Cut the number of tax brackets

"The Trump Plan will collapse the current seven tax brackets to three brackets."

Subjects: Taxes


Number of brackets remains at seven in final tax bill

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to streamline the nation's tax system.

During the campaign, Trump said his tax plan "will collapse the current seven tax brackets to three brackets."

On Dec. 19 and 20, the Senate and the House passed the final version of the tax bill, which will go to the president for his signature.

So did lawmakers collapse the number of brackets? No.

While they did lower most of the rates in the existing seven brackets, the crafters of the bill did not reduce the number of brackets. The number of brackets remains at seven.

Here's a sampling of the previous rates:

And here's the equivalent breakdown under the new bill.

With the number of brackets staying at seven rather than being collapsed into three, we rate this Promise Broken.


PolitiFact, "Who wins and who loses from the tax bill?" Dec. 19, 2017

Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, "Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," accessed Dec. 20, 2017

Email interview with Patrick Newton, spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Dec. 19, 2017

Trump repeats intention to turn seven brackets into three

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to collapse the current seven personal income tax brackets to three brackets. He repeated that call in a one-page summary of principles for his upcoming tax legislation released after he became president, on April 26, 2017.

In that summary, Trump said he would reduce today's seven tax brackets to three -- 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

When Trump initially proposed a somewhat different version of this plan during the 2016 campaign -- with three brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent -- the right-of-center Tax Foundation projected that the loss in revenue could range from $1.2 trillion to $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

We should note that there is no actual tax legislation yet to carry out Trump's priorities, and Congress will have to pass measures before Trump can sign them into law. Still, his decision to mention the proposal in the tax policy summary moves this promise to In the Works.


White House, one-page summary of tax proposals, April 26, 2017

Tax Foundation, "Details and Analysis of Donald Trump's Tax Plan, September 2016," Sept. 19, 2016

Email interview with Roberton Williams, fellow at the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, May 24, 2017