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GRBJ Highlight: Hot-button tax issues straight from Washington

I recently had the opportunity to attend a national real estate and partnership tax conference in Washington, D.C. Snoozefest, right?

Maybe for you, but it was a great chance for me to hear from the foremost leaders in the field.

One of the sessions was a legislative outlook for real estate. The panel consisted of a D.C. tax think tank senior vice president and a true Washington insider who has written various Department of Treasury regulations and is currently working for a prominent U.S. senator.

The first item they discussed was regarding the state of taxation in the current Congress. They stated that the U.S. Senate breaks on July 15 and resumes session after Labor Day. This limits the action that can take place between now and the end of the year.

Congress is not currently focusing on any of the tax provisions that are set to expire at the end of the year. Those provisions will likely lapse and will be addressed in the beginning of the new year. At this point, we cannot expect significant tax reform until after the election.

Bottom line: we are in a relatively unique situation because of the coming election and because most of the “important” extenders such as Section 179 depreciation were permanently extended in last year’s PATH Act.

Following are a few of the hot-button issues that the panel identified:

  • The Senate is very concerned with the U.S. business tax base. Global tax rates are low relative to the high U.S. rates. Foreign countries are implementing strategies against the U.S. tax base such as revisiting their versions of the transfer pricing rules. Foreign companies are very active in acquiring U.S. companies. All of this favors “inversions,” in which U.S. companies change their tax home to another country. Washington views this as a problem that must be fixed.

Interested to learn more? Read the rest on the Grand Rapids Business Journal

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