Hollywood swag remains;
Is tax still around, too?
Wesley Snipes gets his day in tax court

Extension of tax breaks on election-year agenda

Representatives return to Washington this week, with the House scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday. A week later, Senators will be back on the Hill.

Campaign_button_2 Since the second session of the 110th Congress is during an election year, expect lots of "district work period" breaks. And both Congressional bodies hope to be home for good in September for a final campaign push.

But you also can be sure that they'll get some work done, particularly when it comes to extending tax breaks that expired on Dec. 31. Among the popular tax benefits that lapsed yet again are deductions for state sales tax, college tuition and fees and classroom supplies purchased by teachers.

Chalk one up for charity: The ability of older taxpayers to roll over distributions from IRA accounts directly to qualified charities also should be renewed. This provision was part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, and was available for the 2006 and 2007 tax years.

It was so positively received by both retirement account holders and the philanthropic community, that the House has already tried to renew it for 2008. A one-year extension of the charitable rollover option was part of the House-passed alternative minimum tax (AMT) bill.

But the charitable provisions were dropped by the Senate and never made it into the final AMT patch.

On the business side of the tax ledger, look for Congress to extend the research and development credit.

If lawmakers somehow screw around and don't get these popular tax breaks back on the books, they'll have a lot of explaining to do to voters during all those election year visits back home to their districts.

Just in case you want some late-night reading to help you nod off, check out the Joint Committee on Taxation's List of Expiring Federal Tax Provisions 2007-2020.


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