The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released its comparison of the House and Senate versions of tax reform on December 7. The 51-page report outlines which provisions are “in” and “out” of the respective versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Bill (HR 1), as passed by the House on November 16 (TAXDAY, 2017/11/17, C.1) and by the Senate on December 2 (TAXDAY, 2017/12/04, C.1).
Because of the unusual sprint toward passage by House and Senate leadership of their respective versions of HR 1, the usual “committee reports” for both House and Senate versions have not been available. Available statutory language for many of the provisions is difficult to parse, although, in the end, statutory language controls rather than any explanation presented by the JCT. Nevertheless, the JCT comparison provides a valuable resource in determining what the conference committee on HR 1 will be facing in negotiation over the coming days.
House and Senate Versions of Tax Reform
The comparison of the House and Senate bills in JCX-64-17, is divided into four sections:
– individual tax reform;
– business tax reform;
– taxation of foreign income and foreign persons; and,
– exempt organizations.
Within each of those sections, provisions are subdivided into three categories:
– provisions for which there are no differences between the House bill and the Senate amendment;
– provisions for which there are differences between the House bill and the Senate amendment; and
– provisions unique to each bill.
The JCT grouped provisions into each of the three categories by focusing on provisions that may be substantively the same, even though they may differ in their legislative language or effective date. And, provisions that may have differences that are “substantial in nature” in the judgment of the Joint Committee staff. For example, the JCT singled out within its “Individual Tax Reform” section, 15 provisions without differences, 17 provisions with substantial differences, and 18 provisions unique to the House bill and 11 unique provisions unique to the Senate bill.
JCT Comparison of the House- and Senate-Passed Versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, JCX-64-17