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Guest Post: Congressman Neal Event Recap & Preparing for Tax Reform

Posted by Kevin Smithson, Northeast Tax Leader, PwC on October 30, 2017

Kevin Smithson is a partner in PwC’s Tax practice, with more than 20 years of 20 years of business experience, serving primarily multinational public companies in the technology, multi-channel retail and consumer products, and telecommunications industries. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or twitter @ksmithson001.

On Friday, October 27th, following a momentous passing--albeit narrowly-- of a GOP budget, I had the pleasure of listening to Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) provide perspective to the Boston Chamber of Commerce. With 25 years on the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Neal has a unique position in today’s government, being one of a few with an institutional network and long-time history on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Neal contrasted the current progress of tax reform to the 1986 tax reform efforts under the Reagan administration. Though “strong personalities” have been mapped to both efforts, in 1986 there was broad agreement on how to fix things. In today’s charged atmosphere with parties more confined to the base, Congressman Neal observed the only agreement is on what’s wrong: an outdated tax system written in 1986 that does not account for the changes in the world and the US economy over the past 31 years.

On Thursday, House Republicans accepted the Senate budget resolution giving way for Republicans to begin work on a follow-up $1.5 trillion tax cut. See the Framework here. Despite this development, significant details are needed to understand how Congress will cover the costs associated with the tax relief proposed in the framework.

The budget passing is a sign of momentum for the competitive tax system our country so desperately needs. "We're all of the opinion that we need to get past this 2% growth" Congressman Neal said referring to the Ways and Means Committee statement that our current tax structure is crippling GDP growth. Major developments are expected before the year end but with parties currently less bipartisan in their efforts than in 1986, Congressman Neal cautions, “we’re more likely to get cut than tax reform and we're all losers if that’s what happens."

While we await markup and debate, the uncertainty underscores the importance of evaluating and planning. At PwC we are helping companies identify trigger points and evaluate benefits with our Tax Restructuring Impact Model (TRIM). Companies, especially global companies with US operations, will need to stay abreast with how impending tax reform will affect their business. While no one can predict exactly how this will all shake out, it is safe to say that change is likely and companies should be considering the impacts of the potential opportunities - and challenges - now.

View a video of the program  below, thanks to our partners at Comcast!

See more pictures from the event here.

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