Document Type

Article

Publication Title

National Tax Journal

Publication Date

2020

Keywords

taxes, legislation

Abstract

This paper compares the enactment and implementation process for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to prior tax reform acts, as well as situates it within other developments in the legislative process more generally. It details how the 2017 enactment process solidifies reconciliation as the primary vehicle for the enactment of major tax measures, a trend nearly two decades in the making. The ambitious scope of the TCJA, as well as the rushed and partisan reconciliation process by which it was enacted, has led to ambiguities and instability in the legislation. These features have, in turn, posed an enormous implementation challenge for Treasury, which has led to some troubling results. Finally, reconciliation has set up the opportunity for Congress to engage in budget gimmicks in the future. This paper discusses these trends and proposes solutions to them.

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