We all know by now that a very political compromise has been reahced between members of Congress and the White House on the extension of unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months and of the so called Bush Tax cuts. The compromise includes additional tax cuts for the lower and middle income tax payers, some of which will come in the form of a reduction in a payroll tax.

What is not clear is what form these payroll reduction will take and what the capital gains taxes will look like for 2011 and 2012. Important details are being left out, which makes it impossible for all but the inner circle to make important year end tax decisions.

All the talk of the extension of the Bush Tax cuts centers around tax law changes implemented in 2001 and 2003. However, the current low capital gains tax structure effective for years 2008-2010 was not legislated until 2006. Will it be preserved for the next two years? Furthermore, it is unclear what form the payroll tax reduction that is a part of the compromise will take? How will it effect those who are self-employed?

Frustrated with trying to find the real information, I went on the White House's website at whitehouse.gov and submitted my questions. This morning I got a form response from the Vice President, Joe Biden with a link to a brand new white board presentation by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee. Needless to say, it was similarly lacking of the needed details. I resubmitted muy question as follows, below - let's hope I get a real answer this time:

Thank you so much for sending me a link to your political propaganda this morning, that is Austan Goolsbee's white board presentation. Unfortunately, it does nothing to answer my questions.

Once again, my request was for a link to the actual text of the negotiated proposal. Specifically, I am interested to know what tax rates will be applicable to long and short term capital gains, as well as to qualified dividends in the years 2011 and 2012 for the various income tax brackets. I am also interested to find out how the reduction of payroll taxes affects the self-employed. Is the payroll tax reduction going to be implemented by lowering Social Security and Medicare Tax percentages, through a reduction in marginal income tax rates, or through some other means?

The White House Seal

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