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House Tax Writers Air Priorities, Address Technical Correction for Qualified Improvement Property Provision

  • June 11, 2019

The House Ways and Means Committee on June 4 held a Members' Day Hearing to address tax legislative priorities for the remainder of the year – including technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that would correct a drafting error affecting qualified improvement property (QIP).  Numerous other tax priorities are also expected to crowd the congressional agenda, including expired or expiring tax provisions; repeal of the state and local tax deduction cap; the national debt limit; and budget spending caps.

The House Ways and Means Committee held a Members' Day Hearing to address tax legislative priorities for the remainder of the year – including technical corrections to theTax Cuts and Jobs Act(TCJA) that would correct a drafting error affecting qualified improvement property (QIP).

  • A coalition of businesses and trade groups, including The Real Estate Roundtable, urged all members of Congress in April to cosponsor the Restoring Investment in Improvements Act (H.R. 1869 /  S. 803) – a bill that would correct the QIP drafting error.  The legislation would give qualified improvement property a 15-year depreciation period and restore its eligibility for accelerated bonus depreciation. (QIP Policy Comment Letter and Roundtable Weekly, April 26)
  • The QIP error has resulted in a significantly longer 39- or 40-year cost recovery period for interior improvements to nonresidential property, such as tenant build-outs.  The intent of Congress was to allow the immediate expensing of QIP – or provide a 20-year recovery period in the case of taxpayers electing out of new limitations on the deductibility of business interest.
  • During the hearing, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) said that QIP should be addressed as soon as possible and technical corrections should reflect the intent of lawmakers.  Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) discussed how QIP's 39 depreciation adversely impacts small businesses, suggesting it should be dropped to 15 years.  And Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) emphasized the need for a QIP fix, advocating for H.R. 1869
  • Reps. Walorski and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the Restoring Investment in Improvements Act on March 26. The Senate companion bill (S. 803) was introduced earlier that month by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Doug Jones (D-AL).  (Roundtable Weekly, March 15) 

    Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) will discuss tax policy with Roundtable members on June 11 during the organization's Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

  • Beth Bell, Democratic tax counsel for Ways and Means, acknowledged many committee members are interested in TCJA technical fixes, including QIP.  Yet she emphasized during a May 30 Federal Bar Association meeting, "I think we need to get through processing or considering what to do with an extenders package before we get to a technical corrections package." (BGov, May 30)
  • In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) last month announced the formation of several bipartisan taskforces to examine and help permanently resolve the fate of 42 expired and expiring tax provisions.  (Senate Finance Committee Announcement, May 16 and Roundtable Weekly, May 17)
  • A preliminary draft of House legislation obtained by Bloomberg Tax last week would pay for the extension of temporary tax provisions through 2019 by changing the expiration date of estate tax relief included in TCJA. 

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) will discuss tax policy with Roundtable members on June 11 during the organization's Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  QIP and tax extenders will be among several tax policy issues discussed in detail during The Roundtable's Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) meeting on June 12.

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