All the weird parts of the tax reform bill, in one post
Posted November 3, 2017 10:36 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — "It was weird. That's about it," Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry said after his team's 112-92 win over San Antonio. "Mama, I made it."
Curry was commenting on his inclusion in an explainer about the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," a tax reform bill released by the House of representatives Thursday that costs an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years and contains a major overhaul of the individual income and corporate tax codes.
Curry's is not the only case where the bill is making heads tilt. In another case, the definition of the homo sapiens species is invoked to strengthen the language around whether unborn children can qualify for college savings plans.
Another section may affect teachers who expense classroom supplies. Another part says how many hours a year art museums need to be open to the public to qualify for a tax break.
Read more about some of the weirder parts of the bill below.
1. Steph Curry, tax abuser?
Along with the release of the bill, the House Ways and Means Committee released an explainer walking through potential arguments against the bill.
In a section about loopholes and how individual income might be treated as business income, lowering the person's tax rate, Curry was used as an example of the type of person who would not be allowed to abuse loopholes.
"Our legislation will ensure this much-needed tax relief goes to the local job creators it's designed to help by distinguishing between the individual wage income of NBA All-Star Stephen Curry and the pass-through business income of Steve's Bike Shop," it reads.
Steve's Bike Shop, here, seems to be Curry's coach on the Warriors, Steve Kerr. His hypothetical bike shop should be taxed at a lower rate. Steph Curry, not so much.
Things have taken a decidedly interesting turn since the tax bill's release.
Curry's coach, Steve Kerr, said he found it "kind of weird" but stopped short of adding much else. Some wondered whether he was hiding something. "I'll have to check with my employees at the bike shop with what's going on," he joked.
Curry then posted a job application to "Steve Kerr's Bike Shop" on Instagram. "I wonder if Steve's Bike shop is hiring..." Curry said.
Curry and President Donald Trump have tussled since Curry had said he did not want to visit the White House after winning the NBA title. After his comments, Trump withdrew the invitation.
2. A definition of the homo sapiens species
Wedged after a section of the bill about apprenticeships is something that's caught many tax analysts by surprise: "IN GENERAL.---Nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary or an individual under this section."
Put another way, the bill articulates the definition of a child, for purposes of taxation, to include children carried in the womb. A summary of the bill defined the designated "unborn child" as "a child in utero." A child in utero," it says, "means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."
The bill makes tax-advantaged 529 college savings accounts available to the unborn. Parents can already open 529 accounts before conceiving. This language is a step forward, however, by explicitly articulating the definition of a human being.
Advocacy groups in the abortion rights debate jumped into the tax debate to lend support or opposition to this provision.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the anti-abortion March for Life, told Politico: "The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children as well," Mancini said.
In a Tweet, NARAL, a leading abortion rights advocacy group, said: "Leave it to the GOP to figure out how to stick language that would help them pass an abortion ban into a tax bill."
3. The NFL -- and other sports leagues -- may take a hit
On the heels of Trump's ongoing feud with the NFL, the new tax bill has some changes professional sports teams may not be too fond of.
Fans rooting on their favorite college teams will no longer be able to deduct their tickets as a "charitable donation." According to a summary of the bill, a provision that allows an 80% deduction on tickets for college athletic events is be repealed. Former President Barack Obama attempted to do away with this loophole in 2015.
It also takes a swipe at professional sports teams by eliminating tax-exempt bonds for their facilities. Professional sports franchises have been able to take advantage of tax exempt-municipal bonds issued by local governments, often in an effort to entice the teams to stay in their cities.
A 2016 Brookings Institute study found that the federal government had lost $3.7 billion in revenue by subsidizing the construction or renovation of sports stadiums since 2000. Under the new plan, any facility "used as a stadium or arena for professional sports exhibitions, games or training for at least five days in any calendar year" would be subject to federal taxes.
4. Teachers lose their $250 classroom supplies deduction
The tax plan eliminates a $250 deduction eligible to teachers for their spending on classroom supplies. Teachers' unions have decried the change.
"As educators spend more and more of their own funds each year to buy basic essentials, Republican leaders chose to ignore the sacrifice made by those who work in our nation's public schools to make sure students have adequate books, pencils, paper and art supplies," Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Educational Association, said in a statement.
5. Stricter requirements for operating art museums
Private art collectors whose pieces are housed in "private foundations" may no longer be eligible for tax breaks under the new plan.
Currently, someone could claim that their art was in a museum -- even if that museum was their private house, according to CNBC -- and be exempt from taxes on it. The new plan requires such a museum to be open to the public for at least 1,000 hours per year.
6. Limits gambling deductions
Individuals who itemize deductions are allowed to deduct gambling losses up to a point. But some players include other expenses in their deductions.
As the law stands, taxpayers are "allowed to claim other deductions related to gambling that fall into the category of "expenses incurred in carrying out wagering transactions," according to The Nevada Independent, which has been following the gambling provisions of the bills.
The bill narrows what is deductible to only include gambling losses. If you itemize your deductions, you may deduct your gambling losses on your federal return up to the amount of your gambling winnings.