Congressional tax writers continue work as Memorial Day recess approaches

Members of Congress testified before the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Tax Policy on May 12, offering the subcommittee proposed tax legislation, ranging from provisions benefitting lower-income individuals, to pass-through businesses, to large companies.

Thirty five members of Congress offered their thoughts in three-minute increments to subcommittee chair, Charles Boustany, R-La., and ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., testified that his bill, the Main Street Fairness Act, would ensure that pass-through businesses would not be taxed at a higher rate than corporations. “My bill simply says, lower those tax rates to the same, nothing higher than, corporate rates going forward,” Buchanan said.

The diversity of the members testifying, who serve on various committees representing different districts, reflected myriad policies proposed, many of which are targeted to benefit the members’ constituencies. While a number of the proposals are unlikely to be considered by the full Ways and Means Committee, the hearing does reflect the committee’s willingness to consider members’ ideas.

Meanwhile, in Congress’s upper house, the Senate Finance Committee announced on May 11 that it would hold a hearing on May 17 regarding a proposal by Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on corporate integration. The hearing is expected to be the first of at least two hearings on the subject. While full details on the integration plan are scant, the proposal is expected to include a deduction for dividends paid, with a nonrefundable withholding tax of 35% on both interest and dividends. “If done right, corporate integration promises to eliminate the distortive double taxation of corporate earnings and further modernize the tax code, including simplification of the system and an end to some of the gamesmanship,” Hatch said.

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