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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Business lobby makes push for expired tax breaks

By Bernie Becker- 11/18/14 10:38 AM EST writing for The Hill

A wide range of business interests urged Congress to revive dozens of expired tax breaks before lawmakers break for the year.   More than 500 groups — representing, as Dorothy Coleman of the National Association of Manufacturers called it, “the entire U.S. economy” — said that allowing the tax breaks to stay expired would amount to a tax increase on American businesses at a time when many around the country feel skipped over by the economic recovery.  Failing to extend the tax breaks, the businesses and business groups said, would “inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace.”  “Acting promptly on this matter in lame-duck will provide important predictability necessary for economic growth,” they added in separate letters to both House and Senate members.

On a conference call with reporters, the business groups specifically pushed for Congress to extend the popular credit for business research, incentives for business expensing, a deduction for state and local sales taxes, and tax breaks for charitable giving.  Top tax writers in the House and the Senate are seeking to hammer out a package to restore the tax breaks, commonly known as extenders, before the end of the year.

The Senate Finance Committee cleared a package earlier this year that would extend dozens of tax breaks through 2015.  But in the House, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and other Republicans are seeking to indefinitely extend some business incentives, like the credit for research and development. Some House Republicans also want to kill some incentives, like a credit for wind energy favored by many Democrats, and have floated either extending the tax breaks only through the end of this year or pushing the issue into the next Congress.

The business groups generally declined to weigh in on how long the tax breaks should be extended. “We’re not telling them how to do it,” Coleman told reporters.  But Alan Baratz of Alert GPS in Scottsdale, Ariz., also urged lawmakers to pass a multi-year extension of the research credit. The groups also noted that John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, has said that the agency might be forced to delay the upcoming tax filing season if an extenders package isn’t wrapped up quickly.  “A delay in the tax filing season will delay tax refund checks and spending decisions, resulting in an immediate negative impact on the economy,” the groups wrote.