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Final GOP plan still leaves the wealthy as the biggest winners – The Denver Post

By Jeff Stein, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON – The final Republican tax bill contains slightly more in tax relief for the middle class than did its earlier versions, but the wealthy remain the biggest winners in the plan, a nonpartisan tax analysis group concluded Monday.

The GOP bill, which Republicans expect to pass through the House and Senate this week, would lower taxes for 95 percent of Americans in 2018, but on average the cuts available to the highest earners far exceed those of people making less, according to the Tax Policy Center.

In 2018, taxpayers earning less than $25,000 would receive an average tax cut of $60, the center found. Those earning between $49,000 and $86,000 would get an average cut of about $900; those earning between $308,000 and $733,000 would receive an average cut of $13,500; and those earning more than $733,000 would receive an average cut of $51,000.

“In general, higher-income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income,” the report said.

Republicans this week plan to hold votes in the House and Senate on a final version of their tax plan, which President Donald Trump could then sign into law. The plan is a compromise between a measure the House passed in November and one the Senate passed earlier this month, though it also included some provisions that did not come from either previous version.

Among the three bills, the House bill was most skewed toward the wealthy, while the final version was the least, said Tax Policy Center director Mark Mazur, who stressed that the bill’s many provisions complicate sweeping assessments of its impact.

In the final version of the bill, lawmakers reduced the tax rate on income above $1 million, but they also added new benefits for low- and middle-income families seeking to take advantage of a newly expanded child tax credit.

“The Senate bill was a little less regressive than the House bill, and this appears to be a little less regressive than the Senate bill,” Mazur said. “But, overall, the conference agreement is more regressive than current law.”

As written, the bill becomes less generous for individuals in later years, as many of the tax benefits for individuals have set expiration dates. By 2027, 53 percent of Americans would pay more in taxes, according to the TPC. Republicans have argued that future lawmakers will intervene to stop the cuts from expiring, noting that many of the tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush were initially set to expire but later extended by Congress and President Barack Obama.

The bill would also make large cuts to the estate tax, a levy on inheritances charged only to the very wealthy. Under the plan, a couple could pass on as much as $22 million in assets without paying the tax.

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