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What is the current status on Capitol Hill in connection to the Tax Extenders Package?

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Peter J. Scalise
The Broad Tax Extenders Coalition (hereinafter “the Coalition”) are recommending to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take immediate action on over fifty tax provisions that previously expired on December 31st of 2014. In a recent letter dated September 10th of 2015, the Coalition comprised of over two thousand organizations informed members of Congress that failure to timely extend the tax provisions will result in a significant increase in tax liabilities on both business entities as well as individuals.

As a background it should be duly recalled that previously on July 21st of 2015th, the Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly passed a tax extenders bill with a bipartisan vote of 23 to 3 that planned to extend over fifty previously expired tax provisions for a two year period (e.g., retroactively to cover all of calendar year 2015 and prospectively to cover all of calendar year 2016). The Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, previously stated that “I want to note that this year marked the first time in twenty years that a new Congress began with the tax extenders already expired.” Hatch further stated that “in other words, we began this Congress with a built-in disadvantage when it comes to tax policy.”

Unfortunately, the House Ways and Means Committee has yet to schedule its own markup of the tax extenders legislation. However, it should be duly noted that Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, D-Wis., has, to date, offered separate legislative bills making some of the extenders permanent, which is also a request by the Coalition. The Coalition stated that “we urge all members of Congress to work together to extend seamlessly on a multiyear basis and, where possible, enhance or make permanent, these important tax provisions.”

The Coalition stated that delaying approval of the tax extenders legislation “will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace. Acting promptly on this matter will provide important predictability necessary for economic growth.” As a reminder, some of the more prevalent tax extenders include, but are certainly not limited to:

 The Hiring & Employment Tax Credits Program;
 The Research & Experimentation Tax Credit Program;
 The I.R.C. § 179D Energy Tax Deduction for Building Envelope Efficiency;
 The 50% Bonus Depreciation Program and Extension of the I.R.C. § 179 Expensing Thresholds;
 15 Year Depreciation Recovery Life for Qualified Real Property; and
 The New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Hopefully, both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be able to send a unified bill before the President’s desk for signature into law in the coming months leading up to our calendar year-end to provide clearer direction on tax policy and to also avoid delays in rolling out revised tax forms to expectantly reflect the reinstatement of the tax extenders package.
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