Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been talking about sweeping tax reform for decades, and there’s a new proposal on the table.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, (R-MI), offered up on Wednesday the discussion draft of what lawmakers hope to be The Tax Reform Act of 2014. The bill would bring a level of reform to our complex tax code not seen since 1986.
You may be holding your breath and wondering how tax reform will affect your small business.
The bill includes a renewal of Section 179 expensing. This tax advantage has typically been renewed every year with higher and higher thresholds, but on Jan. 1, the law reverted back to its original provision, which only allows $25,000 in the expensing of any new assets.
Purchases in excess of this amount must be depreciated over their useful lives. From 2010 to 2013, businesses were allowed a $500,000 threshold for Section 179 expensing. Proposed in the Tax Reform Act of 2014 will be a ceiling of $250,000 – levels enjoyed during 2008 and 2009.
The proposal does not allow for the renewal of bonus depreciation which also expired at the end of 2013. This allowed businesses to deduct 50% of the cost of all assets, above and beyond the Section 179 expensing.
In a statement, National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Pete Sepp said that the proposed reform aims to harmonize the top tax rate for S and C Corporations with qualified domestic income to 25%. He contends that because S Corporations are pass-through entities – the individual pays the tax on profit rather than the corporation – there will be an exclusion allowed to create an equivalent 25% tax. Qualified domestic income relates specifically to the manufacturing sector.
This change should encourage production and new jobs within our borders. “The proposal rightly aims to bring a measure of tax parity between ‘pass-through’ small business entities and traditional corporations, but how it hits that target must be thoroughly examined to ensure that job creators aren’t punished in the process,” Sepp said in a statement.
He also reiterated swift action on Capitol Hill will also be necessary. “Some tax-saving provisions for businesses will be gone several years before the final, beneficial 25% tax rate kicks in. Washington must avoid the appearance of clawing back many provisions in the short-term while pushing rate relief into the long-term.”
One tax element that hits many small business owners is the Alternative Minimum Tax which can be triggered when using net operating losses against current year income and when taking depreciation and Section 179 expensing.
On the other hand, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Vice President of Federal Public Policy Brad Close made the following statement in response to Camp’s proposed reform:
“NFIB has long advocated tax reform that achieves lower rates and a simpler code,” said Close. “While we appreciate Chairman Camp pursuing tax reform that lowers some rates, we are very concerned that this plan does not address the core issues that are important to all small businesses: simplifying the code, leveling the playing field for all businesses, and addressing both corporate and individual tax rates. We look forward to working with members of the Ways & Means Committee and Chairman Camp to achieve comprehensive tax reform that does not pick winners and losers based on size and type of business.”
The tax reform is nowhere near being carved in stone; after all, this is only the discussion draft, so we shall see.
Bonnie Lee is an Enrolled Agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all fifty states at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. She is the owner of Taxpertise in Sonoma, CA and the author of Entrepreneur Press book, “Taxpertise, The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Hidden Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know.” Follow Bonnie Lee on Twitter at BLTaxpertise and at Facebook.