Lunch Links: Tennessee Approves Tax Cut, IRS Was More Helpful This Year, Outstanding Women in Tax
April 25, 2016
Today is April 25, the most perfect date of the year. I'm pleased to share interesting tax news we've come across today, although I'm posting it a little bit after lunch as we fly across the country (more on that tomorrow).
- Lawmakers Battle Over Tax-Filing Programs: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants the IRS to prepare low-income individuals’ taxes for them, but “IRS officials have expressed doubts about the agency's ability to run a program that would be easy enough for taxpayers to use without creating a risk of hacking.”
- You Rang? IRS Was Better at Answering in 2016: The IRS answered its help line 75 percent of the time in 2016’s tax filing season, up from 37 percent last year. Average wait times also fell from 24 minutes to 10 minutes. Congress gave the IRS an extra $178 million on condition it be used to hire seasonal employees to answer taxpayers’ questions.
- Bill Gates: Carbon Tax Not Right for the U.S.: The software billionaire/philanthropist says climate change should be addressed through expanded research instead.
- Cruz: Tax Freedom Day Comes Way Too Late: Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day but Ted Cruz thinks it should be earlier.
- Tennessee Legislature Approves Hall Tax Cut, Eventual Repeal: While Tennessee doesn’t tax wage income, it does tax interest and dividends. A bill heading to the Governor drops the rate by one point immediately and sets the tax on a path to repeal. My colleague Scott Drenkard has more.
- Sanders Rejects Philadelphia Soda Tax: He says the 3-cent-per-ounce tax (or 36 cents per can, or $2.03 per 2-liter) is regressive. My colleague Jared Walczak has more details on the debate.
- Brownback Blames Budget Shortfall on Dropping Commodity Prices, Balks at Tax Increase: Kansas officials say the budget is now in the red by an enormous $290 million. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) says he’s not open to rolling back any of his 2012 tax cuts, instead suggesting the state delay highway projects for several years and auction off the state’s tobacco settlement annual payments for a lump sum. The Kansas City Star calls on lawmakers to put reversing the “pass-through exclusion” on the table; the Kansas Policy Institute says the state needs to cut spending more.
- 2016 Outstanding Women in Tax: Tax Analysts honors key House staffer Barbara Angus, academic Rita de la Feria, transfer pricing expert Diane Hay, Multistate Tax Commission head lawyer Helen Hecht, Judge L. Paige Marvel of the Tax Court, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, lawyer Carley Roberts, the OECD’s Marlies de Ruiter, merger expert Karen Gilbreath Sowell, and former COST chair Marilyn Wethekam.