Congress' long-awaited passage of tax extenders legislation provides a short-term extension through only the end of this year of dozens of familiar tax breaks for businesses and individuals, along with a new savings program for the disabled.
The Senate passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act on Tuesday evening and President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill was combined with the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, also known as the ABLE Act, to help those with disabilities and their caregivers to save and provide for education, housing, and medical expenses in the future.
In short, the ABLE Act lets those with disabilities set up tax-free savings accounts to help them manage the costs of medical care, housing, transportation and continued education, said House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., in a statement. This will allow those who are on Medicaid and SSI to work, earn, and save more while still receiving those important benefits. It is important to note that these savings accounts will be available to all individuals with disabilities and their caretakers, not just those on Medicaid or SSI.
The Portland, Maine-based accounting firm Albin, Randall & Bennett provided a list of highlights of the tax extenders legislation, based on information currently available as of Wednesday:
Title I of the Act extends for one year nearly all of the provisions that expired in 2013. Along with two provisions that were set to expire in 2014. Title II is made up of corrections to current tax laws and repeals of provisions that are no longer applicable.
Some of the Acts highlights include:
BUSINESS TAX EXTENDERS
The Act extended the following business related tax credits and deductions through 2014:
Bonus depreciation has been extended through 2014, allowing an additional first year deduction of 50 percent of the cost of the equipment.
The Section 179 rules have been extended allowing for the expense of $500,000 on acquired property for business use.
The exclusion from capital gains tax of 100 percent of small business stock sold by an individual.
The practice of making a reduction in S corporation basis equal to the shareholders share of the adjusted basis of a charitable contribution.
Reduction in S corporation recognition period for built-in gains tax to five years rather than 10 years.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring of military veterans and other qualified individuals
The Research Tax Credit
New Markets Tax Credit
Enhanced deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory
ENERGY TAX EXTENDERS
The Act extends through 2014 a number of energy credits and provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Some of the items extended include:
Credit for nonbusiness energy efficiency property, extended one year.
Biodiesel and renewable diesel credits are extended.
The renewable electricity production credit. This includes the wind production tax credit.
The above the line deduction for Energy efficient commercial buildings has been extended.
INDIVIDUAL TAX RATES
All current individual marginal tax rates are retained (10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent) including the recent increased top rate of 39.6 percent.
SCHOOL TEACHER EXPENSE DEDUCTIONS
Elementary and Secondary teachers can take an above-the-line deduction of $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for educational items for their classroom.
Deduction for State and Local Sales Taxes:
Taxpayers are allowed an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes.
Taxpayers have to choose between deducting state income taxes or deducting state and local sales taxes.
For the sales tax deduction, they can either keep track of their expenses or use the tables that the IRS provides.
DEDUCTION FOR QUALIFIED TUITION AND EXPENSES
This above the line deduction is extended through 2014.
Taxpayers with income of up to $130,000 (joint) or $65,000 (single) can claim a deduction for up to $4,000 in expenses.
For taxpayers with income over $130,000 but under $160,000 (joint) and over $65,000 but under $80,000 (single) can take a deduction up to $2,000.
Taxpayers with income over those amounts are precluded from taking advantage of this deduction.
MORTGAGE INSURANCE DEDUCTIBILITY
Homeowners can deduct mortgage interest premiums as though they were mortgage interest payments.
Michael Cohn is the editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com.