Under GOP plan graduate students could pay more in taxes

- The U.S. House of Representatives could vote as soon as next week on a tax reform package that Republicans promise will lower taxes for millions of Americans. But officials at the University of Minnesota are joining their counterparts across the country in warning their graduate students about the House version of tax reform.

The proposal would mean the tuition reductions that graduate student teaching or research assistants receive would be counted as taxable income.

“Everybody just balked at how big of an increase it was going to be,” said Carrie DePasquale, a doctoral student at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. “My taxes would actually go up 40%, which amounts to two months’ rent for me. That would be a huge impact on just being able to afford basic necessities."

The university sent out an email to students urging them to contact Members of Congress to oppose the proposal.

"This is an unfair shifting of burden to those who can least afford to pay the tax,” wrote Scott Lanyon, Vice Provost and Dead of Graduate Education. “Teaching and research assistants provide critical services to the University, and by extension to society."

Congressional Republicans have touted their plan and pushed back against some analyses that finds millions of Americans would see a tax increase not a tax cut.

"So here is where I strongly disagree. I believe there is tax relief all up and down the income level for families regardless of what they earn,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Leaders in the U.S. Senate have come up with their own version of tax reform, which for now, keeps the deductions for graduate students in place.

Any differences between the House plan and the Senate plan would have to be worked out before a bill goes to President Donald Trump for a potential signature.  Republicans are trying to get tax reform through Congress by the end of the year.

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