2 Questions

Question 6. 6. (TCO 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10) You are chief counsel to the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the body primarily responsible for identifying taxation issues and their consequences as Congress seeks to implement a comprehensive and coherent tax policy. Currently, the United States is in a bit of an economic slump. Corporate earnings reports are relatively weak; the stock market is about 25% off of its five-year highs, and tax revenues are down. Largely as a result of the last issue, the government finds itself operating under an annual deficit, and the national debt hovers around $7,000,000,000. Interest rates, however, remain at historic lows. The president has suggested a multiple-pronged attack to revitalize the economy. He has proposed permanently abolishing all capital gains taxes. He has also proposed eliminating the double taxation of dividends by excluding them from shareholders’ income. To partially offset these reductions, however, he has proposed eliminating the deduction that self-employed individuals receive for medical insurance copayments as well as the home mortgage interest deduction.

The chairman has asked you for your analysis of these provisions. Please prepare a memorandum outlining your thoughts on each, including, but not necessarily limited to

(I) the effect of each recommendation on revenues and deficits, both in the short and long run;(II) the effect of each recommendation on the economy;(III) the relative effects of each recommendation on different socioeconomic groups of taxpayers;(IV) the relative “fairness” of each recommended change; and(V) your conclusion regarding whether any or all should be adopted. (Points : 50) 

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Question 7. 7. (TCO 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 10) As a newly minted CPA, you obtain your first significant position as a tax professional: senior tax accountant for one of the offices of a regional accounting firm. Of course, the firm runs a notice of your hiring in the local newspaper. A few days later, the editor of the newspaper calls you and asks if you might be interested in writing a monthly column for the newspaper on tax issues. Figuring that it would be a good way to get your name out in the community as an expert in the field (and a little free advertising to boot!), you tell him that you would be more than happy to do so. “Great! ” he says. “By the way, I have already blocked out space for this column in the next edition of the paper. Is there any way that you can get me your article by the end of the day today?” After you commit to doing so, he also proceeds to tell you that you will not be paid for these articles. “I figure that it is just a sort of public service that you could offer to the community. I am sure you understand.” (And so it begins…. Get used to a lot of this.) You spend the next 10 minutes thinking about what you could discuss in your first article. You would like to shake people up a little bit, and perhaps challenge their opinions about some issues of tax law. That way, you could perhaps build up some interest in your column, which, as you know, will be difficult to achieve under the best of circumstances! (After all, who wants to read newspaper articles about taxes?)

Finally, you decide on a topic: You will argue to the readers that the federal income tax should be abolished and replaced with a national property tax that is levied on both personal property and real estate.

Required: Write an article arguing this position. You may or may not agree with this proposition. However, based on the materials covered in this course and the discussions that have occurred in the Discussion areas, you should be able to articulate a cogent, persuasive argument in support of this proposition. In particular, reference theories, concepts, justifications, and anticipated economic, social, and/or other benefits that would result from such a system. To the extent that you think strong contrary arguments could be made, consider raising those contrary arguments and then persuasively arguing against them. Your answer to this question will be evaluated based on the thoroughness, professionalism, substance, and persuasiveness of your argument. (Points : 50)

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