Good riddance to old, outdated tax system


U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse

‘And don’t let the door hit you on your way out,’ one might say to the old tax code that allocated more of American families’ earnings to the federal government. Tuesday, April 17 is the final filing day under the outdated federal tax system, thanks to successful tax reform efforts that have been signed into law.
Next tax season, 80 percent of Central Washington families who claim the standard deduction will be able to take advantage of raising it from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples. Doubling the child tax credit to $2,000 will put more money in parents’ pockets to use as they see fit to provide for their children. Taxpayers who make $75,000 or less who have been hit by the Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalty – which make up the 88 percent of all penalty payers in Central Washington – will be able to breathe a sigh of relief with the repeal of that onerous mandate.
Local businesses large and small have announced that the reduction of the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent will help them provide bigger paychecks, bonuses, benefits or increase hiring.
In Moses Lake, small businesses like Cacchiotti Orthodontics announced hourly raises for employees.
Local businesses such as Irwin Research and Development and Abbott’s Printing in Yakima have expressed optimism to the Yakima Herald at the prospect of increasing investment and giving earnings to workers rather than the federal government.
The ability to fully write-off the full value of equipment and other business assets will also help local businesses such as Buhrmaster Baking Co. in Yakima plan equipment upgrades. Chukar Cherries in Prosser has announced a $1.8 million 12,000-square-foot in part due to tax reform.
Pacific Power, which serves Yakima County, announced that it will pass on savings to customers. Washington Federal – which has branches in Moses Lake and Quincy – announced five percent merit-based increase in wages for all employees earning less than $100,000 as well as an investment in employee training programs.
The list of benefits goes on for employees of Pacific Northwest companies Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Premera Blue Cross, and Starbucks, which have announced millions in increased benefits, raises, employee education, nonprofit donations, and more.
The improvements to the tax system have been made law, and this week, the House of Representatives will consider legislation to further reform the Internal Revenue Service and improve accountability. H.R. 5444, the Taxpayer First Act, would reorganize the IRS to make the agency focus more on taxpayer customer service. H.R. 5445, the 21st Century IRS Act, would establish requirements for the IRS to improve cybersecurity and taxpayer identity protection through upgrades in information technology and electronic systems.
Paying taxes is one of the inevitabilities in life, but passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has simplified the process for filers, lowered rates for families, and allowed businesses to pass benefits onto employees. After April 17, say goodbye to the outdated tax system. Our tax code should foster opportunity and boost economic growth and competition, and with our reforms kicking in for the next filing season, Americans will continue to see the benefits.

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