Sept 22 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are expected within days to unveil a framework for overhauling the U.S. tax code consisting largely of tax cuts and some structural changes, though many details have still not been worked out.
Here are some of the key issues involved.
CUTTING, SIMPLIFYING INDIVIDUAL TAXES
High-income Americans pay a top individual federal income tax rate of 39.6 percent. Trump has proposed cutting that to 35 percent; House Republican leaders want to cut it to 33 percent.
Trump wants to reduce the number of tax brackets to three from seven, which would simplify tax returns.
He also wants to double the standard deduction, a set level of income exempt from tax. That would also simplify tax returns, but sharply lower the number of taxpayers who can claim certain narrower, itemized deductions, such as the ones for mortgage interest and charitable donations.
Trump has also promised, without providing much detail, more help for families with child and dependent care expenses and to eliminate targeted tax breaks that benefit wealthy people.
ESTATE TAX, AMT
In proposals to help mainly high-income and wealthy taxpayers, Trump and the Republicans want to repeal the estate tax on inherited wealth and the alternative minimum tax.
The estate tax, which Republicans call the "death tax," is a tax on assets left to heirs by people when they die. It is paid by very few Americans because it currently applies only to inheritances exceeding $5.49 million per person.
The alternative minimum tax is a way to make sure that mostly high-earners who have many deductions pay some taxes.
STATE AND LOCAL TAX DEDUCTION
Americans can deduct taxes paid to state and local governments from their federal tax bills. Trump and House Republican leaders want to end this.
The proposal would mostly hurt states where Democrats dominate because those states tend to charge higher state and local taxes and provide more government services, with the result that their residents take larger federal deductions.
But the proposal is opposed by at least 20 House Republicans, reducing its chances of enactment.
MORTGAGE, CHARITY DEDUCTIONS
Deductions for interest paid on mortgages and donations to charities will continue.
But there has been discussion of lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction to $500,000 from $1 million. Doing that would generate enough new federal revenue to cut the corporate tax rate by three percentage points, analyst say, but it would pit the interests of upper-middle class and wealthy homeowners against those of large corporations.
Also, lobbyists for real estate businesses and philanthropies say that, if the standard deduction is doubled, fewer taxpayers would be able to claim the mortgage interest and charitable giving deductions. That could undermine home-buying and donations to philanthropies, they say.
Corporations are supposed to pay 35 percent of their profits in taxes, though many do not thanks to loopholes that lower their effective tax rates. Trump wants to slash the headline corporate tax rate to 15 percent; House Republicans want 20 percent; some lawmakers say 25 percent might be achievable.
Trump wants a special, low tax rate for "pass-through" businesses, which are private companies that pass their profits through to their owners as income that is then taxed at the individual income tax rate, not the corporate tax rate.
Most U.S. businesses are pass-throughs, ranging from family-run shops to large businesses. The idea of a special tax rate for them raises the risk of a new wave of tax avoidance with wage earners funneling income into "pass-through" structures.
About $2.6 trillion in corporate profits is now parked abroad to avoid the 35 percent U.S. corporate income tax under a law that allows multinationals to defer taxation on foreign profits as long as they are not brought into the United States.
Republicans want to allow multinationals to bring in, or repatriate, those profits at a sharply reduced tax rate, in a range of 3.5 percent to 8.75 percent, payable over eight years.
Republicans also want to change the corporate tax code so that companies would no longer be taxed on foreign profits.
The corporate alternative minimum tax would be eliminated under Republican plans.
Another Republican proposal would allow companies to deduct the full cost of new machinery and inventories immediately, instead of using the present system for reducing the value of such capital over several years for wear and tear.
Tax cuts generally reduce federal revenues and raise the budget deficit. The deficit is estimated in fiscal 2017 to hit $693 billion, or 3.6 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), up from 3.1 percent in 2016.
A deal between two top Senate Budget Committee Republicans is expected to allow tax reform to lose $1.5 trillion over the coming decade, but then become revenue neutral.
The U.S. national debt, created by the annual deficit, now exceeds $20 trillion. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis)