Tax extenders and the state and local sales tax deduction continue to drive discussions on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for extending the expired tax breaks. At this time, talks have surfaced that the extenders could be part of a government funding bill.
In December, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) introduced the Tax Extender Bill of 2017 (Sen 2256) (TAXDAY, 2017/12/22, C.1). Included in the bill are many expired energy tax incentives. Support for extending the energy incentives comes from trade groups active in biodiesel and renewable energy.
“Acting to extend these expired tax provisions will allow businesses and individuals to make important planning decisions. Allowing these tax provisions to remain lapsed creates confusion and effectively increases taxes,” several industry groups, including the National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association and National Renderers Association, recently told lawmakers.
Along with extending many energy tax incentives, the bill would also extend the higher education tuition and fees deduction, Indian employment credit and mine safety training credit. These incentives expired after 2016.
Comment. The impact of these provisions on IRS forms and instructions for tax year 2017 remains a consideration as the filing season gets underway on January 29.
The federal government is currently operating under a temporary spending bill. Without another extension, funding lapses later this month. According to Hill staffers, some lawmakers have floated the idea of extending the expired tax breaks in another temporary funding bill.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., appeared to express optimism recently that the extenders could move soon. However, Thune acknowledged that “not everybody is going to have the same interest in the same extenders.” It is unclear if GOP leaders in the House share the same views about renewing the extenders.
Changes made to the state and local tax deduction by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) include capping the deduction at $10,000. After President Trump signed the Act on December 22, 2017, many taxpayers, especially in high tax states, rushed to pre-pay their 2018 property taxes.
The IRS later stepped-in. According to the IRS, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 “depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018,” (IR-2017-210; TAXDAY, 2017/12/28, I.1).
On January 9, several lawmakers asked the IRS to rescind IR-2017-210. According to the lawmakers, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is “silent” on the pre-payment of property taxes. The lawmakers called on the IRS to “reverse course.”
By George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News Staff
Tax Extender Act of 2017, Sen 2256
Letter to Acting IRS Commissioner Kautter Regarding Prepaid Property Taxes and IR-2017-210