On May 6, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released its report on the tax reform working groups. The report outlines the current tax law and provides suggestions for reform submitted to the tax reform working groups formed by the Ways and Means Committee to compile feedback on a designated topic. The JCT is a non-partisan committee, chaired on a rotating basis by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, with a professional staff of tax and accounting experts who help advise the congressional tax-writing committees in the House and Senate.

The report includes four sections:

  1. An overview of the U.S. tax code and tax system, including income taxes, estate and gift taxes, and excise taxes;
  2. A summary of the current tax law as it relates to the 11 working groups' focus areas;
  3. A selection and summary of various external tax reform proposals, such as those offered in the past by President Bush's 2005 tax reform advisory panel, the Bowles-Simpson proposal, and the debt reduction analysis of the Bipartisan Policy Center, among others; and
  4. A compilation of the 1,300 comments received from stakeholders, organized by tax issue

Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said that the JCT report "provides an important and comprehensive overview of the tax code, an overview of some of the most commonly referenced previous tax reform proposals and summarizes the views of more than 1,300 submissions offered to the House Ways and Means Committee by key stakeholders." It should be noted that neither the working groups nor the JCT were tasked with drafting or proposing tax reform suggestions or legislation. The Ways & Means Committee will use the JCT report to deepen its understanding of the problems with the existing code, as the basis for future hearings and discussions, and as another building block towards the ultimate goal of a tax reform package.