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Infrastructure Talks End, Tax Returns of the Richest 25 Americans Shared

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Infrastructure talks between Biden and the GOP are done. On to Plan B. Ongoing talks between President Biden and a small group of Republican senators have ended with no agreement. The two sides never got closure on either the amount of spending or how to pay for it. Biden will now sit down with a separate bipartisan group of 20 senators to try to find a middle ground. 

ProPublica publishes tax records of the richest 25 Americans. The news organization obtained confidential tax records of the 25 richest Americans. It found they paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes from 2014 through 2018 when their wealth grew by over $400 billion. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden called the leak “a massive, unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer records.” IRS commissioner Charles Rettig said an investigation already has begun. Disclosing taxpayer information is a federal crime.

Will the leak boost support for higher taxes on the rich? The ProPublica story shows that some of the nation’s richest people paid no income tax in some years despite a great increase in their wealth. It appears to reflect untaxed unrealized capital gains. Some Democrats said they are outraged by the situation. But will the leak increase support for Biden’s plan to tax unrealized gains at death? Or for a wealth tax?

On the Hill. Today the Senate Finance Committee will vote on the nominations of Lily Batchelder, Ben Harris, Nellie Liang, and Jonathan Davison for positions at Treasury. Yesterday the panel heard testimony from IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on the IRS fiscal year 2022 budget. Rettig said IRS telework would likely continue indefinitely. 

Colorado’s tax reform heads to Governor Jared Polis’ desk. Once he signs the legislation, the state will expand eligibility for and more than double the amount of the state earned income tax credit, and fund the Colorado Child Tax Credit. It also will increase the number of businesses that will be exempt from business personal property tax.

Reforming Social Security to help the poor. TPC’s Gene Steuerle and the Urban Institute’s Karen Smith describe how Social Security reform could help low-income retirees by creating a basic minimum benefit. Combined with other reforms, such a benefit could be created at minimal additional cost. 

A global 15 percent corporate minimum tax is not universally loved. Big tech companies support the Group of 7’s agreement on a 15 percent rate but they also want countries to drop their taxes on digital services. Goldman Sachs estimates the minimum tax would reduce 2022 earnings per share by 1 percent to 2 percent. Meanwhile, the government of Ireland, with its 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, is not fan. To learn more about the effects of Biden’s corporate tax proposals, join today’s joint TPC/University of North Carolina conference. Register and tune in at 9:30

For the latest tax news, subscribe to the Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekdays at 8:00 am (Mondays only when Congress is in recess). We welcome tips on new research or other news. Email Renu Zaretsky at dailydeduction@taxpolicycenter.org.

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