Congress left town without passing a number of tax breaks that expired at the end of 2005 -- among them the option to deduct state and local sales taxes in place of state income tax, a deduction for college tuition and fees, the deduction for school teachers, and a research and development credit for business.Although the breaks themselves are not controversial, and leaders of the Senate Finance Committee pushed for their enactment before Congress adjourned, the breaks became mired in political infighting when they were attached to “trifecta” legislation that would have included an increase for the minimum wage and a slash in estate tax rates.

Congress is expected to again take up the issue in a lame duck session the week after the November elections, but there is no guarantee that the extenders will be passed then.

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