Throughout both his campaign and presidency, President Donald Trump has often promised to “put veterans first.” But his 2017 tax reform bill, one of the key policies from his time in office, has done just the opposite, adding huge financial burdens to the families of fallen service members, CNN reports.
The bill has changed the way in which the IRS determines survivor benefits paid to children. The financial assistance to children is now handled as stocks or other inheritances, causing taxes to skyrocket by thousands of dollars for families.
"People are absolutely shocked that this happened, and they weren't planning for it," said Ashlynne Hancock, the policy deputy director for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit for military families. The organization, in collaboration with other major veterans’ service groups, plan to “storm the Hill” before Memorial Day to demand that Congress change the way in which Gold Star families receive financial benefits.
The burden on the families of fallen veterans is one of the many glitches that need to be patched following Trump’s tax bill. Republican and House Ways and Means Committee communications director Rob Damschen said that the tax hike on survivor assistance was an “unintended consequence” of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
"Since the 1980s families have wanted Congress to simplify the way children are taxed, and we were happy to provide that help in the new tax code,” Damschen told CNN. “Military survivor benefits, however, are very different than a gift of stocks and bonds to your child.”
"Now is the time to act, and House Republicans are committed to finding a solution that is both fair and retroactive so our Gold Star families keep what they have sacrificed so dearly for," he said.
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