NYT Corrects Piece About Couple’s Tax Increase Under New Law to Admit Their Taxes Would Go Down

New York Times building / Getty Images
New York Times building / Getty Images
• March 7, 2018 4:59 pm


A New York Times analysis of how the recently enacted tax reform law could affect a hypothetical couple's taxes was corrected to admit their taxes would actually go down, not up.

In the story from late February, the Times collaborated with TurboTax vice president Bob Meighan to lay out how the Republican-backed tax overhaul would affect "Samuel and Felicity Taxpayer," an imaginary couple from suburban New York that makes $183,911 a year. Samuel is a self-employed engineering consultant, and Felicity is as an employee of a design firm.

The "bottom line" of their analysis: "The family would owe $3,896 more in taxes under the new tax law."

But as a University of Chicago law professor noted on Twitter, the Times had missed a tax deduction in the bill that would drastically reduce the couple's burden by virtue of the fact that "Samuel Taxpayer" is self-employed.

Hemel's tweets were highlighted by the Wall Street Journal‘s James Freeman, who wrote, "This must be some package of tax cuts, if even fictional characters invented by the New York Times are getting one!"

A few days later, the Times admitted its error and added a correction.

"An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the probable effect of the new tax law on a hypothetical couple's 2018 tax bill," the correction dated March 2 reads. "The TurboTax ‘What-If Worksheet' that generated the projection for their 2018 taxes failed to indicate that the couple would probably be entitled to claim a sizable deduction for income earned from consulting."

"As a result of that deduction, the amount they would likely owe on taxes would decline by $43, not rise by $3,896," the Times admitted.

Published under: New York Times, Tax Reform, Taxes