Regarding the Dec. 28 front-page article “IRS upends the rush to prepay taxes”:
It will be interesting — and frankly sad for anyone who believes taxation is an important aspect of civic life — to watch the resource-deprived Internal Revenue Service enforcement arm try to suss out each property-taxing jurisdiction in the country to figure out which ones meet the standard of “assessing” 2018 property taxes, and then — wait for it — auditing or otherwise disallowing deductions for the probably millions of taxpayers who have already assumed that the new tax law condones property-tax prepayment. After all, the speedily handwritten statute says nothing about prohibiting prepayment of property taxes, while expressly prohibiting it in the case of state and local income taxes. The courts may have to weigh in on this, and good luck to them.
The whole chaotic year-end stress of decision-making on this foolishness should do wonders in November for GOP voter support from anyone who pays property taxes and itemizes deductions, which would be sweet justice for the powers that be. Thanks, congressional Republicans — and enjoy the consequences.
Robert Engelman, Takoma Park
Regarding the Dec. 24 front-page article “Tax law could crunch charities”:
In President Trump’s parlance, it was par for the course to read about the unintended consequences of the GOP tax bill such that middle-class Americans will now find it more difficult to donate to social-service charities and religious organizations.
As tax experts have determined, a lot of middle-class families will experience a tax increase, not a tax cut, in the first year of the law, because the personal exemption was rescinded and a cap of $10,000 set on the deduction of state and local taxes. Families who used to itemize will now fall under the standard-deduction umbrella. And the tax-rate reduction will not offset the aforementioned increases in taxable income. So money that might have gone to charities will now be used to pay Uncle Sam.
In this country, about 40 million people live in poverty (with annual incomes of approximately $12,000 for an individual, $24,000 for a family of four), including nearly 1 of every 6 children. But the GOP would prefer to make it more difficult for these individuals to receive donations and other forms of financial assistance to ensure that the 1 percent of the wealthiest people in this country receive substantial tax cuts.
Joel Papier, Olney