Biden Wants to Raise Taxes, Yet Many Trump Tax Cuts Are Here to Stay

on Jan23
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During the presidential campaign, Mr. Biden proposed trillions of dollars in tax increases on corporations and the rich, but his plans stopped short of a full repeal of Mr. Trump’s tax law. He said he would raise income taxes to pre-Trump levels only at the top bracket, an increase to 39.6 percent from 37 percent. He called for raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, where Mr. Trump set it — still short of the top rate of 35 percent that preceded the law.

Even Mr. Biden’s international tax plan, which is meant to encourage domestic investment and job creation while raising revenue from large corporations, would work within the boundaries of what Mr. Trump and Republicans did in 2017. Instead of scrapping the overhaul, Mr. Biden would double the rate of the tax — while eliminating a new exemption that Democrats say encourages corporate investment abroad.

The upshot is that Mr. Trump’s 2017 cuts will govern tax policy for years to come, said George Callas, a managing director at Steptoe, a law firm in Washington, who helped write the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Mr. Callas said the Biden plan “does in a way concede that the new architecture of the international tax system that the T.C.J.A. created is being accepted as the architecture going forward.”

Democrats say the changes that Mr. Biden is proposing for the law would rebalance its incentives for investment and hiring toward the United States, while ensuring that corporations and the rich paid their “fair share” of taxes.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, incoming chairman of the Finance Committee, which will be the starting point in the Senate for any tax changes Mr. Biden wants to make, said in an interview that his top tax priorities in many ways matched Mr. Biden’s.

They include limiting a deduction for high earners who run companies that are not organized as corporations and overhauling the exemption for qualified business asset investment overseas — the provision that Democrats say encourages offshoring, though Republicans like Mr. Callas disagree. Mr. Wyden also wants to raise taxes on heirs of large fortunes and on investment income for high earners, through a variety of avenues.

“There is a broad swath of Senate Democrats who are in agreement that the 2017 bill was a giveaway” to the rich and multinational corporations, Mr. Wyden said. “Certainly there is support for rolling back the corporate rate provision, the individual rate being pushed up again.”

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