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Tax Reform, My Way


We need real tax reform and we need it now. Previous attempts have been made at tax reform, but they have only provided band-aid solutions that have still left us with too many quirks, complication, and read tape. There are several things Congress could do to simply the tax system and benefit the taxpayers and federal budget at the same time.

First, I would institute a simple two-tiered tax on earnings and passive income (interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.) that are not in a tax-sheltered account. They would be treated equally and no distinction would be made between long-term and short-term capital gains. Individuals (whether married or not) who have taxable earnings and passive income of less than $30,000 would pay no federal taxes. Amounts equal to or greater than $30,000 but less than $200,000 would be taxed at 25%. Amounts equal to or greater than $200,000 would be taxed at 30%.

Second, I would get rid of the quarterly estimated tax requirements and associated penalties for everyone except those who are habitually late (after April 15) filing their return and/or paying their taxes. Few things in our tax system are more complicated than trying to figure whether or not you paid enough estimated taxes, whether they were paid on time, and/or the penalty for not doing so. Even the IRS acknowledges how complicated it is to figure out this penalty, as they offer to calculate it for you.

Third, I would eliminate the annual limits on capital losses as well as those special "wash sale" rules, which further restrict the writing off of capital losses. The reporting of capital gains has never been limited and neither should capital losses. "Wash sale" rules restrict the writing off of capital losses for stocks and mutual funds sold at loss but bought back again within 30 days. As I mentioned in a previous writing, these rules can get very complicated, with those for figuring the estimated tax penalty being the only ones that are more difficult to understand.

Fourth, I would keep personal exemptions and child tax credits intact but eliminate all deductions except for charitable contributions and mortgage interest on one's primary dwelling. There would be no standard deduction or Earned Income Tax Credit.

Fifth, I would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). This is probably the third most complicated item in the tax law. It was designed to make sure the rich pay at least some taxes, but the elimination of most deductions would accomplish this goal now by taking away most of their shelters.

Sixth, I would make some adjustments to inheritance and gift taxes. For the most part, they would not be treated any differently than ordinary income. However, there would be some exceptions. Inheritances and gifts passed from one spouse to another would be exempt from federal taxes. Inheritances of family farms and other legitimate businesses by any family member from another would not be taxable.

These changes would benefit individuals by making the tax system less complicated for everyone and taking a smaller percentage of income from most taxpayers (especially the middle class). The government would benefit from collecting more taxes because more people would be working and receiving higher incomes (as this system would encourage more investment in infrastructure). Also, more people would be encouraged to make more taxable passive income. The current system discourages taxable passive income. In addition, the extremely wealthy would have fewer options for sheltering their income.

Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.


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Taxes - Google News

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Legislator: Delay paying property taxes - Peninsula Daily News


Peninsula Daily News

Legislator: Delay paying property taxes
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An S.C. House panel unveiled a proposal Thursday to increase the taxes on groceries and power bills in the Palmetto State. But that panel also proposes cutting other taxes as part of a tax-reform package that House Speaker Jay Lucas says will make the ...

An old tax scam — with a troubling new twist - Washington Post


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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who called raising gas taxes a 'horrible idea,' says Trump is considering a hike - CNBC


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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday confirmed that President Donald Trump is open to raising federal fuel taxes, saying it's logical to charge drivers for road improvements. Three years ago, Ross denounced calls to raise the gas tax, saying ...

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Some of the world's largest technology firms are facing hefty new bills as the UK government moves to fundamentally change the way they are taxed. Google and Facebook are braced for significant changes in the tax system after the Treasury told the BBC ...
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5 Ways to Avoid Paying Taxes on Your Social Security Benefits - Yahoo Finance


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If you file an individual return and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may owe income tax on up to 50 percent of benefits. Earn more than that, and up to 85 percent of your benefits could be subject to taxes. For those filing a ...

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How the standard tax deduction could cost you - USA TODAY


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“I have my people do a quick little check that says, 'OK, how much did you pay in state income tax on your W-2s, how much have you paid for real estate tax and how much have you paid for mortgage interest?' If those are getting you close to that $12 ...

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