Assessing the Likelihood of a Tax Overhaul

In Taxes On

Donald Trump made it clear during the presidential campaign that he wanted to cut taxes to spur economic growth. With Congress back from its summer recess, the president may get the chance to do just that — though analysts and wealth advisers are less confident that he will get wholesale tax overhaul.

With any tax plan, the devil is in the details. And with this one, the details have been few. At the end of April, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, unveiled the plan, written on a single sheet of paper with tax proposals listed as bullet points.

Because changes are expected for business, income and so-called transfer taxes — those levied on estates and gifts — the lack of details has wealth advisers urging caution to clients asking the most natural of questions: What does this mean for me?

“We’re all Pavlovian when it comes to taxes,” said Jayne Hartley, director and senior wealth strategist at Union Bank in San Francisco. “We groan when we hear we’re paying a new tax. We cheer when we hear a tax cut is coming.”

With meetings over tax policy having started this week, what follows is an attempt to lay out when people might groan or cheer in the months ahead.

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