Homeowners' insurance is not deductible
Tax, spending cut wish lists prepared as deficit reduction committee begins work

Possible taxes for the special deficit reduction committee to consider

They're baaaaaack!

Representatives and Senators have returned to Capitol Hill.

Washington, D.C., is all a-buzz.

Lobbyists are honing their pitches.

Congressional staffers are updating their briefing papers.

President Obama is fine-tuning the speech he'll give before most (but not all) members in a joint session of Congress Thursday night.

And, oh yeah, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will hold its first meeting a few hours before the president's speech.

Because of all this frenetic activity in the nation's capital, today's Weekly Tax Tip is more of an overview/preview of possible popular tax breaks (and maybe even a few more arcane ones, such as housing exclusions for clergy) that might come into play as the Super Congress examines ways to trim up to $1.5 trillion from the federal debt. 

The top 10 individual tax breaks haven't changed a lot over the years.

That's either a slam at legislative creativity, a monument to the political power of industry groups or a very clear picture of how much we like such things as tax-favored health care, retirement savings and the mortgage interest deduction.

But regardless of how the tax breaks came into being, the ending of them is not going to be easy.

So buckle up tax geeks and political wonks. It's going to be a very bumpy next few months.

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