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November 16, 2018

TAX POLICY
Lawmakers May Address Tax “Extenders” and Technical Corrections in Lame Duck Session; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to Succeed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as Chair of Finance Committee

HOMELAND SECURITY
FBI Briefs Roundtable’s HSTF on Commercial Sector Holiday Security; Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center Featured in Homeland Security Today; FINCEN Expands Metro Areas Subject to Real Estate Purchase Review


TAX POLICY

Lawmakers May Address Tax “Extenders” and Technical Corrections in Lame Duck Session; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to Succeed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as Chair of Finance Committee   

Congress returned to Washington this week to prepare their lame duck session agenda, which is expected to address a federal government spending bill and possible tax legislation. 

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Specific tax policies affecting commercial real estate that may be addressed in the lame duck session include technical corrections to fix errors in last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

  • On Tuesday, outgoing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) outlined several tax priorities, including legislation that may address tax deduction extensions and 70 to 80 technical corrections (The Hill, Nov. 13).  "We're prepared and ready if there's an appetite to move some of these things and get them off of Congress's plate this year," said Chairman Brady. (Tax Notes, Nov. 14) 

  • Specific tax policies affecting commercial real estate that may be addressed include technical corrections to fix errors in last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including:
    • the cost recovery period for qualified improvement property (QIP);
    • Section 179D reforms to incentivize private sector retrofits for energy efficient building improvements, and
    • other expired provisions affecting homeowners, such as a deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.  (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 19) 

  • In October, The Roundtable along with 239 businesses and trade groups, wrote to Secretary Mnuchin urging the Treasury Department to provide administrative relief from a drafting mistake that increased the cost recovery period for qualified improvement property (QIP) to 39 years, instead of 15. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 12) 

  • On Friday, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) announced he would give up his position leading the Senate Judiciary Committee to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee when Congress reconvenes in January.  Senator Orrin Hatch, the current Finance Chairman, is retiring after 42 years in the U.S. Senate.  This will be the third time that Sen. Grassley has chaired the Finance Committee, having held the panel's top job twice in the 2000s. (Bloomberg, Nov. 16)

Congress will return for the lame duck session to address these issues and many more, the week after Thanksgiving.  Roundtable Weekly will resume publication on Nov. 30.

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HOMELAND SECURITY

FBI Briefs Roundtable’s HSTF on Commercial Sector Holiday Security; Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center Featured in Homeland Security Today; FINCEN Expands Metro Areas Subject to Real Estate Purchase Review

A day-long briefing this week by senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to The Roundtable’s Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) and the National Retail Federation focused on maintaining vigilance in the commercial sector during the holiday season; counterterrorism trends; criminal gang trends; organized retail crime; terrorism financing and an analysis of recent active shooter and workplace violence incidents.     

11_16_18 Homeland Security Today Article

This week, the Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC) was featured in an article in Homeland Security Today written by Roundtable SVP Clifton “Chip” Rodgers Jr. and Andy Jabbour of Gate15, which provides support to the RE-ISAC. 

  • "Terrorism continues to pose a clear and present danger to our nation, to the American economy and to the commercial facilities sector."  Homeland Security Today notes, “In response to these ongoing threats, the RE-ISAC has brought together industry organizations to work together with federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent, detect and respond to terrorist threats and malicious incidents.”
  • The article also states, “The RE-ISAC is the designated conduit of terrorism, cyber and natural hazard warning and response information between the government and the commercial facilities sector.”    
  • The Real Estate Roundtable in February 2003 organized the RE-ISAC as a public-private partnership between the U.S. commercial facilities sector and federal homeland security officials to proactively manage risk and strengthen the security and resilience of the U.S. commercial facilities/real estate critical infrastructure.
  • While the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) is the primary federal partner of the RE-ISAC, the organization also works with the FBI, the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a number of other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
  • DHS announced yesterday that Congress passed legislation to reorganize the NPPD, creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – CISA. (DHS, Nov. 13)
  • The CISA Act (H.R. 3359), which passed the House yesterday, the Senate in October, and was signed by President Trump today, will prioritize CISA’s mission as “the Federal leader for cyber and physical infrastructure security."

Separately, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Nov. 15 announced the issuance of revised Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) that require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate.  The purchase amount threshold, which previously varied by city, is now set at $300,000 for each covered metropolitan area.  The GTOs cover certain counties within the following major U.S. metropolitan areas: Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15)

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For questions about Roundtable Weekly, please contact The Roundtable's Scott Sherwood at rweekly@rer.org or (202) 639-8400.

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