Congress Passes Tax Reform Legislation
On December 20, the US House of Representatives took the final legislative step needed to finalize comprehensive tax reform legislation prior to sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The House had previously voted on tax reform legislation; however, when the bill was sent to the Senate for a final vote, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled several minor provisions out-of-order. The necessary revisions were made and the Senate voted on the legislation early in the morning on December 20. The House then passed the revised version of the bill. President Trump has endorsed the legislation and is expected to sign it into law before the end of the week. No Democrats supported the bill in either chamber. Republicans are claiming a major victory in passing the first comprehensive tax reform bill since 1986 and see this as a boost to their 2018 electoral hopes.
The legislation will decrease the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent while also reducing the number of individual tax brackets from seven to five. This legislation reduces the individual tax rates in all brackets and amends or eliminates other existing tax breaks. Most notably, the legislation also repeals the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Importantly, the bill does not include the problematic provision that would treat a tuition waiver for students in graduate programs as taxable income. The Academy joined many organizations in opposing this specific provision, as it caused concerns among audiologists and doctoral audiology students. The Academy thanks, all of its members who contacted their members of Congress via the Legislative Action Center to express their opposition to this provision in the tax reform package.