Trump announces tax reform framework

By Deana Stroisch

President Donald Trump unveiled the Republican framework for tax reform aimed at cutting taxes for the “everyday American,” simplifying the tax code and bringing back jobs.

The framework, developed by the Trump administration and leaders of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, suggests lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses and repealing the estate tax, which Trump described as “crushing, horrible and unfair.”

Speaking in Indiana, Trump pointed to the owner of a 168-year-old farm who feared the estate tax would prevent him from passing the farm to the next generation.

“We are not going to let that happen,” Trump said. “We are not going to let the death tax steal the American dream away from those great families.”

Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said the framework represents an important step toward a fair and equitable tax system that encourages success, savings, investment and entrepreneurship.

“Farm Bureau is encouraged to see that this framework includes important principles such as lower tax rates for individuals who own businesses, elimination of the death tax and some business interest deductibility,” Duvall said. “Farm Bureau looks forward to working with tax writers to refine the proposal to ensure that tax reform lowers effective tax rates for farm and ranch businesses.” White House _Credit AFBF (2)

The unified framework suggests:

- Doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married taxpayers who file jointly.

- Reducing the number of individual tax brackets from seven to three – 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

- Eliminating most deductions except home mortgage interest and charitable giving. Most people should be able to file taxes on a single piece of paper, Trump said.

- Limiting the business tax rate of small and family-owned businesses conducted as sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations to 25 percent.

- Reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.

- Eliminating the alternative minimum tax.

The framework remains silent on many ag-related tax priorities.

“Farmers and ranchers need permanent tax provisions like the continuation of cash accounting and like-kind exchanges, unlimited stepped-up basis and lower capital gains taxes,” Duvall said. “Agriculture is a high-risk, high-input, capital-intensive business and these provisions are essential to success. We look forward to working with Congress to assure that these meaningful reforms are included in any comprehensive tax package.” 

The House and Senate must each approve budget resolutions initiating the budget reconciliation process to allow the Senate to consider tax reform with a 51-vote threshold. Once the budget resolutions are approved, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee will begin writing and marking up the actual tax reform language.

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