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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Senate Committee Moves Forward on Tax Reform

February 13, 2015
On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a markup to approve 17 tax measures with a combined cost of about $312 million. Among the measures was a change to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). The legislation offered by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) would increase the ownership stake that a foreign investor can take in a U.S. publicly traded real-estate investment trust (REIT) without triggering FIRPTA liability and extend the provision to certain collective investment vehicles. Specifically, it increases the FIRPTA exemption for “portfolio investors” in a U.S. publicly traded REIT from 5 to 10 percent for purposes of capital gains dividends and sales of REIT shares. The committee approved all the measures by a voice vote. On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a series of bills to make permanent important tax provisions. The committee approved H.R. 880, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), by a 23-12 vote. The bill would simplify and make permanent the research and development credit. The Joint Committee on Taxation said the bill is estimated to reduce federal revenue by $181.6 billion. On Friday, the House plans to vote on seven bills that are being consolidated into two packages. AGC supports H.R. 636, the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015 which includes two proposals, one sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) to continue increased expensing allowances for small businesses under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code, and another sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) to make permanent the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of S-corporations.  AGC sent a letter of support for the pro-business measures earlier this week, and joined a broader coalition letter on Wednesday led by NFIB. The White House has issued a veto threat on the bills. For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. 
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