Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking Democratic member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Friday the committee will markup a tax extenders bill next Tuesday.
[IMGCAP(1)]The committee hopes to avoid the last-minute extension of dozens of expired tax provisions that Congress passed last December that only applied retroactively and for the final two weeks of the year. That extension helped many taxpayers and tax preparers avoid a much more fraught tax season if those tax breaks could not be claimed on their tax returns for 2014. However, the wholesale extension of so many tax breaks, both widely used ones and more obscure provisions of the Tax Code designed to benefit specific industries such as car racing and Puerto Rican rum producers, meant that Congress had once again failed to enact meaningful tax reform.
“This markup will give the committee a timely opportunity to act on extending a number of expired provisions in the tax code that help families, individuals and small businesses,” Hatch said in a statement. “This is the first time in 20 years where a new Congress has started with extenders legislation having already expired, and given that these provisions are meant to be incentives, we need to advance a package as soon as possible. This package is a result of strong bipartisan work, and I look forward to working with the full committee to ensure members are able to work their will and examine these provisions carefully.”
[IMGCAP(2)]Last year, Wyden and Hatch had also hoped to get an earlier start on the tax extenders legislation and announced a markup in April, but Congress delayed action on passing the extenders until the end of the year.
“The tax code should work for, not against, Americans,” Wyden said. “We need to extend these tax provisions now in order to provide greater certainty and predictability for middle-class families and businesses alike. However as we look beyond next week, it’s critical we all recognize and take action to end this stop and go approach to tax policy through extenders.”
The bipartisan tax extenders package includes provisions to assist families, individuals and small businesses, and incentivize research and development, along with other provisions. Among the more popular provisions are the $250 above-the-line tax deduction for teachers and other school professionals for expenses paid or incurred for books, supplies, mortgage debt relief, parity for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits, the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums, the deduction for state and local general sales taxes, special rules for contributions of capital gain real property made for conservation purposes, the above-the-line deduction for higher education expenses, tax-free distributions from individual retirement plan for charitable purposes, and the research and experimentation tax credit. The package also includes extenders for various energy-related tax breaks, including for wind energy, biodiesel and ethanol.
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