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    House Continues to Thwart Democrats' Efforts to Get Trump Returns

    The House rebuffed Democrats' latest attempt to obtain President Trump's tax returns May 24, marking the eighth time Republicans have shot down such efforts.
     
    The House voted 225 to 187 to block a privileged resolution introduced May 23 by Ways and Means member Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., that would require the House to request the president's tax returns for 2006 through 2015. 

    IT Modernization Program Biggest Casualty of Proposed IRS Cuts

    A major reduction in funds allocated to the IRS's business systems modernization program, tied to information technology, accounts for almost three-quarters of the $ 239 million cut President Trump has proposed for the agency's fiscal 2018 budget.
     
    However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated his desire to upgrade technology at the IRS and his department, pointing to his own technology background during a May 24 House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the administration's budget proposal.

    Ways and Means Clears 3 Bills to Fine-Tune AHCA

    House Ways and Means Committee Republicans approved three bills May 24 to amend the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) to clarify requirements for healthcare tax credits, while sweeping aside amendments offered by committee Democrats.
     
    During a lengthy committee markup, the committee approved the Veterans Equal Treatment Ensures Relief and Access Now (VETERAN) Act (H.R. 2372), the Broader Options for Americans Act (H.R. 2579), and the Verify First Act (H.R. 2581).

    White House Eyeing Longer Budget Window for Tax Reform

    White House officials offered support May 24 for the idea of lawmakers stretching the budget window beyond the traditional 10-year period, as a possible means of advancing tax reform through the budget reconciliation process.
     
    The Trump administration is exploring the idea, according to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who spoke during a House Budget Committee hearing.

    New Estimates Show AHCA Would Slash $662 Billion in ACA Taxes

    New estimates that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) would lower the deficit despite cutting revenues by almost $ 1 trillion - including $ 662 billion from the elimination of taxes enacted under the Affordable Care Act - have left Republican leaders optimistic that the bill can now move forward.
     
    House Republican leaders were quick to praise the Congressional Budget Office's May 24 estimate that the overall bill would reduce the deficit - a key factor in determining whether the bill would comply with the Senate's budget reconciliation rules.

    U.K. Defends Work Helping Developing Nations Adapt to New Tax Standards

    The U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) has defended itself against a recent report from an aid watchdog criticizing it for failing to do enough to help developing nations benefit from new tax standards, noting its progress in boosting developing countries' tax administration capacity.

    ...
    In a report published on September 27, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), which scrutinizes U.K. aid spending, noted that the DFID has made some good progress in building capacity in its partner developing countries to adapt to international tax standards led by the G-20 and OECD.

    Officials Open to Clarifying Political Subdivision Regs

    Officials on June 6 appeared willing to clarify provisions in controversial proposed regulations that would redefine the meaning of political subdivision in issuing tax-exempt bonds.
     
    At a hearing at IRS headquarters in Washington, Spence Hanemann, branch 5 attorney, IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Financial Institutions and Products), acknowledged concerns expressed in more than 100 comments on REG-129067-15 (Doc 2016-3660), which came out in February and has been criticized by representatives of the public finance community who fear it will cause uncertainty and disruption in the financial markets. The proposed regs say that to qualify as a political subdivision, an entity must be governmentally controlled, with control defined as ongoing rights or power to direct significant actions of the entity. (Prior coverage (Doc 2016-3702).)
     
    A political subdivision must also serve a governmental purpose and provide a significant public benefit, with no more than incidental benefit to private persons. The proposed regs retain the requirement that a political subdivision be able to exercise at least one sovereign power -- eminent domain, police power, or taxing power.

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