Filing Season Opened 1/28/2019

The IRS has announced that despite the government shutdown, the 2019 tax filing season will begin on Monday, 1/28/19. The agency maintains the position that it has the authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) agrees. For most taxpayers, the deadline to file 2018 tax returns is Monday, 4/15/19. However, taxpayers living in Maine or Massachusetts have until 4/17/19 due to the Emancipation Day holiday.

Ultra-Millionaire Tax

On January 24, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” a proposal to tax the wealth of the richest 0.1% of Americans. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax would apply only to households with a net worth (i.e., the sum of all assets net of debts) of $50 million or more — roughly the wealthiest 75,000 households, or the top 0.1%.

Under the tax, there would be an annual 2% tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion. In addition, there would be a 1% annual Billionaire Surtax (3% tax overall) on household net worth above $1 billion. No additional tax would apply to any household with a net worth of less than $50 million (99.9% of American households). A 40% “exit tax” on the net worth above $50 million would apply to U.S. citizens who renounce their citizenship.

It was estimated that the tax would raise around $2.75 trillion over ten years (i.e., the budget window 2019-2028), of which $0.3 trillion would come from the billionaire 1% surtax. The wealth tax would raise approximately 1.0% of GDP per year ($210 billion relative to a $21.1 trillion GDP in 2019).