Categories for IRS
HOUSE OF REPS/IRS/LAWSUIT/TREASURY/TRUMP TAXES: “The House sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday [7-2-19], demanding access to President Trump’s tax returns and escalating a fight with an administration that has repeatedly dismissed as illegitimate its attempt to obtain the financial records. The lawsuit moves the dispute into the federal courts after months of sniping between the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee, which requested and then subpoenaed the returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The case may ultimately go to the Supreme Court, and its outcome is likely to determine whether financial information that Mr. Trump has kept closely guarded in spite of longstanding presidential tradition will be viewed by Congress and, ultimately, the public. In Tuesday’s filing, the House argued that the administration’s defiance of its request amounted to ‘an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the I.R.S. and the tax laws on behalf of the American people.’ It asked a judge to order the defendants to comply.”
–Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, “House Files Lawsuit Seeking Disclosure of Trump Tax Returns,” The New York Times online, July 2, 2019
IRS/TRUMP BUSINESS/TRUMP TAXES: “President Trump on Wednesday [5-8-19] defended the more than $1 billion he reported in business losses between 1985 and 1994, a previously undisclosed amount revealed in a New York Times investigation, as a best practice that other real estate developers had also used. Yet even as he tried to explain in a pair of Twitter posts that showing ‘losses for tax purposes’ was considered a ‘sport’ among real estate developers like himself, the president also said The Times’s account was ‘a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!’ It was not immediately clear what specifically in The Times investigation Mr. Trump disputed. The article reported the staggering figure of $1.17 billion in losses between 1985 and 1994, an amount calculated from 10 years of his tax information obtained by The Times. It also raised questions about the image that Mr. Trump presented of himself, and whether he is a tarnished, not triumphant, businessman. In some years, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than any other single taxpayer among an I.R.S. sampling of high earners. Mr. Trump has portrayed himself as a self-made billionaire and master deal maker.”
–Eileen Sullivan, “Trump Defends $1.17 Billion in Losses as Just for ‘Tax Purposes’,” The New York Times online, May 8, 2019
ATTORNEY GENERAL/DEMS/IRS/TREASURY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “A Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee said Tuesday [5-7-19] he does not want to throw Attorney General William Barr in jail but is ‘ready to do so,’…Doggett is one of the more liberal members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Democratic leadership of that committee has requested the IRS turn over the last six years of Trump’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected that request on Monday on advice from the Department of Justice, which is headed up by Barr. Doggett said the tactics being used by Trump to block House Democrats’ investigations makes it seem like he’s ‘almost begging for impeachment’…House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler scheduled a Wednesday [5-8-19] vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after the Justice Department declined to comply with a subpoena and provide an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress. The Justice Department last week said in a letter that the subpoena was ‘not legitimate oversight’’ and an ‘extraordinarily burdensome’ request. Barr skipped a scheduled hearing before the House Judiciary Committee last week after a dispute with House Democrats over the questioning format.”
–Kate Sullivan, “Democratic congressman says he is ‘ready’ to throw Barr in jail,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, May 7, 2019 11:39 pm
CRIME/GOP/IRS/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The Trump campaign is distancing itself from one of its highest-profile supporters, David Bossie, two days after the president’s longtime friend was accused of using his political group to scam elderly Republican voters for his own financial gain…The statement did not mention Bossie by name but appeared to be a clear rebuke of his group, the Presidential Coalition, which added $18.5 million to its coffers from 2017 to 2018 after promising donors it was ‘dedicated to identifying and supporting conservative candidates running for office at the state and local levels of government.’ Fundraising materials produced by the group often featured images of the White House and of Bossie and Trump together. According to Internal Revenue Service filings first reported by Axios on Sunday [5-4-19], only $425,442 of the $15.4 million that Bossie’s group spent over the past two years went toward boosting conservative political candidates by contributing to their own committees or running supportive advertisements. The remaining money was spent on outside consultants with close ties to Bossie and on books he authored with Corey Lewandowski, the former manager of Trump’s 2016 campaign.”
–Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman, “Trump campaign distances itself from David Bossie over alleged scam,” Politico, May 7, 2019 6:36 pm
IRS/TRUMP TAXES: “By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal’ hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns. Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition. The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse.”
–Russ Buettner and Susane Craig, “Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses,” The New York Times online, May 7, 2019
IRS/STEVE MNUCHIN/TREASURY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP TAXES: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left little doubt Tuesday [4-23-19] that the administration will reject a congressional request for President Donald Trump’s tax returns by a self-imposed May 6 target for a ‘final decision,’ setting the stage for a legal battle that will test the limits of congressional oversight. In a 10-page letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who formally requested Trump’s returns on April 3, Mnuchin questioned Neal’s motives and laid out ‘some of the legal concerns’ the administration has with the request. While Neal has argued that the committee needs to see the returns as part of its oversight of the IRS, Mnuchin wrote that is a ‘pretext’ for the Democrats’ aim to make Trump’s returns public, which Mnuchin called ‘constitutionally suspect.’ Neal, who had set a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for the IRS to turn over the documents, said in a statement that he plans to ‘consult with counsel about my next steps.’ He is likely to subpoena the documents at some point and, given the administration’s resistance to subpoenas issued or threatened by other committees, the dispute is expected to wind up in court.”
–Aaron Lorenzo, “IRS blows deadline to hand over Trump tax returns,” Politico, April 23, 2019 8:15 pm
DEMS/HOUSE OF REPS/IRS/TRUMP TAXES: “President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday [4-15-19] urged the Treasury Department not to hand over Mr. Trump’s tax returns to House Democrats, warning that releasing the documents to lawmakers he accused of having a ‘radical view of unchecked congressional power’ would turn the Internal Revenue Service into a political weapon. It was the second such letter written on behalf of Mr. Trump since Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, formally requested six years of the president’s personal and business tax returns earlier this month. Mr. Neal on Saturday [4-13-19] gave the Internal Revenue Service until April 23 to provide him with the tax returns after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said last week that he could not meet an earlier deadline because he needed to study the lawfulness of the request. The fight over Mr. Trump’s tax returns is expected to turn into a protracted legal battle that will likely make its way to the Supreme Court.”
–Alan Rappeport, “Trump Lawyer Urges Treasury Not to Release His Tax Returns,” The New York Times online, April 15, 2019
IRS/NOMINATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Trump earlier this year asked Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, indicating that it was a higher priority than voting on the nomination of William P. Barr as attorney general, a person familiar with the conversation said. White House aides insisted for months that the confirmation of the nominee, Michael J. Desmond, a tax lawyer from Santa Barbara, Calif., was a top priority after passage of the tax bill in 2017. But the request by Mr. Trump, made to Mr. McConnell on Feb. 5, raised questions about whether the president had other motivations. For months, the president has seethed over vows by congressional Democrats that they would move to obtain his tax returns from the I.R.S. And this week, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, formally asked the I.R.S. for six years of the returns, using an obscure provision in the tax code to do so.”
–Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos, “Trump Asked That Confirmation of I.R.S. Counsel Be a Priority,” The New York Times online, April 4, 2019
DEMS/HOUSE OF REPS/IRS/SPENDING/TREASURY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The House passed a financial services spending bill on Wednesday [1-9-19], the first of four appropriations bills the House will vote on this week in an attempt to reopen shuttered parts of government, despite the fact that the measures are not expected to go anywhere in the Senate and face a White House veto threat. The vote was 240-188. The stalemate is a reflection of the continued standoff over the ongoing government shutdown, which does not look like it will end anytime soon. Each day this week, the House will vote on bills to fund shuttered parts of the government. The first spending bill voted on covered financial services, such as the Treasury Department and the IRS. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the bill. That’s one more Republican than the number of Republicans who supported a similar bill last week. The vast majority of Republicans still object to the bill. All Democrats voted for the legislation. Later this week, the House will vote on bills covering national parks, and housing and transportation, as well as agriculture — which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more colloquially referred to as SNAP or food stamps.”
–Ashley Killough and Clare Foran, “House passes bill to reopen IRS and other financial agencies, despite veto threat,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, January 9, 2019 12:56 am
GOVERNMENT/IRS/TAXES/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Americans can still expect to get their tax refunds even though the Internal Revenue Service has been swept up in the federal government shutdown. ‘Tax refunds will go out,’ acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought told reporters on Monday. He added that the Trump administration is working to make the shutdown ‘as painless as possible, consistent with the law.’ The decision marks a reversal of a long-standing policy that refunds due to millions of American taxpayers go unpaid during shutdowns. A senior administration official said that OMB is relying on a 2011 IRS memo that argued tax refunds can be paid out during a shutdown. At the time, the OMB’s general counsel disagreed with the IRS chief counsel’s position and said tax refunds could not be paid out during a shutdown. Faced with the latest shutdown, the Treasury Department last week asked the current OMB general counsel to revisit the 2011 memo and a supplemental memo was submitted to OMB this past Friday.”
–Donna Borak, Jim Acosta and Jeremy Diamond, “White House says tax ‘refunds will go out’ amid shutdown,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, January 7, 2019 7:29 pm
DEMS/IRS/SENATE/TREASURY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Senate passed legislation Wednesday [12-12-18] to reverse a Trump administration policy limiting donor disclosure requirements for political nonprofits in a rare rebuke to the White House. In a 50-49 vote, the Senate approved a resolution from Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would block the recent Treasury Department change to IRS forms allowing political nonprofits to avoid listing some donors. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined every Democrat in support of the measure, which required only a simple majority to pass under the Congressional Review Act…The measure is unlikely to be taken up by the GOP-controlled House, and it was opposed by conservative groups, including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity.”
–Marianna Levine, “Senate votes to overturn Trump donor disclosure rule,” Politico, December 12, 2018 1:28 pm
ATTORNEY GENERAL/IRS/LEGAL/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP BUSINESS: “The attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland plan to file subpoenas Tuesday [12-4-18] seeking records from the Trump Organization, the Internal Revenue Service and dozens of other entities as part of a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency. The flurry of subpoenas came a day after U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte approved a brisk schedule for discovery in the case alleging that foreign and domestic government spending at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel amounts to gifts to the president in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. The subpoenas target more than 30 Trump-linked private entities and the federal agency that oversees the lease for Trump’s D.C. hotel. Subpoenas were also being sent to the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and the IRS, all of which have spent taxpayer dollars at the hotel. Other Trump entities that officials plan to subpoena include those related to his D.C. hotel and its management. The Maryland attorney general’s office confirmed the targets of the subpoenas to The Associated Press as they were being prepared Tuesday.”
–The Associated Press, “2 attorneys general to subpoena Trump Organization, IRS,” Politico, December 4, 2018 2:54 pm
IRS/NOMINATIONS/SENATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The U.S. Senate on Wednesday [9-12-18] confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice of Beverly Hills, California, tax lawyer Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the federal agency that implements tax laws. The Senate voted 64-33 to install Rettig, who will replace Acting Commissioner David Kautter. Kautter has been temporarily filling the post since last November when then-Commissioner John Koskinen retired after nearly four years in the job. Trump announced in February that he was nominating Rettig to the post. Rettig’s review by the Senate Finance Committee last summer was marked by Democrats voting against him to protest a U.S. Treasury Department decision ending a rule requiring some tax-exempt groups, including non-profits such as the National Rifle Association, to identify their financial donors to the IRS in confidential filings. He also drew criticism for failing to disclose business ties to a Trump-branded hotel in Hawaii. Nonetheless, Rettig vowed to senators that he would lead the IRS in an independent manner.”
–Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Susan Cornwell, “Senate approves Rettig to head Internal Revenue Service,” Reuters, September 12, 2018 4:12 pm
IRS/LEGAL/PAUL MANAFORT/ROBERT MUELLER/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman being tried on federal tax and bank fraud charges, didn’t declare more than $16 million in income to the U.S. Treasury over a five-year span, an IRS revenue agent testified Wednesday [8-8-18]. The IRS revenue agent, Michael Welch, told jurors that a large chunk of the unreported income—nearly $9 million—flowed from Mr. Manafort’s offshore accounts to U.S.-based vendors ranging from landscapers to high-end tailors. About $6.7 million of the offshore money was used to pay for personal real estate in New York and Virginia, according to the agent. None of those payments, either to vendors or for property, was business related, Mr. Welch testified, and should have been reported as income on Mr. Manafort’s tax returns. Mr. Welch also testified that Mr. Manafort failed to tell the Internal Revenue Service he held and controlled foreign bank accounts. Testimony from Mr. Welch, and from an FBI accountant earlier in the day, are critical pieces of the case being presented by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mr. Manafort has been indicted on charges of lying on his taxes, hiding offshore accounts and defrauding banks. Most of the charges predate his work in 2016 as chairman for Trump’s presidential campaign, and aren’t directly related to the focus of Mr. Mueller’s investigation: Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaigns.”
-Del Quentin Wilber and Aruna Viswanatha, “IRS Agent Testifies Manafort Failed to Declare More Than $16 Million on Taxes,” The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2018 8:12 pm
DEMS/IRS/TREASURY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat who has crusaded against the loosening of campaign finance rules, is suing the Trump administration to block it from eliminating a mandate that politically active nonprofit groups disclose the identities of their major donors to the government. The Treasury Department announced last week that the Internal Revenue Service would no longer require a range of nonprofit organizations to identify any contributors giving more than $5,000, in a move it described as bolstering privacy and easing administrative burdens for those groups. Previously, certain nonprofits had to name their large donors to the government even though they were not supposed to be disclosed to the public. The change in rules stirred immediate political controversy because of its effect on so-called ‘dark money’ groups, which spend money in elections but are not required to reveal the sources of their funding except to the I.R.S. Under the new reporting regime, groups associated with organizations like the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood and Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, would no longer have to list their donors, even to the government.”
-Alexander Burns, “Montana Governor Sues I.R.S., Warning of ‘Foreign Money’ in Elections,” The New York Times online, July 24, 2018
GOP/IRS/SUPREME COURT/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration will end a longstanding requirement that certain nonprofit organizations disclose the names of large donors to the Internal Revenue Service, a move that will allow some political groups to shield their sources of funding from government scrutiny. The change, which has long been sought by conservatives and Republicans in Congress, will affect thousands of labor unions, social clubs and political groups as varied as arms of the AARP, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity, which is funded partly by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Such groups have played an increasingly prominent role in American politics in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in a case brought by the nonprofit group Citizens United, which empowered them to spend unlimited money on campaign ads. Treasury officials said the reporting change — which affects contributions known as dark money because their source is hidden — would protect privacy and reduce compliance costs for nonprofits. The I.R.S. could still request donor information from groups in the rare event that it was needed for tax scrutiny.”
-Patricia Cohen, Kenneth P. Vogel and Jim Tankersley, “I.R.S. Will No Longer Force Kochs and Other Groups to Disclose Donors,” The New York Times online, July 17, 2018
IRS/NOMINATIONS/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the IRS owns a stake in two rental units at a Trump-branded hotel in Hawaii. Charles Rettig was questioned by members of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday [6-28-18] on topics ranging from his experience as a tax attorney to his management style. He was also asked to demonstrate how he would remain independent from the Trump White House…Rettig owns a 50% stake in two rental units at the Waikiki Trump International Hotel and Tower. He noted the existence of those properties on his original financial disclosure form, but did not disclose that they were located at a Trump-branded hotel. He instead described them as ‘Honolulu, Hawai’i residential rental property,’ according to a memo from committee staff obtained by CNN. Rettig did not address the concern directly during the hearing, but repeatedly pledged to serve in an ‘impartial, unbiased’ manner. He did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment for this story. According to the memo, Rettig has told the committee he plans to provide more detail.”
-Katie Lobosco, “Trump IRS nominee owns property at Trump-branded hotel,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, June 28, 2018 5:12 pm
BUDGET/GOP/IRS/TAXES/TREASURY: “A turf battle is breaking out in the Republican Party over which agencies should have a say in writing new regulations stemming from last year’s landmark tax legislation.
Some Republican senators are pressuring the Office of Management and Budget to get involved in reviewing tax regulations, breaking a 35-year-old practice where tax regulatory work is handled by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service and doesn’t get a full OMB review.
Most other cabinet departments submit rules to OMB so their economic effects can be analyzed and coordinated with other agencies, with an eye on assessing the costs and benefits of new rules.
Many areas of the new tax law require regulations, which would define key terms for international businesses and pass-through firms such as partnerships and S corporations. Businesses are eagerly awaiting the rules so they can make decisions and investments.”
-Richard Rubin, “Tax Regulations at Center of GOP Dispute,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 19, 2018 04:26pm
CONFLICT OF INTERESTS/ETHICS/IRS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP FAMILY/MELANIA: “President Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by an adviser to the first lady, Melania Trump, while donating $5 million — less than expected — to charity, according to tax filings released on Thursday [2-15-18].
The nonprofit group that oversaw Mr. Trump’s inauguration and surrounding events in January 2017, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, had been under pressure from liberal government watchdog groups to reveal how it spent the record $107 million it had raised from wealthy donors and corporations. Its chairman, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, had pledged that the committee would be thrifty with its spending, and would donate leftover funds to charity.
But the mandatory tax return it filed with the Internal Revenue Service indicates that the group’s charitable donations included only an already publicized $3 million for hurricane relief, plus a total of $1.75 million to groups involved in decorating and maintaining the White House and the vice president’s residence. The 116-page filing indicates that the overwhelming majority of the funds went toward expenses related to the inauguration, with the biggest share — nearly $51 million — split roughly evenly between two companies.
One of the companies, WIS Media Partners of Marina del Rey, California, was created by a longtime friend of Mrs. Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, according to a person familiar with the firm. Records show that the firm was created in December 2016, but otherwise there is very little information available about it. Ms. Winston Wolkoff made her name planning Manhattan society galas and has subsequently been brought on as a senior adviser to the first lady’s official government office.”
-Maggie Haberman and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Trump’s Inaugural Committee Paid $26 Million to Firm of First Lady’s Adviser,” The New York Times online, Feb. 15, 2018
HEALTHCARE/IRS/OBAMACARE(ACA): “Businesses are pushing back on the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to begin enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s employer insurance mandate, challenging penalties that run into the millions and asserting the agency is wrong to impose the fines.
The ACA imposes a penalty on employers with more than 50 workers who don’t provide qualifying coverage to employees, but the fines weren’t initially enforced. In November, the IRS said it would begin assessing penalties, starting with companies that failed to comply in 2015, when parts of the employer mandate first kicked in. That decision was made by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who served in the Obama administration, shortly before his term expired. Regardless of the agency’s leadership, however, it is expected to continue enforcing the policy as required by the ACA.
The IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment. The financial impact on businesses could be significant… Some health lawyers said the IRS lacks the authority to impose the assessments… The GOP-led Congress last year repealed the ACA’s individual mandate, which required most Americans to have insurance, as part of the tax-overhaul legislation.
Some businesses argue that the repeal of the individual mandate should also nullify the employer mandate, which was established partly to ensure consumers could meet their individual coverage requirements under the ACA.”
-Stephanie Armour, “Businesses Challenge IRS Bid to Start Enforcing Insurance Mandate,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 13, 2018 07:22pm
IRS/NOMINATIONS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The White House announced Thursday [2-8-18] that President Donald Trump will nominate Charles Rettig, a California tax lawyer, to run the Internal Revenue Service, which is implementing the GOP tax overhaul this year.
Mr. Rettig, if confirmed by the Senate, will face a number of challenges at the agency. With the new tax law kicking in this year, the IRS needs to update forms, create new definitions, write regulations and field questions from taxpayers, which tend to increase when rules change. A recent report by the IRS’s taxpayer advocate said the agency will struggle to implement the new tax law without more money. Mr. Rettig’s nomination represents a departure from the trend of picking seasoned managers to run the IRS, an institution with about 80,000 employees, as opposed to tax experts.
The IRS has seen its budget cut in recent years, and its most recent commissioner, John Koskinen, clashed repeatedly with House Republicans and had trouble getting traction for his requests for additional funding. As Mr. Trump’s pick, Mr. Rettig could have a better chance at securing more funding from a Republican-controlled Congress…
Mr. Rettig’s law practice is focused on tax controversies, essentially defending taxpayers in conflicts with the IRS. He has represented taxpayers who disclosed offshore bank accounts under an IRS program that encouraged them to come forward.”
-Peter Nicholas, “Trump Names Tax Lawyer Charles Rettig to Run IRS,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 8, 2018 02:24pm
BUDGET/IRS/TREASURY: “The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday [1-31-18] the government will most likely run out of cash to pay its bills in the first half of March unless Congress raises the federal borrowing limit.
CBO previously had projected Treasury would run out of cash in ‘late March or early April,’ but said the effects of the new tax law caused it to move up its projection.
The IRS released updated withholding tables last month to reflect changes in the new tax law that it said would boost paychecks for about 90% of American workers starting in February. But the reduced revenue means Treasury will likely have less room to maneuver before it runs out of cash and becomes unable to make on-time payments on its obligations to bondholders and other federal programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits.
CBO now estimates that, starting in February, individual income tax withholding will be roughly $10 billion to $15 billion less per month than previously expected…
The Treasury Department has been employing extraordinary measures to keep paying the government’s bills since Dec. 8, when a temporary suspension of the debt limit expired.”
-Kate Davidson, “CBO Says Treasury Could Run Out Of Cash in Early March,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 31, 2018 07:08pm
IRS/TAXES/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump will nominate tax lawyer Charles ‘Chuck’ Rettig to head the IRS, multiple sources with knowledge of the White House selection process told POLITICO on Tuesday night.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rettig would join the agency at one of its most challenging times, as it implements a sweeping new tax law with limited resources and faces a possible restructuring by Congress.
Rettig, who’s considered a tax controversy specialist, has for more than three decades represented clients before the IRS, the Justice Department, state tax authorities and other jurisdictions. He’s with the firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez PC, which is headquartered in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Rettig would replace John Koskinen, who stepped down in November at the end of his five-year term, as IRS commissioner. David Kautter, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, has been serving as acting commissioner.
White House press aides declined to comment on Rettig.
No tangible connection between Trump and Rettig was apparent, though Rettig has defended Trump’s precedent-breaking decision to shield his tax returns from public scrutiny while they are being audited, as Trump claims…
Rettig would step into the IRS just as the revenue collection agency is developing rules on the new tax law Trump signed last month, a regulatory process expected to take up much of the IRS’ bandwidth this year. The agency has been seeking extra funding from Congress in part to handle the implementation.”
-Aaron Lorenzon, “Trump picks tax lawyer as next IRS commissioner, sources say,” Politico, Jan. 23, 2018 11:21pm
IRS/STATE/TAXES: “A law that would deny or revoke passports for U.S. citizens with seriously delinquent tax debt is set to take effect later this month.
Under the law, the Internal Revenue Service is required to notify the State Department after it has certified that an individual has unpaid federal taxes, including penalties and interest, of more than $51,000. The State Department may then deny issuing or renewing a passport or revoke an existing passport. The threshold for being considered seriously delinquent will be indexed yearly for inflation.
In most cases, the State Department would move to deny or revoke a passport only if a taxpayer is subject to a lien, which advises creditors of a debt to the IRS, or a levy, which gives the IRS the authority to seize assets. The law, which was signed in December 2015, will apply to existing tax debts.
The IRS, in a news release Tuesday, ‘strongly encouraged’ taxpayers who are seriously behind on their taxes to pay what they owe or enter into a payment agreement with the service ‘to avoid putting their passports in jeopardy.’ “
-Daisy Maxey, “Coming Soon: Serious Tax Debts to Put Passport Privileges at Risk,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 16, 2018 06:01pm
GOP/IRS/STEVE MNUCHIN/TREASURY: “Republican lawmakers have said they intend to pass a technical corrections bill, but any new law is likely to need 60 votes in the Senate, a difficult hurdle. Lawmakers have already started to re-examine one change that would give some farmers and cooperatives a significant tax advantage over their competitors.
Mr. Mnuchin also said the administration is seeking additional funding for the IRS this year to implement the new law, which he said will require a tremendous amount of work by the Treasury Department and IRS…
A recent report from that agency’s in-house advocate said it would struggle to implement the new tax law without more money, after years of budget cuts. The agency needs to update forms, create new definitions, write regulations and field questions from taxpayers.
Mr. Mnuchin also said he was confident lawmakers would come to an agreement, either long-term or short-term, to fund the government and avoid a shutdown before a current short-term spending bill expires Jan. 19.
Republican lawmakers have said they intend to pass a technical corrections bill, but any new law is likely to need 60 votes in the Senate, a difficult hurdle. Lawmakers have already started to re-examine one change that would give some farmers and cooperatives a significant tax advantage over their competitors.
Mr. Mnuchin also said the administration is seeking additional funding for the IRS this year to implement the new law, which he said will require a tremendous amount of work by the Treasury Department and IRS.”
-Kate Davidson, “Steven Mnuchin Unsure if Bill Needed to Shore Up Tax Law,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 12, 2018 09:32am