The Carter administration, apparently undaunted by last year's rejection of its big tax-revision plan, is asking Congress to approve three controversial "tax reform" proposals that lawmakers either rejected or shelved in 1978.
The president's new budget contains no major broadscale tax proposals -- either for across-the-board cuts or for the kind of sweeping overhaul of the system that he sought last year. The only general tax proposal is the $2.5 billion "real wage insurance" tax credit, designed to protect workers who agree to follow the new 7 percent wage guideline.
But the White House is determined to try again on lesser provisions.
And while officials concede they're facing another uphill fight on these issues, they say Carter is bent on pushing hard for their enactment. Including the proposals in the budget document was a sign the president is serious.
By far the most controversial is the so-called "carryover basis" proposal. The 1976 Tax Reform Act raised taxes on profits from the sale of inherited assets, but Congress twice delayed that increase. Carter tried last year to push through a compromise that would have exempted most family farms and small businesses from the increase, but the bar association and other big lobbies defeated it. Carter will try again.
The other proposals:
Fringe benefits. The Internal Revenue Service ruled last year that some fringe benefits -- such as cut-rate plane tickets for airline personnel -- amount to extra income and should be taxed. But Congress three times voted to block the IRS, then shelved the whole issue.
Independent contractors. The IRS issued tough rules last year that would have limited workers' ability to classify themselves as self-employed to avoid tax withholding. But Congress rolled back the rulings at the request of timber cutters, leaving the issue in limbo.
Prospects for congressional approval of the proposals are dim. All are opposed by active lobby groups, and no new "reformist" sentiment is detected in Congress.