Thursday, April 16, 2020

Republicans Will Transfer $90 Billion This Year From American Taxpayers To Millionaires As Part Of Coronavirus Relief Package; Less Than 3% Of Benefits Will Go To Americans Earning Less Than $100,000 A Year

Jeff Stein, Washington Post, April 14, 2020:
Tax Change In Coronavirus Package Overwhelmingly Benefits Millionaires, Congressional Body Finds

More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change tucked into the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional body expected to be released Tuesday.

The provision, inserted into the legislation by Senate Republicans, temporarily suspends a limitation on how much owners of businesses formed as "pass-through" entities can deduct against their nonbusiness income, such as capital gains, to reduce their tax liability. The limitation was created as part of the 2017 Republican tax law to offset other tax cuts to firms in that legislation.

Suspending the limitation will cost taxpayers about $90 billion in 2020 alone, part of a set of tax changes that will add close to $170 billion to the national deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the nonpartisan congressional body. ...

An analysis by the JCT found suspending the limit overwhelmingly benefits higher earners. About 82 percent of the benefits of the policy go to about 43,000 taxpayers who earn more than $1 million annually. Less than 3 percent of the benefits go to Americans earning less than $100,000 a year, the analysis found. The analysis included the impact of another tax change in the coronavirus relief legislation that allows firms to write off 100 percent rather than 80 percent of their losses, reversing another change in the 2017 tax law.

Hedge-fund investors and owners of real estate businesses are "far and away" the two prime beneficiaries of the change, said Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

"It's a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers in the midst of an economic and human tragedy," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who requested the JCT analysis along with Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), said in a statement. "Congress should repeal this rotten, un-American giveaway and use the revenue to help workers battling through this crisis."

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