17 April 2015

ACR News 04.17.15-ACR Submits Recommendations to Finance Committee

>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: ACR Submits Recommendations to Senate Finance Working Groups
>> Federal: Tax Reform Momentum Shifts
>> Federal: 2016 Presidential Candidates Emerge
>> Federal: ACR Webinar
>> Consider This: Wait and See
>> Top Reads: On Tax Day, Sen. Wyden Issues Call for Reforms


Washington Roundup

Members of Congress returned to Washington on Monday after a two week Easter recess and wasted no time getting back to work. Late Tuesday night the Senate passed a long term “Doc fix” bill, repealing the automatic cuts to doctors’ payments when treating Medicare patients. Members continue negotiating a final budget resolution, as well as an agreement on the Administration’s nuclear arms deal with Iran. Finally, according to a memo from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House will also focus on a range of other issues this month, and already held votes this week on multiple tax bills affecting IRS regulation and repealing the estate tax.

ACR Submits Recommendations to Senate Finance Working Groups

ACR submitted recommendations to both the individual and business working groups urging Senators “to protect philanthropic freedom and expand charitable giving in the United States.” Specifically, ACR called for preserving the full value of the current charitable deduction, carving out charitable donations from the Pease limitation, streamlining the private foundation excise tax to a flat one percent, and opposing restrictions on donor-advised funds.

As you may recall, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) formed the bipartisan groups to analyze current tax law, examine policy trade-offs, and identify available reform options within the group’s designated topic areas. Staff expects the working group process to finish by the end of May, and their final reports will likely be made public. After the working groups conclude, Chairman Hatch will lead the process and may call for an additional round of hearings and legislative text.

Tax Reform Momentum Shifts

On Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wrote a letter to small business organizations, asking for their input on business tax reform. The letter outlines growing sentiment that comprehensive reform might not be possible this year, but there could be just enough momentum to reform the corporate side. The chairmen said, “If President Obama is willing to help us achieve a first phase of tax reform focused in part on business income, we owe it to American workers and their families to see if we can find common ground.” The groups were asked to respond by May 31, coinciding with the Finance Committee working group timeline mentioned above.

Additionally, Hatch told reporters on Tuesday that he would like President Obama to more fully outline his business tax reform plan and “let us see what we can do with it.” As of this writing, the Administration has not responded.

2016 Presidential Candidates Emerge

Three Presidential hopefuls officially announced their candidacies for the White House this week: Republican Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As we reported in early March, Senator Rubio released a tax reform plan with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), which preserves the charitable deduction while eliminating almost all other credits and deductions. Senator Paul and Hillary Clinton have not released detailed tax proposals.

ACR Webinar

You are invited to join us on May 5 at 2:30 p.m. EST for the next presentation in the ACR webinar series: The Politics of Tax Reform in 2015.

Our policy experts will outline how the political landscape of 2015 could shape the progress of tax reform and what that means for the sector. We will also recap highlights from the 2015 ACR Summit and our recent meetings with lawmakers to discuss how you and your allies can continue to urge lawmakers to protect philanthropic freedom and private giving. If you are unfamiliar with ACR webinars, we have previous webinars on donor-advised funds and the economic impact of the nonprofit sector available to view on our website.

To RSVP for this webinar, please click the button below.


Consider This: Wait and See

We would have expected more activity surrounding taxes in DC this week, given the April 15 deadline that has come and gone. We’ve actually heard more about a small helicopter landing on the grounds of the Capitol than we have about reforming the tax code.

Sure the House voted to repeal the estate tax this week but is that ever really going to go anywhere? Not anytime soon. While the tax-writing Chairmen are soliciting input and forming working groups and holding roundtables, not a lot of concrete, visible progress has been made toward tax reform (except perhaps in the international area).

While we grant that work is being done behind the scenes, we think the real reason things have slowed down is that we are in a wait and see mode. What will the Supreme Court do in the Obamacare case it has taken? What will Congress do when the highway bill expires at the end of May? Will Congress pass a budget that will make it a whole lot easier to get tax reform passed?

By the time we get to Memorial Day we should know the answers to these questions and the real outlook for tax reform this year should be much clearer. As always, we will keep you posted.


Top Reads

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