Gary Cohn, the top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, is considered to be the man driving the White House’s push to overhaul the tax code.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Cohn laid out the administration’s priorities on tax reform – along with his thoughts on the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.
Here’s a quick rundown of what the administration wants:
- Preserve only three individual deductions. Cohn told the FT that the GOP plan would keep popular deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, and retirement contributions. The first two were included in the tax principles released in April, and the White House clarified a few days later that it also wanted to keep the retirement deduction. Cohn also said Trump wanted to double the standard deduction, which the White House also said in April. Eliminate the estate tax. This tax applies only if assets given to heirs total more than $5.49 million. Get the corporate tax rate “as low as possible.” Cohn’s comments came in response to a direct question about whether the corporate rate would be lowered to 15% from 35%. That has long been a target for Trump, but there have been reports that the final plan may include a higher corporate rate. Cohn did not reiterate promises of a 15% rate. Allow a one-time repatriation of overseas cash. The administration previously said this would happen, and Trump said it would come at a 10% rate. Cohn would not commit to that level, and the proposed 10% would be almost double the rate the last time there was a one-time repatriation, in 2004.
While much of what Cohn said lined up with the White House’s proposals, some of the elements omitted raised eyebrows. Not committing to a rate for corporate taxes or the repatriation tax leaves significant question marks for businesses for what to expect from the plan.
Despite the lack of details, Cohn said Trump would begin to push the tax-cut plan next week. He said the “president’s agenda and calendar is going to revolve around tax reform.”