business news in context, analysis with attitude

Content Guy’s Note: Stories in this section are, in my estimation, important and relevant to business. However, they are relegated to this slot because some MNB readers have made clear that they prefer a politics-free MNB; I can't do that because sometimes the news calls out for coverage and commentary, but at least I can make it easy for folks to skip it if they so desire.

•  The New York Times reports that "a debate between the White House and the Treasury Department over President Trump’s payroll tax suspension has delayed crucial information about how the executive order will be carried out, according to people familiar with the matter, leaving businesses across the country uncertain about how to proceed … The executive order aims to stimulate the economy by allowing companies to stop withholding payroll taxes until the end of the year, putting more money in workers’ pockets."

The story goes on:  "The White House, which is eager to push through a tax cut before the November election, wants the Treasury guidance to ensure that companies, not workers, are held liable for paying the employee portion of the tax when the tax holiday ends.

"It is unclear why the Treasury Department has not been willing to issue such guidance, but businesses, which have been fielding questions from their employees about when the tax cuts will begin, would prefer that Congress legislate any changes to tax policy. It is also not clear that the White House would have the legal authority to shift the tax burden in such a manner."

The US Chamber of Commerce, along with a number of business groups, has opposed the executive order, writing that "the E.O. creates a substantial tax liability for employees at the end of the deferral period … Without congressional action to forgive this liability, it threatens to impose serious hardships on employees who will face a large tax bill as a result of deferral."