News Tip: Claims New Tax Plan Doubles Standard Deduction ‘Mostly Smoke and Mirrors,’ Expert Says

Law professor Lawrence Zelenak comments on President Trump’s tax plan

The Trump administration released some details of a plan to reform the tax code on Wednesday, in a nine-page document titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.”

  • Quote:
    "The supposed doubling of the standard deduction under the ‘Framework’ released today is mostly smoke and mirrors," says Duke University law professor Lawrence A. Zelenak, an expert on tax law and policy. "After taking into account the proposed repeal of personal exemptions, the real increase is only about 15 percent. And that's the best-case scenario.”

    “Many taxpayers would actually come out worse under the ‘Framework’ than under current law, because of the loss of itemized deductions resulting from the increased standard deduction."

  • Bio:
    Zelenak teaches income tax, corporate tax and a tax policy seminar. He has published numerous articles on tax policy issues and a treatise on federal income taxation of individuals. His most recent book is “Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax (University of Chicago Press, 2013).
    https://law.duke.edu/fac/zelenak/

  • For additional comment, contact Zelenak at:
    zelenak@law.duke.edu