Tax Quarrels, Cont'd - POLITICO

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Quick Fix — Disagreements on tax cuts and more garnered attention at a hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin but also signaled some common ground.
— Eu ropean Union officials are harmonizing their message on a new international tax plan.
— A fe deral watchdog says IRS information on virtual currency is on shaky ground.
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Driving the Day TAX CUT QUARRELS, CONTINUED: Treasury has followed public notice and comment rules in developing regulations on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act , Mnuchin told Senate Finance Committee members in response to criticism that department officials secretly did corporate interests’ bidding. That sort of charge, particularly related to regulations on a new international tax provision, spurred new legislation from a pair of Senate Democrats on the panel, as yours truly reported.
The bill from ranking member Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio would limit foreign tax credits companies can claim to lower taxes on income they earn overseas, an expansion of foreign tax credits that Wyden called a loophole. Republican Rob Portman of Ohio called that ridiculous, saying Treasury interpreted the provision exactly as intended, a point underscored in separate but similar statements issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable against the bill from Wyden and Brown. Wyden said Democrats were never consulted on the process.
Wyden and Mnuchin also sparred over congressional oversight, which Wyden said Mnuchin watered down by giving Senate Republicans banking documents on Hunter Biden but not complying with Democratic requests for President Donald Trump’s tax returns, I also reported. Mnuchin pushed back, noting that different legal standards apply, as did Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In addition, Mnuchin and Democrats squabbled about the economic effects of the two-year-old tax cuts, an argument certain to play on repeat in the buildup to this year’s presidential election. Democrats believe that middle- and lower-income taxpayers won’t see anywhere near the upside that’s flowing to top earners, which Republicans vehemently deny.
Such acrimony aside, Mnuchin let committee members know he was on board with several issues that matter to them. For example, he promised guidance within weeks on a tax credit for technology that captures carbon emissions, as Pro Energy’s Eric Wolff reported, as well as new rules on cryptocurrencies from Treasury’s anti-money laundering unit, Victoria Guida of Pro Financial Services reported. In addition, Mnuchin signaled openness to boosting a tax credit for building low-income housing, updating how Uber drivers and other so-called gig economy workers report their taxes and increasing audits on the tax credit for buying electric vehicles.
He repeated his pitch to lawmakers to fix the mistakenly lengthy write-off schedule for restaurants and retail stores to match other businesses, which can fully write off purchases when they’re made. Mnuchin also said he’d made a final decision on a new National Taxpayer Advocate, a watchdog position within the IRS that’s been vacant since July, and said he expected to make an announcement in the next few weeks.
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A COMMON GOAL: Finance ministers from the European Union plan to lock arms on taxing the global economy at next week’s Group of 20 summit in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, our Bjarke Smith-Meyer reported from Brussels. They’re aiming for a unified front to push discussions forward through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “We need to give the highest priority to ...