Tax Overhaul Working Groups Open Up 11th Hour of Influence

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By Laura Davison

House Ways and Means Committee Republicans split into groups to take a final look at their tax overhaul effort before the plan gets put into legislative language.

The groups, which are looking at tax areas including passthrough entities, retirement savings, education policy, agriculture and the new markets and work opportunity tax credits, also give businesses one last opportunity to provide feedback to lawmakers about how the tax code should be revised.

“All of those areas have a history,” Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 4. “Some of it is revisiting work that has been done to make sure we don’t leave behind good work and good ideas, and seeing if there is a place for them in the tax reform package.”

Ways and Means members in recent months have been focused on the big-picture aspects of a tax overhaul, such as tax rates, expensing and interest deductibility. The new groups give members a way to address some of the smaller issues they care about before the legislation is written, sometime in the first 100 days, a House GOP aide said.

Final Thoughts

While a bill may be completed in the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency, it may not start moving until the second half of the year. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has said he wants to have the legislation ready whenever Trump is prepared to move forward with tax revisions.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) reintroduced three tax bills for small businesses and citrus farmers at the start of this Congress, the 115th, that he said could easily be included in the tax revamp effort. Other often-introduced bills, such as the S Corporation Modernization Act, could be prime subjects for inclusion in the tax overhaul package.

The groups aren’t going back to the drawing board. Their purpose is to come up with answers to some of the tax issues that haven’t yet been fully addressed, Rep. James B. Renacci (R-Ohio) told Bloomberg BNA.

“The goal is to make things more simple,” Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) said. “We’re looking at the effectiveness of all the different provisions to see where we can consolidate or to make sure it’s working and to see if it’s targeted to the right audience.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at lDavison@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at mshreve@bna.com

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