House panel to act on expired tax breaks

The House’s top tax writer is expected to move to permanently extend several expired tax breaks on Tuesday, according to lobbyists.

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Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said last month that he would seek to keep some of the so-called “tax extenders,” the dozens of tax incentives that regularly expire, for good.

Other extenders, Camp said, would be kept out of the tax code. More than 50 tax breaks in all expired at the end of 2013, including the popular credit for research and development and incentives for alternative energy.

Camp extended more than a half dozen of the temporary incentives in his broad tax reform draft this year, including the research credit and a deduction for small-business expensing known as Section 179.

Those preferences are expected to be the focus of a Tuesday mark-up at Ways and Means, though lobbyists don’t expect an incentive that allows owners to more quickly write off the cost of thoroughbred horses to make the cut.

Other House tax writers have introduced permanent extensions in recent weeks of provisions that Camp kept in his recent draft, as the Ways and Means chairman requested.

Those measures would extend provisions that help S corporations, a type of business that pays taxes through the individual system, and multinational corporations.

The Senate Finance Committee cleared a measure this month that would extend the vast majority of the expired provisions for two years, a move that the panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), has said would act as a springboard toward broader tax reform.

Camp, who has announced that he would not seek reelection this year, is also trying to use the temporary provisions to spur momentum for a rewrite of the code.

The Ways and Means chairman has acknowledged that extending some temporary provisions permanently would give tax writers more breathing room as they seek tax reform. 

Like official budget scorekeepers, Camp assumed in his reform draft that the tax extenders, which are commonly revived on a short-term basis, would expire.

Keeping some of those provisions permanently could give tax writers more latitude to reduce rates or to extend those tax breaks without offsets.

The Tuesday tax extenders mark-up might not be the last for Ways and Means this year either, given that most in Washington expect a final extenders deal to emerge after November’s elections.

Camp’s decision to move on extenders is also a shift from 2012, when the Senate Finance Committee was the only panel to act on the expired tax breaks. The Finance Committee’s bill was then tucked into the fiscal-cliff deal signed early in 2013.