Call it Camp 2.0. Today the House Ways and Means Committee, now under the chairmanship of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), approved seven bills to permanently renew some provisions that traditionally have been part of the larger tax extenders package.
This law-by-law approach was favored last Congress by then Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who retired at the end of the 113th Congress. Instead of pushing through one big tax bill of 50-plus tax breaks, Camp preferred separate consideration of each extender. He also wanted to make many of the laws permanent, instead of having them expire every year or so.
Ryan appears to have assumed not only the gavel from Camp, but also his predecessor's approach to tackling tax laws.
In fact, the seven bills OK'ed today by the 114th Congress version of the House tax-writing panel mirror bills passed last Congress.
Most are business-related, including the popular Section 179 expensing option.
But older IRA owners take note, too. Ryan et al want you to be able to roll your required minimum distribution (RMD) directly to a charity without worrying about this option expiring.
Here are the tax bills that Ways and Means members signed off on this afternoon:
H.R. 629, Permanent S Corporation Built-in Gains Recognition Period Act of 2015, sponsored Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). This bill would make permanent the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of S corporations.
H.R. 630, Permanent S Corporation Charitable Contributions Act of 2015, also sponsored by Reichert. This bill would make permanent certain rules regarding basis adjustments to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property.
H.R. 636, America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). This bill would make permanent the increased amount of Section 179 small business expensing as previously passed by Congress.
H.R. 637, Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.). This bill would make permanent the option for older IRA holders to make tax-free transfers of distributions to qualified charitable organizations.
H.R. 640, Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). This bill would change the current 1 percent and 2 percent excise tax rates on private foundation income to a single 1 percent rate.
H.R. 641, Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.). This bill would permanently extend the higher deduction limits and potential 15-year carry forward of conservation easement gifts.
H.R. 644, Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.). This bill would benefit businesses that contribute excess inventory to local food banks and pantries by permanently extending a food-inventory donation provision in the tax code.
Just like last year, the Ways and Mean votes were along party lines. Democrats on the panel weren't necessary opposed to the legislation, but don't like that the tax breaks would add around $93 billion to the deficit. The fiscal issue was a sticking point for Dems during last year's consideration of bills outside of the usual extenders package.
As I said, Camp 2.0.
Democrats now say they're also concerned that adding selected provisions to the tax code permanently could hamper any possible tax reform efforts.
That, however, isn't a worry for their GOP colleagues. Look for the House, now even more firmly Republican, to once again approve these tax breaks, possibly as soon as next week.
You also might find these items of interest: