Getting Into the Weeds on the Tax Bill

I have uploaded the new tax bill, the GOP explanation of the bill, and the estimates by the Republican members of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the budgetary impact of the various provisions of the bill.

The staff’s explanation (text page 61, pdf page 69) of the alimony provisions that I previously discussed  is patently false: “[T]he intent of the proposal is to follow the rule of the Supreme Court’s holding in Gould v. Gould, [245 U.S. 151 (1917)] in which the Court held that such payments are not income to the recipient.” This explanation conveniently omits the fact that the result in the Gould case was changed by statute in 1942, over 75 years ago.

The Republican JCT budgetary analysis (text page 17, pdf page 23) labels current law as being a “divorce subsidy” (quotation marks in the original). The analysis goes on to assert that “The provision recognizes that the provision of spousal support as a consequence of a divorce or separation should have the same tax treatment as the provision of spousal support within the context of a married couple.” In other words, for 75 years there has been a recognition that a divorced couple has financial burdens that are greater than a married couple and the GOP is simply going to ignore those financial burdens.

According to the analysis, this provision would provide a subsidy to support corporate tax cuts of $8.3 billion over ten years. (Ok, I lied. What the analysis actually says is that “the provision would increase revenues by $8.3 billion over” 10 years. Whatever.)

With the sufferance of the editors of this blog, I will attempt to analyze other provisions of the bill over the next couple of week.