The House Ways and Means Committee this week will mark up bills to extend permanently certain provisions in the tax extenders—a group of roughly 50 tax-reducing policies that expired at the end of 2013.
This follows closely on the heels of the committee’s work to permanently extend section 179 expensing for small businesses, the exemption from subpart F income of active financing income, and the Research and Development credit. The House subsequently passed the R&D credit with a strong majority.
The current Ways and Means effort will look to make permanent the policy that allows businesses to deduct 50 percent of the cost of capital investments in the year they make those purchases, known as bonus depreciation.
The committee will also work to extend provisions that pertain to charitable giving, including one that allows people older than 70 ½ to make tax-free donations from their retirement accounts.
This is a promising development, because these provisions reflect sound policy. However, not all the provisions in the extenders do.
As Heritage has written many times before, Congress should go through each policy in the package and determine if it is necessary for a sound tax code. It should make those policies that pass the test permanent and scrap the ones that don’t, lowering other taxes so as not to cause a tax hike.
By making sound policies such as the R&D credit, bonus depreciation, section 179 expensing, active financing, and tax-free charitable contributions from retirement accounts permanent, the Ways and Means Committee is adhering to the spirit of this sensible approach.
It stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s less rigorous approach of temporarily extending every policy in the extenders package, including the bad ones.
Permanently settling the tax extenders issue is the crucial first step for tax reform. The Ways and Means Committee is proving how serious it is about tax reform by following a careful, deliberative, and thoughtful approach to the issue.
Outlining other taxes it would reduce to offset the tax increases that would result from the expiration of certain tax extenders would strengthen the Ways and Means Committee’s approach even further.