Teens, Botox and medical tax deductions
Net worth of all U.S. presidents

White House tax reform panel report
to be issued on Aug. 27

U.S. taxpayers, mark your calendars. The long-delayed and anxiously awaited tax overhaul recommendations will be made public on Friday, Aug. 27.

Obama created the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), which is led by former Federal Reserve Board Chair Paul Volcker (at right in the photo below), in early 2009.

President of the United States Barack Obama, with Vice President Joseph Biden (2L), Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke (L) and chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board Paul Volker (R), delivers remarks during a meeting with the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board at the White House in Washington on April 16, 2010. President Obama met with PERAB to stress the importance of tightening control over banks in the wake of the recession. UPI/Shawn Thew/POOL Photo via Newscom

The task force (that's its working designation) has been charged, in part, with examining possible tax reform options.

As with any Washington, D.C., panel, everything is on the table. When it comes to taxes, that means tax code simplification, closing tax loopholes, combating tax evasion and reducing what many see as unfair corporate tax breaks.

The board's report has been slower than anticipated, and we can only hope that means its findings will be worth the wait.

But I wouldn't hold my breath for several reasons.

First, it's an election year, so any meaningful tax law changes are damn nigh impossible.

Second, Capitol Hill is staring down the expiration of Dubya's tax cuts, along with already expired tax extenders and the estate tax. That means that Representatives and Senators are not going to be in any mood to deal with even more controversial tax matters.

And did I mention it's also an election year.

Third, there's history, and some pretty recent history at that.

Dubya marched into D.C. in 2001 waving a big tax reform flag. Soon after settling into the Oval Office, he set up his own blue ribbon tax overhaul panel.

But in December 2005 when Dubya got the suggestions of his advisory group, which like this current panel included some well respected fiscal and political representatives, the report and any tax code modifications it might have spurred were DOA.

The main reason was that the Bush panel had the audacity to suggest substantive changes to the home-related tax breaks.

And did I mention that back then, the Republicans in the White House were worried about what might happen during the coming midterm elections if they started tinkering with sacrosanct tax breaks and just enacted tax cuts?

I don't want to sound too pessimistic. I'm certainly interested in seeing what Volcker et al  suggest. So, like you, I'll be up early Aug. 27 to see what the panel suggests when it comes to making our tax system better.

But, as I said, I don't really expect much to come of their findings.

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glad it worked for them, but basis issues make no estate tax a problem for some http://goo.gl/iUqq & http://goo.gl/itH5

Pamela Baggett

The one good thing Dubya did, and the only one, was changing the estate tax. Such $$$ as I leave for my disabled son should not be taxed. My friend, whose family has owned a Hill Country spread for five generations would lose their land if an inheritance tax had to be paid on the current value.

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