Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) today voted for the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act to make permanent or extend a number of tax cuts that allow Americans to keep more of their own money and grow the economy. In addition, the legislation includes a number of tax policy changes and reforms to how the IRS treats taxpayers.
“Americans everywhere need to know what to expect from their government—even more so when it comes to taxes,” Hartzler said. “Having the certainty from this bill that certain tax provisions are now permanent allows American families and job creators plan for the future and use their hard-earned dollars to invest in our economy and workforce. In addition to protecting millions of Americans from a significant immediate tax hike, this package lays the ground work for much needed broader tax reform in the future. Instead of spending valuable time extending these provisions each year, Congress can focus on advancing a bold tax reform agenda in 2016 to bring more certainty, simplicity, and growth for all.”
Fifty-five separate provisions of the Internal Revenue Code expired on December 31, 2014, and this legislation prevents tax increases on millions of families and businesses as the tax year 2015 filing season begins early next year. The legislation makes permanent several important tax provisions and extends additional policies for five years, and extends for two years a number of other tax relief provisions that expired at the end of calendar year 2014.
Some highlights of the bill include:
· Individual Tax Provisions:
o American Opportunity Tax Credit (qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education) is made permanent
o Child Tax Credit Expansions (expanding refundability for low-wage workers) are made permanent
· Letting businesses and the economy grow:
o Immediate code 179 expensing helps cyclical businesses, especially farms, to invest in new property and equipment
o The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (promotes the hiring of those facing employment barriers) extended for five years
· Charitable Tax Policies: Makes permanent the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act, The Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act, and The Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015
· Lowering Health Care Costs: A two year moratorium on the medical device tax (2016 and 2017)
· Reins in the power of the IRS and better protects taxpayers:
o Firing IRS employees who take politically motivated actions against taxpayers;
o Requiring IRS employees to respect the taxpayer bill of rights; and
o Prohibiting IRS employees from using personal e-mail accounts for official business.
· Prevents Fraud and abuse: includes a number of changes to existing law intended to improve the integrity of the administration of certain tax credits, especially the EITC, CTC, and AOTC. These reforms would prohibit an individual from making retroactive claims for any of these credits for any year in which the individual, the child, did not have a social security number or an IRS taxpayer identification number.