US Senate passes sweeping tax reform

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The Senate has approved the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax code in more than 30 years.

Republicans cheered as the result of the 51-48 vote was announced.

The bill now goes to the House for a further vote later on Wednesday, with approval expected.

It would then go to President Donald Trump for his signature, enacting it into law.

The sweeping, $1.5tr (£1.1tr) tax bill marks a victory for the Republican Party and is the first major legislative victory for Mr Trump, who had long said he wanted to reform the country’s tax system.

Measures included in the package include a cut to corporate income tax, from 21% to 35%, a 20% reduction on business income, cuts to the tax rate for highest earners and a change that means fewer people will pay inheritance tax.

Democrats say that the legislation is a giveaway to corporations and the rich that will widen the gap between the rich and poor.

The Tax Policy Centre, a non partisan think tank in Washington, has estimated that the bill will mean middle-income households see an average tax cut of $900 next year, while the wealthiest 1% of Americans will see their tax bill drop by $51,000.

The tax cuts total nearly $1.5tr over the next decade – a sum to be added to the $20tr US national debt – and would take effect in January.

Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

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