Recent Tax Bills Passed in the House

Since January 2015, several bills have been passed by the House, including ones to make permanent a few of the 50-plus provisions that expired at the end of 2014. Described below is a sampling.
Learn more about recent tax law changes in a complimentary live webcast on September 22 at 9:00am PT.


Permanent, higher Sec. 179 expensing:
America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015, H.R. 636, passed on Feb. 13. This bill makes permanent the $500,000 expensing and $2 million threshold amounts for expensing business property, also indexing them for inflation. Software and qualified real property, as well as air conditioners and heaters, would now be Sec. 179 property, and taxpayers can revoke a Sec. 179 election without IRS consent.

Permanent sales tax deduction: State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015, H.R. 622, passed on April 16 (272–152). This bill makes permanent the option to claim an itemized deduction for sales tax rather than state income tax, which has existed in temporary form since 2004.

Permanent research tax credit: American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015, H.R. 880, passed on May 20 (274–145). H.R. 880 makes the credit permanent and increases the rate for the simplified credit from 14% to 20%. The traditional credit with the 1984–1988 base years would be terminated. This bill also allows small businesses (gross receipts of $50 million or less on average over a three-year period) to use the credit against either regular tax or alternative minimum tax.

Estate tax repeal: Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, H.R. 1105, passed on April 16 (240–179). This bill repeals the estate tax for those dying on or after the date of enactment. It also repeals the generation-skipping transfer tax (GST), modifies the gift tax, and reduces the rate from 40% to 35%.

Tax gap: Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015, H.R. 1562, passed on April 15 (424–0). It includes measures to prevent a taxpayer from obtaining a government contract or grant if that individual or business has “seriously delinquent federal tax debts.”

Taxpayer Bill of Rights: Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015, H.R. 1058, passed on April 15 (voice vote). This bill adds 10 rights to Sec. 7803, which provides the responsibilities of the IRS commissioner and other officials, including rights to quality service, privacy, and confidentiality.

IRS employees and email: IRS Email Transparency Act, H.R. 1152, passed on April 15 (voice vote), prohibits any IRS officer or employee from using a personal email account to conduct any official government business.