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TSU expert urges taxpayers to study tax overhaul bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Taxpayers should learn as much as they can about the tax overhaul bill lawmakers have sent to President Trump for his signature, a TSU expert says.

Dr. Stephen Shanklin

Dr. Stephen Shanklin is a professor in TSU’s College of Business, as well as a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant. He says people can get information about the bill through their tax preparer, council member, or contacting the office of their congressional representative.

“You need to be aware as much as you can of how the law has changed and affects you, because the rules are different,” Shanklin explains. “What worked last year, is not going to work next year.”

Most provisions of the bill lawmakers passed on Wednesday won’t take effect until the 2018 tax year, adds Shanklin.

The $1.5 trillion tax bill is the biggest rewrite in 30 years. It reduces rates on individuals, cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and overhauls the taxation of both small and large businesses.

However, all individual tax reductions will expire by 2025, but corporate benefits are permanent, according to the bill. The average taxpayer could see a benefit of $1,600 when they file next year.

Tax preparer Corey Jenkins says he began receiving calls about the bill when lawmakers were debating it, and agrees taxpayers should learn as much as they can about it.

“There’s a lot in the bill,” says Jenkins, who’s been preparing taxes for nearly 20 years. “It’s going to affect them greatly, especially over the next several years.”

Shanklin says one of the biggest misconceptions of the bill is that “lawmakers say it’s fair for everybody; that it will benefit the middle class.”

“I think it actually benefits those with upper incomes, with greater levels of wealth, and business investments,” he says.

Most provisions of the bill won’t take effect until the 2018 tax year, adds Shanklin.

The latest polls show the bill is unpopular. In an NBC-Wall Street Journal survey, 24 percent of Americans think the tax bill is a good idea versus 41 percent who believe it’s a bad one.

Opposition to the bill has jumped to 10 points in CNN’s polling since last month, with 55 percent now against it. Only 21 percent say they’ll be better off if the bill becomes law, and 37 percent say that their family will be worse off.

Shanklin believes one reason for the bill’s unpopularity is partly due to lawmakers’ rapid pace in passing it, and their lack of transparency. He noted that before former President Ronald Reagan signed his tax bill in 1986, there had been more than 350 days of discussion to craft a bipartisan proposal.

“This one was done in less than 45 days, with fewer than 10 percent in Congress ever seeing it,” Shanklin contends.

To learn more about the tax bill, visit https://www.congress.gov. It should also be accessible at a local library that has access to government documents.


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With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.