NEARLY 40 agricultural groups sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging Congress to take up legislation addressing expired tax extenders.
Among those provisions are section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation. There is ongoing talk of a two-year extension. The process has been stalled for the past several weeks due to the changes in House leadership. Now that House Ways & Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R., Texas) has the gavel, there is an opening for legislation to move forward.
Steve Kopperud reported in his Nov. 19 "Weekly Washington Report" that Brady upped the ante in the battle to get the 55 expired federal tax credits approved, confirming that Brady has met with senators and regulators "to see if he can craft out of that list of tax credits a subset of permanent extensions, with the whole package voted on before Congress adjourns in December."
Kopperud said Brady is negotiating with the White House for the permanent extensions while accepting several credits the Administration wants to see extended.
"Brady is trying to get language into the final extenders package that would prevent fraudulent claims for tax sweeteners by undocumented workers and told his committee this week any deal to move an extenders package must have bipartisan support," Kopperud wrote.
In July, the Senate Finance Committee extended a package of tax provisions through 2016, many of which are important to farmers and ranchers. The agriculture-supported provisions in the tax extender package include:
* An additional 50% bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets, including agricultural equipment;
* Incentives for renewable fuels and energy, including biodiesel, wind power and refueling property;
* An enhanced deduction for donated food;
* A provision encouraging donations of conservation easements, and
* Section 179 small business expensing. The maximum amount a small business can immediately expense when purchasing business assets instead of depreciating them over time is $25,000. Last year, the maximum amount was $500,000, reduced dollar for dollar when expenditures exceed $2 million.
On the House side, lawmakers in February passed permanent extensions of Section 179 small business expensing (H.R. 636), the tax deduction for donating food (H.R. 644) and the tax deduction for donating conservation easements (H.R. 644).
In addition, the House Ways & Means Committee approved a bill (H.R. 2510) in September to permanently extend the 50% bonus deprecation.