Tax Reform Watch: The Story Begins– February 03, 2017 by Tracy Monroe

The story of tax reform is like reading a book to me. At the beginning of every story there is always the anticipation of where the story will go, what the plot will be and who will play what roles. We are currently at this stage for tax reform, and none of us know how the story will end.

Chapter 1:  What We Didn’t Expect

There were many themes to the 2016 election:  heated rhetoric, salacious sound bites and deep division in thinking, among others. As many people believed Hillary Clinton would be our next president, I drew the conclusion that badly needed tax reform would not be possible.
Lost to me in all of the drama of the election cycle was the fact that “A Better Way” was published in June of 2016. This is a blueprint for tax reform developed from the direction of House Speaker Paul Ryan. The blueprint outlines a plan for tax reform that focuses on two major themes:  reduction of the corporate tax rate and simplification of the tax code.
The blueprint addresses some of the same concerns that I have spoken to many times regarding complexity that really doesn’t need to exist – such as multiple tax breaks for tuition but a lot of complicated data to analyze to figure out which tax break is the most beneficial. An additional problem addressed is the difficultly in dealing with the IRS. While I believe the blueprint does a fair job identifying the problems, I feel that it falls short in its goal for simplification.
With the unexpected election of President Trump, the likelihood of significant tax reform becomes very high. While he was president elect, he frequently spoke of tackling tax reform and particularly lowering the corporate tax rate. Since taking office a couple of weeks ago he has initiated action on a number of his campaign promises, including 17 orders, actions and memoranda (to date). However, absent from the list thus far is tax reform.
Historically speaking, the first 100 days of any new administration is action packed and President Trump has certainly kept up this tradition. The to-do list for the president seems to be endless, and there are significant items that need his attention, making it a daunting challenge to actually reform the broken tax code in his first 100 days.
But watch closely, because the story will begin to unfold rather quickly, perhaps even by summer of this year. We are watching with great anticipation and can’t wait to bring you the next chapter!
To be continued …
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