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Posts Tagged ‘tax’

A few summers ago, my wife and I marked our ten-year wedding anniversary with a three-day getaway to Block Island. Our first night on the island, we went out to dinner, and while we awaited the arrival of our food, my wife shared the story of friend who had recently gotten a new job, and when she and her husband arrived at the restaurant that night to celebrate with dinner, the husband had thoughtfully arranged to have a bottle of champagne waiting at the table with a note that read, “Congratulations!”

Maybe my wife meant that as a hint; maybe she didn’t. That’s when it dawned on me: Ten years is a big deal. There are expectations involved. I should probably live up to them.

In recent days, President Trump found himself in the same uncomfortable situation I endured at that table in Block Island. Soon to mark his 100th day in office, he realized that he had done nothing to fulfill his promise to deliver a “phenomenal tax plan.” So as I did during dinner with my wife, the President scrambled for the best solution he could: a rushed, half-hearted gesture meant merely to meet his minimum obligations. There was no plan. There were no details. There was, quite literally, a one-page release with a handful of bullet points, that only served to raise more questions than answers.

But before we get to those questions, let’s take a quick look at the “plan.”

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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The flames had not yet cooled on the American Health Care Act — the GOP’s seven-years-in-the-making plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — before Republican leaders had moved on to its next top priority: tax reform. And from that emphatic pivot was born a golden moment for people like me; after all, it’s not often that tax law rises to the forefront of the public consciousness. But that’s where we’re heading…maybe for mere weeks, but possibly for months or — dare I say it? — years. A time where discussions of deductions and talk of tax brackets will dominate newspaper pages, Facebook timelines, and Twitter feeds.

Sure, these rare moments serve as career validation for people who have made the ill-advised choice to spend their lives in the bowels of the tax law, but debates over reform of those laws shouldn’t be preserved solely for us. Everyone should get in on the fun, and to that end, here’s a little primer for you: five headlines you’re sure to read about tax reform as the process unfolds.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Sometime in the past few days, the first two pages of President Trump’s 2005 Form 1040 mysteriously landed in the mailbox of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and tax professor David Cay Johnston. In the interest of full disclosure, the same two pages showed up at my house late last week, but they were shipped C.O.D., and I’d be damned if I was going to shell out the 49 cents.

Johnston shared the documents with Rachel Maddow and MSNBC, setting off BREAKING NEWS sirens that inspired millions of Americans to flip on the TV to watch Maddow unveil the President’s intimate — and private — financial information.

Now normally, the opportunity to ogle the President’s tax returns would not create a stir; after all, every sitting president since Nixon has published their returns as part of an unwritten agreement with the American people to be transparent and forthright. President Trump, quite famously, has deviated from that long-held practice, first refusing to release his returns during his campaign because he was “under constant IRS audit,” and then pointing to his subsequent election as a referendum that “no one other than journalists” cares about his taxes.

Of course, people DO care: over 1 million individuals signed an online petition insisting that Trump publish the missing returns, but to date, the President has resisted. This of course, has only added to the intrigue, and in today’s world, when there’s enough intrigue, there will eventually be a leak.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Time’s up.

On February 9th, President Donald Trump made the following promise:

“We’re going to be announcing something over the next, I would say, two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.”

Now, say what you will about Trump’s presidency, but to date, he’s followed through on his promises. He said we’ll have a wall? We’re getting a wall. He said he’d keep terrorists out? He’s enacted sweeping — and potentially unconstitutional — immigration reform. Twice. He said he’d drain the swamp? He…well, two out of three ain’t bad.

But where’s the tax plan? Drastic individual and business tax cuts were a huge part of Trump successful campaign, but in the first 50 days of his presidency, he has produced nothing.

What’s the holdup?

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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In President Trump’s recent speech to Congress, he said very little about his much-anticipated plan for tax reform. One thing he did say was this:

We will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.

This promise was surely met by cheers from coast to coast, as it should have been. But it raises an interesting question: how does a middle-class taxpayer measure whether the President delivers on his promise? Do you simply view the tax cuts for the middle class in isolation? Or must the cuts be viewed in their larger context, relative to those bestowed upon the richest Americans?

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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I’ve made no secret in this space of my unabashed admiration for Howard Stern. Long a polarizing figure, whether you love or hate Stern, I would strongly encourage you to consider what he’s been tasked with over the last thirty years: waking up each morning and providing four hours of largely commercial-free entertainment for millions of listeners as they endure their soul-crushing daily commute.

Throughout Stern’s run atop the radio world, one thing has remained constant: he is more than happy to allow those same listeners to provide their own content, as he’ll routinely afford large swaths of air time to his loyal cadre of callers. It’s part of what makes the show unique: as opposed to the sports radio world — where callers are quickly ushered off so as not to take up too much valuable air time before the next break — Stern will engage callers for as long as necessary to extract entertainment value. And those listeners reward Stern for their momentary taste of stardom with undying loyalty.

Stern Show producers are likely on the lookout for new and interesting callers. And perhaps they thought they found just that on May 19, 2015, when “Jimmy from Long Island ” called into the show. But taking that call was one Stern may come to regret.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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C corporations, like flying, were once a choice of last resort. The aversion of most taxpayers to doing business as a C corporation was attributable to the possibility of suffering a fate worse than death: DOUBLE TAXATION.

Double taxation is the hallmark of the subchapter C regime. Unique in the tax world, C corporations are first taxed on their income at the entity level. Then, when the business owner withdraws the income, the owner is taxed on the income a second time as a dividend. Under current law, the top rate on corporate income is 35%; meanwhile, the top rate on dividend income is 23.8%. As you might imagine, this can lead to painful consequences when doing business as a C corporation.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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