How can the lame-duck session of Congress use its remaining month to help small-business owners? A good start would be renewing expired tax breaks like expanded Section 179 expensing limits and bonus depreciation.
A new survey of 800 small-business owners by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that the majority—76 percent—thinks it’s important for Congress to pass “tax extenders” legislation that would allow them to continue to write-off more of their equipment and other purchases. The most recent version of the tax extenders legislation in the Senate would extend about 50 various tax breaks for businesses and individuals—including Section 179 expensing, research and development (R&D) tax credits and wind energy credits—through 2015. These tax breaks had expired after 2013 and many businesses have been waiting to see if they would be extended for 2014 and beyond.
Leaders in the House, on the other hand, want to vote on the tax break extensions one by one and would prefer to permanently extend only a few of the breaks (such as bonus depreciation and Section 179 expensing) rather than extend all 50, according to the National Journal.
The House and Senate will need to come to a compromise on extending business tax breaks soon if they want to get legislation passed before the session ends.
Many business owners have been left in limbo, not knowing whether they should make major purchases due to the uncertainty over whether key business tax breaks would be available for 2014, according to Accounting Today.
Beyond greater tax certainty, small-business owners told NSBA said they would also like to see Congress tackle some other key issues, including immigration reform and border control, the national deficit, and corporate inversions.
The lame-duck session of Congress can actually be a quite fruitful, because the midterm election is over and for some members of Congress—those elected out of office—it is their last chance to make a difference. According to NSB’sA survey report:
Unencumbered by the next election—if only for the next few weeks—returning lawmakers and those headed out the door for good will likely take this opportunity to work on bills they were unable to take-up previously given the sharp political divide that is becoming an insurmountable obstacle to legislating.
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