On September 15, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ton Wyden raised the issue of the expired tax provisions, issuing the following statement on the need to renew expired tax provisions to give certainty and relief to American workers and businesses:
“Today, American businesses of all sizes are making their required quarterly tax payments to the IRS and trying to chart their path forward for 2014 and beyond. At a time when entrepreneurs and innovators should be identifying investments to support their business strategies and pursuing growth opportunities, Congress’ failure to renew expired tax provisions is forcing these companies to make “no interest loans” to the federal government through higher taxes. It’s unacceptable that inaction by Congress is denying American business the clarity and certainty they need to plan for tomorrow” (U.S. Senate Finance Committee, 15 September 2014).
In April, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Bill of 2014 (HR3474), a bipartisan bill extending various tax provisions. Shortly thereafter, the EXPIRE Act was defeated in the Senate as Republicans and Democrats battled over allowing unrelated amendments to the bill.
With the return of Congress on September 8th, a renewed focus was placed on extending various tax credit provisions such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Research and Development Tax Credit, Empowerment Zones, and Indian Employment Credit. Proponents on both sides of the aisle are once again voicing concern that continuing inaction is diverting investment through an environment of higher taxes and uncertainty while also inhibiting businesses from hiring targeted individuals meant to be helped by a number of these tax programs.
Nevertheless, tax credit extensions are but one of many issues confronting Congress, with a focus on a continuing resolution to fund the government for fiscal year 2015, inversion transactions, retirement security, and possible military action. With the many issues that must be addressed and the November 4 midterm elections just around the corner, tax extenders may have to wait until early December for a very short lame-duck session or later.