- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2018

Top congressional Democrats on Monday accused the Trump administration of politicizing the new tax cuts, saying they fear the IRS will skew the tax tables so Americans see more cash in their wallets this year — only to face a bigger bill when they file their returns next year.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House tax-law committees, said they fear “substantial pressure” from the administration will be placed on the IRS to make the tax cuts seem as generous as possible.

“The Trump administration has tried at every turn to con the middle class into buying a tax scam that showers multinational corporations and the politically powerful with massive breaks,” Mr. Wyden said.

The government takes money out of paychecks throughout the year, and the IRS has to decide how much of that “withholding” is allowed. The two Democrats say the administration could cut the amount of withholding, so paychecks seem bigger — then recollect all the money when returns are due.

Congressional Republicans have said Americans can expect to feel the positive effects from the new tax bill in the form of bigger paychecks as early as February due to the new withholding rules.

Mr. Wyden and Mr. Neal asked acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter for details on when new draft IRS withholding tables were reviewed and how they were calculated, saying they suspected Trump political officials may be pressuring the tax agency.

The two Democrats also sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting a review of the withholding tables to make sure there was no undue influence.

The IRS said it’s in the process of developing withholding guidance for this year in light of the new individual income tax rates in the recently-passed bill, and that the the initial rules should be released this month. Tax filing season starts on Jan. 29 this year.

The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Monday letter to Mr. Kautter from Mr. Wyden and Mr. Neal, who said the new tax bill will already make the 2018 filing season complicated enough for many Americans.

“We do not want the administration to exacerbate their tax liabilities with tax tables that intentionally withhold too little federal income taxes,” the lawmakers wrote.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady brushed aside the complaints, saying he expects the IRS tables to be solid.

“There’s never been a question about the IRS’s timely, accurate withholding tables, nor should there be today,” said Mr. Brady, Texas Republican.

“I think the bottom line here is Democrats so object to Americans keeping more of what they earn at work, they’ll do and say just about anything to cast doubt on it,” he said.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.


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