Fact Check: Do 83% of Trump’s tax cut benefits go to the 1%?

Posted at 12:41 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 14:41:24-05

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont appeared at a CNN presidential town hall Monday night. After his first question from the audience, Sanders argued that President Donald Trump “said he’d have a tax plan to benefit the middle class, but 83% of the benefits go to the 1%.”

Facts First: This isn’t true right now, but if certain tax cuts are not extended it will be the case in 2027, according to the Tax Policy Center.


The tax reform passed in December 2017 included tax cuts for corporations as well as individuals — but while the benefits for business were permanent, the individual taxpayer cuts will expire by 2027. If Congress does nothing to extend them, the top 1% will at that point receive roughly 83% of the tax cut benefits, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The same study said that for the 2018 tax year, the top 1% would receive 20.5% of the benefits from the tax cuts.

Why the 10-year timeline? That’s thanks to Senate rules that allow tax cuts to pass with fewer than 60 votes if they won’t increase the deficit in 10 years — a necessity for Republicans to get the tax reform through.

But it’s possible that a future Congress and President would vote to extend Trump’s tax cuts — even if Democrats are in charge. A vast majority of the last major round of tax cuts passed by President George W. Bush were made permanent under President Barack Obama.