Federal Relations

December 15, 2010

Senate Moves Tax Package Forward (Updated 12/17)

**2nd Update 12/17** The packaged has been fully approved by Congress and is heading to the President’s desk, where it will be signed this afternoon.

** Update ** Today, by a vote of 81-19, the Senate voted to pass the much discussed tax-extenders package. The bill now goes to the House for a vote. The $893 billion package would provide an extension of various Bush-era tax cuts that were set to expire at the end of December. The package includes several items of note to our community, including:

Tax incentives that would be extended for two years through 2012

  • Section 127 Employer-provided education benefits
  • Coverdell education savings accounts
  • Student loan interest deductions
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

Tax incentives that would be extended for two years through 2011 (they expired in 2009)

  • Deductions for qualified educational expenses
  • Research and development credit
  • Ability to “roll over” assets in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) to charitable organizations, including institutions of higher education

Additional items of note for employees

  • Sales tax deduction in states with no income tax -retroactively for 2010 plus 2 additional years
  • Social security payroll tax reduction from 6.2% to 4.2% of income for one year

Although the tax package will leave the Senate with rare bipartisan support, it’s path in the House is less clear. House Democrats have promised to amend the legislation, primarily the estate tax portion, which could send it back to the Senate. Senate Republicans have already signaled that they are unlikely to support House modifications. Nonetheless, it is expected that some form of a final deal will be struck by the end of the week -so that tax rates do not increase at the beginning of the year.