January 14, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Ten worst tax policy ideas of 2019. It is that time again. TaxVox has whittled down its list of the year's bad tax ideas to 10, here they are. The government shutdown. The federal government started 2019 largely closed for business, as Congress and President Trump haggled over funding for his Mexican border wall. The 35 day partial shutdown was the    longest in US history and dragged on until Jan. 25. Among the agencies hamstrung by the shutdown was the IRS, which threw the beginning of tax filing season into confusion. The no-refund myth. The IRS issued a routine report after the first week of the 2019 filing season that showed fewer and smaller tax refunds than in past years. Democrats took the bait . Just one problem, the story was wrong. Tax season 2019 refunds ended up looking a lot like 2018s. Ten worst tax policy ideas of 2019.

The capital investment myth. This was another one tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Only it was being peddled by the Trump Administration and its supporters. The theory: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would generate a historic business investment boom, making workers so much more productive that their incomes would grow by at least $4000 annually. There was just one hitch: it wasn't true. Or to be charitable, it was wildly premature. Business investment bumped up just before and after Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but capital spending sagged in the second half of 2018.

Opportunity zones. This is one Tax Cuts and Jobs Act prediction that seems to be coming true. The 2017 law doled out sweet capital gains tax breaks to investors in designated distressed Opportunity Zones. But, to the surprise of few, many of the benefits seem to be going to investors in high end areas. A little political influence here, a phone call there, the examples were all over the place.

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