Promises, Promises

Nearing one free trade deal. The Trump Administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are close to an agreement on the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, according to multiple published reports. While details were not available, the agreement, which the White House calls the USMCA, would be a big political win for both Trump and congressional Democrats. A vote reportedly could come as soon as next week. 

IRS private debt program is in the black. The controversial effort returned a net of about $148 million in fiscal 2019, three times its return for 2018, according to a new report from Senate Finance Committee chair Chuck Grassley. The program ran in the red for its first two years but now has a balance of about $170 million. 

Promises of tax increases, then and now. TPC’s Howard Gleckman compares the promises made by Walter Mondale in 1984 and by the leading Democratic presidential contenders in this election cycle.  Mondale’s promise to raise taxes helped tank his campaign. But sens. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are enthusiastically campaigning on their plans to raise taxes—by trillions of dollars–on corporations and the wealthy. They are not suffering politically. Yet?

Louisiana’s high court will consider online marketplace sales tax. Does an online marketplace facilitator have to collect the sales tax, or is it the seller who uses the marketplace? Jefferson Parish, Louisiana says it should be the marketplace operator — in this case Walmart. The retail giant has a physical presence in Jefferson Parish, but the state of Louisiana doesn’t consider Walmart responsible for collecting sales tax. If the court rules for Jefferson Parish, Walmart could be required to collect local tax on third-party sales in multiple jurisdictions in the state.

South Korea wants to tax cryptocurrency transactions as capital gains. The Korea Times reports that the Ministry of Economy and Finance will revise a bill that introduces such a measure in the first half of 2020. The Korean National Assembly, meanwhile, is advancing a separate measure to make  cryptocurrency trading more transparent. Lawmakers still need to clarify whether cryptocurrency gains are similar to profits from stock trading or real estate transactions.

Spain will go ahead with its “Google tax.” The Spanish government will follow France’s lead and require tech companies to pay tax on income earned in Spain. The move could trigger new US  tariffs in retaliation. Last week, President Trump announced new import taxes on French wine and cheese, among other products, in response to its digital tax. The Spanish government supports a broader multinational solution but, for now, it is likely to receive backing from the European Union. Separately, Canada reportedly is pursuing its own digital tax. 

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