TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, September 28, 2015

Trump's Tax Plan: 'Tax Reform That Will Make America Great Again'

Trump 3

Trump 4

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/09/trumps-tax-plan-tax-reform-that-will-make-america-great-again.html

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Comments

I wonder if "Reducing or eliminating deductions and loopholes available to the very rich" includes the home sale capital gains exemption and home mortgage interest deduction.

Posted by: Micha Elyi | Sep 28, 2015 11:53:42 AM

Does this leave the payroll tax intact then?

Posted by: rob sama | Sep 28, 2015 12:07:01 PM

Fortunately this plan appears to spare multi-billion dollar college endowment funds from taxation.

Posted by: AMT buff | Sep 28, 2015 12:23:48 PM

The thought of so many people no longer having skin in the game is troubling. It divides the nation into givers and takers.

Posted by: paulejb | Sep 28, 2015 12:51:59 PM

I wonder if he's keeping the mortgage and / or charitible giving deductions.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip | Sep 28, 2015 1:23:53 PM

The KISS method to tax reform,Makes perfect sense to me.

Posted by: rich k | Sep 28, 2015 1:47:44 PM

I second paulejb's comment - taking people off the tax rolls frees them up to vote themselves benefits using other people's money, which eventually brings ruin.

Posted by: Brad B | Sep 28, 2015 5:40:17 PM

Paulson - Forty seven percent of us pay no federal income tax, so we're already a nation divided of givers and takers.

Posted by: Cranky Old Guy | Sep 28, 2015 6:17:33 PM

"I second patient's comment" -- don't forget, the government unions also vote themselves taxpayer benefits.

Posted by: Cranky Old Guy | Sep 28, 2015 6:24:03 PM

Micha Elyi, I love ya', man.

That's not in reply to your question, particularly.

It's just that everywhere I go and I might be interested in commenting, you're usually there and you've usually either made an intelligent comment or asked an intelligent question already.

This whole web's like a Manhattan street at morning rush with a zillion passers-by, all unfamiliar, rarely interacting save with a shove or a grimace. So it's nice to see a familiar face (so to speak) and associate it, not with some obnoxious troll, but with somebody who interacts reasonably with others.

In an era when people behind keyboards regularly exibit vacuousness or callowness or unrestrained venom, such consistent good behavior merits reward, or at least favorable comment.

Kudos to you, sir.

Posted by: R.C. | Sep 28, 2015 7:45:45 PM

I always thought the simplest way to handle the "too many people pay nothing at all" problem would be to take your desired highest tax rate (say, 30%) and then have everyone pay taxes equal to their INCOME PERCENTILE, multiplied by that rate.

So, a person who made more money annually than 70% of everyone else (70th percentile) would pay 70% of 30%...which is to say, 21%.

A person who made exactly the 50th percentile, with half of America making more and half making less, would pay half of 30%, or 15%.

And a person who was in the 0th percentile, making less than everyone else, would pay 0% of 30%, or nothing.

What I like about it is that:

1. The rates scale very smoothly, so that there's not much incentive to cheat your way down to the next-lowest tax bracket, 'cause it won't make much difference.

2. The rates aren't arbitrary, but proceed directly from logic about who makes more than you, and who makes less. This is done openly and directly: You know perfectly well that those making a little more than you are taxed at a slightly higher rate, and those making a lot more than you are taxed at a much higher rate. Want them to pay more? Very well: Increase the top tax rate...but that'll raise your own taxes a bit, also. (As it should!)

3. Everybody but the very lowest income earners will pay something. Does earning $12,000 mean that you're making more than the bottom 10% of income earners? Fine: Pay 10% of 30%, or 3% ($360). What? You wish that rate was lower? Very well: Either argue for more deductions, or argue for lowering the top rate.

4. It makes everyone aware of how much better-off they are than some other people. ("Holy crap, I only make $26,700, and I'm better-off than half of the single people in the country?!") This can be sobering information, but if taken the right way, it can also encourage charitable giving. For example, my wife and I do the "tithing" thing, but we give additionally above-and-beyond that to various charitable causes, in proportion to our income percentile. As that goes up -- and the figures are broadly available -- so does our giving. "From he to whom much is given, much is expected."

Just a thought.

Posted by: R.C. | Sep 28, 2015 8:19:02 PM

Read the thing: "Charitable giving and mortgage interest deductions will remain unchanged for all taxpayers."

Posted by: Jack Bogdanski | Sep 29, 2015 1:30:09 AM

Ralph, to answer your question, note that the plan includes: "Charitable giving and mortgage interest deductions will remain unchanged for all taxpayers."
The aspect that I personally like seeing is Trump's proposal for a low tax on all business (15%) along with an elimination of deferral to truly level the playing field for pure domestic versus MNCs. The fact that Trump hasn't followed the money from the MNCs spending big on lobbying for a territorial system is pretty impressive.
The one point that I would change slightly is that his 10% one-time repatriation tax should not apply to overseas profits that are the result of blatant profit shifting, which can be reasonably identified. Rather, the 35% rate should apply to such shifted profits. All others can have the 10% preferential rate.

Posted by: Jeff Kadet | Sep 29, 2015 1:31:35 AM