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Nation’s senior tax policy advisers to address nation’s fiscal cliff

Published: October 22nd, 2012

Category: News

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By Matt Walker
Senior writer

Tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year will trigger higher average tax bills of almost $3,500 across all households in the U.S., and $2,000 for middle income households. Experts say this looming “fiscal cliff” would result in unprecedented tax hikes that could result in a major economic slowdown unless the current rates are renewed.

Some of the nation’s senior tax policy advisers will be discussing this critical issue during the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s Gelberg Lecture Friday at 10:30 a.m. in UF Law’s Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom, HOL 180. The panelists will be Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation Thomas Barthold, Mark Prater, minority tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and former staff director of the House-Senate deficit reduction supercommittee, and Chief Tax Counsel of the Senate Finance Committee Lily Batchelder. The discussion will be moderated by Lindy Paull, co-managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and former Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff. The event is free and open to the public.

“We are at the point where every individual has a financial stake in what is done with tax reform,” said UF Law Professor and Alumni Research Scholar Dennis Calfee. “These individuals are playing key roles in the reform process.”

Among the laws affected by the fiscal cliff are last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts, various tax breaks for businesses, Bush’s tax cuts from 2001 and 2003, and the estate tax exemption amount, which will be reduced from $5.12 million to $1 million. January will also see the beginning of taxes related to Obama’s Affordable Care Act. U.S. lawmakers must choose between letting the changes go into effect as scheduled, possibly plunging the nation back into recession; cancel or alter the scheduled increases in an attempt to avoid a recession, while increasing the nation’s deficit; or seeking a moderate approach which will have less impact on growth and address limited budget issues.

The Ellen Bellet Gelberg Tax Policy Lecture Series is an endowed lecture series that examines tax policy and how its implementation affects the economy and people’s lives. Gelberg, who holds a J.D. and LL.M. in taxation from UF Law, established the lecture series to bring distinguished lecturers to the college each year to speak on tax policy topics to students and faculty, and provide a special opportunity for reflection on the policies supporting the U.S. tax structure.

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