G.O.P. Rushed to Pass Tax Overhaul. Now It May Need to Be Altered.

WASHINGTON — The legislative blitz that rocketed the $1.5 trillion tax cut through Congress in less than two months created a host of errors and ambiguities in the law that businesses big and small are just now discovering and scrambling to address.

Companies and trade groups are pushing the and Congress to fix the law’s consequences, some intended and some not, including provisions that disadvantage certain farmers, hurt restaurateurs and retailers and could balloon the tax bills of large multinational corporations.

While Treasury can clear up uncertainty about some of the murky provisions, actual errors and unintended language can be solved only legislatively — at a time when Democrats seem disinclined to lend votes to shoring up a law they had no hand in passing and are actively trying to dismantle.

On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a 15-page request it had sent the Treasury Department for clarification on how the law affects multinational corporations, mutual fund investors and mom-and-pop pass-through entities.

It was a public display of the lobbying that businesses are waging primarily behind the scenes to change or shape enforcement of the law, most notably its byzantine new provisions intended to crack down on multinationals sheltering profits abroad for tax purposes.

“The question is whether our system is set up today in a way to do little midcourse corrections as time goes on, or is it not,” said Dana Trier, who left the Treasury Department last month after serving as deputy assistant secretary for tax policy during the drafting of the bill. “The mistakes or unintended consequences for this or that group won’t show up for months.”

The result could be a tax-theme replay of the years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, when Republicans refused to cooperate with so-called technical corrections legislation, and a Democratic administration was forced to push the limits of its authority to address concerns in the enforcement of its signature policy accomplishment.

 

 

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