The US congress and senate have a way of waiting until the last moment before making the many needed changes in legislation. In the year 2012, the country was just coming out of a deep international recession that affected the economy deeply. At that time, the congress and senate fell over themselves as they scrambled to try and save the normal Americans from feeling the effects of expiry on the tax breaks that they had gotten used to. This was then; however, the same situation seems to be in the offing at the end of this year. Most of the extensions that had been given earlier in 2012 are nearing their end with the collapse of this year, and as yet, few safety nets have been put in place to protect the common folk for when that time comes. Pundits point out that the delay in enacting changes in these laws or determining the direction that any fiscal interference from the government will take largely depends on the result of the presidential election. Well, the elections have come and passed, and the democrats had their way with regard to the presidency. As such, it is expected that such bills such as the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which was approved by the Senate are going to sail through to the implementation stage.
This is only half the solution; while the bill covers most of the extensions, there are some and albeit crucial parts of the bill that have not been looked at. This to some extent indicates the direction that congress may be leaning in relation to the tax breaks that have been the norm for a while now. The result will be a reaction that is part in full to what the market is used to. If this is the result, then it is expected that people are bound to tighten their belts, so to speak in the recent future.
Initially, the bill took care of the tax provisions that affected individuals including restoring the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch. The bill also took care of the deduction for state and local sales tax as well as the parity for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits. Such provisions for these businesses include the extension of research and development credit in addition to the work opportunity credit. On the other hand, some of the things that this bill overlooked include the impending changes that are expected to happen on income, estate and capital gains tax rates.
Recently, estimations by the Joint Committee on Taxation held that the renewal of this smaller list of provisions would have a net effect of costing more than $192 billion in loss of revenue from the fiscal year 2013 all the way to the fiscal year 2017. This is by no means a small number; however, the main question is “can the US economy handle such a loss at the moment?” If so, just what is the net return if such a move is undertaken?