House Ways and Means Committee Advances Historic Legislation with Safety Net Expansion and $2.1 Trillion in Tax Increases
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to advance legislation that would expand benefits for low-income families, invest in affordable housing and other Democratic priorities, and finance the initiatives with a $2.1 trillion tax increase that primarily falls on high-income individuals, pass-through businesses, and corporations. The legislation excludes several tax proposals put forward by the Biden administration and Senate lawmakers that would increase the tax burden on real estate. (Ways and Means news release and markup resources)
- Real Estate Roundtable President Jeffrey DeBoer stated, “The House Ways and Means Committee’s proposals include significant tax increases on corporations and income received by upper income taxpayers, and not on business activities like real estate. Even so, the combined tax hikes on income received from pass-through entities could threaten job creation and business expansion. As the bill moves forward, we encourage Congress to review the suggested tax hikes, particularly those on pass-through businesses, and work to ensure that unnecessary and unintended damage is not done to the economy. Substantial commercial real estate activities are conducted by pass-through entities and these activities create jobs, support retirement savings, and boost tax revenue for critical public services provided by local governments. The Roundtable is encouraged, yet cautious, at this still relatively early stage of the legislative process. Further changes may be on the horizon, both positive and negative.”
- Tax issues affecting CRE are summarized in The Roundtable’s summary on Real Estate Tax Issues and Budget Reconciliation Legislation. The real estate tax issues addressed by the W&M Committee include:
Real Property Like-Kind Exchanges (Section 1031)
- The bill wisely preserves taxpayers’ ability to defer capital gain when exchanging real property for another property of like kind.
Step-Up in Basis and Taxation of Gains at Death
- The bill preserves the step-up in basis that applies to appreciated gain when real estate is transferred from a decedent to an heir. The bill does not impose capital gains tax on appreciated real estate when transferred by a decedent or donor.
- The bill increases the maximum capital gains rate from 20% to 25%. The 3.8% investment tax is maintained and extended to all taxpayers, thus making the effective capital gain tax rate 28.8%. The President’s budget proposed increasing the capital gains rate to 39.6% to create parity between the tax rate on ordinary income and capital gains.
Real Estate Carried Interest
- The bill generally extends from 3 years to 5 years the holding period for partnership gains attributable to a profits interest to qualify for the long-term capital gains rate. However, the bill preserves the shorter 3-year holding period for capital gain related to a real property trade or business. The President’s budget proposed converting all carried interest income derived from a profits interest in a real estate partnership to ordinary income.
Pass-Through Business Income Deduction (Section 199A)
- The bill limits the maximum deduction available for pass-through business income under section 199A to no more than $400,000 for an individual and $500,000 in the case of a joint return ($2.5 million).
Net Investment Income Tax
- The bill would apply the 3.8% net investment income tax to income derived from a trade or business, capital gain, dividends, interest, and rental income regardless of whether the taxpayer is active or passive in the activity.
Other Tax Issues
- Other tax issues addressed by the committee included affordable housing, infrastructure financing, grantor trusts, deductibility of active losses and REIT constructive ownership rules. These issues are also summarized in The Roundtable’s summary on Real Estate Tax Issues and Budget Reconciliation Legislation.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to address a provision affecting the $10,000 limit on state and local deductions (SALT) before a final bill is assembled for a floor vote. (CNBC, Sept. 15)
- The committee’s proposals on clean energy incentives are detailed in the Roundtable Weekly story below on energy policy.
The House is expected to try to resolve major differences between their final bill and the Senate's version before voting on the package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck. Schumer (D-NY) has not set a formal deadline for the Senate to complete its work but he said Tuesday "there's going to be a lot of intense discussions and negotiations over the next few weeks." (RollCall, Sept. 14)
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