Senate Passage of Tax Extenders Wraps Up 113th Congress

December 18, 2014

US CapitolThe U.S. Senate passed a bill retroactively extending more than 50 expired tax breaks for 2014 and sent the measure to President Obama for his signature.  The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 3.  The Senate vote signaled the end of the 113th Congress as lawmakers left for the holiday season.   

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has urged Congress for months to pass the extenders as soon as possible so that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would have the information it needs to finalize the 2014 tax forms and instructions and thus avoid a delay to the start of the tax filing season.  (See the AICPA’s September 15 letter to the leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees.)  Consideration of the tax extenders was caught up in the tax reform debate.

The bill, H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, continues tax breaks to individuals and businesses ranging from such popular deductions as expenses for elementary and secondary teachers, deductions for state and local general sales taxes, the research and development credit, first-year bonus depreciation and increased limits for section 179 expensing.  For details about the provisions of H.R. 5771, see the November 17 Journal of Accountancy article.

The AICPA plans to continue its advocacy efforts related to tax reform.  According to AICPA Director of Tax Advocacy Melissa Labant, CPA, CGMA, “Although we appreciate answers for 2014, we are looking for more permanent solutions.   Late-enacted tax extenders make it nearly impossible for businesses and individuals to make informed tax, financial and economic decisions.” 

The question of whether these tax extenders will be available to taxpayers for 2015 will have to be answered by lawmakers in the 114th Congress, which convenes in January.