After a flurry of last-hour compromise, the the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (aka Republican tax reform bill) was finalized on Friday. At about 5:30 PM Eastern, an updated copy of the bill was released to the public (see Business Tax Reform, Section E (4).)
The pic below is from the the Business Tax Reform section, subsection E(4) dealing with the proposed repeal of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. While indicating that the House Bill would have repealed the tax credit, it also states that the Senate bill had no such provision. More importantly, “The conference agreement does not follow the House bill provision.”
Excerpt from Final Legislation
Senator John Thune
I received this link to a recent article in Accounting Today from a colleague and a reader of The WOTC Planet. According to the article, Senator John Thune (Republican from South Dakota) has confirmed the Senate’s intention to act on expired tax incentives, which are typically reauthorized with a tax extenders bill.
Thune is currently Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. According to Accounting Today:
The Senate plans to act on a slate of expired tax credits before month’s end, according to John Thune, the Senate’s No. 3 ranking Republican who serves on the Finance Committee. Lobbyists have been told the package of “tax extenders”—renewing tens of billions of dollars in expired tax incentives—could be hitched to must-pass government funding legislation expected in coming weeks.
I found a related mention, published on November 16 in the Wall Street Journal.
. . . [S]enators are also talking about a separate tax-extenders bill that would follow the broader [tax-reform] bill.
It’s not clear what would be in such a package, but Finance Committee members have mentioned renewable-energy tax breaks and the New Markets Tax Credit, which encourages investment in struggling areas
A 2017 tax extenders bill would offer another avenue to restore expired tax benefits missed by current tax reform deliberations.
Proponents of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) have been urging Congress to expand WOTC Target Groups and to make the program permanent. A 2017 tax extenders bill would provide one more potential means to those ends.
United States Senate Chamber
Saturday just before 2:00 AM Eastern, the Senate voted to pass its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate’s bill remains silent on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which the House version seeks to repeal.
In this circumstance, silence is golden if you prefer that the WOTC program remain in place.
A draft of the proposal was leaked to Bloomberg on Saturday. You can read it here. To satisfy my own skepticism, I searched the 479 page bill for key words that could reference the WOTC program. I also read every instance found in the document of the word “repeal.” It’s clean. None of them refer to the WOTC Program.
The next phase will involve House and Senate appointees getting together to hash out their differences. If you support keeping the WOTC program alive, this is your last opportunity to contact members of Congress about this issue.
Senator Orin Hatch, R Utah
Yesterday, Chairman Senator Orin Hatch (R, Utah) released a revision to the Senate’s tax reform proposal. The revision is scheduled today for markup before the Senate Committee on Finance.
While there are substantial changes in the document, no additional threat to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) has materialized. The question of future amendments to the bill remains alive.