The Annual Tax Extenders Legislation Addressed by the Senate
The annual annoyance which is the Tax Extenders legislation (aka AMT patch) is passing through the Senate. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) points out why provisions were either retained--or in few cases, eliminated--as part of the Finance Committee report. Expected extensions were granted to K-12 teachers paying for their own school supplies, deduction for home mortgage insurance premiums and deduction for either sales or income taxes at the state level. Among credits not extended were energy credits of up to $25 for dishwashers and $175 for clothes washers. Three Republican Senators, Burr, Coburn and Kyl, wrote a minority report criticizing the legislation for not cutting enough tax incentives, with wind power incentives getting special ire.
The annual patch seems to be an annual rite of passage for the U.S. Congress, but after about five years of one-year fixes, one wonders when the House and Senate will ever get their act together and make long-term decisions on these provisions. Nevertheless, I unenthusiastically guess that the annual patchwork approach is better than letting the unpatched AMT mow through the wallets of unsuspecting middle-class taxpayers.