Country / Language

CohnReznick Capitol Connection: Take Advantage of the August Recess


7/16/15

by Bob Moss, National Director of Governmental Affairs

On Capitol Hill, the talk of the summer is whether Congress will take up any action on tax issues now to avoid the annual rite of year-end extenders legislation that has been repeating itself annually as an exercise into the unknown.
 
For the NMTC, LIHTC (9% fix), Energy, and other expired credits and deductions, we may see Senate action as soon as next week. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced July 15 that he would like to package the 50 or more expiring provisions into a two-year extension and add it to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) bill. The possibility exists that our provisions could be included, with a mark-up expected July 21 followed by the usual amendment process. Most lawmakers don’t see comprehensive tax reform occurring before 2017 and believe now is the time to move on expiring provisions in order to create a blueprint for tax reform in the next Congress.Inclusion in the HTF is far from certain, but it is encouraging at this point. In regards to the length of the extension, the biggest question is whether these provisions will be given a life-span of two years or if there will be enough consensus between the tax-writing committees and the Administration to make some—or all—permanent provisions in the code.
 
On July 15, the House passed (approved 312-119) a short-term Highway patch (H.R. 3038)  that provides funding for the next five months in order to allow time to work on a more comprehensive long-term fix when Congress returns after August recess. The battle over the Highway Trust Fund is far from settled at this point, with lawmakers in disagreement over both pay-for and the length of the funding. It remains to be seen now whether Chairman Hatch and Senate Finance Committee Republicans will accept the House-proposed tax compliance measures that will pay for the short-term patch. But the fact is that the Highway measure is a “must do” bill; the Trust Fund is scheduled for depletion by early August.

Extenders action should seem familiar. Just look back to November when previous Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-Mi.) negotiated a large extenders package that included most of our provisions, only to find the veto pen of the President over the package’s lack of Earned Income Tax Credit funding. We ended up with an extenders package effective for the last two weeks of 2014—not really helping anyone.
 
Given that current Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be taking up tax extenders after the August recess, and has already passed legislation calling for a permanent research credit, the certainty over extenders passage may once again fall to what the Administration likes or dislikes in the package. Hopefully both tax-writing Committees have learned from last November and will negotiate a package that the President can sign. For the LIHTC, we know that we have tremendous support for the program with Ways and Means Republicans. At a Committee closed door retreat on July 7, LIHTC champion Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Oh.) raised the issue of the credit and support for H.R. 1142—a permanent fixed rate—and a number of Members vocalized their support. This is a great victory for the program and that support is due to all of the industry work accomplished by our growing league of advocates.
 
We will know more in the next two weeks before recess, as the fall legislative agenda starts to become clear, and the roadmap for the LIHTC, NMTC, and Energy programs provides better directions. Please remember that recess is your opportunity to visit with your Member of Congress at home. Take advantage of August and, as always, feel free to write me with your comments and questions.
 
Bob Moss is a CohnReznick Principal and National Director of Governmental Affairs. Bob leads the Firm’s federal and state government relations efforts, particularly in the area of affordable housing. He can be reached at bob.moss@cohnreznick.com or 617-648-1406. For more legislative insight from Bob, visit our Capitol Connection webpage.

Search Our People

Search Our People

Look ahead. Gain insight. Imagine more. Is your business ready to break through?

View our new TV commercial..

Industry Outlooks

Industry Outlooks

Gain insight into what is ahead for the Commercial Real Estate, Technology and Middle Market Private Equity industries.

READ MORE

Learn about our upcoming events.

READ MORE

Working With Us

Working With Us

What makes CohnReznick different from others in our profession? And what should our clients come to expect when working with us? The answer is The CohnReznick Advantage. Contact us to learn how we can out the CohnReznick Advantage to work for your business.


People

The value of an organization is determined by the skills and qualities of its leaders. With more than 280 partners serving clients nationwide, CohnReznick is renowned for the diverse experiences, knowledge and backgrounds of its leadership.

Learn More

Services

We align our services in three segments: Accounting and Assurance, Tax, and Advisory. This approach allows us to provide holistic solutions to complex business problems and to seize upon opportunities requiring an integrated approach.

Learn More

Industries

Accounting and tax issues different significantly based on an organization's industry. We provide clients with expertise in nearly two dozen industries – we know the opportunities, the obstacles, the competitive landscape.

Learn more

Insights

CohnReznick professionals are thought leaders in their industries. Clients benefit from relevant and timely economic, legislative and industry insights that can keep them a step ahead of competition.

Learn More

Global Reach

Our involvement in the Nexia International network of firms enables us assist our clients wherever they do business-providing local expertise and connections wherever they needed. Nexia is comprised of 20,000 professionals operating in over 100 countries.

Learn More