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A Gift or a Headache? What's in Trump's Tax Reform Plan

04-27-2017
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WASHINGTON – Just days before reaching his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump is delivering a gift to taxpayers.

On Wednesday, the president released an outline of a plan designed to reduce taxes across the board and make filing your taxes easier.

Eighty years ago, Americans had to deal with a one-page tax form with 24 lines and only a few instructions. Today, the IRS 1040 form has 79 lines and more than 200 pages of instructions.

Trump's plan promises to greatly simplify the tax code – and much more.

"We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive and we're going to cut taxes for the American people, especially low and middle income families," said Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council.

Specifically, the plan will:

  • Reduce seven personal tax brackets to three: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent         
  • Lower the business tax rate to 15 percent
  • Erase all personal tax deductions except for charitable giving and mortgage interest
  • Get rid of the alternative minimum tax
  • And once and for all, eliminate the estate tax

"We are going to double the standard deduction so that a married couple won't pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of income they earn," Cohn vowed.

But some Republicans who ran on reducing the national debt and deficit fear the president's plan further complicates the situation.

Senior administration officials say those fears won't be realized.

"This will pay for itself with growth, and with reduction of different deductions and closing loopholes," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

The gritty details are still being worked out, but through tax cuts and reform, cutting federal regulations and repealing and replacing Obamacare, the president believes the nation can return to the historic average of 3 percent annual growth – something President Barack Obama was never able to achieve.

Republicans are making another promise as well.

"And we will have an IRS that exists only to serve the taxpayer," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said.

In a sign of unity, House and Senate leaders and their money committee chairmen issued the following joint statement.

"With an eye toward fairness and simplicity, we're confident we can rebuild our tax code in a way that will grow our economy, better promote savings and investment, provide our job creators with a competitive advantage and bring prosperity to all Americans," the statement read.

But Democrats are attacking the plan.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, calls the president's plan "a massive tax giveaway to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations at the expense of middle class families."

And those criticisms could mean Republicans will be on their own when it comes to passing the biggest attempt at tax reform and tax cuts since Ronald Reagan did it more than 30 years ago.

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