Tax Reform Under Trump


The election of Donald Trump in November 2016 pushed tax reform to the top of the list for the new administration’s broad agenda in Washington. With a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, the new populist President would be mandated to tackle comprehensive reform, even if it meant appeasing Congressional Republicans and negotiating with the opposing party for passage. The blueprints for success are becoming clear – a streamlined tax code with a larger standard deduction, fewer tax brackets, lower marginal rates, and a move toward territoriality going forward, but the specific constructs and details are still unknown. In addition, some expected a bipartisan deal would be crucial to passing this key legislation, but divides within the Republican party and White House itself have made timing and the outlook of a final product increasingly uncertain.

The appointment of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, recent withdrawal of healthcare legislation intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and what looks to be Senate approval of President Trump’s nomination for the United States Supreme Court has many key stakeholders including lobbyists, investors, and corporate executives looking carefully at the next steps toward passage. At this point, decreasing the corporate tax rate to 20% or lower would depend on the proposed border adjustment tax, sparking opposition from retailers, oil refiners, and other companies that rely on imported materials. Many see tax reform as an area of opportunity, but challenges remain as stakeholders debate the future of various proposals.

In our call Tax Reform - What to Expect from Trump and the Republican Congress in the First 100 Days, the former Tax Counsel at the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Private Retirement Plans and Oversight of the IRS provided our clients with a deep dive analysis of the first installments of the Trump and GOP tax reform plans. In addition, we walked through the role major stakeholders and advocacy groups will play once the process to reform the US tax code is running full throttle. We followed that call with another deep dive into the Trump and House GOP tax plan blueprints, but with a different angle around scoring and the economic evaluations of key provisions of each. During the call, Tax Reform - Assessing Republican Proposals for Comprehensive Reform & What to Expect in 2017, the Director of Federal Projects at the Tax Foundation provided commentary on the costs of the Republican tax plan as well as potential areas of pushback. This included commentary and insight around mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and the controversial issue of border adjustment.

Finally, we will be hosting Trump & Republicans Shift to Comprehensive Tax Reform After Failed Efforts to Repeal ACA & Stiff Headwinds Remain in Congress with the President of Capital Policy Analytics Group to understand the viability of lowering the corporate tax rate to 15-20% as proposed by Trump and the House GOP. Our expert, an economist who previously worked at Treasury during the Bush Administration, will provide commentary on the feasibility of controversial tax provisions, as well as the impact to multinational corporations with the possible shift in corporate tax rate.