GOP Tax Cut Bill: Bad News and Good

A friend asked why this website has been ignoring the GOP Tax Cut Bill. Confession: I’ve been tweeting more than blogging — https://twitter.com/ search for @Oglesby Pat, mostly making three non-mainstream points, reproduced below: The Repatriation Tax Amnesty (“Holiday”) would prove an easy source of gimmicky revenue, the 280E marijuana tax would not be repealed, and the alcohol tax cut is shameful. Yes, I’ve fallen prey to “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” of social media – and to laziness.

OK, here goes for the Tax Cut Bill overall, with bad news and good.

Bad news: The GOP tax bill is the worst tax bill I’ve encountered. We will borrow more money we won’t pay back (in sound dollars). Tilting to the rich, the bill will make the poor poorer.

Good news:  This tax cut bill won’t stand the test of time.   Continue reading “GOP Tax Cut Bill: Bad News and Good”

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Turning (Taxed) A into (Untaxed) B

When I worked on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation in the 1980s, a friend who came to the staff from private law practice described the private tax lawyer’s mission in a way I haven’t forgotten: Turning A into B. That is, taking things that should be taxed at a high rate because they belong in one category, and figuring out how to put them into another category – low taxed. Lawyers rather than accountants have the word-training to take on this kind of mission.  She also called the mission “Turning This into That.”

(I’ve been looking recently at marijuana taxation, where the stakes are so low that lawyers can’t be bothered. In Oregon, Colorado, and several newly-legalizing states, users turn taxed recreational cannabis (Category A) into untaxed or lightly taxed medical cannabis (Category B) with little oversight or pushback).

The so-called Tax Reform bills working their way through Congress offer huge opportunities for turning A into B. Tax lawyers will make bundles of money.

Here are a couple of opportunities: Continue reading “Turning (Taxed) A into (Untaxed) B”