September 9, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Calls for Inspector General to Investigate Politicization of the U.S. Tax System

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Call for Investigation Comes After Last Week's Egregious IRS Regulation "Clarification" Aimed at Benefitting Red States

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today sent a letter to the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General, calling for an investigation into the politicization of the U.S. tax system after the federal government's continued attempts to block New York's efforts to provide relief to middle class taxpayers while continuing to support programs in states that voted for President Trump. 

 

Last week, the IRS announced a so-called "clarification" of their regulations limiting charitable donation deductions, stating that the new limitation does not apply to business interests - a transparent effort to bolster President Trump's political allies and assuage the school voucher program constituency.  In fact, Secretary Mnuchin affirmed that the new proposed regulation would have "no impact on federal tax benefits for business-related donations to school choice programs," removing any doubt that this "clarification" is aimed at states that offer education credits. 

 

"The federal government has again launched a partisan assault on New Yorkers by further politicizing the implementation of the tax law to favor taxpayers in red states," Governor Cuomo said. "With this new 'clarification' President Trump has once again confirmed exactly where his allegiances lie - with the States that voted him into office in the first place. We will continue to fight back against Washington to protect thelivelihood of New York taxpayers being threatened by these politically driven actions."

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The Governor also issued a letter to the IRS urging the agency to resist the proposed regulation blocking New York's charitable contributions program and the clarification benefitting red states over blue states and big business over individual taxpayers. In the letter, the Governor threatened to file a lawsuit against the federal government for their continued unconstitutional attacks on New York taxpayers.

 

The full text of the letter to the Inspector General for Tax Administration is available here.

 

The full text of the letter to the Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenueis available here.

 

The Governor's actions build on his commitment to fighting back against the federal government's partisan tax bill, which would cost New York's taxpayers an additional $14.3 billion per year and provide corporations with additional tax breaks. Governor Cuomo took immediate action to protect New Yorkers against the federal tax law by reforming the State's tax code to minimize the impact of the SALT limitation. In the FY2019 Budget, the Governor created a new state-operated Charitable Contribution Fund, incentivizing contributions through a State tax credit equal to 85 percent of the donation amount.

 

The IRS responded by proposing politically motivated regulations to further the agenda of the Trump administration and block New York's charitable contributions program. Now, the IRS has issued a "clarification" of their SALT-related proposed regulations, stating that their new limitation does not apply to corporations and businesses - just to individuals.

We will continue to fight back against Washington to protect thelivelihood of New York taxpayers being threatened by these politically driven actions.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Statement from Leslie B. Samuels, former Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, U.S. Department of Treasury:

 

"The recent 2017 federal tax legislation includes provisions that are targeted at states whose revenues finance critical and essential services for their residents.  I applaud Governor Cuomo for pursuing reforms to mitigate the impacts of the new tax law on New York State and its residents. The proposals the Governor and the State legislature have recently enacted—including the new employer compensation expense program and the new charitable contribution programs—have the potential to generate real benefits for New Yorkers."

 

"It is therefore unfortunate that the IRS proposed regulations to block New York's charitable contributions program, which had relied in its design on longstanding practices governing the federal tax treatment of similar programs in other states. Even more unfortunate, the IRS has since "clarified" that these new restrictions on charitable contributions would not apply to business taxpayers. When the "clarification" was announced recently, Secretary Mnuchin issued a coordinated statement to make clear that the purposes of the "clarification" was to maintain Federal Government tax support for contributions by businesses to school choice programs."

 

"As a tax practitioner in both the public and private sector, I can say that this "clarification" that is designed to favor contributions by businesses to school choice programs is disturbing development.  This business deduction "clarification" attempts to establish an unprincipled exception to the recent proposed regulations. It suggests that this Administration believes that it can bend its proposed regulations to satisfy its political objectives, thereby undermining the legal rational used by the IRS to justify the proposed regulations in the first place. I applaud Governor Cuomo for pushing back."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
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