Author Topic: Republican Tax Plan 2017  (Read 72118 times)

Daisy

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #700 on: November 28, 2017, 11:49:57 AM »
I don't remember if my fellowship stipend was taxed back in the day when I did my masters degree. I was so low-income though that it probably wasn't much tax...don't know.

When my employer paid for another masters degree, it was considered income and I had to pay income tax on it, even though I never received the actual income in money form. The company directly paid the tuition.

I didn't realize stipend payments for graduate degree were not taxed.

They are, we are referring to tuition waivers, not stipends.

Some stipends are seen as payment for teaching and therefore taxed as earned income, including FICA. Some are awards and therefore exempt from FICA. However, they are still income to be reported.

Now that I think about it, I did not have to pay income tax on the fellowship amount that went towards my tuition, only on the stipend. It makes sense now.

But when my employer paid for another masters, I did have to pay income tax on it...weird.

Glenstache

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #701 on: November 28, 2017, 11:52:30 AM »
There is a fundamental underlying question of whether the government should be adjusting the tax code to encourage/discourage activities. I think the answer is "yes" and that as a society we benefit from doing what we can to make education more affordable. The directed taxation of endowments and stipends hurts our educational system. It is important to note that universities are not funded strictly through tuition. For the big research institutions, a significant portion of the funding has come through research grant overhead. This is to a large extent a system that evolved following WWII and during the cold war. As DOD-driven funding has dropped, it has changed university budgets. I'm not so certain that university budgets are as fungible as some commenters above indicate. I think that arguing that decreasing funding to universities will force them to reduce tuition is not correct and not how the market will respond. I know that in Washington state it has been exactly the opposite when State-funding to UW decreased during the recession and the university had to increase tuition even after doing what it could to tighten its belt.
https://www.aaas.org/page/historical-trends-federal-rd


Bottom line: we should fund research and education heavily to remain competitive over the decade time scales. The gains from this investment will help most of us, even if we are not direct recipients of that education. I am beyond the education pipeline and still want to be taxed to pay for this system. As an employer, I need trained scientists coming out of the universities to fill our open job positions.

Wexler

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #702 on: November 28, 2017, 11:53:50 AM »

Because it's a tax loophole. Employer perks are wage income and should be taxed. If they are not taxed, they are tax loopholes (like your employer-based health insurance, which is the biggest tax loophole in America). It's no different at a university just because the perk happens to be reduced tuition.

Is the bill closing even one CORPORATE tax loophole???  Corporations keep their SALT deduction and get a 20% rate, but all of a sudden the Republicans think it makes sense to take away loopholes for individuals??  They keep the carried interest loophole benefiting hedge fund managers but make tuition waivers for grad students taxable???

Yup.  If loopholes are terrible, then this bill doesn't meaningfully address that problem.  I'm actually OK with some loopholes going away, but this tax bill seemed designed to close them for the sole purpose of funneling more money to corporations and the 0.1% and to blow up the deficit.  It's such a heavy lift that they are left with raising taxes on grad students to even try to raise revenues to make up for the lost revenues from corporations. 


keyvaluepair

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #703 on: November 28, 2017, 11:55:57 AM »
Same here as a grad student. When I did my Ph.D. at a prominent university near Palo Alto, my fellowship certainly did not allow me any sort of a comfortable living. Adding taxes on top of that would have made it pretty unlikely that I could have supported myself without dumpster diving. The Republican plan seems to simply maintain or increase existing corporate tax loopholes & taxing already impoverished grad students seems like a petty fuck-you to grad universities.

And BTW, the conservatives of today don't seem like actual conservatives - they just seem like religious/ethno-nationalists <dons asbestos suit>.

jean

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #704 on: November 28, 2017, 04:18:05 PM »
And why is everyone ignoring the sunset provisions of the tax bill?  If doubling the standard deduction is indeed better for everyone, what happens when that goes away in 7 years? 
One theory is that the individual tax cuts will be made permanent too, eventually.  It is very hard to raise taxes in the US.  But they can't write that into this bill, because it costs too much.  So, they won't do it now, but they'll do it before they sunset.  Isn't that what happened with the bush tax cuts?  Then, they will come after all the social programs and "entitlements" because "the country can't afford them".  Of course we can't afford them, but we can afford big tax cuts. Not sure this is how it will play out, but my dad is convinced :)

It isn't so easy for universities to just increase stipends to compensate.  The money for the increased stipend has to come from somewhere, such as 1) increased tuition for all 2) increased cost to fund a grad student on a research grant 3) endowments (less common). Also, many funding agencies have maximum allowable stipend levels that they will pay. I suspect grad students would just be getting a bill for 2018 because universities can't respond quickly enough. Much research funding comes from federal sources, so increasing the stipend would come from government funds in many cases.  Since there are (I assume, but seems like a good assumption) no plans to increase research funding, this will either lead to increased tuition or fewer graduate students doing research.  Or both.  SAD!

My best guess is that this provision won't survive into law (or at least there will be a grad student exception), but maybe I'm just an optimist.

inline five

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #705 on: November 28, 2017, 04:29:26 PM »
Looking at most large universities, they run huge surpluses especially when you account for their endowments growing.

Perhaps they should reduce tuition, this neutering any tax consequences. I did the math with IIRC MIT which showed they could cover all their students costs at their sticker price of tuition and still have a couple hundred mil leftover a year if they withdrew their endowment at a 4% rate.

JLee

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #706 on: November 28, 2017, 05:15:03 PM »
taxes going up significantly for grad students.  I can see why they are upset.

I'm pretty sure this is a feature and not a bug.  Conservatives hate graduate students, educated peoples, and all forms of scientists. 

Educated scientists gave us the theory of evolution and birth control.  Educated scientists tend to doubt the revealed truth of Divine scripture, like when it says animals could talk and the sun stopped in the sky.  Educated scientists question the authority of societally enforced gender discrimination and keep making noises about the wage gap, when they should be telling their womenses to get back in the kitchen.  Educated scientists fight against teaching creationism in public schools.  Clearly, educated scientists oppose the GOP ideology in every form, so why should the GOP encourage anyone else to become one?  Better to just tax them into Oblivion. 

So I don't think it's a coincidence.  The whole tax plan is targeted at groups they don't like, which is why it is so bad for blue states, and poor people who need health insurance, and small businesses, and graduate students, but great for super wealthy inheritors, big corporations, and real estate developers.  It's more politics than policy, but that doesn't mean they won't pass it.

The entire graduate thing would be terrible, especially given the drastic difference in costs depending on the University. I went to a state school for my PhD and after the first year qualified as in-state, so this likely wouldn't really have impacted me. But if I had gone to a private university like Carnegie Melon, or MIT, etc. It would have placed an enormous burden on me. One thing to keep in mind is that hard sciences tend to have much better stipends than other programs. My stipend was $5k/semester and if I got a summer teaching assistanship it was another $2.3k. If I went to a private university my entire stipend would have been paid out in taxes because I was single at the time.

I wonder if private universities could just strategically adjust the cost of tuition for graduate programs specifically.

Maybe?

This is such a weird discussion.  Why are the conservatives on this forum arguing about why it's good for people making 30k to suddenly pay a lot more in taxes?  I apologize for posting an article with a weird case (married with kid grad student), which is not the situation for many grad students I'd guess.  It looks like people who have run the numbers estimate at least an extra 2k a year in taxes for many grad students at private institutions.  Can anyone on the the "this tax plan is great!" side of the argument do the magic math that says that a single, no kid grad student doesn't pay more?  And why is everyone ignoring the sunset provisions of the tax bill?  If doubling the standard deduction is indeed better for everyone, what happens when that goes away in 7 years?  Those 2026 grad students are still paying the taxes on their tuition waiver, but they no longer have an increased standard deduction that is supposed to be the spoonful of sugar to make the taxes go down.

Because it's a tax loophole. Employer perks are wage income and should be taxed. If they are not taxed, they are tax loopholes (like your employer-based health insurance, which is the biggest tax loophole in America). It's no different at a university just because the perk happens to be reduced tuition.

Given that we shouldn't have to have employer-based health insurance in America, that seems to be a reasonable concession until we pull our collective heads out of our asses and get with the rest of the world on modern, affordable health care.

mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #707 on: November 29, 2017, 07:12:13 AM »
Looking at most large universities, they run huge surpluses especially when you account for their endowments growing.

Perhaps they should reduce tuition, this neutering any tax consequences. I did the math with IIRC MIT which showed they could cover all their students costs at their sticker price of tuition and still have a couple hundred mil leftover a year if they withdrew their endowment at a 4% rate.

endowment funds come with differing stipulations depending on who donated the money. I could donate a million to my alma-mater and say it has to be used for student athlete housing. They can't use it for anything but student athlete housing. Also, most endowments are much more conservative than a 4% rate. The fund has to last as long as the university, not for 30 years and it supports infrastructure/building upgrades on campuses as well, which I'm more than certain aren't cheap.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #708 on: November 29, 2017, 07:45:07 AM »
I would like to see the estate tax repeal removed however.  I think keeping the estate tax but indexing for inflation would be appropriate.

I feel that the estate tax should be repealed and at the same time the step up in basis should be eliminated.  The repeal of the estate tax is often done under the guise of "keeping family businesses in the family" so lets remove the step up in basis and remove the incentive for someone to begin selling assets as soon as said assets are passed on to them.

Don't have time to read the whole thread, but I agree with this. If someone pays taxes on their income all their lives, why should that money be taxed AGAIN after they die?

Instead, remove the step up in basis (as you said) and maybe even strip off any retirement flavors from the money. So if grandma passes you an IRA, that IRA becomes regular non-tax advantaged money (gets dumped into a taxable brokerage account). Any money that went in untaxed (Trad IRA) gets taxed at that time, as well as the earnings that haven't been taxed yet.

I'd even be in favor of this applying to everyone who gets an inheritance.
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Gondolin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #709 on: November 29, 2017, 08:01:11 AM »
Quote
infrastructure/building upgrades on campuses as well, which I'm more than certain aren't cheap.

Are you really defending private universities here? Universities have been engaging in an incredibly wasteful arms race of new building, luxury student comforts and balloning administration staffs for the last 30 years, largely funded by gov't backed, non-dischargable student loans. If school gave back some of that money back by tax assisting graduate student stipends, that would be a *great* outcome.

Instead, they'll probably just raise tuition even further. However, make no mistake, most universities could weather this expense easily if, they were willing to admit that maybe they don't need to build a third athletic center in the hopes of gaining +1 ranking in the next Princeton review.
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SaucyAussie

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #710 on: November 29, 2017, 08:05:45 AM »
I would like to see the estate tax repeal removed however.  I think keeping the estate tax but indexing for inflation would be appropriate.

I feel that the estate tax should be repealed and at the same time the step up in basis should be eliminated.  The repeal of the estate tax is often done under the guise of "keeping family businesses in the family" so lets remove the step up in basis and remove the incentive for someone to begin selling assets as soon as said assets are passed on to them.

Don't have time to read the whole thread, but I agree with this. If someone pays taxes on their income all their lives, why should that money be taxed AGAIN after they die?

Instead, remove the step up in basis (as you said) and maybe even strip off any retirement flavors from the money. So if grandma passes you an IRA, that IRA becomes regular non-tax advantaged money (gets dumped into a taxable brokerage account). Any money that went in untaxed (Trad IRA) gets taxed at that time, as well as the earnings that haven't been taxed yet.

I'd even be in favor of this applying to everyone who gets an inheritance.

Agreed, it seems like the biggest argument in favor of the estate tax is "they're rich, they can afford it".  But the end result is massive efforts to shelter assets through life insurance and tax havens and not a whole lot of extra tax revenues. The real winners are insurance companies and tax attorneys.

jean

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #711 on: November 29, 2017, 08:49:48 AM »
Agreed, it seems like the biggest argument in favor of the estate tax is "they're rich, they can afford it".

I think the better argument is that the estate tax is part of mitigating structural inequality.  It is wealth redistribution. Taxing the wealthy and wealth redistribution is not something everyone in this country agrees is a good thing, but many (myself included) think that a healthy society has a level of wealth redistribution and limits extreme economic inequality.

If you work your whole life and pay taxes, you don't pay taxes again when you die.  You are dead, you aren't doing anything.  Whoever is inheriting the money is (indirectly) paying the taxes, which seems appropriate. 

Anyway, at least changing the step-up basis would be prudent - seems crazy not to.  Unrealized capital gains (not family businesses!) account for a large share of estates that get hit with the estate tax.

schmerna

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #712 on: November 29, 2017, 08:55:55 AM »
I don't remember if my fellowship stipend was taxed back in the day when I did my masters degree. I was so low-income though that it probably wasn't much tax...don't know.

When my employer paid for another masters degree, it was considered income and I had to pay income tax on it, even though I never received the actual income in money form. The company directly paid the tuition.

I didn't realize stipend payments for graduate degree were not taxed.

They are, we are referring to tuition waivers, not stipends.

Some stipends are seen as payment for teaching and therefore taxed as earned income, including FICA. Some are awards and therefore exempt from FICA. However, they are still income to be reported.

Now that I think about it, I did not have to pay income tax on the fellowship amount that went towards my tuition, only on the stipend. It makes sense now.

But when my employer paid for another masters, I did have to pay income tax on it...weird.

The FICA exemption (including tax free tuition remission) for Graduate Students in for full-time students enrolled in degree programs that are also Graduate Assistants (Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants, etc). 

You wages from your employer made you ineligible for the exemption when you were employed.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #713 on: November 29, 2017, 08:58:04 AM »
Agreed, it seems like the biggest argument in favor of the estate tax is "they're rich, they can afford it".

I think the better argument is "they're dead, they don't need it anymore."  Death is the best time to pay taxes.  That tax rate should be higher than any tax rate you ever paid while alive.

When you think about it, the whole idea of passing a vast fortune on to someone who hasn't worked a day in their lives seems grossly unjust.  I can see a reasonable argument for 100% estate tax.

Like go ahead and put your fortune into a foundation, and then let your kid run the foundation while drawing a salary (and paying taxes on the salary). That's fine.  But I don't think you should just be allowed to GIVE somebody billions of tax-free dollars they can't possible use, because that money is clearly income and it should be taxed as such.  That kind of enormous transfer or wealth, without any taxation at all, seems fundamentally unjust while we still have homeless people freezing each winter, and kids who don't get enough to eat, and we can't provide basic medical care to our citizens.

mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #714 on: November 29, 2017, 09:19:17 AM »
Quote
infrastructure/building upgrades on campuses as well, which I'm more than certain aren't cheap.

Are you really defending private universities here? Universities have been engaging in an incredibly wasteful arms race of new building, luxury student comforts and balloning administration staffs for the last 30 years, largely funded by gov't backed, non-dischargable student loans. If school gave back some of that money back by tax assisting graduate student stipends, that would be a *great* outcome.

Instead, they'll probably just raise tuition even further. However, make no mistake, most universities could weather this expense easily if, they were willing to admit that maybe they don't need to build a third athletic center in the hopes of gaining +1 ranking in the next Princeton review.

I don't disagree with you on the fact that universities are building resort style buildings for education purposes and that costs tons of money. What I am saying is it isn't as simple as just drawing down the endowment at a 4% rate. As I said earlier many of the funds in the endowment have very specific guidelines around them. It's not just the universities money to do with it as it pleases. I do believe that they could probably whether the storm of this, by increasing stipends for PhD students, given that most programs have no more than 20-25 active PhD students at any given time. My comment was regarding an endowment easily being able to pay for every single students tuition and then some.

SaucyAussie

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #715 on: November 29, 2017, 09:38:57 AM »
Agreed, it seems like the biggest argument in favor of the estate tax is "they're rich, they can afford it".

I think the better argument is that the estate tax is part of mitigating structural inequality.  It is wealth redistribution. Taxing the wealthy and wealth redistribution is not something everyone in this country agrees is a good thing, but many (myself included) think that a healthy society has a level of wealth redistribution and limits extreme economic inequality.

If you work your whole life and pay taxes, you don't pay taxes again when you die.  You are dead, you aren't doing anything.  Whoever is inheriting the money is (indirectly) paying the taxes, which seems appropriate. 

Anyway, at least changing the step-up basis would be prudent - seems crazy not to.  Unrealized capital gains (not family businesses!) account for a large share of estates that get hit with the estate tax.

Sure but how do you justify applying the estate taxes only to the wealthy, without my argument of "they're rich, they can afford it".   The fact that you are dead and the one who is doing the inheriting would seem to apply to all inheritances, not just the wealthy.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #716 on: November 29, 2017, 09:48:59 AM »
Sure but how do you justify applying the estate taxes only to the wealthy

I don't.  I think all inheritances should be taxed as income. 

Our income tax system is already designed to be progressive, so that poor people pay little or no taxes, and the wealthy pay more.  "Because they can afford it."  Using income tax rates for inheritances seems like the simplest way to go about this.  Did you have income from an inheritance?  Then it's income and it gets taxed just like any other income.

I would make the same case for capital gains and dividends, btw.  Why do we need so many different tax rates for different types of income?

sherr

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #717 on: November 29, 2017, 09:52:13 AM »
Agreed, it seems like the biggest argument in favor of the estate tax is "they're rich, they can afford it".

I think the better argument is that the estate tax is part of mitigating structural inequality.  It is wealth redistribution. Taxing the wealthy and wealth redistribution is not something everyone in this country agrees is a good thing, but many (myself included) think that a healthy society has a level of wealth redistribution and limits extreme economic inequality.

If you work your whole life and pay taxes, you don't pay taxes again when you die.  You are dead, you aren't doing anything.  Whoever is inheriting the money is (indirectly) paying the taxes, which seems appropriate. 

Anyway, at least changing the step-up basis would be prudent - seems crazy not to.  Unrealized capital gains (not family businesses!) account for a large share of estates that get hit with the estate tax.

Sure but how do you justify applying the estate taxes only to the wealthy, without my argument of "they're rich, they can afford it".   The fact that you are dead and the one who is doing the inheriting would seem to apply to all inheritances, not just the wealthy.

The exact same way you justify a graduated tax rate with people in higher brackets paying more. Or luxury goods being taxed at a higher sales tax rate than essentials.

You're right, at that level it does come down to "they're rich, they can afford it". And it's true. And the ultra-rich are the ones where we have to worry about systemic long-term inequality. We really don't want to go back to the era of the landed gentry owning everything and having all the power. It didn't work out very well.

sokoloff

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #718 on: November 29, 2017, 09:53:13 AM »
Anyway, at least changing the step-up basis would be prudent - seems crazy not to.  Unrealized capital gains (not family businesses!) account for a large share of estates that get hit with the estate tax.
If you're advocating getting rid of the step-up in basis, I think that's a bad idea from a practical perspective.

When did Grandpa buy those shares? What were the basis figures on the dates of those various purchases? How much was the result of dividend reinvestments? When were those purchases? What was the share count and cost basis of those shares?

A paperwork and logistical nightmare as compared to "what day did Grandpa die? what were the shares worth on that day? Perfect; glad to have that taken care of in 5 minutes."

Metta

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #719 on: November 29, 2017, 09:56:26 AM »
Quote
infrastructure/building upgrades on campuses as well, which I'm more than certain aren't cheap.

Are you really defending private universities here? Universities have been engaging in an incredibly wasteful arms race of new building, luxury student comforts and balloning administration staffs for the last 30 years, largely funded by gov't backed, non-dischargable student loans. If school gave back some of that money back by tax assisting graduate student stipends, that would be a *great* outcome.

Instead, they'll probably just raise tuition even further. However, make no mistake, most universities could weather this expense easily if, they were willing to admit that maybe they don't need to build a third athletic center in the hopes of gaining +1 ranking in the next Princeton review.

I don't disagree with you on the fact that universities are building resort style buildings for education purposes and that costs tons of money. What I am saying is it isn't as simple as just drawing down the endowment at a 4% rate. As I said earlier many of the funds in the endowment have very specific guidelines around them. It's not just the universities money to do with it as it pleases. I do believe that they could probably whether the storm of this, by increasing stipends for PhD students, given that most programs have no more than 20-25 active PhD students at any given time. My comment was regarding an endowment easily being able to pay for every single students tuition and then some.

I don't know how true this is. My niece is attending the best college in her discipline, Pratt Institute. They have an endowment of 123 million dollars. Their tuition is about $45000 a year and there are about 4500 students attending the school. If they pulled 4% per year that would give them $4,920,000. Divided by the 4500 students, this would allow them to give each student $1093 off their tuition each year. So nowhere near being able to pay for every single student's tuition and then some.

However, a pull of 4% is probably irresponsible since an endowment is supposed to last forever and 4% would eventually require touching the principal. So, I think your statement might be true with some universities but certainly not all and probably not most.

mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #720 on: November 29, 2017, 10:05:39 AM »
Sure but how do you justify applying the estate taxes only to the wealthy

I don't.  I think all inheritances should be taxed as income. 

Our income tax system is already designed to be progressive, so that poor people pay little or no taxes, and the wealthy pay more.  "Because they can afford it."  Using income tax rates for inheritances seems like the simplest way to go about this.  Did you have income from an inheritance?  Then it's income and it gets taxed just like any other income.

I would make the same case for capital gains and dividends, btw.  Why do we need so many different tax rates for different types of income?

So the same would hold for gifts given to children? At what age should this be enforced? If I pay for my kids grad program should that be taxable?

Dividends and capital gains have theoretically already been taxed at the corporate rate, which is why I believe those are different. A company can't provide a dividend without taking a profit (for very long) and all earnings are taxed as earned income by the corporation you invest in. So theoretically this would be similar to you owning a chain of grocery stores and being taxed on the profit and then being taxed on the profit again when you take a portion of it home. It's just further removed in this instance because you don't own all of the company, but instead a small portion of it.

Proud Foot

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #721 on: November 29, 2017, 10:12:39 AM »
Anyway, at least changing the step-up basis would be prudent - seems crazy not to.  Unrealized capital gains (not family businesses!) account for a large share of estates that get hit with the estate tax.
If you're advocating getting rid of the step-up in basis, I think that's a bad idea from a practical perspective.

When did Grandpa buy those shares? What were the basis figures on the dates of those various purchases? How much was the result of dividend reinvestments? When were those purchases? What was the share count and cost basis of those shares?

A paperwork and logistical nightmare as compared to "what day did Grandpa die? what were the shares worth on that day? Perfect; glad to have that taken care of in 5 minutes."

I agree with you on this.  It seems to make sense to eliminate the step-up in basis but agree it would make for a paperwork nightmare. Since brokers are now required to track cost basis it would make sense to take a blended approach until eventually all shares will either be purchased or have a step-up in basis more recently than when the tracking requirement was implemented. After that the only items which might have issues would be tracking the basis if capital improvements have taken place on property or investments in private companies.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #722 on: November 29, 2017, 10:18:05 AM »
I don't know how true this is. My niece is attending the best college in her discipline, Pratt Institute. They have an endowment of 123 million dollars. Their tuition is about $45000 a year and there are about 4500 students attending the school. If they pulled 4% per year that would give them $4,920,000. Divided by the 4500 students, this would allow them to give each student $1093 off their tuition each year. So nowhere near being able to pay for every single student's tuition and then some.

This totally depends on the school.  Harvard's endowment is 37.6 billion dollars, and they have 22k students at $43k each.  So they spend/collect approximately a billion dollars per year in tuition, that's a 2.6% withdrawal rate that would be required to make tuition 100% free.

I'm a Caltech grad, and they have roughly analogous numbers.  2.1 billion dollar endowment, 1000 undergrads at $48k each, which works out to 2.28% SWR required to make tuition 100% free. 

Of course the real world is more complicated than that.  They're not actually collecting full tuition from every student today, because many of them bring scholarships or work study with them.  Many others get university grants, which already come out of the endowment (or the income stream that would otherwise go into the endowment).  So in practice it would cost these schools even less than their ~2.5% SWRs to make tuition free, but then again those endowments also have to pay for fixed expenses that may be far greater than the total collected from tuition.  Big universities have many streams of income, like research grants, that keep them afloat.  At a place like Caltech, the undergrads are basically an afterthought.  They're bright and highly motivated cheap labor, but not really the reason the place exists.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #723 on: November 29, 2017, 10:30:17 AM »
So the same would hold for gifts given to children? At what age should this be enforced? If I pay for my kids grad program should that be taxable?

Of course it should.  Income is income.  If your 12 year old is out mowing lawns all summer, he's supposed to pay taxes on his income.  Even his tips.

In practice kids are usually overlooked by the IRS.  I suspect that has more to do with the puny amounts of money involved instead of their ages, though.  It's not cost effective to audit a 12 year old for $30 in back taxes.  But if that 12 year old inherited a few billion, I'm absolutely sure they would audit for their due.

Quote
Dividends and capital gains have theoretically already been taxed at the corporate rate, which is why I believe those are different.

This argument has always confused me.  Yes, a corporation pays taxes on their profit.  Then they pay their employees, who pay income taxes on that profit when it's converted to income.  Then the employee pay sales taxes when he spends his taxed income which came from the taxed profit.  Then the company pays corporate taxes on whatever the employee bought after paying sales taxes after paying income taxes after the company paid corporate taxes.  ALL money has been taxed before.  It gets taxed every time it changes hands.

So it doesn't make sense to say "dividends have already been taxed once" unless you also think you shouldn't have to pay sales tax because "my income has already been taxed once."  They've both been taxed before.  It's not like you can follow one dollar through the economy as it is traded and spent over and over again, because it is comingled and fungible.   We don't tax dollars.  We tax transaction events, like payroll or purchases or dividend payouts. 

Quote
So theoretically this would be similar to you owning a chain of grocery stores and being taxed on the profit and then being taxed on the profit again when you take a portion of it home.

Yes!  Exactly!  If you're both the owner and the employee, you pay both kinds of taxes!  Once on the corporate profits, then again as payroll taxes when you take home income.  Then you pay taxes again as the consumer, when you buy something from your own store!  Then again as the owner on the profit from the sale from your store to yourself as the consumer!  That's how taxes are supposed to work.  Every transaction gets taxed, every time money changes hands Uncle Sam gets a cut.

An inheritance is just another transaction.  It should get taxed, IMO.  The only reason it doesn't is that the super-rich have effectively carved out a little exemption for themselves to protect and preserve their position of privilege, to perpetuate income inequality, to ensure that their families will always be the rich and powerful and that nobody else can challenge that secure position. 
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 01:23:30 PM by sol »

sokoloff

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #724 on: November 29, 2017, 10:37:26 AM »
So the same would hold for gifts given to children? At what age should this be enforced? If I pay for my kids grad program should that be taxable?
Of course it should.  Income is income.  If your 12 year old is out mowing lawns all summer, he's supposed to pay taxes on his income.  Even his tips.
I think you missed mizz's point, either intentionally or unintentionally.

If I gift my 8 year old a dinner, presumably that should not be taxable to her.
If I gift her a $10 toy for Christmas, presumably that should not be taxable to her.
If I gift her $1000 into her 529 account, that is currently not taxable (and I believe should not be taxable to her either, and legally, it falls into the gift tax exemption amount).

mizz was specifically talking about gifts given to children, not the child working for income.

Psychstache

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #725 on: November 29, 2017, 10:50:33 AM »


]

However, a pull of 4% is probably irresponsible since an endowment is supposed to last forever and 4% would eventually require touching the principal. So, I think your statement might be true with some universities but certainly not all and probably not most.

I recall listening to an interview with the head of Stanford's endowment and he used 5% withdrawal rate on their endowment, which makes sense if you use the 4% SWR rule + tax free status of endowments.



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mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #726 on: November 29, 2017, 10:51:02 AM »

Quote
Dividends and capital gains have theoretically already been taxed at the corporate rate, which is why I believe those are different.

This argument has always confused me.  Yes, a corporation pays taxes on their profit.  Then they play their employees, who pay income taxes on that profit when it's converted to income.  Then the employee pay sales taxes when he spends his taxed income which came from the taxed profit.  Then the company pays corporate taxes on whatever the employee bought after paying sales taxes after paying income taxes after the company paid corporate taxes.  ALL money has been taxed before.  It gets taxed every time it changes hands.

So it doesn't make sense to say "dividends have already been taxed once" unless you also think you shouldn't have to pay sales tax because "my income has already been taxed once."  They've both been taxed before.  It's not like you can follow one dollar through the economy as it is traded and spent over and over again, because it is comingled and fungible.   We don't tax dollars.  We tax transaction events, like payroll or purchases or dividend payouts. 

Quote
So theoretically this would be similar to you owning a chain of grocery stores and being taxed on the profit and then being taxed on the profit again when you take a portion of it home.

Yes!  Exactly!  If you're both the owner and the employee, you pay both kinds of taxes!  Once on the corporate profits, then again as payroll taxes when you take home income.  Then you pay taxes again as the consumer, when you buy something from your own store!  Then again as the owner on the profit from the sale from your store to yourself as the consumer!  That's how taxes are supposed to work.  Every transaction gets taxed, every time money changes hands Uncle Sam gets a cut.

An inheritance is just another transaction.  It should get taxed, IMO.  The only reason it doesn't is that the super-rich have effectively carved out a little exemption for themselves to protect and preserve their position of privilege, to perpetuate income inequality, to ensure that their families will always be the rich and powerful and that nobody else can challenge that secure position.

First of all comparing a consumption tax (sales tax) to an income tax is like comparing apples to oranges.

Secondly, that's not how ownership works. You do get taxed on an income, but you only need to take what is considered 'a reasonable income' for your position within the company as an owner. If you own a chain of grocery stores you must take a salary, say of....$150k/yr and that is taxed as income, but all the rest of the money can be taken out as profit if need be as it was already taxed at the corporate rate. Plus companies don't claim employees' salary as income, so that money is not taxed as income by the company. It is taxed as income by the employee and is considered an operating expense by the company thus comes out before the company pays taxes on it as income/earnings.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #727 on: November 29, 2017, 10:55:19 AM »
mizz was specifically talking about gifts given to children, not the child working for income.

We have a gift tax exemption, for children or anyone else.  I think it's fair to keep that same limit for inheritances.

As it is now, you can receive gifts of up to $14k without owing taxes, if it comes from a living relative, but $5.5 million if it comes from a dead relative.  I think a gift is a gift and they should be treated the same.

But I also think we've already established that what seems obviously reasonable to me will never pass through Congress.  Logic is not their strong suit.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #728 on: November 29, 2017, 10:56:04 AM »
Quote
Dividends and capital gains have theoretically already been taxed at the corporate rate, which is why I believe those are different.

This argument has always confused me.  Yes, a corporation pays taxes on their profit.  Then they play their employees, who pay income taxes on that profit when it's converted to income.  Then the employee pay sales taxes when he spends his taxed income which came from the taxed profit.  Then the company pays corporate taxes on whatever the employee bought after paying sales taxes after paying income taxes after the company paid corporate taxes.  ALL money has been taxed before.  It gets taxed every time it changes hands.

So it doesn't make sense to say "dividends have already been taxed once" unless you also think you shouldn't have to pay sales tax because "my income has already been taxed once."  They've both been taxed before.  It's not like you can follow one dollar through the economy as it is traded and spent over and over again, because it is comingled and fungible.   We don't tax dollars.  We tax transaction events, like payroll or purchases or dividend payouts. 

Aren't employee wages are treated as a liability and count against earnings (before profit)?
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/digging-out-of-a-hole/

jean

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #729 on: November 29, 2017, 10:58:05 AM »
If you're advocating getting rid of the step-up in basis, I think that's a bad idea from a practical perspective.

When did Grandpa buy those shares? What were the basis figures on the dates of those various purchases? How much was the result of dividend reinvestments? When were those purchases? What was the share count and cost basis of those shares?

A paperwork and logistical nightmare as compared to "what day did Grandpa die? what were the shares worth on that day? Perfect; glad to have that taken care of in 5 minutes."
But... if you have repealed the estate tax, no one has ever paid taxes on those capital gains, which could have been growing for 40 years or more.  How is that the right answer?  Figure out the paperwork or keep the estate tax.  Besides, if grandpa was ever going to sell the shares himself, he would have to keep track of all of that and report it.  By dying, he gets out of the paperwork and only passes the money on?  No, you inherit the stocks and the paperwork mess together.

Right now, this is limited since once you get above the estate tax limit ($10M?), you pay the estate tax.  It is not perfect, but it limits the impact and provides some argument for the step up basis.

And yes, under current law gifts, including to children, are taxed (by the giver) if they are above a certain (lifetime) amount. 

mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #730 on: November 29, 2017, 10:59:26 AM »
mizz was specifically talking about gifts given to children, not the child working for income.

We have a gift tax exemption, for children or anyone else.  I think it's fair to keep that same limit for inheritances.

As it is now, you can receive gifts of up to $14k without owing taxes, if it comes from a living relative, but $5.5 million if it comes from a dead relative.  I think a gift is a gift and they should be treated the same.

But I also think we've already established that what seems obviously reasonable to me will never pass through Congress.  Logic is not their strong suit.

But it counts against your lifetime allowance, which is equal to the threshold for the estate tax. And just to be clear it's 14k/person. So if you have a wife and both parents are still living it's actually $56k/yr. My point was if you enforce a 100% estate tax people will just gift all their money away before they die. So you need to essentially make sure no money exchanges hands at all over a person's lifetime without being taxed.

sokoloff

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #731 on: November 29, 2017, 11:00:06 AM »
Quote
Dividends and capital gains have theoretically already been taxed at the corporate rate, which is why I believe those are different.

This argument has always confused me.  Yes, a corporation pays taxes on their profit.  Then they play their employees, who pay income taxes on that profit when it's converted to income.  Then the employee pay sales taxes when he spends his taxed income which came from the taxed profit.  Then the company pays corporate taxes on whatever the employee bought after paying sales taxes after paying income taxes after the company paid corporate taxes.  ALL money has been taxed before.  It gets taxed every time it changes hands.

So it doesn't make sense to say "dividends have already been taxed once" unless you also think you shouldn't have to pay sales tax because "my income has already been taxed once."  They've both been taxed before.  It's not like you can follow one dollar through the economy as it is traded and spent over and over again, because it is comingled and fungible.   We don't tax dollars.  We tax transaction events, like payroll or purchases or dividend payouts. 
Aren't employee wages are treated as a [business expense] and count against earnings (before profit)?
Yes, they are. In the example above, it was the employee who paid income tax, then sales tax, and then a <potentially different> company paid corporate taxes on the profits earned by that employee's consumption.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #732 on: November 29, 2017, 11:01:51 AM »
Aren't employee wages are treated as a liability and count against earnings (before profit)?

Sure, but that's just an accounting trick to lower the corporation's tax burden.  All employee paychecks are paid with dollars that come from the company's revenue. 

And you're still missing the point of circular taxation.  All of the company's revenue comes from consumers who have already paid income tax on their earnings.  All spendable employee wages are paid from corporate revenue.  In between everyone pays sales taxes and property taxes and gas taxes and everything else.  All money has been taxed before. 

The employee wage deduction, like the individual mortgage deduction, is just an exemption to shelter some income and lower the effective rate.  It doesn't mean the money hasn't been taxed, it's just an accounting tool used to pay less.

sokoloff

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #733 on: November 29, 2017, 11:02:33 AM »
mizz was specifically talking about gifts given to children, not the child working for income.
We have a gift tax exemption, for children or anyone else.  I think it's fair to keep that same limit for inheritances.

As it is now, you can receive gifts of up to $14k without owing taxes, if it comes from a living relative, but $5.5 million if it comes from a dead relative.  I think a gift is a gift and they should be treated the same.
But it counts against your lifetime allowance, which is equal to the threshold for the estate tax. And just to be clear it's 14k/person. So if you have a wife and both parents are still living it's actually $56k/yr. My point was if you enforce a 100% estate tax people will just gift all their money away before they die. So you need to essentially make sure no money exchanges hands at all over a person's lifetime without being taxed.
Any gift below the exemption amount is NOT counted against your lifetime allowance. If you give $14K/yr, it's entirely gift tax (and estate tax impact) free.

Metta

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #734 on: November 29, 2017, 11:04:53 AM »
I don't know how true this is. My niece is attending the best college in her discipline, Pratt Institute. They have an endowment of 123 million dollars. Their tuition is about $45000 a year and there are about 4500 students attending the school. If they pulled 4% per year that would give them $4,920,000. Divided by the 4500 students, this would allow them to give each student $1093 off their tuition each year. So nowhere near being able to pay for every single student's tuition and then some.

This totally depends on the school.  Harvard's endowment is 37.6 billion dollars, and they have 22k students at $43k each.  So they spend/collect approximately a billion dollars per year in tuition, that's a 2.6% withdrawal rate that would be required to make tuition 100% free.

I'm a Caltech grad, and they have roughly analogous numbers.  2.1 billion dollar endowment, 1000 undergrads at $48k each, which works out to 2.28% SWR required to make tuition 100% free. 

Of course the real world is more complicated than that.  They're not actually collecting full tuition from every student today, because many of them bring scholarships or work study with them.  Many others get university grants, which already come out of the endowment (or the income stream that would otherwise go into the endowment).  So in practice it would cost these schools even less than their ~2.5% SWRs to make tuition free, but then again those endowments also have to pay for fixed expenses that may be far greater than the total collected from tuition.  Big universities have many streams of income, like research grants, that keep them afloat.  At a place like Caltech, the undergrads are basically an afterthought.  They're bright and highly motivated cheap labor, but not really the reason the place exists.

I agree, this depends on the school. However, Harvard actually has the largest academic endowment in the entire world. So it doesn't make sense to me to look to Harvard and then make statements about all colleges based on Harvard's endowment. (I recognize that this is not what the tax proposal has in it and I'm basically ok with the proposed tax on college endowments that average more than 100,000 per student. I might make it a higher number, but the basic idea of taxing wealth at a higher level is ok from my perspective.)

Here is a link that lists endowments for all colleges and universities:

http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/EndowmentFiles/2016-Endowment-Market-Values.pdf

Looking at it, you can see the Median endowment across the board is $120,330,000. Harvard's endowment is $34,541,893,000, so Harvard has an endowment 287 times greater than what the median college endowment is. It doesn't make sense to dump all colleges in the same pot and declare that they are all the same.

Gondolin said:
Quote from:  Gondolin

most universities could weather this expense easily if, they were willing to admit that maybe they don't need to build a third athletic center in the hopes of gaining +1 ranking in the next Princeton review.

But the fact is that most universities probably couldn't weather this expense easily. What we have seen for the last couple decades has been an erosion in state and federal funds going to universities. At the same time, funds that are made available are often earmarked to be used only for buildings or other hard assets that the people can see their names on. So it gives the illusion that the universities would prefer to build structures rather than programs, when the reverse is generally true.

Research grants are another area where the wealthy schools are the most likely to get grants. So it contributes to a problem where less prestigious schools are scraping to get by, while wealthier schools, which already have large endowments, also get large research grants. This means that there is a perception problem when people look at universities. They hear about how Harvard or MIT or UCLA operate and they think that all universities have similar resources and are making similar choices. That's not the case.

It is as if someone looked at Warren Buffett and then asked my family with our income (approx $73000 per year) or my sister with her income (approx $30,000 in a good year) why we don't contribute as much to charity as Warren Buffett or why we don't exercise the same opportunities Warren Buffett does.

Very wealthy institutions and very wealthy people have options that the median institution or median person does not.

mizzourah2006

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #735 on: November 29, 2017, 11:10:10 AM »
mizz was specifically talking about gifts given to children, not the child working for income.
We have a gift tax exemption, for children or anyone else.  I think it's fair to keep that same limit for inheritances.

As it is now, you can receive gifts of up to $14k without owing taxes, if it comes from a living relative, but $5.5 million if it comes from a dead relative.  I think a gift is a gift and they should be treated the same.
But it counts against your lifetime allowance, which is equal to the threshold for the estate tax. And just to be clear it's 14k/person. So if you have a wife and both parents are still living it's actually $56k/yr. My point was if you enforce a 100% estate tax people will just gift all their money away before they die. So you need to essentially make sure no money exchanges hands at all over a person's lifetime without being taxed.
Any gift below the exemption amount is NOT counted against your lifetime allowance. If you give $14K/yr, it's entirely gift tax (and estate tax impact) free.

You are right, anything above the tax free gift is counted. My mistake, it doesn't change the fact that people will just give it away to avoid taxes on it,  especially people in the 5-10 million networth range.

sokoloff

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #736 on: November 29, 2017, 11:12:44 AM »
it doesn't change the fact that people will just give it away to avoid taxes on it,  especially people in the 5-10 million networth range.
Totally agree on that point. I'm not in that range now, but am overwhelmingly likely to be in that range assuming I avoid an untimely death. I do expect to be forced to do smart things to ensure that the money goes where my wife and I prefer upon our death.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #737 on: November 29, 2017, 11:22:05 AM »
it doesn't change the fact that people will just give it away to avoid taxes on it,  especially people in the 5-10 million networth range.

Perfect!  That's exactly what I want to happen.  I want a lifetime cap on how much money you can give to your children without incurring ANY taxes, and I think the gift tax exemption amount per year is a fine place to start. 

But the current estate tax is approximately 800% of that amount, and the new GOP tax plan would make it an infinite amount.  I'm not worried about folks who want to gift a few hundred thousand dollars over decades, I'm worried about the RKOI crowd who inherit billions without ever finishing high school or working a day in their lives.  If you're a multibillionaire and want want to make your deadbeat hedonistic wildchild into a multibillionaire too, that kid absolutely should pay regular income taxes on whatever you give him.  His "income" shouldn't be treated and different than what the rest of us actually earn.

And (to get back on topic here) that's one of the fundamental problems with both versions of the current GOP tax plan; it strongly favors people who get rich without working over people who get rich by working.  Unearned income is taxed at a much lower rate than wage income.  Owner profits get low taxes, worker salaries get high taxes.  Working is discouraged, in favor of inheriting or passive ownership.  That seems like the very definition of promoting wealth inequality.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 01:21:48 PM by sol »

Glenstache

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #738 on: November 29, 2017, 11:27:20 AM »
it doesn't change the fact that people will just give it away to avoid taxes on it,  especially people in the 5-10 million networth range.

Perfect!  That's exactly what I want to happen.  I want a lifetime cap on how money you can give to your children without incurring ANY taxes, and I think the gift tax exemption amount per year is a fine place to start. 

But the current estate tax is approximately 800% of that amount, and the new GOP tax plan would make it an infinite amount.  I'm not worried about folks who want to gift a few hundred thousand dollars over decades, I'm worried about the RKOI crowd who inherit billions without ever finishing high school or working a day in their lives.  If you're a multibillionaire and want want to make your deadbeat hedonistic wildchild into a multibillionaire too, that kid absolutely should pay regular income taxes on whatever you give him.  His "income" shouldn't be treated and different than what the rest of us actually earn.

And (to get back on topic here) that's one of the fundamental problems with both versions of the current GOP tax plan; it strongly favors people who get rich without working over people who get rich by working.  Unearned income is taxed at a much lower rate than wage income.  Owner profits get low taxes, worker salaries get high taxes.  Working is discouraged, in favor of inheriting or passive ownership.  That seems like the very definition of promoting wealth inequality.

+1
Well said.

lbmustache

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #739 on: November 29, 2017, 01:00:43 PM »
That seems like the very definition of promoting wealth inequality.

IMO that seems like the Republican MO at this point. I truly hope this doesn't pass - just as with healthcare, there are certainly improvements that can be made, but the GOP plan is NOT it.

Car Jack

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #740 on: November 29, 2017, 01:28:14 PM »
The estate tax should stay.  Nobody receiving over $11M is hurting.  I'm convinced that getting rid of this tax is meant specifically for the Trump family.

The rich now pay essentially nothing.  Get above max FICA for the year and they then pay nothing.

I honestly think we should go back to the WWII tax brackets for the ultra wealthy where the top tax bracket was 94%.  Or at least to the brackets when Kennedy was first elected where it was 91%.  The GOP and 0.1 percenters keep crying poverty and "we'll have to move jobs overseas" with their paltry nothing percentages in federal taxes.  Meanwhile, they're all....as CEO's already moving the jobs overseas.  Not just manufacturing jobs, design engineering, software. 

Gondolin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #741 on: November 29, 2017, 01:31:58 PM »
Quote
But the fact is that most universities probably couldn't weather this expense easily.

What expense exactly are you referring to? Later posters turned to free tuition for everyone as the benchmark but, my original post was about the expense of tax assisting PhD stipends to offset the tax burden added by treating waived PhD tuition as income.

I think you'll find the numbers much more reasonable when considering $10-15k of expense per PhD rather then $45k sticker price tuition for every student.

Pratt Institute, for example, does not offer PhD programs so their cost would be ~$0.
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NoStacheOhio

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #742 on: November 29, 2017, 01:33:05 PM »
Quote
But the fact is that most universities probably couldn't weather this expense easily.

What expense exactly are you referring to? Later posters turned to free tuition for everyone as the benchmark but, my original post was about the expense of tax assisting PhD stipends to offset the tax burden added by taxing waived PhD tuition as income.

I think you'll find the numbers much more reasonable when considering $10-15k of expense per PhD rather then $45k sticker price tuition for every student.

Pratt Institute, for example, does not offer PhD programs so their cost would be ~$0.

PhDs aren't the only kind of grad students that receive tuition waivers
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

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Gondolin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #743 on: November 29, 2017, 01:35:40 PM »
Quote
PhDs aren't the only kind of grad students that receive tuition waivers

Such as? And in large numbers? Genuine curiosity - can't think of a field where Masters or JD candidates are given waived tuition.
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JLee

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #744 on: November 29, 2017, 01:38:21 PM »
Quote
PhDs aren't the only kind of grad students that receive tuition waivers

Such as? And in large numbers? Genuine curiosity - can't think of a field where Masters or JD candidates are given waived tuition.
https://www.edvisors.com/student-employment/jobs/tuition-waivers/

sherr

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #745 on: November 29, 2017, 01:51:10 PM »
The estate tax should stay.  Nobody receiving over $11M is hurting.  I'm convinced that getting rid of this tax is meant specifically for the Trump family.

It's not. Getting rid of the estate tax has been a Republican goal for many years. Hence all the propaganda (but it's double taxation!) and misinformation (it's bankrupting the family farmers!) that have been circulating for quite some time.

Repealing it will help the Trumps personally, absolutely. But this is a generic-Republican thing, not a Trump thing. It's what their rich donors demand.

Gondolin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #746 on: November 29, 2017, 01:57:10 PM »
JLee- what conclusion am I supposed to draw from this link? That tuition waivers exist?

I argued that PhD students get the massive majority of graduate level tuition waivers. Masters/MBA/ JD/MD degrees are major profit centers. These students are not getting waivers or fellowships the come with tuition assistance.

From your own link:
"Teaching and research assistantships were most common among students in doctoral degree programs, where 47.6% received assistantships. In contrast, only 8.3% of students in Masterís degree programs received assistantships"

Hence I still contend that tax assisting PhD students would constitute the bulk of the expense to universities.

"There cannot be two skies"

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #747 on: November 29, 2017, 02:59:21 PM »
The estate tax should stay.  Nobody receiving over $11M is hurting. 

Not only should it stay, it should be lowered!  Why are we exempting $11 million from estate taxes?  That's more cash than anyone needs, because it will fund more than an entire lifetime at median salaries.  It's just a gift to the super-rich.

Similarly, why are they trying to lower the corporate tax rate?  This is also exactly backwards, at a time when the economy is so strong, unemployment is so low, and corporate profits are at record highs.  Now is the time to raise corporate taxes, according to Keynesian economics.  Then you can lower them to give the economy some juice if we have another recession, when the boost to corporate earnings might actually help.  Right now it won't help, and it just reduces our ability to deal with future economic downturns.  Similarly for interest rates, corporate taxes should also be climbing slowly during times as incredibly prosperous as these.  Why is this administration doing everything exactly backwards?  Is it just to be different than the last administration?

JLee

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #748 on: November 29, 2017, 03:09:11 PM »
JLee- what conclusion am I supposed to draw from this link? That tuition waivers exist?

I argued that PhD students get the massive majority of graduate level tuition waivers. Masters/MBA/ JD/MD degrees are major profit centers. These students are not getting waivers or fellowships the come with tuition assistance.

From your own link:
"Teaching and research assistantships were most common among students in doctoral degree programs, where 47.6% received assistantships. In contrast, only 8.3% of students in Masterís degree programs received assistantships"

Hence I still contend that tax assisting PhD students would constitute the bulk of the expense to universities.

That is not quite what you argued.  In response to a claim that "PhDs aren't the only kind of grad students that receive tuition waivers", you responded "Such as?"  This was followed by the statement that you "can't think of a field where Masters or JD candidates are given waived tuition."

If you meant to say "assisting PhD students constitutes the bulk of the expense to universities," perhaps that is what you should have said.

2014 census data indicates that 11.77% of people have masters degrees and 3.27% have PhD's.  I am unsure of the accuracy of those numbers, but it's what I have to work with.  Given that, 1.55652% of students received PhD assistantships and .97691% of students received Masters assistantships.  We're talking a ratio lower than 1.6:1. Clearly a larger percentage are PhD candidates, but there just aren't that many of them.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 03:16:18 PM by JLee »

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #749 on: November 29, 2017, 03:18:03 PM »

Because it's a tax loophole. Employer perks are wage income and should be taxed. If they are not taxed, they are tax loopholes (like your employer-based health insurance, which is the biggest tax loophole in America). It's no different at a university just because the perk happens to be reduced tuition.

Is the bill closing even one CORPORATE tax loophole???  Corporations keep their SALT deduction and get a 20% rate, but all of a sudden the Republicans think it makes sense to take away loopholes for individuals??  They keep the carried interest loophole benefiting hedge fund managers but make tuition waivers for grad students taxable???

I don't see why the existence of some loopholes makes other loopholes justified. I also am not really worried about corporations: the best corporate income tax rate is 0%. Corporations should only pay tax on the unimproved land value of their property and whatever surtaxes are assigned to their utilities. They shouldn't get a deduction for those taxes anymore than individuals do, because Uncle Sam should not be subsidizing local and state governments through the tax code.

I guess you could say they should pay a VAT too, if support that kind of taxation.

I don't particularly care about the carried interest taxation. I am more interested in imposing a general tax on financial transactions than changing tax codes for hedge funds. Carried interest only seems to be a really huge issue for people who care majorly about income inequality, which is not something I'm interested in.