On June 25, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, legalizing cannabis for adult use in Illinois. Cannabis is the most lucrative crop globally and the cash-making abilities of cannabis have been proven true in Illinois. Sales in the state exceeded $1 billion in the first full year of legalization, resulting in a $205.4 million tax windfall for Illinois. This success, however, is no small feat for cannabis companies considering the banking and insurance obstacles they must overcome to start this type of business. Federalism is at the heart of many of these hurdles.
As March starts and we enter Women’s History Month, Time Magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CNBC, The Washington Post, and more wrote articles on the unique and disproportionate effects that COVID-19 has had on women. However, by focusing exclusively on the effect of COVID-19 on women, we ignore the impacts faced by gender non-binary people. This approach leaves many people to continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as economic impacts cannot be addressed and answered, if they are not first acknowledged.
The United States’ current systems and its response to COVID-19 has failed to serve many people, in fact, the pandemic has amplified existing economic and social inequalities. If we are to resolve these inequalities, instead of focusing on the disproportionate effects experienced by cis-gender women, the focus should shift towards marginalized people, such as, cis and transgender women, and non-binary individuals. This article takes a limited approach due to its length, and it focuses on the effects COVID-19 has had on women, and the transgender and non-binary community, where the United States needs to acknowledge the economic inequalities these people face and change the current systems.
The coronavirus is still rampant in our country rendering an average of 96,275 new cases per day, and legislatures are attempting to stop the spread by any means necessary. One of the most recent innovative ideas by some state lawmakers is to emphasize the use of wearing masks by eliminating the sales tax on the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
If you live in Illinois, you have likely seen in the past couple of days this vibrant blue commercial at least once or twice. The commercial encourages Illinois voters to “Vote Yes for Fairness” at the polls this November by voting their approval of an amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would change the state’s current state income system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker made the adoption of a progressive income tax a centerpiece of his policy agenda in a budget address back in February 2019, and it was geared up to be a focus of election-season debates before the COVID-19 pandemic took precedence. With the Illinois general election less than fifty days away, however, the ‘Vote Yes for Fairness’ campaign has bolstered its attempts at garnering voters’ approval of the proposed amendment.
On December 22, 2018, for the third time in a year, the United States government shut down. Almost two years into his presidency, President Trump, feeling pressure to accomplish one of his many promises from the campaign trail, requested $5.7 billionfrom Congress to fund his proposed wall at the border of the United States and Mexico. Following negotiation efforts by Senate Democrats, the standoff between the President and the Senate ended in a financial default, triggering a partial shutdown. The shutdown became the longest in U.S. history on January 19, 2019, beating the previous 21-day recordset by the 1995-1996 shutdown. The shutdown left an estimated 380,000 government employeeslocked out of work without pay and an even greater 420,000 employees working for no compensation at all, including employees of the IRS. With one of the United States’ most important governmental bodies being almost completely stalled by a lapse in funding, it begs the question: what happens to taxes during a shutdown?
With the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed in 2017, there have been several changes to the tax system. The Opportunity Zone program was a small piece of the tax reform that has recently gained more publicity. The Opportunity Zone program provides tax benefits to real-estate investors. The Trump Administration recently released definitions and rules in a package of proposed regulations.
A provision within the new tax overhaul is emerging as a leading concern for the property and casualty insurance sector. The industry recently experienced growing uncertainties about how a vaguely worded provision within the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) may affect their bottom line. However, the insurance industry is not the only group that may experience these unintentional ramifications; consumers and small businesses are also likely to see an increase in their premiums due to implications of BEAT.
The IRS has decided to shutdown its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) on September 28, 2018. The program offers amnesty from criminal prosecution and a set penalty structure for those who have previously failed to disclose foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, including those held through undisclosed foreign entities. Failure to disclose could include failure to file the annual FinCEN Form 114,most commonly referred to as the foreign bank account report or “FBAR”, as well as the failure to report income from such accounts and assets on tax returns and the failure to provide various other foreign information forms and returns.
Beginning January, 2018, U.S. citizens with unpaid taxes may find their U.S. passport applications denied and their existing passports revoked. The I.R.S. announced that it will begin implementation of procedures to notify the State Department of taxpayers the I.R.S. certifies as owing a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” This may come as a rude awakening to many Americans, although both the press and television news issued warnings going back more than a year ago.
It is commonly accepted that lowering tax rates increases tax compliance and high tax rates encourage tax evasion. The recent U.S. tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, was enacted partly due to assumptions that lowered tax rates would increase tax compliance and recover lost revenue. Here, I examine the theoretical basis for the claim that lowering income taxes increases compliance, as well as the external evidence regarding the extent of increased compliance due to lowering tax rates.