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A Succinct Summary of the Key Tax Provisions

CavalryOn March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (colloquially, the “CARES Act” or the “Act”).  The CARES Act is a historic $2.2 trillion relief package enacted by lawmakers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Act is more than 880 pages in length and contains a multitude of provisions, all of which are intended to support individuals and businesses during these horrific times.

We have attempted to provide our readers with a broad overview of the most significant tax provisions of the Act.  If a provision is potentially applicable to a given situation, please read the entire provision of the Act to affirm its application.

CautionYesterday, like other commentators, we reported that, in accordance with its terms, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”) is effective on April 2, 2020.  Please be aware, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) posted on its website a statement that the Act is effective on April 1, 2020.  We assume this is not a premature April Fool’s joke.  Accordingly, since DOL is the agency enforcing the non-tax aspects of the Act, we advise employers to ready themselves for the new law one day earlier than expected.  It is better to be safe than sorry!    

FamilyPresident Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) on March 18, 2020.  The Act becomes effective April 2, 2020, and contains a number of tax provisions that fund the Act’s mandatory paid leave provisions. 

This blog post summarizes the Act’s paid leave and associated employer tax-related benefits.  The Act is broad in application, creating complexity.  In general, it applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.  We have attempted to dissect the Act in bite-sized, easily understandable chunks, removing the complexities whenever possible.

U.S. TreasuryOn March 13, 2020, President Trump issued an emergency declaration, which in part instructed the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) to provide taxpayers with “relief from tax deadlines” due to the impact of the Coronavirus.  In response, Treasury issued Notice 2020-17 (which will be published in IRB 2020-15, dated April 6, 2020).

Code Section 7508A gives Treasury authority to postpone the time to perform certain acts required under the Code for taxpayers affected by a federally declared disaster (as defined in Code Section 165(i)(5)(A)).  

On April 11, 2017, we discussed what constitutes Tax Reform. On April 24, 2017, we explored the process by which Tax Reform will likely be created by lawmakers. In our May 3, 2017 blog post, we focused on the likely timing for Tax Reform. In this blog post, we look at what Tax reform may look like.

Like one of my favorite things in this world, namely ice cream, Tax Reform also likely comes in different flavors. For starters, we have President Trump’s campaign comments on Tax Reform. Next, we have the Republican leaders’ from the U.S. House of Representatives initial draft of a Tax Reform package. Lastly, we have the White House’s April 26, 2017 one-page memorandum that broadly outlines the President’s current vision of Tax Reform.

Let’s break Tax Reform into three broad categories, namely:

  1. Estate & Gift Tax
  2. Individual Income Tax
  3. Corporate Income Tax

Tax Reform in WashingtonOn April 11, 2017, we discussed what constitutes Tax Reform. On April 24, 2017, we explored the process by which Tax Reform will likely be created by lawmakers. In this blog post, we focus our attention on the likely timing for Tax Reform.

When will we see Tax Reform? At this point in time, it is anyone’s guess. There are lots of external factors that impact the timing and possibility that Tax Reform in any shape or form will become a reality.

New Administration Doubles Down on Tax Reform Efforts

President Trump made it clear, both during his campaign and shortly after he entered the White House, that Tax Reform is a top priority. In fact, in an address to both branches of Congress on February 28, 2017, he stated that his administration “is developing historic [Tax Reform] that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone …. it will be a big, big cut.” In addition, he indicated that his administration will provide “massive” tax relief for the middle class.

Sausage makingOn April 11, 2017, we discussed what constitutes Tax Reform. In this blog post, we will explore the process by which Tax Reform will likely be created. After reading this post, if it seems to you that the legislative process for making tax laws is an awful lot like “making sausage,” you are perceptively correct.

Sausage Making

The legislative process starts with the selection of special ingredients by lawmakers, who generally keep a keen eye on the intended result. The ingredients are mixed together carefully during the legislative process. Spices and other ingredients are added from various sources (e.g., input from legislative staff, the Treasury and industry). The product that results from the process is not always what was exactly intended at the start. Consequently, it may be tweaked somewhat before it is finally packaged and presented to the public.

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Larry J. Brant
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Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder in Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.

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