TMTW #262-Watch Out at Year End 2015-Expired Tax Provisions: Are They Coming Back?

Tax and Money Tip this Week:
Watch Out at Year End 2015- Expired Tax Provisions: Are They Coming Back?
December 9, 2015 | No. 262

For the last several years, taxpayers have faced great uncertainty determining whether they can depend on tax incentives to help them lower taxes.  These have become known as the “51 Tax Extenders”.  Last December, Congress extended most of these provisions for one year retroactively to the beginning of 2014, but not going forward, so they expired again at the end of 2014.

Unlike many previous years, Congress did not spend much time or effort this summer working to fix the extenders situation.  So, as we enter the last quarter of 2015, with most of the tax incentives expired, it’s a good time to review which provisions might get a last minute reprieve.

We will look at the major pending extenders for individuals, businesses and energy-related provisions:

Individuals
–    Educator’s $250 above-the-line deduction for classroom supplies
–    Exclusion from income for discharge of debt on a primary residence
–    Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums (PMI)
–    Deduction of sales taxes in lieu of state/local taxes
–    Special rules for capital gain treatment of conservation easements
–    Option to use above-the-line deduction for tuition expenses
–    Option for those over age 70.5 to make tax-free contributions in lieu of taking taxable RMDs.

Businesses
–    Research & Development credit
–    Employee wage credit for active duty and reserve military employees
–    15-year straight line cost recovery for leasehold improvements
–    Section 179 and Section 168 accelerated depreciation options on capital purchases

Energy-related tax incentives
–    Several credits for renewable and energy-efficient fuels
–    Several credits for energy-efficient building construction

If history is any guide, and Congress finally acts, it will be at the last minute.  This makes tax planning on many issues nearly impossible.  With the election nearing, the situation this year may be worse than normal.

Questions or Comments?
You can add comments on the blog, call 919-847-2981, or visit our web site. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Vitek, CPA/PFS, CFP®
…until next week.

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