Recalling president-elect Donald Trump saying in August 2015 that it would be a dream of his to put H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRBD) right out of business, BTIG downgraded the stock to “sell” Monday now that a Trump plan to simplify the tax process looms on the horizon.
As a result of the downgrade, HRB shares dropped 9% as investors took seriously the threat that taxpayers may move away from tax preparation services and toward online filing.
Congress May Unite
It isn’t just fear of Trump that’s behind this move. With Republicans in control of the House and Senate and Democrats like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in favor of tax simplification, many feel promises of tax reform may actually become reality.
Trump’s promise to crack down on immigration and repeal the Affordable Care Act could also hurt H&R Block’s bottom line. In June the company reported revenue of $3.04 billion in fiscal 2016 versus $3.08 billion in fiscal 2015.
Turning Bad News Into Good
What may turn out to be bad news for companies like H&R Block could turn into good news for some of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest. That would be quite a switch from the animosity felt on both sides so far.
Trump’s threats against immigration that would impact the valley’s reliance on workers with H-1B visas to this antitrust anti-trade threats have all cast a shadow since the election.
Taxes Could Be Key
When it comes to taxes, however, Trump and Silicon Valley may have found a way to mend fences. For starters, if Trump is able to get a significant reduction in the 35% corporate tax rate, he could win a lot of new friends in high value tech companies.
If Trump is able to enact a new rate of between 10 and 20% it’s possible some of that overseas cash could begin to find its way to the U.S. Much could come from companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLC), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFTC), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGC), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCOC) and Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCLC).
Related: DOW HITS 19000 ON TRUMP EXPECTATIONS
3 Problems With Trump’s Tax Plan
As some have already pointed out, however, Trump’s tax plan has plenty of detractors and proponents. Those with praise have plenty to point to and those with beefs have plenty to aim at. For starters there are those who believe Trump’s tax plan will create even more income inequality than exists now.
Bottom income earners will see a tax cut of about $560 for a family earning between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Those at the top will get an average tax cut of $317,000. The difference is exaggerated since the percent of the tax cut is much larger for higher income earners.
In addition, unless GDP goes through the roof, all those tax cuts will increase our national debt enormously. Finally, despite promises to help out businesses, Trump’s tax plan may do very little to help certain types of firms such as partnerships, LLCs and sole proprietorships which would not have access to a reduced corporate rate of 15% but would be facing the top individual rate of 33%.