Administration Unsuccessfully Seeks to Add Like-Kind Exchange Restrictions to Debt Ceiling Talks
Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Reform, Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Senate Republican Taxwriter Introduces Legislation to Permanently Extend 20% Pass-Through Income Deduction
Real Estate Industry Trailblazer Sam Zell Passes
Roundtable Weekly
May 19, 2023
Administration Unsuccessfully Seeks to Add Like-Kind Exchange Restrictions to Debt Ceiling Talks
LKE form 8824 held by business person

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) signaled progress this week on debt limit and federal spending talks after they assigned teams of negotiators to bang out an agreement before a looming national default “x-date” is reached in June. (BGov and CQ, May 18)

LKE Restrictions Rejected

  • One cost-cutting measure proposed by the administration’s team, and rejected by Republicans, would have imposed limitations on the use of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges. (Washington Post, May 15)
  • President Biden has consistently proposed limiting the use of LKEs, most recently as part of his FY2024 budget proposal submitted earlier this year. (Roundtable Weekly, March 10)
  • “The administration’s proposal to severely limit the use of section 1031 would destroy jobs, lock properties into unproductive uses at a time when a realignment of real estate assets is needed, harm housing supply, and end a mechanism used by environmental groups to conserve land and natural spaces,’ said Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer.
  • “It is an idea that has been debated by Congress numerous times and always rejected, most recently in a unanimous vote on the Senate floor,” DeBoer continued. “Perhaps most importantly, the proposal would eliminate one of the only real estate market liquidity tools available at a time when credit markets and banks are tightening, as they are today.”
  • Academic and other economic research has repeatedly demonstrated the positive economic contribution of LKEs and their importance to the US economy. (Roundtable Weekly, July 1, 2022 and EY report—“Economic Contribution of the Like-Kind Exchange Rules to the US economy in 2021: An Update”)

Looming Deadline

US Capitol
  • President Biden and Speaker McCarthy assigned five Washington insiders on May 16 to the immense negotiation task, in hopes that an “agreement in principle” can be reached this weekend, which would allow the House and Senate to vote before June 1. (The Hill and BGov, May 17 | Associated Press, May 18)
  • “I’m confident that we’ll get the agreement on the budget and America will not default,” Biden said before departing this week for a meeting of world leaders at the G-7 annual summit in Japan. (CBS News, May 17)
  • McCarthy said yesterday, “I see the path that we can come to an agreement. And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard.” (Politico, May 18)

House Democrats this week began preparing an emergency “discharge petition” to raise the debt ceiling if negotiators are unable to reach an agreement, though its odds of passing are uncertain. (Wall Street Journal, May 17)

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Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Reform, Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Low income housing SFO residences Bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced last Thursday would significantly expand and improve the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC). The tax credit, strongly supported by The Real Estate Roundtable, subsidizes the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants.  Increasing Supply 
  • The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) would finance nearly two million affordable homes over the next 10 years. (Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, 2023)
  • Led by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Todd Young (R-IN), along with Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), the AHCIA (H.R. 3238 and S. 1557) has already garnered nearly 90 cosponsors.  
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “The low-income housing tax credit is a critical and well-designed tool that addresses a pressing issue throughout the country–the lack of affordable rental housing. LIHTC harnesses market forces and the power of the private sector to incentivize the construction and rehabilitation of affordable homes. Countless studies have demonstrated LIHTC’s cost-effectiveness. Inflation has taken a toll on working Americans, but Congress can help reduce the burden of high housing costs by passing the AHCIA reforms.”  
  • A March 7 Senate Finance Committee hearing showed bipartisan policymaker consensus on the need to increase the supply of affordable housing by expanding the LIHTC and other tax incentives. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA), two key supporters of the AHCIA, offered joint testimony during the hearing. (Roundtable Weekly, March 10) 
AHCIA Provisions  AHCIA summary
  • A summary of the AHCIA is available here. Among its many provisions, the legislation would:
    • Boost the allocation of low-income housing credits to states by restoring the temporary 12.5% increase enacted in 2018 (expired at the end of 2021) and phasing in a 50% increase in the LIHTC allocation cap over two years.
    • Lower the threshold of private activity bond financing—from 50 to 25%—required to trigger the maximum amount of 4% housing credits available to individual properties. 
  • The bill would also ensure that low-income housing credit projects that seek to maximize their energy efficiency through use of the section 179D commercial building deduction are not penalized by existing provisions of the law that reduce the basis of the development by the 179D deduction amount. 
  • While movement on LIHTC legislation is unlikely before the debt ceiling debate is resolved, the broad-based, bipartisan support for AHCIA could lead to Congressional action on the bill later in the year. (News – The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition)
 Domestic Content 
  • In related news, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a notice this week on “made in the USA” guidance that can increase clean energy tax credits. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers a “bonus” tax credit of up to 10%  for solar, wind, battery storage, and other projects that use iron, steel, and components manufactured in the U.S. (JD Supra, May 16) 
The “domestic content” notice provides initial guidance until the Treasury Department proposes rules on the subject. A fact sheet prepared by The Roundtable keeps track of various federal agency actions that implement IRA tax incentives of significance to the real estate sector.       #   #   #
Senate Republican Taxwriter Introduces Legislation to Permanently Extend 20% Pass-Through Income Deduction
Senate Finance Committee member Steve Daines (R-MT)

Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee member Steve Daines (R-MT) reintroduced legislation to make permanent the 20 percent deduction for pass-through business income (Section 199A), one of the cornerstone provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that expires at the end of 2025. 

Deduction Sunset

  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), who has long championed making Section 199A permanent, is anticipated to re-introduce the legislation in the House soon.

  • In 2017, Congress created the 20% deduction for pass-through business income to avoid putting businesses organized as partnerships, S corporations (S corps), and real estate investment trusts (REITs) at a competitive disadvantage relative to large C corporations (C corps).

  • Section 199A is scheduled to sunset on Dec. 31, 2025 as businesses continue to recover from post-pandemic price hikes, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions.

Section 199A Permanency 

Coalition letter on Section 199A legislation
    • The Real Estate Roundtable and a coalition of more than 145 business organizations sent a letter yesterday to Sen. Daines in support of the bill. (Coalition letter, May 18)

    • The letter notes that the bill “would provide certainty to the millions of S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships that rely on the Section 199A deduction to remain competitive both here and overseas.”

    • Previously, The Roundtable and other stakeholders supported congressional efforts in 2021 to make the pass-through deduction permanent. (Coalition letter, Feb. 26, 2021 and Tax Notes, March 1, 2021)

    While House Republicans are expected to introduce an economic growth package in the coming weeks that includes tax cuts, it is unclear whether the bill will address provisions such as Section 199A that are not scheduled to expire until the end of 2025. 

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    Real Estate Industry Trailblazer Sam Zell Passes
    Sam Zell

    Sam Zell, the founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments died yesterday due to complications from a recent illness. Mr. Zell was a leader in modernizing the REIT structure and was well known for his ability to revive distressed real estate assets, as well as turnaround troubled manufacturing, retail, travel, healthcare, and energy businesses. (Fortune and Wall Street Journal, May 18) 

    • Equity Residential, the multifamily REIT Zell founded, released a statement mourning the death of its founder and chairman, noting he led the transformation of the public real estate market, and that under his leadership, grew the company into a $31B apartment owner, developer, and operator listed on the S&P 500 (NYSE: EQR).   
    • Mark Parrell, Equity Residential President and CEO, and member of The Real Estate Roundtable Board of Directors said, “The world has lost one of its greatest investors and entrepreneurs. Sam’s insatiable intellectual curiosity and passion for deal making created some of the most dynamic companies in the public real estate industry.”  
    • Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “Sam was very quick to see the potential economic consequences of policy actions. He was a master of making complex issues simple and he was unambiguous in offering what could always be called a very unique and valuable perspective on national policy issues. His straight talk, clear vision and philanthropic generosity will be deeply missed. “ 

    See for a video retrospective of his many accomplishments and contributions to the investing and philanthropic communities. 

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