Services Group. Register here.  

Short but ugly. The COVID-19 recession lasted two months. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the group that formally dates business cycles, made it official yesterday. The pandemic-related recession began in February, 2020 and ended in April, making it the shortest recession in history. The economy plunged at an annual rate of 31.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 then grew at an annual rate of 33.4 percent in the third quarter, thanks in part to massive government stimulus. 

Utah Gov. Cox wants a tax cut. Citing rising inflation, the GOP governor said he thinks “there is room for tax relief this coming [legislative] session.” He did not specify the amount or type of tax cut, but hinted he’d consider cutting the state’s 3 percent sales tax on some grocery items. Republican Senate President Stuart Adams sounded skeptical: “It’s just way too early to be thinking about cutting taxes. We just don’t have enough data.” 

Will Pennsylvania replace its gasoline tax? State lawmakers are exploring alternatives to the state’s 59-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. As electric vehicles grow in popularity, gas tax revenue is declining. Options include new bridge tolls, increasing licensing fees, levying a tax on vehicle miles traveled, or charging a $0.25 to $1 fee on goods delivered to homes. The review  could take a couple of years, said one state senator.

Big tax cuts but no public access to land in the Philadelphia suburbs. The Philadelphia Inquirer  reported on how a Main Line estate was divided into 50 luxury home sites through a conservation easement that generated $15 million in federal tax breaks since 2015. The property was purchased for half that amount just a year or two earlier. Despite the huge tax subsidies, the public cannot access the land. The easement was created by the same land trust used by former President Trump in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. 

Zimbabwe exceeds its revenue target in second quarter of fiscal year. The nation recently improved tax compliance efforts and businesses reopened after pandemic-related closures. The country collected $1.3 billion for the period, or 16 percent more than expected. The government increased audits of high-income taxpayers and encouraged taxpayers to voluntarily disclose foreign-currency earnings. 

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