Who Benefits From Trump’s Tax Plan?

Who are the Winners & Losers in Trump’s Proposed  Tax Plan

While the details are just emerging and the final plan is sure to change, the tax overhaul that Trump & the Republican party recently unveiled has clear beneficiaries; and early indications are it is NOT the “middle class”.  In fact, according to this analysis, Trump’s tax plan will see the majority of the benefits—i.e. tax cuts— to the rich; particularly the top 1% & 0.1%.

 In Indianapolis last Wednesday, Trump outlined his proposal and stated, “…the biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor and as wages start going up at levels that you haven’t seen in many years…”.   This is your classic “trickle down economics” argument that has been made for decades; that by cutting taxes on big businesses and the wealthy, the average American worker will see the benefits work their way down to them in the form of higher wages and more jobs.  The only problem is that study after study has shown these benefits never really reach the middle class.  Staying true to theory of trickle down, Trump proposes slashing taxes dramatically for Americans who earn north of $730,000 a year.

What’s in Trump’s Tax Plan? 

Although far from finalized, the main points of the plan that affect Individual taxpayers are:

  1. Reduce the tax bracket from seven brackets to three: with tax rates of 12%, 25% and 35% percent with a possibility of adding a fourth bracket.
  2. Doubling the standard deduction from $6,000 to $12,000 for individuals and from $12,000 to $24,000 for those married filing jointly.
  3. Creation of a new tax credit for non-child dependents while increasing the current child tax credit.
  4. Elimination of most itemized deductions but keeping the mortgage interest and charitable giving deductions.  Tax incentives for retirement saving and education plans will be retained; i.e SEP, Traditional, Roth IRA’s and 529 college saving plans etc.

As far as business & corporate taxes, this proposal is just as ambitious.  In President Trump words: “This will be the lowest top marginal income tax rate for small and midsize businesses in this country in more than 80 years…”.  Under this plan, businesses and corporations would see:

  1. A decrease in overall tax rate from 35% to 20%
  2. A new tax rate of 25% for “pass-through” income for businesses like sole proprietorships and partnerships which currently make up nearly 95% of all businesses which are taxed at the rate of their owners.
  3. Limitation of the deductibility of corporate interest expenses, in exchange for the option to immediately expense business investments
  4. Preserves tax credits for research and development and low-income-housing from a business standpoint.

Although the tax plan has a vast amount of changes for individuals & business on many levels, the benefits overwhelming favor the affluent and business owners.

How is the Public Reacting to the Trump Tax Plan?

Proponents of this tax plan for companies are overjoyed: “An encouraging step forward in our shared goal of a tax system that delivers higher economic growth, job creation and wages that our country desperately needs.” said Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase and the chairman of the Business Roundtable.  John Stephens, the AT&T chief financial officer, said it was “A big step toward meaningful reform that would encourage more investment and job creation in the United States.”

Opponents like Edward D. Kleinbard, a tax expert at the University of Southern California law school calls Trump’s Tax Plan “a very cynical document…The extraordinary thing about the proposal is that we know that it loses trillions of dollars in revenue, yet at the same time the only people we can identify as guaranteed winners are the most affluent.”  Even Republican Rand Paul recently came out against Trump’s tax plan calling it a “middle class tax hike”.


This analysis from the Tax Policy Center above clearly illustrates how the current tax proposal favors the wealthy; particularly  the top 1 percent and top 0.1% them.  Pay particular attention to the Share of Total Federal Tax Change.  It breaks down U.S. income earners into 5 categories—from those making the least in the lowest quintile to those making the most in the top quintile.  As you can see, the top quintile reaps a whopping 86.6% of these potential tax cuts!  The other 4 quintiles combined would only realize 13.4% of these cuts. Parsing these numbers even further for the top quintile the majority of tax cuts go to the top 1% (79.7%) and the top 0.1% (39.6%) which equate to an average tax cut of $207,060 & $1,022,120 respectively.  Most Americans don’t even come close to earning the amount of money the top 1% would gain in tax cuts. 

Time & time again, Trump has pledged on the campaign trail and as President that the middle class will see the rewards of his tax cuts and it was time for the rich to pay their fair share by closing tax loopholes amongst other things. However, it is hard to come to any other conclusion than this tax plan, if passed, would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and not the middle class. In fact, this plan may create even more tax loopholes that would directly benefit wealthy families.

How Does Trump’s Tax Plan Affect You?

If the previous health care battles are any guide, the political fight to get these cuts enacted will be fierce and has only just begun.  This means that the ordinarily taxpayer can most likely expect tax filing delays—similar or worse than in recent years—while congress bickers…especially for taxpayers who file early.  It will be a while before we can really dig into the ultimate affects of whichever Trump’s tax proposal is ultimately passed.  One thing is for certain: In it’s current form the only real beneficiaries to this proposal are those that make nearly a $1 million or more annually.  Because of all this uncertainty and the prospect for an increase in taxes for the middle class, hiring the services of a Tax Professional this tax season may be well worth the money as they can help you navigate this complicated tax climate as well as potentially unlock benefits you might ordinarily overlook.

If you’d like more information about out how Trump’s existing or eventual tax proposal will affect you, feel free to contact us via the web or call us toll-free at (888) APRIL-15 to speak to an R&G Brenner Tax Professional.

Please feel free to comment below on Trump’s proposed tax overhaul.

Does The Tax Code Favor The Rich?

New taxes in 2014 brought in an additional $23 Billion from the wealthy, but the tax code still heavily favors the 1%
New taxes in 2014 brought in an additional $23 Billion from the wealthy, but the tax code still heavily favors the 1%

Where the federal government is concerned, taxing the public is pretty much equivalent to federal spending. Don’t get lost in the legal language associated with taxing—tax credits, tax deductions, exemptions, and exclusions are colorful words that describe adding money to bank accounts, not subtracting money from them.

In 2013, the Corporation for Enterprise Development conducted an analysis of tax subsidies for education, housing, savings, and retirement. The organization discovered that of $340 billion in tax subsidies issued by the government, $95 billion wound up being distributed to the top 1 percent of income earners. By comparison, approximately $90 billion was divided among the bottom 80 percent.

On top of that, the Congressional Budget Office’s 2013 report analyzed the top 10 tax subsidies. These subsidies have a combined value of $900 billion. Congress found that more that 50 percent of these subsidies were issued to those in the top 20 percent of earners. Moreover, the extremely wealthy 1 percent of Americans, with a median income of $7.6 million annually, received an average tax return of $33,391. Meanwhile, those earning less than $65,000 per year make up 60 percent of the population and received an average income tax return of less than $1,000.

For example, in 2014, retirement tax spending in the United States totaled $146 billion. This was an increase from 2013’s spending budget of $128 billion. The Corporation for Enterprise Development found that these subsidies also unfairly favored high income earners. Of the total retirement tax spending, the top 1 percent received an average return of $13,088 while the lower 60 percent of income earners received an average of just $200.

The Push for Change

In recent years, conservatives have been applying pressure to reduce government spending. Because of this pressure, the federal tax code has become the main source of influence over social policies relating to retirement, housing, and education. Consequently, the budget for federal spending through taxes in these areas has been increasing steadily. For instance, federal tax spending in these combined areas totaled $540 billion in 2013, then increased to $640 billion in 2014. Nevertheless, combined federal tax spending in 15 other areas, such as health and human services, transportation and labor, totaled $464 billion.

Anti-Tax Advocates

Several anti-tax advocates have argued against the federal government’s notion that reductions in taxes are equivalent to public assistance. In fact, the Tax Policy Director of Americans for Tax Reform spokesperson Ryan Ellis stated “That’s just stupid and dishonest. Letting people keep their own money does not increase the size of government in any way.”

Many advocates for tax reform would like to see more tax dollars spent in areas that help the 27 million low-wage workers in need of assistance just to make ends meet rather than lining the pockets of the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers. The Earned-Income Tax Credit and the Tax Saver’s Credit are good examples of programs being highlighted by such advocates. Some argue that subsidies such as those mentioned above are the most effective anti-poverty measures in place at the moment and represent the direction that tax code reform should take.

The Obama administration has responded to current tax spending concerns by adding a $500 tax credit for working parents with children into the budget for 2016. The White House approximates that the majority of this credit will benefit workers earning less than $120,000 per year, while some credit will benefit households that earn up to $210,000 annually.

All Is Fair?

According to some economists, tax code spending is fair, at least from an accountant’s perspective. These economists argue that low-wage workers who use vouchers to help make rent payments are benefitting from the same incentives as a high-income earner deducting mortgage interests so that they can take a vacation. In fact, each of these incentives is derived from the federal tax budget. But this ignores the much larger issue of income inequality in the United States, and the role that the current tax code plays in perpetuating that inequality.

The Results Are In

Tax policies often lean in favor of the rich for a number of reasons. For instance, high-income earners are much more likely to receive passive income, which is taxed differently. High-income earners are also overwhelmingly more likely to be in a position to take advantage of corporate tax shelters and loopholes. Furthermore, wealthy households have more assets, such as houses and retirement accounts. As a result, wealthy households are able to capitalize on a greater amount of tax subsidies. The question isn’t whether the tax code favors the rich. In its current form, it does. The question is what we as a nation will do about it.