CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Sep 13, 2016

Tax Policy Update

CAMPAIGN BUMPER STICKER OF THE WEEK:

The end of the 2016 presidential campaign is nigh!  Eh…we’re still about 56 days out, but this bumper sticker captures the general lack of enthusiasm among voters for this year’s presidential candidates.  Less than 50 percent of likely voters said they were highly motivated to vote in November.  For the latest poll numbers on the 2016 race, check out the “Campaign Corner” section below.    

LEGISLATIVE LANDSCAPE

CR-nara Congress?  Senate Republicans appear to be ready to roll out a short-term continuing resolution (“CR”) that will keep the federal government in business until Dec. 9.  Senators up for re-election this cycle are hoping to get the stopgap-funding bill done as quickly as possible, so they can get back on the campaign trail. Even if the Senate gave a collective “aye” this week, the House would still have to get behind the idea of doing ...

Conservatives may bark, but the omnibus moves on!  (Actually, we’re not entirely sure this year).  If Congress ends up with a CR that takes government funding through Dec. 9, House Republican leaders will have to confront the challenge of putting together a year-end spending bill.  In the past, year-end bills take the form of ...

Miscellaneous Tax Bills May Get a Markup at Ways and Means.   The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a markup of miscellaneous tax bills on Wednesday, Sept. 14.  The markup agenda includes the following legislation:  

  1. A bill (H.R. 5879) by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) to modify the nuclear production tax credit;
  2. A bill (H.R. 5719) by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) to modify the tax treatment of certain stock options;
  3. A bill (H.R. 5204) by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) to provide an exclusion for certain discharged education loan debt;
  4. A bill (H.R. 5946) by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) to exclude from income the value of the medals and prize money claimed by Olympic winners;
  5. A bill (H.R. 3597) by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) to permit a deduction for the cost of replanting lost or damaged citrus plants;
  6. A bill (H.R. 4220) by Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) to promote rural water infrastructure by modifying tax rules affecting tax-exempt mutual ditch or irrigation companies; and
  7. A bill (H.R. 5406) by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) to make certain modifications related to the Indian Health Service (IHS), including with respect to the tax treatment of certain payments made under the IHS Loan Repayment Program.
  8. A bill (H.R. 2285) by Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) to improve enforcement against trafficking in cultural property to prevent stolen or illicit cultural property from financing terrorist and criminal networks. 

House Republicans to Act on Koskinen Impeachment.  The House Freedom Caucus, the conservative wing of the GOP, is moving forward on a floor vote to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.  The impeachment vote is expected to take place ...

Johnson to IRS:  Deploy EINSTEIN.  In a Sept. 8 letter to the IRS, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked the tax collection agency to implement the EINSTEIN cyber-intrusion detection and prevention system.  Under the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, all federal agencies are required ...

REGULATORY WORLD

Run, Apple, Run.  Right before Labor Day, following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in 2014, the European Commission determined that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple in 1991 constitute illegal state aid. As a result of the tax rulings, the European Commission contends that Apple was able to artificially lower its tax rate and pay an effective corporate tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014. The Commission noted the tax benefit that Apple received gave the company a ...

The British Are Coming!  As the international spotlight on corporate tax dodging intensifies, the United Kingdom may become the first country in the world to require multinational companies to publicly disclose how much they pay in taxes and the jurisdiction to which their profits are attributable. The Revenue and Customs ...

Jack Goes Up the Hill Again.  As business groups continue to flood the Treasury Department with criticisms of the I.R.C. § 385 earnings stripping regulations, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to head back to the Hill this week to talk to Congress about the status of the guidance. The Obama Administration is yet to ...

Poor Security at the IRS Contributes to Cyberattacks. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a report that shows IRS computers containing taxpayer information were exposed to theft, due to poor record keeping practices. In 2014, 8,000 contractors stopped working for the IRS. However, the agency failed to keep track of their government-issued laptops. TIGTA recommended that the IRS (1) update its procedures to ensure that barcodes are documented in contract administration documentation for the issuance of laptops to contractor employees; and (2) develop a process to “compare contract administration documentation and computer inventory records.” In a response to the report, the IRS has agreed to implement TIGTA’s recommendations.

CAMPAIGN CORNER

Based on the latest survey conducted by Morning Consult, the 2016 presidential race is still a toss-up:

LINE ITEMS

  1. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 954) by voice vote.  The bill would exempt individuals from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate tax penalty if they purchased coverage under a terminated qualified health plan funded through a CO-OP program.
  2. Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has released 10 years of tax returns.  Meanwhile, Trump is still holding out.  Read more

EXTRA! EXTRA!

Here’s what we’re reading in tax policy:

LOOKING AHEAD

Congressional Activity

Tuesday, 9/13

House Financial Services Committee
The full committee holds a markup of the “Financial CHOICE Act.” 

House Ways and Means Committee
The Oversight Subcommittee holds a hearing on “Back to School:  Review of Tax-Exempt College and University Endowments.” 

Wednesday, 9/14

House Ways and Means Committee
The full committee meets to mark up eight miscellaneous tax bills. 

House Small Business Committee
The full committee holds a hearing on “IRS Puts Small Businesses through Audit Wringer.”  Read more.

Thursday, 9/15

Senate Homeland Security Committee
The full committee holds a hearing on "The State of Health Insurance Markets."  Read more.

Agency Activity

Wednesday, 9/14

Internal Revenue Service
IRS holds a meeting by teleconference of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Assistance Center Improvements Project Committee on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service.  For more information, contact Otis Simpson, 202-317-3332.

Thursday, 9/15

Internal Revenue Service
IRS holds a meeting by teleconference of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project Committee on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. 

Other Activity

Tuesday, 9/13

Financial Services Roundtable
FSR holds a forum on “Retirement Challenges 2017.”  Panelists include:  Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., co-chairman of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings; and James Lockhart III, vice chairman of WL Ross & Co. and co-chairman of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings.  Read more.

Thursday, 9/15

SIFMA
Join SIFMA for a symposium on "Brexit: Implications for the Financial Services Industry" in NYC. This event will bring together industry representatives and policy experts to examine and assess the potential implications for the future of the industry and for how firms operate transatlantically.

Friday, 9/16

The Urban Institute
The Urban Institute holds a discussion on “Dynamic Scoring the Presidential Candidates’ Tax Proposals.”  Read more.


For listings of all the week’s tax and financial services happenings, read below to find out how you can become a subscriber.

The McGuireWoods’ Tax & Financial Services Policy Group assists clients in understanding how the latest legislative and regulatory proposals and decisions may impact their business and industry. To learn more about how our team can help you monitor, analyze, and navigate all relevant legislative and regulatory developments, please contact any of our attorneys and consultants below at (202) 857-1700. For more information on how to subscribe to our weekly Tax Policy Update and tax news alerts, please contact Radha Mohan, , (202) 857-2944.

Russ Sullivan

Rosemary Becchi

Danielle Dellerson Hayes

Daniel M. Chung

Radha Mohan

Lai King Lam