Republicans wrote their 2017 tax law so fast that the Senate voted at 2 a.m. on a version that still had edits hand-scribbled in the margins. They knew they would probably need to fix a few mistakes at some point later on.
Two years later, the economic boom the law was supposed to produce has failed to materialize ― but the mistakes have become very clear, and lawmakers are still trying to clean up after themselves.
Elizabeth Davis of Stafford, Virginia, is one person caught up in the mess. Davis normally owes a few hundred dollars around tax time. This year, she found herself with a nearly $10,000 bill thanks to wildly increased taxes on the death benefits she receives as a military widow.
“It was like a gut punch,” said Davis, 33, who is a full-time student working toward a communication degree.
Hers is just one of thousands of Gold Star families ― the name given to surviving relatives of deceased members of the armed services ― who got slapped with a giant tax bill because of a mistake in the law. Military families have long complained about how the government distributes death benefits, and the tax goof worsened a problem that was complicated enough to begin with.