Business groups seek passage of expensing legislation

A key small business advocate and dozens of other groups are pushing lawmakers to permanently extend a tax break that allows companies to immediately write off purchases.

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The National Federation of Independent Business and more than 150 other groups said the preference, commonly known as Section 179, has historically had bipartisan support and helps companies maximize investments.

The House is expected to vote this week to extend the preference, which expired at the end of 2013, for the long-term. The bill would allow companies to once again write off $500,000 a year, instead of the $25,000 that went back into place at the start of the year.

“The roller-coaster, ad-hoc changes in the level of small business expensing, which have often been enacted retroactively in recent years, has greatly contributed to uncertainty and prevented long-term planning,” the NFIB and other groups wrote.

“Making the higher small business expensing limits permanent and predictable would greatly reduce uncertainty and reduce the incidence of tax policy driving business decisions.”

Democrats opposed the permanent restoration of Section 179 when it passed the Ways and Means Committee in April, complaining that Republicans were pushing to extend expired tax breaks for good without offsets. The House bill to extend Section 179 costs around $73 billion over a decade, according to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

More than 50 tax breaks, commonly known as extenders, expired at the end of 2013. The Senate Finance Committee has passed legislation to extend Section 179 and dozens of other extenders for two years.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said recently he doesn’t expect the chamber to deal with that package until after November’s elections, after Republicans blocked the bill last month as part of a broader dispute over Senate procedures.