Americans now say they approve of free trade by 64%-27%, a margin of better than two to one. That's up from 57%-37% early in Trump's presidency, and 51%-41% near the end of...Politicsread more
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note briefly fell below the 2-year rate on Wednesday, a phenomenon in the bond market known as yield curve inversion, which is...Marketsread more
The MacBook Pro recall and its subsequent ban from flights underscores the increasing brand risk from problems with lithium-ion batteries.Technologyread more
Experts say the timing of Amazon executives' contributions to Rep. David Cicilline likely reflect the company's heightened urgency over growing regulatory scrutiny.Technologyread more
CNBC combed through Wall Street research to see which stocks are still a buy after their earnings reports.Marketsread more
Despite aggressive strides, Waymo needs one thing before their self-driving cars become a seriously useful transportation system: people. We talked to the ones closest to it.Technologyread more
Coinbase security chief Philip Martin explains, "Possession of a key is possession of your currency. What that means is that you can't revoke a cryptocurrency key, if that key...Technologyread more
Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos' accusations extended beyond GE's management to actuaries, auditors and analysts who he claims overlooked billions in liabilities.Marketsread more
The Supreme Court could strike down the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency Elizabeth Warren has likened to her child and which Justice...2020 Electionsread more
Bianco Research's James Bianco suggests Wall Street is desperately looking for a signal that a 50 basis point cut is coming next month.Trading Nationread more
The company's S-1 lays the groundwork for what is widely expected to be one of the largest initial public offerings of the year, second only to Uber's IPO in May. It's also...Technologyread more
Disaster relief for the victims of hurricanes Irma and Harvey isn't just about immediate necessities like food, clean water and shelter. It could also come wrapped up in the tax code.
Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, is floating several proposals intended to provide relief for those suffering from the devastating storms. Chief among them is a measure to allow affected residents to access their 401(k) retirement savings without paying a penalty.
"No two disasters are the same. These won't be boilerplate," Brady told reporters last week. "We'll tailor these to our communities and their needs going forward."
The IRS has already relaxed the rules for households hit by Harvey that need to take out loans from their 401(k)s or make hardship withdrawals. On Aug. 30, the IRS issued guidance streamlining the loan applications for affected residents and waiving the six-month ban on retirement contributions that typically follows a hardship withdrawal. The agency said it will also ease certain restrictions to allow households to use their retirement funds to purchase basics such as food and shelter.
Under current law, individuals can take out a loan against their 401(k) plans interest-free as long as it is paid back within five years. After that, the money is subject to normal income taxes as well as a 10 percent fine. Hardship withdrawals are also taxable and subject to the same penalty.
A spokesman for Brady said there is no formal hurricane tax relief bill yet. But Brady told reporters that he expects bipartisan support for allowing disaster victims to forgo those penalties. The fee is designed to discourage households from tapping their retirement funds for other purposes, but even some financial experts said there are understandable exceptions to that rule.
"If you don't allow people access to their money, it reduces the likelihood that some people will participate in the [retirement] plan," said Diann Howland, legislative director for the American Benefits Council. "Recognizing an emergency, giving people some flexibility is the humane thing to do."
Brady is also seeking higher limits on deductions for casualty losses, write-offs for expenses related to rebuilding and ways to encourage donations to relief organizations. He said such changes will likely be targeted and temporary, rather than permanent.
Still, some conservative groups said such special exemptions underscore the challenge facing Republicans as they undertake a sweeping rewrite of the tax code that streamlines the system.
"Putting aside the understandable sympathy motives, I'm not a big fan of this idea," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum. "I prefer the tax code to be permanent, and structured to enhance trend growth; that is the tax reform objective and this doesn't promote that."
Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects for the Tax Foundation, said some of the proposals are consistent with the House Republican blueprint for tax reform. Write-offs for rebuilding, for example, could be wrapped into the GOP push for full and immediate expensing for businesses.
"It isn't clear to me that the tax code is the best place through which to provide disaster relief," he said. "However, the policies [Brady] seems to be pushing are not necessarily in conflict with a simpler tax code if enacted broadly."
To reporters, Brady defended his proposals as focused solely on affected households.
"It's important that our package be helpful, not wasteful," he said. "We focus on what our communities need, not what Washington needs."