A group of Senate Democrats introduced legislation to revive tax deductions for labor union dues and unreimbursed work expenses that were eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The Tax Fairness for Workers Act, introduced last month by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and co-sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., would reinstate the deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses, and make the deduction for union dues above-the-line so it would be available to everyone, not just those who itemize.

“Unions provide a path to the middle class for working people by increasing their income and the economic security of their families,” Casey said in a statement. “To this end, it’s important that we do all we can to empower workers to organize, not make it harder.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated many tax deductions that have long been used by itemizers, but doubled the size of the standard deduction in the name of tax simplification. During negotiations between House and Senate Republicans in a conference committee last December, GOP lawmakers restored a number of the tax breaks that were popular with some of their constituents, but since labor unions have traditionally been associated with Democrats, the tax break for union dues wasn't one of them.

Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.