White House 'super focused' on tax reform, says Mnuchin

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Mnuchin said the administration is sticking by another Trump priority: eliminating the favorable tax treatment for hedge fund managers.

"We're going to get this done by the end of the year", Mnuchin said, adding that the Trump administration was "super focused" on the goal after its three-month extension of the debt limit and government funding was approved last Wednesday.

"I can't speak to the specifics", he said at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in NY, when asked about the matter. "But we're going to get this down to a very competitive level", Mnuchin said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who insisted on a revenue-neutral approach on tax reform, said last week that Trump's goal of lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent would be hard to achieve.

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Trump also wants to apply the same rate to certain pass-through businesses, such as S corporations and partnerships, which don't pay taxes themselves, but pass their earnings through to their owners, who pay taxes at their individual rates, Mnuchin said.

"If you earn money that's clearly income, if you're an accountant firm and that's clearly income, you'll be taxed at income rates-you won't be taxed at pass-through rates", Mnuchin said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin amped up expectations of tax reform before the year is out on Tuesday morning, even bringing up the possibility of backdating changes to January 1.

Mnuchin on Tuesday also said he recognizes that it's important to have good working relationships with both parties, noting that he met with House Speaker Paul Ryan Monday and that Ryan had also had dinner together. The major hurdle is how to fund the cut.