By Vicki Needham - 04/26/12 08:33 PM EDT
"These provisions need to be extended as expeditiously as possible to eliminate business uncertainty that is causing delays in investment and hiring.”
In comments submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee, BRT President John Engler urged Congress to immediately renew a series of business tax provisions that expired at the end of last year.
"Business Roundtable strongly supports the immediate and seamless extension of the expired business tax provisions from last year," Engler said.
More than 100 tax provisions expired at the end of last year and supporters want the provisions renewed retroactively.
Lawmakers had discussed including extenders in the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extension legislation passed earlier this year, but they couldn't reach an agreement in time.
But with committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and others proposing tax reform that would eliminate most tax credits and deductions in return for lower rates, lawmakers are debating whether the virtually automatic renewal of all of the extenders should come to an end.
Bernstein called for renewal of two provisions, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives employers as much as $9,000 for hiring disadvantaged or handicapped individuals under several specified categories, and a tax rule allowing improvements to retail stores and restaurants to be depreciated over 15 years rather than the 39 years required before the period was reduced in 2004.
"In the retail industry it has had proven results encouraging hiring among classes of individuals who might otherwise face difficulty in gaining employment," she said.
The International Franchise Association also called on Congress to extend the tax provisions, similar to what the NRF is backing.
"By allowing these provisions to expire at the end of 2011, Congress already has placed a great deal of uncertainty on franchise owners who could be using this revenue to access capital to make investments and create jobs," said Jay Perron, IFA's vice president of government relations and public policy, in a statement.
"If these provisions go unaddressed in 2012, small business owners will continue to put off investments and hiring decisions, undermining the economic recovery," he said.
IFA is pressing for the renewal of 100 percent bonus depreciation and 15-year straight-line recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, among others.
"Moving forward now with only some of these extenders, while leaving others aside, would only heighten the uncertainty causing many small business owners to delay plans for job creation," Perron said.
The Chamber also submitted testimony to the panel.
"Businesses need certainty and predictability," the Chamber said.
"Retroactive tax policy simply does not achieve this goal," the group said.
"In fact, at times, the failure to extend these provisions hurts the very purpose for which these provisions have been enacted."
The Chamber said many of the extender provisions include deductions and credits that have been in the tax code for many years, have been extended multiple times and are longstanding deductions and credits that taxpayers have come to rely on when making business decisions.
"As this subcommittee considers renewal of the annual tax extenders provisions, it must consider the damages inaction brings on provisions that strive to ensure competitiveness. ," the Chamber said.
"These extenders not only help level the playing field for American worldwide companies today, they offer these companies a chance to compete as we strive to overhaul the tax code in the long run to make it more in line with other countries’ tax laws."