Ways and Means to consider six tax breaks

The House Ways and Means Committee will consider six separate tax breaks on Thursday, as part of Chairman Dave Camp’s efforts to stoke momentum for a broader rewrite of the tax code.

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Ways and Means will consider a permanent extension of a tax break that allows certain businesses to more quickly write off investments, a provision popularly known as bonus depreciation.

The committee will also mark up five smaller tax breaks dealing with charitable contributions, including two new proposals.

The mark-up of those provisions comes as both chambers are grappling with how to restore a slew of tax breaks, commonly known as extenders, that expired at the end of 2013.

On Tuesday, Democrats showed early signs that they’d balk at the proposal to extend bonus depreciation for the long-term, which would cost around $287.4 billion over a decade.

Earlier this month, 130 House Democrats voted against a permanent extension and expansion of the credit for business research, which costs roughly $156 billion over 10 years, because of the price tag.

The charitable incentives to be considered Thursday include three preferences that expired at the end of last year – one that gives a tax break to land owners that conserve their property, another that allows for tax-free donations from retirement accounts and a preference for companies that donate food to charity.

Ways and Means will also consider a proposal to cut taxes on private foundations’ investment income, and another to allow taxpayers to deduct charitable donations made until April 15 on their return for the previous year.

In all, the five charitable provisions would cost around $16 billion over a decade. The six tax breaks that Ways and Means extended permanently last month, including the research credit, also combine to cost more than $300 billion over 10 years.

Camp (R-Mich.) has cast his efforts to revive some tax breaks permanently as a way to end the start-and-stop nature of the tax extenders process, and as a way to make the tax reform math easier in future years.

But the push to extend bonus depreciation for good also is something of a shift for Camp, who limited businesses’ ability to write off investments in his tax reform draft in February.

Camp’s allies have also urged the Senate to pass their own measure to extend most of the expired tax breaks for two years.

That measure is currently stalled due to the broader dispute over Democrats’ handling of floor procedure. Senate Democratic aides have said they have little interest in Camp’s plan to restore some tax breaks permanently.

A Democratic aide on Tuesday also distinguished between extending the research credit, first enacted some three decades ago, and bonus depreciation, which lawmakers put into place to stimulate the economy around six years ago.

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