Here's How Senate Republicans Plan to Reform the Tax Code

By Russell, Jason | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, December 11, 2014 | Go to article overview

Here's How Senate Republicans Plan to Reform the Tax Code


Russell, Jason, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


On Thursday, the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee released a report on the prospects of tax reform in the next session of Congress. The report gives insight into what policy reforms Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, might push as he takes over the committee when Republicans assume control of the Senate next month.

"I do not believe we can consider tax reform to be an optional exercise -- it is a matter of necessity," Hatch wrote in the report's foreword. "That is why I am optimistic that there is enough goodwill in Washington and throughout our country to make this effort successful."

Committee staff listed seven principles to guide tax reform. "The first three principles are adopted from President Reagan's tax reform in the mid-1980s, with four additional principles that are critical in today's world: (1) efficiency and economic growth, (2) fairness, (3) simplicity, (4) revenue neutrality, (5) permanence, (6) competitiveness, and (7) incentives for savings and investment."

On simplicity, committee staff lamented the excessive number of tax expenditures. They also recommended elimination of the alternative minimum tax. Simplification efforts would result in more compliance by American taxpayers at a lower cost.

Committee staff also emphasized permanence and certainty in the tax code. The current debate over tax extenders shows why this is important. Some companies rely on certain tax extenders to make important business decisions, such as the research and development credit or bonus depreciation. Putting these sections of the tax code in question every year or two makes it difficult for business to operate. Proper comprehensive tax reform would change the code once and minimize future alterations. …

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