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The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law


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These Uncertain Times

Posted on in Tax Rants

Many clients have been contacting me these past several weeks and asking what my take is on the IRS after the change in administration.   Will enforcement activities decrease as a result of the new president’s own rancor for the agency?  Or will the Service instead react like the intelligence community, digging in its collective heels and strengthening its entrenched bureaucracy, perhaps even resurrecting the more draconian tactics of past times?

The answer I have been offering to my clients is both frustrating and disturbing:  I really have no idea.   And I do not think anyone really does know what to expect.  Playing a wait-and-see game makes substantive tax planning difficult, and tax controversy representation even more challenging. 

If the new President, with a supporting Congress, follow through on advertised tax reform proposals, the overall rates will be lowered, saving money for middle and upper income taxpayers.  And if the Affordable Care Act is repealed (Obamacare), so goes the 3.8% surtax on investment income.  While it is uncertain if these changes will happen at all, it is even more unclear now whether they would become effective for the 2017 or the 2018 tax year, making the deferral-of-income strategy a difficult recommendation to counsel at this point.

But the one thing I have certainly come to most appreciate is that this is no time to DIY.   My staff and I have made special efforts to monitor developments, communicate continuously, and strategize a variety of backup approaches to accommodate the range of potential changing laws and policies.   This is certainly not a call for alarm, but rather a call to arms.   We see this as an opportunity to strengthen our own resolve, re-ignite our creativity, and remain optimistic that any change can be good if we remain informed, responsive, and aggressive.

I encourage you to contact me or my staff if you have questions, or just want to talk through your situation.  We may not have the specific answers, but there is no shortage here of ideas and positive support for you.

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