CBC News: Trump’s next legislative fight looks to be even more taxing than health care

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2017 edition of CBC News and quotes alliantgroup National Managing Director Dean Zerbe.

Republican frictions exposed in Obamacare repeal could pose challenge ahead of tax overhaul

To invert an old cliché: You lose some, you win some.

After failing twice in recent weeks to advance an overhaul of health care in the House of Representatives, a nail-biting vote Thursday finally scored U.S. President Donald Trump a temporary legislative victory. But it didn’t come without some stumbles, revealing ruptures in his Republican Party ahead of another major policy challenge.

Trump now wants to revamp the tax system. And if he thought cutting deals on health care was tough, tax policy experts say the president will soon learn how onerous it can be to try making sweeping changes to the labyrinthine tax code.

A House Republican blueprint on taxation proposes dramatically changing the system, said Martin Sullivan, a former Treasury Department tax specialist and chief economist for the non-profit Tax Analysts research organization.

“We’re talking about the basic way we do our taxes. The number of technical issues is enormous,” Sullivan said. “If you had the 100 smartest tax lawyers in town sitting in one room working day and night, it would take months to figure this thing out.

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sb-d-zerbe[1]Dean Zerbe is alliantgroup’s National Managing Director based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Prior to joining alliantgroup, Zerbe was Senior Counsel and Tax Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He worked closely with then-Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Charles Grassley, on tax legislation. During his tenure on the Finance Committee, Zerbe was intimately involved with nearly every major piece of tax legislation that was signed into law, including the 2001 and 2003 tax reconciliation bills, the JOBS bill in 2004 (corporate tax reform) and the Pension Protection Act. Zerbe is a frequent speaker and author on the outlook for short-term and long-term changes in tax policy, as well as ways accounting firms can help their clients lower their tax bill.