[Senate Prints 109-72]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


109th Congress
 2d Session                 COMMITTEE PRINT                     S. Prt.
                                                                109-072
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     


                            TAX EXPENDITURES

       Compendium of Background Material on Individual Provisions

                               ----------                              

                        COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TONGRESS.#13


                             DECEMBER 2006

                            PREPARED BY THE

                     Congressional Research Service

      Prepared for the use of the Committee on the Budget by the 
 Congressional Research Service. This document has not been officially 
approved by the Committee and may not reflect the views of its members.


   TAX EXPENDITURES--Compendium of Background Material on Individual 
                               Provisions



109th Congress 
 2d Session                 COMMITTEE PRINT                     S. Prt.
                                                                109-072
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

 
                            TAX EXPENDITURES

       Compendium of Background Material on Individual Provisions

                               __________

                        COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TONGRESS.#13


                             DECEMBER 2006

                            PREPARED BY THE

                     Congressional Research Service

      Prepared for the use of the Committee on the Budget by the 
 Congressional Research Service. This document has not been officially 
approved by the Committee and may not reflect the views of its members.



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                        COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET

                  JUDD GREGG, New Hampshire, Chairman
PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico         KENT CONRAD, North Dakota
CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa            PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
WAYNE ALLARD, Colorado               PATTY MURRAY, Washington
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                RON WYDEN, Oregon
MICHAEL ENZI, Wyoming                RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama               TIM JOHNSON, South Dakota
JIM BUNNING, Kentucky                ROBERT C. BYRD, West Virginia
MIKE CRAPO, Idaho                    BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
JOHN CORNYN, Texas                   JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey
LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
                  Scott Gudes, Majority Staff Director
                    Mary Ann Naylor, Staff Director


LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
	            
	December 20, 2006

UNITED STATES SENATE
COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET
WASHINGTON, DC


To the Members of the Committee on the Budget:

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment and Control Act of 1974 
(as amended) requires the Budget Committees to examine tax expenditures 
as they develop the Congressional Budget Resolution.  There are over 160 
separate tax expenditures in current law.  Section 3(3) of the Budget Act of 
1974 defines tax expenditures as those revenue losses attributable to 
provisions of the Federal tax laws which allow a special exclusion, 
exemption, or deduction from gross income or provide a special credit, a 
preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability.

Tax expenditures are becoming increasingly important when 
considering the budget.  They are often enacted as permanent legislation and 
can be compared to direct spending on entitlement programs.  Both tax 
expenditures and entitlement spending have received, as they should in the 
current budget environment, increased scrutiny.

This print was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) 
and was coordinated by Daniel Brandt and Cheri Reidy of the Senate Budget 
Committee staff.  All tax code changes through the end of the 109th 
Congress are included.

The CRS has produced an extraordinarily useful document which 
incorporates not only a description of each provision and an estimate of its 
revenue cost, but also a discussion of its impact, a review of its underlying 
rationale, an assessment which addresses the arguments for and against the 
provision, and a set of bibliographic references.  Nothing in this print should 
be interpreted as representing the views or recommendations of the Senate 
Budget Committee or any of its members.



Judd Gregg
Chairman


	LETTER OF SUBMITTAL
	            

	CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
	THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
	Washington, D.C., December 15, 2006

Honorable Judd Gregg
Chairman, Committee on the Budget 
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510.

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am pleased to submit a revision of the December 2004 Committee 
Print on Tax Expenditures.  

As in earlier versions, each entry includes an estimate of each tax 
expenditure's revenue cost, its legal authorization, a description of the tax 
provision and its impact, the rationale at the time of adoption, an assessment, 
and bibliographic citations.  The impact section includes quantitative data on 
the distribution of tax expenditures across income classes where such data 
are relevant and available.  The rationale section contains some detail about 
the historical development of each provision.  The assessment section 
summarizes major issues surrounding each tax expenditure.

The revision was written under the general direction of Jane G. 
Gravelle, Senior Specialist in Economic Policy.  Contributors of individual 
entries include Andrew Austin, James M. Bickley, David L. Brumbaugh, 
Gregg A. Esenwein, Jane G. Gravelle, Gary Guenther, Thomas Hungerford, 
Pamela Jackson, Steven Maguire, Nonna Noto, and Maxim Shvedov of the 
Government and Finance Division;  Linda Levine, Robert F. Lyke,  Edward 
B. Rappaport, Christine Scott, and David Smole of the Domestic Social 
Policy Division; and Salvatore Lazzari of the Resources, Science and 
Industry Division.  Dee Gray, Rosslyn Richardson, and LaTanya Winston 
provided editorial assistance and prepared the document for publication.

	DANIEL P. MULHOLLAN, Director


                             CONTENTS
	       

Letter of Transmittal	III
Letter of Submittal	V
Introduction	1
National Defense
Exclusion of Benefits and Allowances to 
Armed Forces Personnel	13
Exclusion of Military Disability Benefits	19
Deduction for Overnight-Travel Expenses of National
Guard and Reserve Members	23
International Affairs
Exclusion of Income Earned Abroad by U.S. Citizens	27
Exclusion of Certain Allowances for Federal Employees
Abroad	33
Exclusion of Extraterritorial Income	37
Deferral of Active Income of Controlled Foreign
Corporations	43
Inventory Property Sales Source Rule Exception	49
Deferral of Certain Financing Income	53
General Science, Space, and Technology
Tax Credit for Increasing Research Expenditures	57
Expensing of Research and Experimental Expenditures	65
Energy
Expensing of Exploration and Development Costs; 
Amortization of Geological and Geophysical Costs: 
Oil, Gas, and Other Fuels	69
Excess of Percentage over Cost Depletion: Oil, Gas, and 
Other Fuels	75
Tax Credit for Production of Non-Conventional Fuels	83
Tax Credits for Alcohol and Biodiesel Fuels	91
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government 
Qualified Private Activity Bonds for Energy 
Production Facilities	101
Exclusion of Energy Conservation Subsidies Provided
by Public Utilities 	105
Tax Credit for Investments in Solar, Geothermal, 
Fuel Cells, and Microturbines	109
Tax Credits for Electricity Production from Renewable 
Resources	117
Tax Credit and Deduction for Small Refiners with
Capital Costs Associated with EPA Sulfur
Regulation Compliance	125
Deferral of Gain from the Disposition of Electric 
Transmission Property to Implement Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission Restructuring Policy 	129
Tax Credit for Holders of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds 	133
Tax Credits For Investments In Clean Coal Power
Generation Facilities	137
Expensing of the Cost of Property Used in the Refiners 
of Liquid Fuels 	141
Deduction of Expenditures on Energy-Efficient
Commercial Building Property 	145
        Tax Credit for the Purchase of Qualified Energy
Efficiency Improvements to Homes  151 
       	Tax Credit for the Production of Energy-Efficient
Appliances 	157
Tax Credits for Alternative Technology Vehicles 163  
	Tax Credit for Clean Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property 173
Five-Year Carryback Period for Certain Net Operating 
Losses of Electric Utility Companies 179
Natural Resources and Environment
Excess of Percentage Over Cost Depletion: Nonfuel
Minerals	183
Expensing of Multiperiod Timber-Growing Costs; 
Amortization and Expensing of Reforestation 
Expenses	189
Expensing of Exploration and Development Costs:
Nonfuel Minerals	193
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government
Sewage, Water, and Hazardous Waste
Facilities Bonds	197
Special Rules for Mining Reclamation Reserves	201
Special Tax Rate for Nuclear Decommissioning
Reserve Fund	203
Exclusion of Contributions in Aid of Construction
for Water and Sewer Utilities	207
Amortization of Certified Pollution Control Facilities	211
Agriculture
Exclusion of Cost-Sharing Payments	215
Exclusion of Cancellation of Indebtedness Income
of Farmers	219
Cash Accounting for Agriculture	223
Income Averaging for Farmers and Fishermen	227
Five-Year Carryback Period for Net Operating Losses 		
	Attributable to Farming	231
Commerce and Housing
Exemption of Credit Union Income	235
Exclusion of Investment Income on Life Insurance and 
Annuity Contracts	239
Small Life Insurance Company Taxable Income
Adjustment	245
Special Treatment of Life Insurance Company Reserves	249
Deduction of Unpaid Property Loss Reserves for
Property and Casualty Insurance Companies	253
Special Deduction for Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Companies	257
Deduction for Mortgage Interest on Owner-Occupied
Residences	261
Deduction for Property Taxes on Owner-Occupied
Residences	267
Exclusion of Capital Gains on Sales of Principal
Residences	273
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local 
Government Bonds for Owner-Occupied Housing	277
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local
Government Bonds for Rental Housing	281
Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers in the 
District of Columbia	285
Additional Exemption for Housing Provided to
Individuals Displaced by Hurricane Katrina	289
Employer Housing for Individuals Affected by
Hurricane Katrina	293
Depreciation of Rental Housing in Excess of
Alternative Depreciation System	297
Tax Credit for Low-Income Housing	303
Tax Credit for Rehabilitation of Historic Structures	309
Investment Credit for Rehabilitation of Structures
Other Than Historic Structures	313
Reduced Rates of Tax on Dividends and Long-Term 
Capital Gains	317
Exclusion of Capital Gains at Death Carryover Basis of 
Capital Gains on Gifts	325
Deferral of Gain on Non-Dealer Installment Sales	331
Deferral of Gain on Like-Kind Exchanges	335
Depreciation of Buildings Other than Rental Housing
in Excess of Alternative Depreciation System	339
Depreciation on Equipment in Excess of Alternative 
Depreciation System	345
Expensing of Depreciable Business Property	351
Amortization of Business Start-Up Costs	357
Reduced Rates on First $10,000,000 of Corporate 
Taxable Income	361
Permanent Exemption from Imputed Interest Rules	365
Expensing of Magazine Circulation Expenditures	369
Special Rules for Magazine, Paperback Book, and
Record Returns	373
Completed Contract Rules	377
Cash Accounting, Other than Agriculture	381
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government 
Small-Issue Qualified Private Activity Bonds	385
Exception from Net Operating Loss Limitations for
Corporations in Bankruptcy Proceedings	389
Tax Credit for Employer-Paid FICA Taxes on Tips	393
Production Activity Reduction	397
Deduction for Certain Film and Television Production Costs	401
Tax Credit for the Cost of Carrying Tax-Paid Distilled
Spirits in Wholesale Inventories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .405
Tax Benefits Related to 2005 Hurricane Disaster Costs: 
Expensing of Clean-up Costs, Additional First Year 			
	Depreciation, Carryback of Losses, Tax Credit for 
Employee Retention	409
 Transportation
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government Bonds
for Highway Projects and Rail-Truck Transfer Facilities 	413
Tax Credit for Certain Railroad Track Maintenance	417
Deferral of Tax on Capital Construction Funds of Shipping 			Companies	421
Exclusion of Employer-Paid Transportation Benefits	425
Community and Regional Development
New York City Liberty Zone Tax Incentives	429
Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives, District of Columbia Tax 
Incentives, and Indian Reservation Tax Incentives	433
New Markets Tax Credit and Renewal Community Tax 
Incentives	439
Expensing of Redevelopment Costs in Certain Environmentally
 Contaminated Areas ("Brownfields")	443
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government Bonds
for Private Airports, Docks, and Mass Commuting 
Facilities	447
Qualified Green Building and Sustainable Design Project
Bonds	451
Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services
Exclusion of Income Attributable to the Discharge of 
Certain Student Loan Debt and NHSC Educational 
Loan Repayments	455
Deduction for Classroom Expenses of Elementary and
Secondary School Educators	459
Tax Credits for Tuition for Post-Secondary Education	463
Deduction for Interest on Student Loans	467
Exclusion of Earnings of Coverdell Educational
Savings Accounts	471
Exclusion of Interest on Education Savings Bonds	475
Deduction for Higher Education Expenses	479
Exclusion of Tax on Earnings of Qualified Tuition Programs	483
Exclusion of Scholarship and Fellowship Income	487
Exclusion of Employer-Provided Education Assistance
Benefits	491
Exclusion of Employer-Provided Tuition Reduction 493
Parental Personal Exemption for Students Age 19-23	497
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government
Student Loan Bonds	501
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government
Bonds for Private Nonprofit and Qualified Public
Educational Facilities	507
Tax Credit for Holders of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds	 511
Deduction for Charitable Contributions to Educational
Institutions	515
Exclusion of Employee Meals and Lodging (Other 
than Military)	523
Exclusion of Benefits Provided under Cafeteria Plans	527
Exclusion of Housing Allowances for Ministers	533
Exclusion of Miscellaneous Fringe Benefits	539
Exclusion of Employee Awards	543
Exclusion of Income Earned by Voluntary Employees' 
Beneficiary Associations	547
Special Tax Provisions for Employee Stock Ownership
Plans (ESOPs)	555
Work Opportunity Tax Credit	561
Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit	565
Deferral of Taxation on Spread on Acquisition of Stock
Under Incentive Stock Option Plans and Employee
Stock Purchase Plans	569
Tax Credit for Children Under Age 17	573
Tax Credit for Child and Dependent Care and Exclusion
of Employer-Provided Child Care	577
Tax Credit for Employer-Provided Child Care	585
Exclusion of Certain Foster Care Payments	589
Adoption Credit and Employee Adoption Benefits Exclusion	593
Deduction for Charitable Contributions, Other than for
Education and Health	599
Tax Credit for Disabled Access Expenditures	607
Health
Exclusion of Employer Contributions for Health Care, 
Health Insurance Premiums, and Long-Term Care 
Insurance Premiums	611
Exclusion of Medical Care and CHAMPUS/TRICARE,
Medical Insurance for Military Dependents, Retirees, 
and Retiree Dependents	619
Deduction for Health Insurance Premiums and Long-Term 
Care Insurance Premiums Paid by the Self-Employed	623
Deduction for Medical Expenses and Long-Term
Care Expenses	629
Exclusion of Workers' Compensation Benefits
(Medical Benefits)	637
Health Savings Accounts	641
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government Bonds
for Private Nonprofit Hospital Facilities	647
Deduction for Charitable Contributions to Health
Organizations	651
Tax Credit for Orphan Drug Research	659
Tax Credit for Purchase of Health Insurance by Certain
Displaced Persons	665
Medicare
Exclusion of Untaxed Medicare Benefits: Hospital Insurance	671
Exclusion of Medicare Benefits: Supplementary Medical 
Insurance	675
Exclusion of Subsidy Payments to Employers Offering
Certain Prescription Drug Benefits to Retirees Eligible
for Medicare	679
Income Security
Exclusion of Workers' Compensation Benefits
(Disability and Survivors Payments)	685
Exclusion of Damages on Account of Personal Physical 
Injuries or Physical Sickness	689
Exclusion of Special Benefits for Disabled Coal Miners	693
Exclusion of Cash Public Assistance Benefits	697
Net Exclusion of Pension Contributions and Earnings Plans
for Employees and Self-Employed Individuals (Keoghs)	701
Net Exclusion of Pension Contributions and Earnings: 
Individual Retirement Plans	709
Tax Credit for Certain Individuals for Elective Deferrals
and IRA Contributions	715
Tax Credit for New Retirement Plan Expenses of Small
Businesses	719
Exclusion of Other Employee Benefits: Premiums on 
Group Term Life Insurance	723
Exclusion of Other Employee Benefits: Premiums on 
Accident and Disability Insurance	727
Additional Standard Deduction for the Blind and the Elderly	729
Tax Credit for the Elderly and Disabled	733
Deductibility for Casualty and Theft Losses	737
Earned Income Credit (EIC)	741
Exclusion of Cancellation of Indebtedness Income of
Hurricane Katrina Victims	747
Social Security and Railroad Retirement
Exclusion of Untaxed Social Security and Railroad
Retirement Benefits	749
Veterans' Benefits and Services
Exclusion of Veterans' Benefits and Services: 
(1) Exclusion of Veterans' Disability Compensation;
(2) Exclusion of Veterans' Pensions;
(3) Exclusion of Readjustment Benefits	755
Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government Bonds
for Veterans' Housing	759
General Purpose Fiscal Assistance
Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local 				Government Debt	763
Deduction of Nonbusiness State and Local Government
Income and Personal Property Taxes	769
Tax Credit for Puerto Rico and Possession Income and 
Puerto Rico Economic Activity 773
Interest
Deferral of Interest on Savings Bonds	779
Appendixes

A. Forms of Tax Expenditures	783
B. Relationship Between Tax Expenditures and
Limited Tax Benefits Subject to Line Item Veto	787


INTRODUCTION

This compendium gathers basic information concerning 160 Federal tax 
provisions currently treated as tax expenditures.  They include those listed in 
Tax Expenditure Budgets prepared for fiscal years 2006-2010 by the Joint 
Committee on Taxation,  although certain separate items that are closely 
related and are within a major function may be combined.

With respect to each tax expenditure, this compendium provides:

The estimated Federal revenue loss associated with the provision 
for individual and corporate taxpayers, for fiscal years 2006-2010, 
as estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation;

The legal authorization for the provision (e.g., Internal Revenue 
Code section, Treasury Department regulation, or Treasury 
ruling);

A description of the tax expenditure, including an example of its 
operation where this is useful;

A brief analysis of the impact of the provision, including 
information on the distribution of benefits where data are 
available;

A brief statement of the rationale for the adoption of the tax 
expenditure where it is known, including relevant legislative 
history; 

An assessment, which addresses the arguments for and against the 
provision; and

References to selected bibliography.


The information presented for each tax expenditure is not intended to be 
exhaustive or definitive.  Rather, it is intended to provide an introductory 
understanding of the nature, effect, and background of each provision.  Good 
starting points for further research are listed in the selected bibliography 
following each provision.


	Defining Tax Expenditures

Tax expenditures are revenue losses resulting from Federal tax 
provisions that grant special tax relief designed to encourage certain kinds of 
behavior by taxpayers or to aid taxpayers in special circumstances.  These 
provisions may, in effect, be viewed as spending programs channeled through 
the tax system.  They are, in fact, classified in the same functional categories 
as the U.S. budget.

Section 3(3) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control 
Act of 1974 specifically defines tax expenditures as:

. . . those revenue losses attributable to provisions of the Federal tax laws which 
allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which 
provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability; . . .


In the legislative history of the Congressional Budget Act, provisions 
classified as tax expenditures are contrasted with those provisions which are 
part of the "normal structure" of the individual and corporate income tax 
necessary to collect government revenues.

The listing of a provision as a tax expenditure in no way implies any 
judgment about its desirability or effectiveness relative to other tax or non-tax 
provisions that provide benefits to specific classes of individuals and 
corporations.  Rather, the listing of tax expenditures, taken in conjunction 
with the listing of direct spending programs, is intended to allow Congress to 
scrutinize all Federal programs relating to the same goals--both non-tax and 
tax--when developing its annual budget.  Only when tax expenditures are 
considered will congressional budget decisions take into account the full 
spectrum of Federal programs.



Because any qualified taxpayer may reduce tax liability through use of a 
tax expenditure, such provisions are comparable to entitlement programs 
under which benefits are paid to all eligible persons.  Since tax expenditures 
are generally enacted as permanent legislation, it is important that, as 
entitlement programs, they be given thorough periodic consideration to see 
whether they are efficiently meeting the national needs and goals for which 
they were established.

Tax expenditure budgets which list the estimated annual revenue losses 
associated with each tax expenditure first were required to be published in 
1975 as part of the Administration budget for fiscal year 1976, and have been 
required to be published by the Budget Committees since 1976.  The tax 
expenditure concept is still being refined, and therefore the classification of 
certain provisions as tax expenditures continues to be discussed.  
Nevertheless, there has been widespread agreement for the treatment as tax 
expenditures of most of the provisions included in this compendium. 

As defined in the Congressional Budget Act, the concept of tax 
expenditure refers to the corporation and individual income taxes.  Other 
parts of the Internal Revenue Code--excise taxes, employment taxes, estate 
and gift taxes--also have exceptions, exclusions, refunds and credits (such as 
a gasoline tax exemptions for non-highway uses) which are not included here 
because they are not parts of the income tax.


Administration Fiscal Year 2007 Expenditure Budget

There are several differences between the tax expenditures shown in this 
publication and the tax expenditure budget found in the Administration's 
FY2007 budget document.  In some cases tax expenditures are combined in 
one list, but not in the other.


	Major Types of Tax Expenditures

Tax expenditures may take any of the following forms:



(1) exclusions, exemptions, and deductions, which reduce taxable 
income;

(2) preferential tax rates, which apply lower rates to part or all of a 
taxpayer's income;

(3) credits, which are subtracted from taxes as ordinarily computed;

(4) deferrals of tax, which result from delayed recognition of income or 
from allowing in the current year deductions that are properly attributable to a 
future year.

The amount of tax relief per dollar of each exclusion, exemption, and 
deduction increases with the taxpayer's tax rate.  A tax credit is subtracted 
directly from the tax liability that would otherwise be due; thus the amount of 
tax reduction is the amount of the credit--which does not depend on the 
marginal tax rate.  (See Appendix A for further explanation.)


	Order of Presentation

The tax expenditures are presented in an order which generally parallels 
the budget functional categories used in the congressional budget, i.e., tax 
expenditures related to "national defense" are listed first, and those related to 
"international affairs" are listed next.  In a few instances, two or three closely 
related tax expenditures derived from the same Internal Revenue Code 
provision have been combined in a single summary to avoid repetitive 
references even though the tax expenditures are related to different functional 
categories.  This parallel format is consistent with the requirement of section 
301(d)(6) of the Budget Act, which requires the tax expenditure budgets 
published by the Budget Committees as parts of their April 15 reports to 
present the estimated levels of tax expenditures "by major functional 
categories."


Impact (Including Distribution)



The impact section includes information on the direct effect of the 
provisions and, where available, the distributional effect across individuals.  
Unless otherwise specified, distributional tables showing the share of the tax 
expenditure received by income class are calculated from data in the Joint 
Committee on Taxation's committee print on tax expenditures for 2006-2010. 
 This distribution uses an expanded income concept that is composed of 
adjusted gross income (AGI), plus (1) tax-exempt interest, (2) employer 
contributions for health plans and life insurance, (3) employee share of FICA 
tax, (4) worker's compensation, (5) nontaxable Social Security benefits, (6) 
insurance value of Medicare benefits, (7) corporate income tax liability 
passed on to shareholders, (8) alternative minimum tax preferences, and (9) 
excluded income of U.S. citizens abroad.

The following table shows the estimated distribution of returns by 
income class, for comparison with those tax expenditure distributions:


Distribution by Income Class of Tax Returns at 2005 
Income Levels

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

15.0

$10 to $20 

13.9

$20 to $30 

12.2

$30 to $40

10.7

$40 to $50

9.1

$50 to $75

15.5

$75 to $100

9.4

$100 to $200

11.3

$200 and over

2.9

These estimates were made for nine tax expenditures.  For other tax 
expenditures, a distributional estimate or information on distributional impact 
is provided, when such information could be obtained.



Many tax expenditures are corporate and thus do not directly affect the 
taxes of individuals.  Most analyses of capital income taxation suggest that 
such taxes are likely to be borne by capital given reasonable behavioral 
assumptions.   Capital income is heavily concentrated in the upper-income 
levels.  For example, the Congressional Budget Office  reports in 2001 that 
52 percent of capital income was received by the top 1 percent of the 
population, 68 percent was received by the top 5 percent, 75 percent was 
received by the top 10 percent, and 83 percent was received by the top 20 
percent.  The distribution across the first four quintiles was 1, 2, 5, and 8 
percent.  Corporate tax expenditures would, therefore, tend to benefit higher-
income individuals.


Rationale

Each tax expenditure item contains a brief statement of the rationale for 
the adoption of the expenditure, where it is known.  They are the principal 
rationales publicly given at the time the provisions were enacted.  The 
rationale also chronicles subsequent major changes in the provisions and the 
reasons for the changes.


	Assessment

The assessment section summarizes the arguments for and against the 
tax expenditures and the issues they raise.  These issues include effects on 
economic efficiency, on fairness and equity, and on simplicity and tax 
administration.  Further information can be found in the bibliographic 
citations.


	Estimating Tax Expenditures

The revenue losses for all the listed tax expenditures are those estimated 
by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

In calculating the revenue loss from each tax expenditure, it is assumed 
that only the provision in question is deleted and that all other aspects of the 
tax system remain the same.  In using the tax expenditure estimates, several 
points should be noted.

First, in some cases, if two or more items were eliminated, the 
combination of changes would probably produce a lesser or greater revenue 
effect than the sum of the amounts shown for the individual items.  Thus, the 
arithmetical sum of all tax expenditures (reported below) may be different 
from the actual revenue consequences of eliminating all tax expenditures.

Second, the amounts shown for the various tax expenditure items do not 
take into account any effects that the removal of one or more of the items 
might have on investment and consumption patterns or on any other aspects 
of individual taxpayer behavior, general economic activity, or decisions 
regarding other Federal budget outlays or receipts.



Finally, the revenue effect of new tax expenditure items added to the tax 
law may not be fully felt for several years.  As a result, the eventual annual 
cost of some provisions is not fully reflected until some time after enactment. 
 Similarly, if items now in the law were eliminated, it is unlikely that the full 
revenue effects would be immediately realized.

These tax expenditure estimating considerations are, however, similar to 
estimating considerations involving entitlement programs.  Like tax 
expenditures, annual budget estimates for each transfer and income-security 
program are computed separately.  However, if one program, such as veterans 
pensions, were either terminated or increased, this would affect the level of 
payments under other programs, such as welfare payments.

Also, like tax expenditure estimates, the elimination or curtailment of a 
spending program, such as military spending or unemployment benefits, 
would have substantial effects on consumption patterns and economic activity 
that would directly affect the levels of other spending programs.  Finally, like 
tax expenditures, the budgetary effect of terminating certain entitlement 
programs would not be fully reflected until several years later because the 
termination of benefits is usually only for new recipients, with persons already 
receiving benefits continued under "grandfather" provisions.
All revenue loss estimates are based upon the tax law enacted through the end 
of the 109th Congress.  

The expenditure table below shows an initial declining amount for 
corporations.  This decline is due to the temporary first year depreciation for 
equipment enacted in 2002 that expires in 2004 and largely involves a timing 
shift: a loss of revenue in the short run offset by a long run gain.


Sum of Tax Expenditure Estimates by Type of Taxpayer, Fiscal 
Years 2006-2010

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

868.5

74.9

943.4

2007

906.8

 86.6

993.4

2008

951.6

91.3

1,042.9

2009

1,011.0

 98.5

1,109.4

2010

1,049.3

105.9

1,155.2

Note: These totals are the mathematical sum of the estimated fiscal year effect 
of each of the tax expenditure items included in this publication as appearing the  
Joint Committee on Taxation's April , 2006 list.  Legislation passed in the remainder 
of 2006 would increase them by a small percentage.


Selected Bibliography

Bartlett, Bruce.  "The Flawed Concept of Tax Expenditures." National 
Center for Policy Analysis (http:/www.ncpa.org). 
Bosworth, Barry P.  Tax Incentives and Economic Growth.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1984.
Brannon, Gerard M. "Tax Expenditures and Income Distribution: A 
Theoretical Analysis of the Upside-Down Subsidy Argument," The 
Economics of Taxation, ed. Henry J. Aaron and Michael J. Boskin.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1980, pp. 87-98.
Brixi, Hana Polackova, Christian M.A. Valenduc and Zhicheng Li 
Swift.  Shedding Light on Government Spending Through the Tax System:  
Lessons from Developed and Transition Economies.  Washington, DC, the 
World Bank, 2004. 
Browning, Jacqueline, M.  "Estimating the Welfare Cost of Tax 
Preferences," Public Finance Quarterly, v. 7, no. 2.  April 1979, pp. 199-219.
Burman, Leonard E.  "Is the Tax Expenditure Concept Still 
Relevant?" National Tax Journal 56 (September 2003): 613-628.
The Century Foundation, Bad Breaks All Around, Report of the 
Working Group on Tax Expenditures, New York: The Century Foundation 
Press, 2002.
Craig, Jon and William Allan.  "Fiscal Transparency, Tax Expenditures 
and Budget Processes: An International Perspective," Proceedings of the 94th 
Annual Conference 2001, Washington, D.C.: National Tax Association, 
2002, 258-264. 
Edwards, Kimberly K.  "Reporting for Tax Expenditure and Tax 
Abatement," Government Finance Review, v. 4.  August 1988, pp. 13-17.
Freeman, Roger A.  Tax Loopholes: The Legend and the Reality.  
Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 
1973.
Fox, John O.  "The Untold Story: Congress's Own Calculation of Its 
Revenue Losses from Special Provisions of the Tax Laws."  Chapter 5 in  If 
Americans Really Understood the Income Tax. Boulder, Colorado: Westview 
Press, 2001.  
Goode, Richard.  The Individual Income Tax.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1976.
Gravelle, Jane G. "Corporate Tax Welfare." Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 97-308 E, Washington, DC: February 
28, 1998.
-.  "Tax Expenditures."  The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, 
edited by Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  
Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 1999, pp. 379-380.
Hildred, William M., and James V. Pinto.  "Estimates of Passive Tax 
Expenditures, 1984," Journal of Economic Issues, v. 23.  March 1989,  pp. 
93-106.


Howard, Christopher.  The Hidden Welfare State: Tax Expenditures and 
Social Policy in the United States.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 
1997.
King, Ronald F.  "Tax Expenditures and Systematic Public Policy: An 
Essay on the Political Economy of the Federal Revenue Code," Public 
Budgeting and Finance, v. 4.  Spring 1984, pp. 14-31.
Klimschot, JoAnn.  The Untouchables: A Common Cause Study of the 
Federal Tax Expenditure Budget.  Washington, DC: Common Cause, 1981.
Ladd, Helen.  The Tax Expenditure Concept After 25 Years.  
Presidential Address to the National Tax Association.  Proceedings of the 86th 
Annual Conference 1994, Columbus, Ohio: National Tax Association, 1995, 
50-57.
McLure, Charles E., Jr.  Must Corporate Income Be Taxed Twice? 
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1979.
Mikesell, John L.  "The Tax Expenditure Concept at the State Level: 
Conflict Between Fiscal Control and Sound Tax Policy," Proceedings of the 
94th Annual Conference 2001, Washington, D.C.: National Tax Association, 
2002, 265-272.
Neil, Bruce. "Tax Expenditures and Government Policy." Kingston, 
Ontario: John Deutsche Institute for the Study of Economic Policy, 1989.
Noto, Nonna A.  "Tax Expenditures: The Link Between Economic 
Intent and the Distribution of Benefits Among High, Middle, and Low 
Income Groups."  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Multilith 80-99E.  Washington, DC: May 22, 1980.
Pechman, Joseph A., ed.  Comprehensive Income Taxation.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1977.     
-. Federal Tax Policy: Revised Edition.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1980.
-. What Should Be Taxed: Income or Expenditures?  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1980.
-. Who Paid the Taxes, 1966-85.  Washington, DC: The Brookings 
Institution, 1985.
Schick, Allen.  "Controlling Nonconventional Expenditure: Tax 
Expenditures and Loans," Public Budgeting and Finance, v. 6.  Spring 1986, 
pp. 3-19.
Schroeher, Kathy.  Gimme Shelters: A Common Cause Study of the 
Review of Tax Expenditures by the Congressional Tax Committees.  
Washington, DC: Common Cause, 1978.
Simon, Karla,  "The Budget Process and the Tax Law," Tax Notes, v. 
40.  August 8, 1988, pp. 627-637.
Steuerle, Eugene, and Michael Hartzmark.  "Individual Income 
Taxation, 1947-79," National Tax Journal, v. 34, no. 2.  June 1981, pp. 
145-166.
Sugin, Linda.  "What is Happening to the Tax Expenditure Budget?"  
Tax Notes, August 16, 2004.
Sunley, Emil M. "The Choice Between Deductions and Credits," 
National Tax Journal, v. 30, no. 3.  September 1977, pp. 243-247.


Surrey, Stanley S.  Pathways to Tax Reform.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, p. 3.


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Intentionally

National Defense

EXCLUSION OF BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES
TO ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

2.8

 - 

2.8

2007

2.8

 - 

2.8

2008

2.9

 - 

2.9

2009

3.0

 - 

3.0

2010

3.0

 - 

3.0


Authorization

Sections 112 and 134, and court decisions [see Jones v. United States, 60 
Ct. Cl. 552 (1925)].


	Description

Military personnel are provided with a variety of in-kind benefits (or cash 
payments given in lieu of such benefits) that are not taxed.  These benefits 
include medical and dental benefits, group term life insurance, professional 
education and dependent education, moving and storage, premiums for 
survivor and retirement protection plans, subsistence allowances, uniform 
allowances, housing allowances, overseas cost-of-living allowances, 
evacuation allowances, family separation allowances, travel for consecutive 
overseas tours, emergency assistance, family counseling and defense counsel, 
burial and death services, travel of dependents to a burial site, and a number 
of less significant items.  



Other benefits include certain combat-zone compensation and combat-
related benefits.  In addition, any member of the armed forces who dies while 
in active service in a combat zone or as a result of wounds, disease, or injury 
incurred while in service is excused from all tax liability.  Any unpaid tax due 
at the date of the member's death (including interest, additions to the tax, and 
additional amounts) is abated.  If collected, such amounts are credited or 
refunded as an overpayment.  (Medical benefits for dependents are discussed 
subsequently under the Health function.)  Families of members of the armed 
forces receive a $12,000 death gratuity payment for deceased members of the 
armed forces.  The full amount of the death gratuity payment is tax-exempt. 

The personal use of an automobile is not excludable as a qualified military 
benefit.

The rule that the exclusion for qualified scholarships and qualified tuition 
reductions does not apply to amounts received that represent compensation 
for services no longer applies in the case of amounts received under the 
Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance 
Program or the F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions 
Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program.  Recipients of these 
scholarships are obligated to serve in the military at an armed forces medical 
facility. 


Impact

Many military benefits qualify for tax exclusion.  That is to say, the value 
of the benefit (or cash payment made in lieu of the benefit) is not included in 
gross income.  Since these exclusions are not counted in income, the tax 
savings are a percentage of the amount excluded, dependent upon the 
marginal tax bracket of the recipient.

An individual in the 10-percent tax bracket (the lowest income tax bracket) 
would not pay taxes equal to $10 for each $100 excluded.  Likewise, an 
individual in the 35-percent tax bracket (the highest income tax bracket) 
would not pay taxes of $35 for each $100 excluded.  Hence, the same 
exclusion can be worth different amounts to different military personnel, 
depending on their marginal tax bracket.  By providing military compensation 
in a form not subject to tax, the benefits have greater value for members of 
the armed services with high income than for those with low income.

The exclusion of qualified medical scholarships will primarily benefit 
students, therefore most beneficiaries are likely to have low tax rates.  As 
noted earlier, the tax benefit of an exclusion varies according to the marginal 
tax rate of the individual.






	Rationale

In 1925, the United States Court of Claims in Jones v. United States, 60 Ct. 
Cl. 552 (1925), drew a distinction between the pay and allowances provided 
military personnel.  The court found that housing and housing allowances 
were reimbursements similar to other non-taxable expenses authorized for the 
executive and legislative branches.  

Prior to this court decision, the Treasury Department had held that the 
rental value of quarters, the value of subsistence, and monetary commutations 
were to be included in taxable income.  This view was supported by an earlier 
income tax law, the Act of August 27, 1894, (later ruled unconstitutional by 
the Courts) which provided a two- percent tax "on all salaries of officers, or 
payments to persons in the civil, military, naval, or other employment of the 
United States."

The principle of exemption of armed forces benefits and allowances 
evolved from the precedent set by Jones v. United States, through subsequent 
statutes, regulations, or long-standing administrative practices.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514) consolidated these rules so that 
taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service could clearly understand and 
administer the tax law consistent with fringe benefit treatment enacted as part 
of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-369).  Provisions added by the 
Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-121) in November 2003 
clarified uncertainty concerning the U.S. Treasury Department's authority to 
add dependent care assistance programs to the list of qualified military 
benefits.

For some benefits, the rationale was a specific desire to reduce tax burdens 
of military personnel during wartime (as in the use of combat pay provisions); 
other allowances were apparently based on the belief that certain types of 
benefits were not strictly compensatory, but rather intrinsic elements in the 
military structure.

The Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Relief Act (P.L. 107-16) 
simplified the definition of earned income by excluding nontaxable employee 
compensation, which included combat zone pay, from the definition of earned 
income.  The amount of earned income that armed forces members reported 
for tax purposes was reduced and caused a net loss in tax benefits for some 
low-income members of the armed forces.  The Working Families Tax Relief 
Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-311) provided that combat pay that was otherwise 
excluded from gross income could be treated as earned income for the 
purpose of calculating the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, 
through 2006, a provision that was extended through 2007 by H.R. 6111, 
enacted at the end of December 2006.  





Assessment

Some military benefits are akin to the "for the convenience of the 
employer" benefits provided by private enterprise, such as the allowances for 
housing, subsistence, payment for moving and storage expenses, overseas 
cost-of-living allowances, and uniforms.  Other benefits are equivalent to 
employer-provided fringe benefits such as medical and dental benefits, 
education assistance, group term life insurance, and disability and retirement 
benefits.

Some see the provision of compensation in a tax-exempt form as an unfair 
substitute for additional taxable compensation.  The tax benefits that flow 
from an exclusion do provide the greatest benefits to high- rather than low-
income military personnel.  Administrative difficulties and complications 
could be encountered in taxing some military benefits and allowances that 
currently have exempt status; for example, it could be difficult to value meals 
and lodging when the option to receive cash is not available.  By eliminating 
exclusions and adjusting military pay scales accordingly, a result might be to 
simplify decision-making about military pay levels and make "actual" salary 
more apparent and satisfying to armed forces personnel.  If military pay scales 
were to be adjusted upward, it could increase the retirement income of 
military personnel.  However, elimination of the tax exclusions could also 
lead service members to think their benefits were being cut, or provide an 
excuse in the "simplification" process to actually cut benefits, affecting 
recruiting and retention negatively.


	Selected Bibliography

Garrison, Larry R.  "Tax Planning for Armed Forces Personnel (Part I)," 
The Tax Advisor, v. 30, December 1999, pp. 838-843.
-, "Tax Planning for Armed Forces Personnel (Part II)," The Tax Advisor, 
v. 31, January 2000, pp. 44-47.
Kusiak, Patrick J.  "Income Tax Exclusion for Military Personnel During 
War: Examining the Historical Development, Discerning Underlying 
Principles, and Identifying Areas for Change," Federal Bar News and 
Journal, v. 39, February 1992, pp. 146-151.
Ogloblin, Peter K.  Military Compensation Background Papers: 
Compensation Elements and Related Manpower Cost Items, Their Purposes 
and Legislative Backgrounds.  Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 
Office of the Secretary of Defense, September 1996, pp. 137-149.
Poulson, Linda L. and Ananth Seetharaman.  "Taxes and the Armed 
Forces,"  The CPA Journal, April 1996, pp. 22-26.
Rousseau, Richard W.  "Tax Benefits for Military Personnel in a Combat 
Zone or Qualified Hazardous Duty Area," The Army Lawyer, v. 1999, 
December 1999, pp. 1-29.


Steurle, Gene.  "Tax Relief and Combat Pay," Tax Notes, v. 50, January 
28, 1991, pp. 405-406.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Military Family Housing in 
the United States., Washington, DC, September 1993. p. 67.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on 
Education, Training and Employment.  Transition Assistance Program, 
Hearing, 102nd Congress, 2nd session, Serial no. 102-31.  Washington, DC: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, March 19, 1992.
-, House Committee on Ways and Means.  Tax Benefits for Individuals 
Performing Services in Certain Hazardous Duty Areas; Report to Accompany 
H.R. 2778 including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, 104th 
Congress, 2nd Session.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1996.  14pp.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986, H.R. 3838, 99th Congress, Public Law 99-514.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 828-830.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of H.R. 3365, The 
Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003," as Passed by the House of 
Representatives and the Senate.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 2003, pp. 1-19.
U.S. Dept. of Defense.  Report and Staff Analysis of the Seventh 
Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation.  Washington, DC: 7 volumes, 
August 21, 1992.
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Office of the Secretary.  Tax Reform for 
Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth; the Treasury Department 
Report to the President.  Washington, DC: November 1984, pp. 47-48.
U.S. General Accounting Office, "Military Compensation: Active Duty 
Compensation and Its Tax Treatment," GAO Report GAO-04-721R 
(Washington, DC: April 2004), pp. 1-32.
- , "Military Personnel: DOD Has Not Implemented the High Deployment 
Allowance that Could Compensate Servicemembers Deployed Frequently for 
Short Periods," GAO Report GAO-04-805 (Washington, DC: June 2004), pp. 
1-27.
- , "Military Personnel: Bankruptcy Filings Among Active Duty 
Servicemembers," GAO Report GAO-04-465R (Washington, DC: February 
2004), pp. 1-8.
U.S. General Accounting Office, "Military Compensation: Active Duty 
Compensation and Its Tax Treatment," GAO Report GAO-04-721R 
(Washington, DC: April 2004), pp. 1-32.










National Defense

EXCLUSION OF MILITARY DISABILITY BENEFITS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

 - 

0.1

2007

0.1

 - 

0.1

2008

0.1

 - 

0.1

2009

0.1

 - 

0.1

2010

0.1

 - 

0.1


	Authorization

Section 104(a)(4) or (5) and 104(b).


	Description

Members of the armed forces on or before September 24, 1975, are eligible 
for tax exclusion of disability pay.  The payment from the Department of 
Defense is based either on the percentage-of-disability or years-of-service 
methods.

In the case of the percentage-of-disability method, the pension is the 
percentage of disability multiplied by the terminal monthly basic pay.  These 
disability pensions are excluded from gross income.

In the years-of-service method, the terminal monthly basic pay is multiplied 
by the number of service years times 2.5.  Only that portion that would have 
been paid under the percentage-of-disability method is excluded from gross 
income.



Members of the United States armed forces joining after September 24, 
1975, and who retire on disability, may exclude from gross income 
Department of Defense disability payments equivalent to disability payments 
they could have received from the Veterans Administration.  Otherwise, 
Department of Defense disability pensions may be excluded only if the 
disability is directly attributable to a combat-related injury.

Under the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001 an exclusion from 
gross income for disability income is extended to any individual (civilian or 
military) when attributable to a terrorist or military action regardless of where 
the activity occurs (inside or outside the United States).


Impact

Disability pension payments that are exempt from tax provide more net 
income than taxable pension benefits at the same level.  The tax benefit of 
this provision increases as the marginal tax rate increases, and is greater for 
higher-income individuals.


	Rationale

Typically, acts which provided for disability pensions for American 
veterans also provided that these payments would be excluded from 
individual income tax.  In 1942, the provision was broadened to include 
disability pensions furnished by other countries (many Americans had joined 
the Canadian armed forces).  It was argued that disability payments, whether 
provided by the United States or by Canadian governments, were made for 
essentially the same reasons and that the veteran's disability benefits were 
similar to compensation for injuries and sickness, which at that time was 
already excludable from income under Internal Revenue Code provisions.

In 1976, the exclusion was repealed, except in certain instances.  Congress 
sought to eliminate abuses by armed forces personnel who were classified as 
disabled shortly before becoming eligible for retirement in order to obtain tax-
exempt treatment for their pension benefits.  After retiring from military 
service, some individuals would earn income from other employment while 
receiving tax-free military disability benefits.  Since present armed forces 
personnel may have joined or continued their service because of the 
expectation of tax-exempt disability benefits, Congress deemed it equitable to 
limit changes in the tax treatment of disability payments to those joining after 
September 24, 1975.



Assessment

The exclusion of disability benefits paid by the federal government alters 
the distribution of net payments to favor higher income individuals.  If 
individuals had no other outside income, distribution could be altered either 
by changing the structure of disability benefits or by changing the tax 
treatment.

The exclusion causes the true cost of providing for military personnel to be 
understated in the budget.  


	Selected Bibliography

Bittker, Boris I. "Tax Reform and Disability Pensions-the Equal 
Treatment of Equals," Taxes, v. 55.  June 1977, pp. 363-367.
Cullinane, Danielle.  Compensation for Work-Related Injury and Illness.  
Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1992.  60pp.  (RAND Publication Series N-3343-
FMP.)
Ogloblin, Peter K.  Military Compensation Background Papers:  
Compensation Elements and Related Manpower Cost Items, Their Purposes 
and Legislative Backgrounds.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, September 1996, pp. 545-556.
Poulson, Linda L. and Ananth Seetharaman.  "Taxes and the Armed 
Forces,"  The CPA Journal, April 1996, pp. 22-26.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1976 (H.R. 10612, 94th Congress; Public Law 94-455).  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976, pp. 129-131.
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Office of the Secretary.  Tax Reform for 
Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth; the Treasury Department 
Report to the President.  Washington, DC: November, 1984, pp. 51-57.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Disability Benefits: Selected Data on 
Military and VA Recipients; Report to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
House of Representatives, GAO/HRD-92-106.  Washington, DC: August 
1992. 19pp.
-.  Disability Compensation: Current Issues and Options for Change.  
Washington, DC: 1982.
-.  VA Disability Compensation: Comparison of VA Benefits with those of 
Workers' Compensation Programs, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee 
on Benefits, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives.  
Washington, DC: Government Accounting Office, February 14, 1997
-.  VA Disability Compensation: Disability Ratings May Not Reflect 
Veterans' Economic Losses, Report to the Chairman, Insurance and Memorial 
Affairs, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives.  
Washington, DC: Government Accounting Office, January 7, 1997.


-. Military and Veterans' Benefits: Observations on the Concurrent 
Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability Compensation, Testimony 
before the Subcommittee on Personnel, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. 
Senate, March 27, 2003.










National Defense

DEDUCTION FOR OVERNIGHT-TRAVEL EXPENSES OF 
NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE MEMBERS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

 - 

0.1

2007

0.1

 - 

0.1

2008

0.1

 - 

0.1

2009

0.1

 - 

0.1

2010

0.1

 - 

0.1


	Authorization

Section 162.


	Description

An above-the-line deduction is available for un-reimbursed overnight 
travel, meals, and lodging expenses of National Guard and Reserve members. 
 In order to qualify for the provision, he or she must have  traveled more than 
100 miles away from home and stayed overnight as part of an activity while 
on official duty. The deduction applies to all amounts paid or incurred in tax 
years beginning after December 31, 2002.  No deduction is generally 
permitted for commuting expenses to and from drill meetings and the amount 
of  expenses that may be deducted may not exceed the general Federal 
Government per diem rate applicable to that locale. 

This deduction is available to taxpayers regardless of whether they claim 
the standard deduction or itemize deductions when filing their income tax 
return.  The deduction is not restricted by the overall limitation on itemized 
deductions. 


Impact

The value of the benefit (or cash payment made in lieu of the benefit) is not 
included in gross income.  Since these deductions are not counted in income, 
the tax savings are a percentage of the amount excluded, dependent upon the 
marginal tax bracket of the recipient.

An individual in the 10-percent tax bracket (Federal tax law's lowest tax 
bracket) would not pay taxes equal to $10 for each $100 excluded.  Likewise, 
an individual in the 35-percent tax bracket (Federal law's highest tax bracket) 
would not pay taxes of $35 for each $100 excluded.  Hence, the same 
exclusion can be worth different amounts to different military personnel, 
depending on their marginal tax bracket.  By providing military compensation 
in a form not subject to tax, the benefits have greater value for members of 
the armed services with high income than for those with low income.

One of  the benefits of an "above-the-line" deduction is that it reduces the 
taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). As AGI increases, it can cause other 
tax deductions and credits to be reduced or eliminated.  Therefore, deductions 
that reduce AGI will often provide a greater tax benefit than deductions 
"below-the-line" that do not reduce AGI.


	Rationale

The deduction was authorized by the  Military Family Tax Relief Act of 
2003 (P.L. 108-121) which expanded tax incentives for military personnel.  
Under previous law, the expenses could have been deducted as itemized 
deductions only to the extent that they and other miscellaneous deductions 
exceeded 2 percent of adjusted gross income.  So reservists who did not 
itemize were not able to deduct these expenses and reservists who did itemize 
could deduct the expenses only in reduced form. 

In enacting the new deduction, Congress identified the increasing role that 
Reserve and National Guard members fulfill in defending the nation and a 
heavy reliance on service personnel to participate in national defense.  
Congress noted that more than 157,000 reservists and National Guard were 
on active duty status- most assisting in Operation Iraqi Freedom at the time of 
enactment.


Assessment



Some military benefits are akin to the "for the convenience of the 
employer" benefits provided by private enterprise, such as the allowances for 
housing, subsistence, payment for moving and storage expenses, overseas 
cost-of-living allowances, and uniforms.  Other benefits are equivalent to 
employer-provided fringe benefits such as medical and dental benefits, 
education assistance, group term life insurance, and disability and retirement 
benefits.  The tax deduction can be justified both as a way of providing 
support to reservists and as a means of easing travel expense burdens. 


	Selected Bibliography

Garrison, Larry R.  "Tax Planning for Armed Forces Personnel (Part I)," 
The Tax Advisor, v. 30, December 1999, pp. 838-843.
-, "Tax Planning for Armed Forces Personnel (Part II)," The Tax Advisor, 
v. 31, January 2000, pp. 44-47.
Kusiak, Patrick J.  "Income Tax Exclusion for Military Personnel During 
War: Examining the Historical Development, Discerning Underlying 
Principles, and Identifying Areas for Change," Federal Bar News and 
Journal, v. 39, February 1992, pp. 146-151.
Ogloblin, Peter K.  Military Compensation Background Papers: 
Compensation Elements and Related Manpower Cost Items, Their Purposes 
and Legislative Backgrounds.  Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 
Office of the Secretary of Defense, September 1996, pp. 137-149.
Poulson, Linda L. and Ananth Seetharaman.  "Taxes and the Armed 
Forces,"  The CPA Journal, April 1996, pp. 22-26.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on 
Education, Training and Employment.  Transition Assistance Program, 
Hearing, 102nd Congress, 2nd session, Serial no. 102-31.  Washington, DC: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992.
-, House Committee on Ways and Means.  Tax Benefits for Individuals 
Performing Services in Certain Hazardous Duty Areas; Report to Accompany 
H.R. 2778 including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, 104th 
Congress, 2nd Session.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1996.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986, H.R. 3838, 99th Congress, Public Law 99-514.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 828-830.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of H.R. 3365, The 
"Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003," as Passed by the House of 
Representatives and the Senate.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 2003, pp. 1-19.
U.S. Dept. of Defense.  Report and Staff Analysis of the Seventh 
Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation.  Washington, 7 volumes, 
August 21, 1992.
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.  Publication 3: 
Armed Forces' Tax Guide. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 2005.
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Office of the Secretary.  Tax Reform for 
Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth; the Treasury Department 
Report to the President.  Washington, DC: November 1984, pp. 47-48.


U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Compensation: Active Duty 
Compensation and Its Tax Treatment, GAO Report GAO-04-721R 
(Washington: May 2004), pp. 1-32.








International Affairs

EXCLUSION OF INCOME EARNED ABROAD
BY U.S. CITIZENS


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

3.8

-

3.8

2007

4.0

-

4.0

2008

4.2

-

4.2

2009

4.4

-

4.4

2010

4.6

-

4.6

* Note: the estimates in the table do not reflect new restrictions on 
the earned income exclusion contained in the Taxpayer Increase 
Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006 (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222). 
 According to estimates by the Joint Tax Committee, TIPRA's 
changes reduced the revenue loss from the exclusion by the 
following amounts: FY2006: $15 million; FY2007: $261 million; 
FY2008: $199 million; FY2009: $206 million; and FY2010: $222 
million.


	Authorization

Section 911.


	Description



U.S. citizens are generally subject to U.S. taxes on their foreign- as well as 
domestic-source income.  However, section 911 of the tax code permits U.S. 
citizens (other than Federal employees) who live and work abroad an 
exclusion of wage and salary income from taxable income.  (Foreign tax 
credits, however, cannot be claimed for foreign taxes paid on excluded 
income.)   The amount that can be excluded is indexed for U.S. inflation, 
beginning with tax year 2006; in 2006, the exclusion is $82,400.  The 
exclusion is scheduled to be indexed for U.S. inflation, beginning in 2008.  
Qualifying individuals can also exclude certain expenditures for overseas 
housing.  To qualify for either exclusion, a person must be a U.S. citizen, 
must have their tax home in a foreign country, and must either be a bona fide 
resident of a foreign country or have lived abroad for at least 330 days of any 
12 consecutive months.  Qualified income must be "earned" income rather 
than investment income.  If a person qualifies for the exclusion for only part 
of the tax year, only part of the exclusion can be claimed.  The housing 
exclusion is designed to approximate the extra housing costs of living abroad. 
 It is equal to the excess of actual foreign housing costs over 16 percent of the 
applicable year's earned income exclusion amount, but is capped at 30 
percent of the taxpayer's maximum foreign earned income exclusion.  While 
a taxpayer can claim both the housing and the income exclusion, the 
combined exclusions cannot exceed total foreign earned income, including 
housing allowances.   


Impact

The exclusion's impact depends partly on whether foreign taxes paid are 
higher or lower than U.S. taxes.  If an expatriate pays high foreign taxes, the 
exclusion has little importance; the U.S. person can use foreign tax credits to 
offset any U.S. taxes.  For expatriates who pay little or no foreign taxes, 
however, the exclusion reduces or eliminates U.S. taxes.  Available data 
suggest that U.S. citizens who work abroad have higher real incomes, on 
average, than persons working in the United States.  Thus, where it does 
reduce taxes the exclusion reduces tax progressivity.

The exclusion's effect on horizontal equity is more complicated.  Because 
foreign countries have costs of living that differ from that of the United 
States, the tax liabilities of U.S. persons working abroad differ from the tax 
burdens of persons with identical real incomes living in the United States.  A 
person working in a high-cost country needs a higher nominal income to 
match the real income of a person in the United States; an expatriate in a low-
cost country needs a lower nominal income.  Since tax brackets, exemptions, 
and the standard deduction are expressed in terms of nominal dollars, persons 
living in low-cost countries generally have lower tax burdens than persons 
with identical real incomes living in the United States.  Similarly, if not for 
the foreign earned income exclusion, U.S. citizens working in high-cost 
countries would pay higher taxes than their U.S. counterparts.



Because the maximum income exclusion is not linked to the actual cost of 
living, the provision overcompensates for the cost of living abroad in some 
cases.  Indeed, some have argued that because the tax code does not take into 
account variations in living costs within the United States, the appropriate 
equity comparison is between expatriates and a person living in the highest 
cost area within the United States.  In this case, the likelihood that the 
exclusion reduces rather than improves horizontal equity is increased.


Rationale

The Revenue Act of 1926 provided an unlimited exclusion of earned 
income for persons residing abroad for an entire tax year.  Supporters of the 
exclusion argued that the provision would bolster U.S. trade performance, 
since it would provide tax relief to U.S. expatriates engaged in trade 
promotion.

The subsequent history of the exclusion shows a continuing attempt by 
policymakers to find a balance between the provision's perceived beneficial 
effects on U.S. trade and economic performance and perceptions of tax 
equity.  In 1962, the Kennedy Administration recommended eliminating the 
exclusion in some cases and scaling it back in others in order to "support the 
general principles of equity and neutrality in the taxation of U.S. citizens at 
home and abroad."  The final version of the Revenue Act of 1962 simply 
capped the exclusion in all cases at $20,000.  The Tax Reform Act of 1976 
would have pared the exclusion further (to $15,000), again for reasons of tax 
equity.

However, the Foreign Earned Income Act of 1978 completely revamped 
the exclusion so that the 1976 provisions never went into effect.  The 1978 
Act sought to provide tax relief more closely tied to the actual costs of living 
abroad.  It replaced the single exclusion with a set of separate deductions that 
were linked to various components of the cost of living abroad, such as the 
excess cost of living in general, excess housing expenses, schooling expenses, 
and home-leave expenses.  

In 1981, however, the emphasis again shifted to the perceived beneficial 
effects of encouraging U.S. employment abroad; the Economic Recovery Tax 
Act (ERTA) provided a large flat exclusion and a separate housing exclusion. 
 ERTA's income exclusion was $75,000 for 1982, but was to increase to 
$95,000 by 1986.  However, concern about the revenue consequences of the 
increased exclusion led Congress to temporarily freeze the exclusion at 
$80,000 under the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984; annual $5,000 increases 
were to resume in 1988.  In 1986, as part of its general program of broadening 
the tax base, the Tax Reform Act fixed the exclusion at the $70,000 level.  
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 provided the gradual increase of the 
exclusion to $80,000 by 2002, as well as indexing for U.S. inflation, 
beginning in 2008.



The Taxpayer Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006 
(TIPRA; P.L. 109-222) contained new restrictions on both the housing and 
earned income exclusions as a revenue-raising element designed to partly 
offset unrelated revenue-losing items in the act.  The act contained four 
principal changes.  First,  it moved up to 2006 the scheduled indexation of the 
exclusion.  (While the combined, net impact of TIPRA's changes is expected 
to reduce the benefit's revenue loss, the indexation provision, taken alone, 
will likely increase it.)  Second, TIPRA changed the way tax rates apply to a 
taxpayer's income that exceeds the exclusion.  Under prior law, if a person 
had income in excess of the maximum exclusion, tax rates applied to the 
addition income beginning with the lowest marginal rate.  Under TIPRA, 
marginal rates apply beginning with the rate that would apply if the taxpayer 
had not used the exclusion.  Third, TIPRA changed the "base amount" related 
to the housing exclusion.  Under prior law, the housing exclusion applied to 
housing exceeding 16 percent of the salary level applicable to the GS-14 
federal grade level; TIPRA set the base amount at 16 percent of the foreign 
earning income exclusion amount ($82,400 for 2006).  In addition,  TIPRA 
capped the housing exclusion at 30 percent of excluded income; no cap 
applied under prior law.


Assessment

The foreign earned income exclusion has the effect of increasing the 
number of Americans working overseas in countries where foreign taxes are 
low.  This effect differs across countries.  As noted above, without section 
911 or a similar provision, U.S. taxes would generally be high relative to 
domestic U.S. taxes and employment abroad would be discouraged in 
countries where living costs are high.  While the flat  exclusion eases this 
distortion in the case of some countries, it also overcompensates in others, 
thereby introducing new distortions.

The foreign earned income exclusion has been defended on the grounds 
that it helps U.S. exports; it is argued that U.S. persons working abroad play 
an important role in promoting the sale of U.S. goods abroad.  The impact of 
the provision is uncertain.  If employment of U.S. labor abroad is a 
complement to investment by U.S. firms abroad--for example, if U.S. 
multinationals depend on expertise that can only be provided by U.S. 
managers or technicians--then it is possible that the exclusion has the indirect 
effect of increasing flows of U.S. capital abroad.

The increased flow of investment abroad, in turn, could trigger exchange-
rate adjustments that would increase U.S. net exports.  On the other hand, if 
the exclusion's increase in U.S. employment overseas is not accompanied by 
larger flows of investment, it is likely that exchange rate adjustments negate 
any possible effect section 911 has on net exports.  Moreover, there is no 
obvious economic rationale for promoting exports.  


	Selected Bibliography

Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Taxation of 
International Transactions.  "The Effect of Changes in the Type of United 
States Tax Jurisdiction Over Individuals and Corporations: Residence, Source 
and Doing Business."  Record of the Association of the Bar of the City of New 
York  46 (December 1991):  914-925.
Curry, Jeff, Maureen Keenan Kahr,  "Individual Foreign-Earned Income 
and Foreign Tax Credit, 2001." IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin (Spring 
2004): 98-120.
Evans, Jeffrey.  "911: The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion-Policy and 
Enforcement." Virginia Journal of International Law 37 (Summer 1997):  
891-918.
Gravelle, Jane G., and Donald W. Kiefer.  U.S. Taxation of Citizens 
Working in Other Countries: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 78-91 E.  Washington, DC: 1978.
Hrechak, Andrew, and Richard J. Hunter, Jr.  "Several Tax Breaks 
Available for those Working Abroad."  Taxation for Accountants 52 (May 
1994):  282-286. 
Oliver, Joseph R.  "The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: An Update" 
CPA Journal 69 (August 1999):  46-50.
U.S. Congress, Conference Committees, 2006.  Tax Increase Prevention 
and Reconciliation Act of 2005.  Conference report to accompany H.R. 4297. 
 H. Rpt. 109-455, 109th Cong., 2nd sess.  Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 2006.  pp.  307-310. 
U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Finance.  Background Fact Sheet on 
Section 911 Prepared by Chairman Grassley's Finance Committee Staff.  
Washington, May 25, 2006.  Posted on the committee's web site, at 
[http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/grassley.htm].  (Visited Oct. 12, 2006.) 
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Options to Improve Tax 
Compliance and Reform Tax Expenditures.  Prepared by the Staff of the Joint 
Committee on Taxation.  Publication JCS-02-05.  Washington, Jan. 27, 2005. 
 pp. 174-177.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Taxation of Americans Working 
Overseas: the Operation of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion in 1987.  
Washington, DC: 1993.











	International Affairs

EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN ALLOWANCES
 FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ABROAD


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.6

-

0.6

2007

0.6

-

0.6

2008

0.7

-

0.7

2009

0.7

-

0.7

2010

0.8

-

0.8


	Authorization

Section 912.


	Description

U.S. Federal civilian employees who work abroad are allowed to exclude 
from income certain special allowances that are generally linked to the cost of 
living.  They are not eligible for the foreign earned income or housing 
exclusion provided to private-sector individuals under section 911.  (Like 
other U.S. citizens, they are subject to U.S. taxes and can credit foreign taxes 
against their U.S. taxes.  Federal employees are, however, usually exempt 
from foreign taxes.)



Specifically, section 912 excludes certain amounts received under the 
Foreign Service Act of 1980, the Central Intelligence Act of 1949, the 
Overseas Differentials and Allowances Act, and the Administrative Expenses 
Act of 1946.  The allowances are primarily for the general cost of living 
abroad, housing, education, and travel.  Special allowances for hardship posts 
are not eligible for exclusion.  Section 912 also excludes cost-of-living 
allowances received by Federal employees stationed in U.S. possessions, 
Hawaii, and Alaska.  In addition, travel, housing, food, clothing, and certain 
other allowances received by members of the Peace Corps are excluded.


Impact

Federal employees abroad may receive a significant portion of their 
compensation in the form of housing allowances, cost-of-living differentials, 
and other allowances.  Section 912 can thus reduce taxes significantly.  Since 
the available data suggest real incomes for Federal workers abroad are 
generally higher than real incomes in the United States, section 912 probably 
reduces the tax system's progressivity.

Section 912's impact on horizontal equity (the equal treatment of equals) is 
more ambiguous.  Without it or a similar provision, Federal employees in 
high-cost countries would likely pay higher taxes than persons in the United 
States with identical real incomes, because the higher nominal incomes 
necessary to offset higher living costs would place these employee stationed 
abroad in a higher tax bracket and would reduce the value of personal 
exemptions and the standard deduction.

The complete exemption of cost-of-living allowances, however, probably 
overcompensates for this effect.  It is thus uncertain whether the relative 
treatment of Federal workers abroad and their U.S. counterparts is more or 
less uneven with section 912.  U.S. citizens employed abroad in the private 
sector are permitted to exclude up to $80,000 per year, rather than an amount 
explicitly linked to cost-of-living allowances.  Given that flat amount, 
whether the tax treatment of federal workers is more or less favorable than 
that of private sector workers depends of the size of the federal workers' cost-
of-living allowance.

Some have argued that because no tax relief is provided for persons in high 
cost areas in the United States, horizontal equity requires only that persons 
abroad be taxed no more heavily than a person in the highest-cost U.S. area.  
It might also be argued that the cost of living exclusion for employees in 
Alaska and Hawaii violates horizontal equity, since private-sector persons in 
those areas do not receive a tax exclusion for cost-of-living allowances.


Rationale



Section 912's exclusions were first enacted with the Revenue Act of 1943. 
 The costs of living abroad were apparently rising, and Congress determined 
that because the allowances merely offset the extra costs of working abroad 
and since overseas personnel were engaged in "highly important" duties, the 
Government should bear the full burden of the excess living costs, including 
any taxes that would otherwise be imposed on cost-of-living allowances.

The Foreign Service Act of 1946 expanded the list of excluded allowances 
beyond cost-of-living allowances to include housing, travel, and certain other 
allowances.  In 1960, exemptions were further expanded to include 
allowances received under the Central Intelligence Agency Act and, in 1961, 
certain allowances received by Peace Corps members were added.


Assessment

The benefit is largest for employees who receive a large part of their 
incomes as cost-of-living, housing, education, or other allowances.  Beyond 
this, the effects of the exclusions are uncertain.  For example, it might be 
argued that because the Federal Government bears the cost of the exclusion in 
terms of forgone tax revenues, the measure does not change the Government's 
demand for personnel abroad and has little impact on the Government's work 
force overseas.

On the other hand, it could be argued that an agency that employs a person 
who claims the exclusion does not bear the exclusion's full cost.  While the 
provision's revenue cost may reduce Government outlays in general, an 
agency that employs a citizen abroad probably does not register a cut in its 
budget equal to the full amount of tax revenue loss that the employee 
generates.  If this is true, section 912 may enable agencies to employ 
additional U.S. citizens abroad.


	Selected Bibliography

Field, Marcia, and Brian Gregg.  U.S. Taxation of Allowances Paid to U.S. 
Government Employees.  In Essays in International Taxation: 1976 (U.S. 
Department of the Treasury).  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
1976, pp. 128-150.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  U.S. Government Civilian Employees 
Stationed Abroad.  Publication 516.  Washington, DC: Government Printing 
Office, 2005.




































International Affairs

EXCLUSION OF EXTRATERRITORIAL INCOME  


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

3.9

4.0

2007

(1)

1.9

1.9

2008

(1)

0.1

0.1

2009

(1)

0.1

0.1

2010

(1)

0.1

0.1

(1) Less than $50 million

*The estimates in the table do not reflect the impact of the Tax Increase 
Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006 (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222), which 
rescinded transition rules related to the exclusion's repeal.  According to 
estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation, TIPRA's changes will reduce 
the provision's revenue loss by the following amounts: $6 million in FY2006; 
$209 million in FY2007; $144 million in FY2008; $72 million in FY2009; 
and $36 million in FY2010. 


Authorization

Sections 114 and 941-2.


Description  



Prior to enactment of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA), the 
tax code's extraterritorial income (ETI) provisions permitted U.S. exporters to 
exclude between 15% and 30% of their export income from U.S. tax.  The 
provisions also effectively permitted exporters to exclude a certain amount of 
income from foreign operations from tax - generally, an amount equal to the 
amount of export income that is excluded.  The AJCA, however, provided for 
the phase-out of the benefit beginning in 2005, with exporters permitted to 
use 80% of the benefit they could otherwise claim in 2005, and 60% in 2006. 
 The ETI benefit is generally not available in 2007 and thereafter.

Repeal of the ETI provisions was intended to resolve a long-running 
controversy between the United States and the European Union (EU).  The 
ETI provisions were enacted as a replacement for the Foreign Sales 
Corporation (FSC) tax benefit for exporting, which (in response to a 
complaint by the EU) was found by a World Trade Organization (WTO) 
panel to be in violation of the WTO agreements' strictures against export 
subsidies.  However, WTO panels also found the ETI provisions to be non-
compliant and the WTO authorized the countries of the EU to apply 
retaliatory tariffs to items imported from the United States.  The EU began to 
phase in its tariffs in March, 2004, but suspended their application upon 
enactment of the AJCA.

The statutory mechanics of the ETI benefit worked by defining 
"extraterritorial income" and excluding that income from tax.  Extraterritorial 
income, in turn, was generally defined as a specified portion of income from 
the sale of property produced either within the United States or abroad, with 
the added proviso that no more than 50% of the value of the property can be 
attributable to foreign products or to labor performed outside the United 
States.  The part of extraterritorial income that was exempt varied, depending 
on which of several alternative calculation rules a taxpayer used; the 
exemption could be as small as 15% of qualified income or as large as 30%. 

For exports, the size of the ETI tax benefit was the same as the FSC 
benefit it replaced.  Again, however, the ETI exclusion could apply to a 
certain amount of income from foreign operations where the FSC benefit did 
not, so the total tax benefit a particular firm could obtain was potentially 
larger under the ETI exclusion than it was under FSC.  Also, to use the FSC 
benefit exporters were required to sell their goods through specially-defined 
subsidiary sales corporations (FSCs).  A firm could use the ETI benefit by 
selling its exports directly.


Impact   



The ETI exclusion increased the after-tax return on investment in export-
producing property, and to the extent it applied to foreign operations, the 
exclusion increased the after-tax return to investment abroad.  The tax benefit 
therefore accrued, in part, to owners of firms that export and firms that both 
export and conduct foreign operations.  However, in the long run, the burden 
of the corporate income tax - and the benefit of corporate tax exclusions - 
probably spreads beyond corporate stockholders to owners of capital in 
general, including, for example, unincorporated businesses and owner-
occupied housing. 

The ETI benefit is therefore probably shared by U.S. capital in general.  
And because capital tends to be owned by upper-income individuals, the 
distributional effect of the provision probably reduced the progressivity of the 
tax system.  Also, because part of the export benefit was passed on to foreign 
consumers in the form of lower prices, a part of the ETI benefit probably 
accrues to foreign consumers of U.S. exports.


Rationale    

While the ETI benefit was intended as a WTO-compliant replacement for 
FSC, FSC itself was enacted as a replacement for another tax benefit that 
encountered difficulties with U.S. trading partners: the Domestic International 
Sales Corporation (DISC) provisions.  DISC was enacted with the Revenue 
Act of 1971, and was intended to increase U.S. exports and to pose a tax 
incentive for firms to locate their operations in the United States rather than 
abroad.  DISC thus was thought to provide a counterweight to the tax code's 
deferral incentive for overseas investment.

Soon after DISC was enacted, a number of U.S. trading partners - 
including what was then the European Economic Community, or EEC - 
charged that the provision was an export subsidy and so violated the General 
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a multilateral trade agreement to 
which the United States was signatory.  In response to the complaints, the 
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 largely replaced DISC with FSC, which 
contained a number of features designed to ensure GATT-legality.  An 
understanding adopted by the GATT Council had held that a country need not 
tax economic processes occurring beyond its own borders.  With this in mind, 
the FSC provisions included requirements that the FSC sales subsidiaries be 
incorporated abroad or in a U.S. possession and likewise conduct certain 
minimal economic processes overseas.



The countries of the EEC were still not fully satisfied of FSC's GATT-
legality.  Still, the controversy was generally below the surface until 1998, 
when what had become the European Union (EU) lodged a complaint with 
the World Trade Organization (WTO, GATT's successor) arguing that FSC 
violated the agreements on which the WTO is based.  A WTO panel 
subsequently upheld the EC's position, and under WTO procedures, the 
United States was required to make its laws WTO-compliant or face either 
retaliatory tariffs or compensatory payments.  As 2000 drew to a close, the 
United States enacted the FSC Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion 
Act containing the ETI exclusion.  The European countries, however, 
maintained that the ETI provisions are themselves not WTO compliant and 
asked the WTO to rule on the WTO-legality of ET provisions.  The EU also 
asked the WTO to approve retaliatory tariffs, should the ETI regime prove to 
be non-compliant.  In August, 2001, a WTO panel ruled against the ETI 
provisions, and in January, 2002, the WTO Appellate Body rejected a U.S. 
appeal.  In August 2002 the WTO set the amount of sanctions that can be 
applied by the EU at $4 billion.  The EU delayed in implementing its tariffs 
while legislation addressing the controversy was considered by the U.S. 
Congress.  In March, 2004, however, the EU began to phase in its tariffs.

While AJCA provided for ETI's ultimate repeal, the act also contained 
transition rules to which the EU also objected.  In part, the transition rules 
provided that exporters could still claim part of the benefit for two years:  
80% of the exclusion in 2005 and 60% in 2006, before the provision's 
ultimate phase out in 2007 and after.  In addition, the rules provided that the 
full exclusion was to remain in effect for binding contracts existing on 
September 17, 2003.  The EU filed a new WTO complaint, arguing that 
because of the transition rules, the United States continued to maintain a 
prohibited export subsidy.  A WTO panel supported the EU, and in May 2006 
TIPRA repealed the transition rule for binding contracts.  The 60% phase-out 
percentage, however, remains in effect for 2006.


Assessment  

Because the ETI exclusion increased the after-tax return from investment 
in exporting, it posed a tax incentive to export.  Its supporters argued that the 
provision did indeed boost U.S. exports and thus had a beneficial effect on 
U.S. employment.  Economic analysis, however, suggests that the provision's 
effects were not what might be expected from an export incentive. The ETI 
exclusion probably triggered exchange-rate adjustments that ensured that U.S. 
imports expanded along with any increase the exclusion might have caused in 
exports; it probably produced little direct improvement in the U.S. balance of 
trade.  Instead, as the provision probably increased both imports and exports, 
it likely increased the overall level of U.S. trade.

Economic theory suggests that another effect of the ETI exclusion was 
probably to shift economic welfare from the United States to foreign 
consumers.  This occurred when part of the tax benefit was passed on to 
foreign consumers in the form of reduced prices for U.S. goods.  The 
provision also likely reduced economic efficiency by inducing the United 
States to trade more than it otherwise would.


Selected Bibliography

Ahearn, Raymond J.  European Trade Retaliation: The FSC-ETI Case.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS21742.  
Baldwin, Robert E.  "Are Economist's Traditional Trade Policy Views 
Still Valid?"  Journal of Economic  Literature 30 (June 1992), pp. 804-829.


Brumbaugh, David.  The Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) Tax Benefit for 
Exporting and the WTO.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RS20571.  
- .  The Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) Tax Benefit for Exporting: WTO 
Issues and an Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report RL30684.
Byrd, Kristin.  "Can We Provide a Level Playing Field for U.S. 
Corporations and Increase U.S. Jobs While Repealing the Extraterritorial 
Income Act?"  Houston Business and Tax Law Journal 5 (2005), p. 338.  
Desai, Mihir A. and James R. Hines.  The Uneasy Marriage of Export 
Subsidies and the Income Tax.  NBER Working Paper No. 8009. Cambridge, 
MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2000.
Funk, William M.  "The Thirty-Years Tax War."  Tax Notes 93 (Oct. 8, 
2001), pp. 271-281.
Krugman, Paul R. and Maurice Obstfeld.  "Export Subsidies: Theory," In 
International Economics: Theory and Policy, 3rd ed.  New York: Harper 
Collins, 1994.
Rousslang, Donald J. and Stephen P. Tokarick.  "The Trade and Welfare 
Consequences of U.S. Export-Enhancing Tax Provisions." IMF Staff Papers 
41 (December 1994), pp. 675-686.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Foreign Sales 
Corporations."  In General Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the 
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 98th Congress, 2nd Session. 
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office (1984), pp. 1037-1070.
-.  "FSC Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act of 2000 (Public 
Law 106-519)."  In General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in the 
106th Congress.  Joint Committee Print, 107th Congress, 1st Session.  
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, April 19, 2001,  pp. 84-113. 
 	U.S. Department of the Treasury.  The Operation and Effect of the Foreign 
Sales Corporation Legislation: January 1, 1985 to June 30, 1988.  
Washington, DC: 1993.










International Affairs

DEFERRAL OF ACTIVE INCOME OF CONTROLLED
FOREIGN CORPORATIONS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

3.4

3.4

2007

-

5.8

5.8

2008

-

6.4

6.4

2009

-

7.0

7.0

2010

-

7.5

7.5


	Authorization

Sections 11(d), 882, and 951-964.


	Description

The United States taxes firms incorporated in the United States on their 
worldwide income but taxes foreign-chartered corporations only on their 
U.S.-source income.  Thus, when a U.S. firm earns foreign-source income 
through a foreign subsidiary, U.S. taxes apply to the income only when it is 
repatriated to the U.S. parent firm as dividends or other income; the income is 
exempt from U.S. taxes as long as it remains in the hands of the foreign 
subsidiary.  At the time the foreign income is repatriated, the U.S. parent 
corporation can credit foreign taxes the subsidiary has paid on the remitted 
income against U.S. taxes, subject to certain limitations.  Because the deferral 
principle permits U.S. firms to delay any residual U.S. taxes that may be due 
after foreign tax credits, it provides a tax benefit for firms that invest in 
countries with low tax rates.



Subpart F of the Internal Revenue Code (sections 951-964) provides an 
exception to the general deferral principle.  Under its provisions, certain 
income earned by foreign corporations controlled by U.S. shareholders is 
deemed to be distributed whether or not it actually is, and U.S. taxes are 
assessed on a current basis rather than deferred.  Income subject to Subpart F 
is generally income related to passive investment rather than income from 
active business operations.  Also, certain types of sales, services, and other 
income whose geographic source is relatively easily shifted is included in 
Subpart F.

While U.S. tax (less foreign tax credits) generally applies when tax-
deferred income is ultimately repatriated to the United States, a provision of 
the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) provided a temporary 
(one-year) 85% deduction for repatriated dividends.  For a corporation subject 
to the top corporate tax rate of 35%, the deduction had an effect similar to a 
reduction in the tax rate on repatriations to 5.25%.  The deduction applied to 
a one-year period consisting (at the taxpayer's election) of either the first tax 
year beginning on or after P.L. 108-357's date of enactment (October 22, 
2004) or the taxpayer's last tax year beginning before the date of enactment.  


Impact

Deferral provides an incentive for U.S. firms to invest in active business 
operations in low-tax foreign countries rather than the United States, and thus 
probably reduces the stock of capital located in the United States.  Because 
the U.S. capital-labor ratio is therefore probably lower than it otherwise 
would be and U.S. labor has less capital with which to work, deferral likely 
reduces the general U.S. wage level.  At the same time, U.S. capital and 
foreign labor probably gain from deferral.  Deferral also probably reduces 
world economic efficiency by distorting the allocation of capital in favor of 
investment abroad.

The one-year deduction for repatriations enacted in 2004 is likely to have 
increased the repatriation of funds from foreign subsidiaries.  However, at 
least part of the increase has likely consisted of a shift in the timing of 
repatriations from future periods towards the present, as firms take advantage 
of the one-year window.  While the provision was intended, in part, to 
increase domestic investment - its supporters argued that repatriated funds 
would be invested in the United States - firms disposition of the 
repatriations is not certain.    


	Rationale



Deferral has been part of the U.S. tax system since the origin of the 
corporate income tax in 1909.  While deferral was subject to little debate in 
its early years, it later became controversial.  In 1962, the Kennedy 
Administration proposed a substantial scaling-back of deferral in order to 
reduce outflows of U.S. capital.  Congress, however, was concerned about the 
potential effect of such a step on the position of U.S. multinationals vis- a-vis 
firms from other countries and on U.S exports.  Instead of repealing deferral, 
the Subpart F provisions were adopted in 1962, and were aimed at taxpayers 
who used deferral to accumulate funds in so-called "tax haven" countries.  
(Hence, Subpart F's concern with income whose source can be easily 
manipulated.)

In 1975, Congress again considered eliminating deferral, and in 1978 
President Carter proposed its repeal, but on both occasions the provision was 
left essentially intact.  Subpart F, however, was broadened by the Tax 
Reduction Act of 1975, the Tax Reform Act of 1976, the Tax Equity and 
Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986, and the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993 
(OBRA93).  OBRA93 added section 956A to the tax code, which expanded 
Subpart F to include foreign earnings that firms retain abroad and invest in 
passive assets beyond a certain threshold.

In recent years, however, the trend has been incremental restrictions of 
Subpart F and expansions of deferral.  For example, the Small Business Job 
Protection Act of 1996 repealed section 956A.  And the Tax Relief Extension 
Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170) extended a temporary exemption from Subpart F 
for financial services income.  In 2004, the American Jobs Creation Act 
relaxed Subpart F in the area of shipping income and provided a one-year 
temporary tax reduction for income repatriated to U.S. parents from overseas 
subsidiaries.


Assessment

The U.S. method of taxing overseas investment, with its worldwide 
taxation of branch income, limited foreign tax credit, and the deferral 
principle, can either pose a disincentive, present an incentive, or be neutral 
towards investment abroad, depending on the form and location of the 
investment.  For its part, deferral provides an incentive to invest in countries 
with tax rates that are lower than those of the United States.

Defenders of deferral argue that the provision is necessary to allow U.S. 
multinationals to compete with firms from foreign countries; they also 
maintain that the provision boosts U.S. exports.  However, economic theory 
suggests that a tax incentive such as deferral does not promote the efficient 
allocation of investment.  Rather, capital is allocated most efficiently--and 
world economic welfare is maximized--when taxes are neutral and do not 
distort the distribution of investment between the United States and abroad.  
Economic theory also holds that while world welfare may be maximized by 
neutral taxes, the economic welfare of the United States would be maximized 
by a policy that goes beyond neutrality and poses a disincentive for U.S. 
investment abroad.


Supporters of a "territorial" tax system would permanently exempt U.S. 
tax on repatriated dividends, thus eliminating U.S. tax even on a postponed 
basis.  Several arguments have been made in support of territorial taxation.  
One is based on the notion that changes in the international economy have 
made economic theory's traditional notions of efficiency and neutrality 
obsolete.  (This analysis, however, is not the consensus views of economists 
expert in the area.)  This argument maintains that efficiency is promoted if 
taxes do not inhibit U.S. multinationals' ability to compete for foreign 
production opportunities or interfere with their ability to exploit the returns to 
research and development.  Another argument holds that the current tax 
system produces so many distortions in multinationals' behavior that simply 
exempting foreign-source business income from tax would improve economic 
efficiency.


	Selected Bibliography

Altshuler, Rosanne.  "Recent Developments in the Debate on Deferral."  
Tax Notes 20 (April 3, 2000):  p. 1579.	
Ault, Hugh J., and David F. Bradford.  "Taxing International Income: An 
Analysis of the U.S. System and Its Economic Premises."  In Taxation in the 
Global Economy, ed. Assaf Razin and Joel Slemrod, 11-52.  Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Bergsten, C. Fred, Thomas Horst, and Theodore H. Moran.  "Tax Issues."  
In  American Multinationals and American Interests.  Washington, DC:  The 
Brookings Institution, 1977.
Brumbaugh, David L.  U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: 
Background and Issues in 2005.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report RL32749.
-.  Tax Exemption for Repatriated Earnings: Proposals and Analysis.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL32125.
Desai, Mihir, and James Hines, "Old Rules and New Realities: Corporate 
Tax Policy in a Global Setting," National Tax Journal 57 (December 2004), 
pp. 937-960.	
Engel, Keith.  "Tax Neutrality to the Left, International Competitiveness to 
the Right, Stuck in the Middle with Subpart F."  Texas Law Review 79 (May 
2001), pp. 1525-1606.
Frisch, Daniel J.  "The Economics of International Tax Policy: Some Old 
and New Approaches."  Tax Notes 47 (April 30, 1990) , pp. 581-591.
Gourevitch, Harry G.   Anti-Tax Deferral Measures in the United States 
and Other Countries.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report 95-1143 A.
Graetz, Michael J., and Paul W. Oosterhuis, "Structuring an Exemption 
System for Foreign Income of U.S. Corporations," National Tax Journal 
54(December 2001), pp. 771-786.
Gravelle, Jane G.  "Issues in International Tax Policy."  National Tax 
Journal 57 (September 2004), pp. 773-778.


Grubert, Harry,  "Comment on Desai and Hines, 'Old Rules and New 
Realities: Corporate Tax Policy in a Global Setting," National Tax Journal, 
vol. 58, Jun. 2005, pp. 263-278. 
_. and John Mutti, Taxing International Business Income: Dividend 
Exemption versus the Current System (Washington: American Enterprise 
Inst., 2001), 67 pp. 
Hartman, David G.  "Deferral of Taxes on Foreign Source Income," 
National Tax Journal 30 (December 1977), pp. 457-462.
-.  "Tax Policy and Foreign Direct Investment." Journal of Public 
Economics  26  (February 1985), pp. 107-121.
Rousslang, Donald.  "Deferral and the Optimal Taxation of International 
Investment Income."  National Tax Journal 53 (September 2000), pp. 589-
601.
Slemrod, Joel.  "Effect of Taxation with International Capital Mobility."  
In Uneasy Compromise: Problems   of a Hybrid Income-Consumption Tax, 
ed. Henry J. Aaron, et al., 115-147.  Washington, DC: The Brookings 
Institution, 1988.
U.S. Congress.  Joint Committee on Taxation.  Factors Affecting the 
International Competitiveness of the United States.  Joint Committee Print.  
102nd Congress, 1st session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
May 30, 1991.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Policy.  The Deferral of 
Income Earned Through U.S. Controlled Foreign Corporations.  
Washington, DC: December, 2002. 
Yoder, Llowell D.  "Subpart F in Turmoil: Low Taxed Active Income 
Under Siege." Taxes 77 (March 1999), pp. 142-166.










International Affairs

INVENTORY PROPERTY SALES SOURCE RULE EXCEPTION


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

6.2

6.2

2007

-

6.4

6.4

2008

-

6.6

6.6

2009

-

6.8

6.8

2010

-

7.0

7.0


Authorization

Sections 861, 862, 863, and 865.


Description

The tax code's rules governing the source of inventory sales interact with 
its foreign tax credit provisions in a way that can effectively exempt a portion 
of a firm's export income from U.S. taxation.  

In general, the United States taxes U.S. corporations on their worldwide 
income.  The United States also permits firms to credit foreign taxes they pay 
against U.S. taxes they would otherwise owe.

Foreign taxes, however, are only permitted to offset the portion of U.S. 
taxes due on foreign-source income.  Foreign taxes that exceed this limitation 
are not creditable and become so-called "excess credits."  It is here that the 
source of income becomes important: firms that have excess foreign tax 
credits can use these credits to reduce U.S. taxes if they can shift income from 
the U.S. to the foreign operation.  This treatment effectively exempts such 
income from U.S. taxes.



The tax code contains a set of rules for determining the source ("sourcing") 
of various items of income and deduction.  In the case of sales of personal 
property, gross income is generally sourced on the basis of the residence of 
the seller.  U.S. exports covered by this general rule thus generate U.S.-rather 
than foreign-source income.

The tax code provides an important exception, however, in the case of 
sales of inventory property.  Inventory that is purchased and then resold is 
governed by the so-called "title passage" rule: the income is sourced in the 
country where the sale occurs.  Since the country of title passage is generally 
quite flexible, sales governed by the title passage rules can easily be arranged 
so that the income they produce is sourced abroad.

Inventory that is both manufactured and sold by the taxpayer is treated as 
having a divided source.  Unless an independent factory price can be 
established for such property, half of the income it produces is assigned a 
U.S. source and half is governed by the title passage rule.  As a result of the 
special rules for inventory, up to 50 percent of the combined income from 
export manufacture and sale can be effectively exempted from U.S. taxes.  A 
complete tax exemption can apply to export income that is solely from sales 
activity.


Impact

When a taxpayer with excess foreign credits is able to allocate an item of 
income to foreign rather than domestic sources, the amount of foreign taxes 
that can be credited is increased and the effect is identical to a tax exemption 
for a like amount of income.  The effective exemption that the source rule 
provides for inventory property thus increases the after-tax return on 
investment in exporting.  In the long run, however, the burden of the 
corporate income tax (and the benefit of corporate tax exemptions) probably 
spreads beyond corporate stockholders to owners of capital in general.

Thus, the source-rule benefit is probably shared by U.S. capital in general, 
and therefore probably disproportionately benefits upper-income individuals.  
To the extent that the rule results in lower prices for U.S. exports, a part of the 
benefit probably accrues to foreign consumers of U.S. products.


Rationale



The tax code has contained rules governing the source of income since the 
foreign tax credit limitation was first enacted as part of the Revenue Act of 
1921.  Under the 1921 provisions, the title passage rule applied to sales of 
personal property in general; income from exports was thus generally 
assigned a foreign source if title passage occurred abroad.  In the particular 
case of property both manufactured and sold by the taxpayer, income was 
treated then, as now, as having a divided source.

The source rules remained essentially unchanged until the advent of tax 
reform in the 1980s.  In 1986, the Tax Reform Act's statutory tax rate 
reduction was expected to increase the number of firms with excess foreign 
tax credit positions and thus increase the incentive to use the title passage rule 
to source income abroad.

Congress was also concerned that the source of income be the location 
where the underlying economic activity occurs.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 
thus provided that income from the sale of personal property was generally to 
be sourced according to the residence of the seller.  Sales of property by U.S. 
persons or firms were to have a U.S. source.

Congress was also concerned, however, that the new residence rule would 
create difficulties for U.S. businesses engaged in international trade.  The Act 
thus made an exception for inventory property, and retained the title passage 
rule for purchased-and-resold items and the divided-source rule for goods 
manufactured and sold by the taxpayer.

More recently, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 repealed 
the source rule exception for exports of raw timber.


Assessment

Like other tax benefits for exporting, the inventory source-rule exception 
probably increases exports.  At the same time, however, exchange rate 
adjustments probably ensure that imports increase also.  Thus, while the 
source rule probably increases the volume of U.S. trade, it probably does not 
improve the U.S. trade balance.  Indeed, to the extent that the source rule 
increases the Federal budget deficit, the provision may actually expand the 
U.S. trade deficit by generating inflows of foreign capital and their 
accompanying exchange rate effects.  In addition, the source-rule exception 
probably reduces U.S. economic welfare by transferring part of its tax benefit 
to foreign consumers.


Selected Bibliography

Brumbaugh, David L.  "Export Tax Subsidies," in Cordes, et al, eds., The 
Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, 2nd edition.  Washington: Urban 
Institute, 2005.  pp. 130-133.
-.  Tax Benefit for Exports: The Inventory Source Rules.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 97-414 E.  April 2, 1997.
-.  Taxes and International Competitiveness. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RS22445.	


Hammer, Richard M., and James D. Tapper.  The Foreign Tax Credit 
Provisions of the Tax  Reform Act of 1986.  Tax Adviser 18 (February 1987), 
pp. 76-80, 82-89.
Krugman, Paul R. and Maurice Obstfeld.  "Export Subsidies: Theory," In 
International Economics: Theory and Policy, 3rd ed.  New York: Harper 
Collins, 1994.
Maloney, David M., and Terry C. Inscoe.  A Post-Reformation Analysis of 
the Foreign Tax Credit Limitations.  International Tax Journal 13 (Spring 
1987), pp.  111-127.
Rousslang, Donald J. "The Sales Source Rules for U.S. Exports: How 
Much Do They Cost?  Tax Notes International  8 (February 21, 1994), pp.  
527-535.
- , and Stephen P. Tokarick.  The Trade and Welfare Consequences of 
U.S. Export-Enhancing   Tax Provisions.   IMF Staff Papers  41 (December 
1994), pp. 675-686.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Factors Affecting the 
International Competitiveness of the United States.  Joint Committee Print.  
98th Congress, 2nd  session.  Washington, DC:  May 30, 1991.
-.  "Determination of Source in Case of Sales of Personal Property."  In 
General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  Joint Committee Print, 
100th Congress, 1st session.  May 4, 1987.
U.S. Congressional Budget Office.  "Options to Increase Revenues:  
Eliminate the Source Rules Exception for Inventory Sales."  In Budget 
Options.  Washington, DC:  2003.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Report to the Congress on the Sales 
Source Rules.  Washington, DC: 1993.








International Affairs

DEFERRAL OF CERTAIN FINANCING INCOME


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

1.1

1.1

2007

-

1.7

1.7

2008

-

-

-

2009

-

-

-

2010

-

-

-

*The estimates do not include the impact of the Tax Increase Prevention 
and Reconciliation Act of 2006 (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222), which extended this 
provision beyond its previously scheduled expiration date.  According to 
estimates by the Joint Tax Committee, TIPRA's extension will increase the 
provision's revenue loss by $775 million in FY2007, $2,339 million in 
FY2008, and $1,682 million in FY2009.


Authorization

Sections 953 and 954.


Description

Under the U.S. method of taxing overseas investment, income earned 
abroad by foreign-chartered subsidiary corporations that are owned and 
controlled by U.S. investors or firms is generally not taxed if it is reinvested 
abroad.  Instead, a tax benefit known as "deferral" applies:  U.S. taxes on the 
income are postponed until the income is repatriated to the U.S. parent as 
dividends or other income.



The deferral benefit is circumscribed by several tax code provisions; the 
broadest in scope is provided by the tax code's Subpart F.  Under Subpart F, 
certain types of income earned by certain types of foreign subsidiaries are 
taxed by the United States on a current basis, even if the income is not 
actually remitted to the firm's U.S. owners.  Foreign corporations potentially 
subject to Subpart F are termed Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFCs); they 
are firms that are more than 50% owned by U.S. stockholders, each of whom 
own at least 10% of the CFC's stock.  Subpart F subjects each 10% 
shareholder to U.S. tax on some (but not all) types of income earned by the 
CFC.  In general, the types of income subject to Subpart F are income from a 
CFC's passive investment - for example, interest, dividends, and gains from 
the sale of stock and securities -  and a variety of types of income whose 
geographic source is thought to be easily manipulated.

Ordinarily, income from banking and insurance could in some cases be 
included in Subpart F.  Much of banking income, for example, consists of 
interest; investment income of insurance companies could also ordinarily be 
taxed as passive income under Subpart F.  Certain insurance income is also 
explicitly included in Subpart F, including income from the insurance of risks 
located outside a CFC's country of incorporation.  However, Congress 
enacted a temporary exception from Subpart F for income derived in the 
active conduct of a banking, financing, or similar business by a CFC 
predominantly engaged in such a business.  Congress also enacted a 
temporary exception for investment income of an insurance company earned 
on risks located within its country of incorporation.

In short, Subpart F is an exception to the deferral tax benefit, and the tax 
expenditure at hand is an exception to Subpart F itself for a range of certain 
financial services income.  Prior to enactment of the Tax Increase Prevention 
and Reconciliation Act of 2006 (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222), the exception was 
scheduled to expire at the end of 2006.  TIPRA extended the provision for 
two years, through 2008.


Impact

The temporary exceptions pose an incentive in certain cases for firms to 
invest abroad; in this regard its effect is parallel to that of the more general 
deferral principle, which the exception restores in the case of certain banking 
and insurance income.



The provision only poses an incentive to invest in countries with tax rates 
lower than those of the United States; in other countries, the high foreign tax 
rates generally negate the U.S. tax benefit provided by deferral.  In addition, 
the provision is moot (and provides no incentive) even in low-tax countries 
for U.S. firms that pay foreign taxes at high rates on other banking and 
insurance income.  In such cases, the firms have sufficient foreign tax credits 
to offset U.S. taxes that would be due in the absence of deferral.  (In the case 
of banking and insurance income, creditable foreign taxes must have been 
paid with respect to other banking and insurance income.  This may 
accentuate the importance of the exception to Subpart F.) 


Rationale 

Subpart F itself was enacted in 1962 as an effort to curtail the use of tax 
havens by U.S. investors who sought to accumulate funds in countries with 
low tax rates - hence Subpart F's emphasis on passive income and income 
whose source can be manipulated.  The exception for banking and insurance 
was likewise in the original 1962 legislation (though not in precisely the same 
form as the current version).  The stated rationale for the exception was that 
interest, dividends, and like income were not thought to be "passive" income 
in the hands of banking and insurance firms.  

The exceptions for banking and insurance were removed as part of the 
broad Tax Reform Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-514).  In removing the 
exception (along with several others), Congress believed they enabled firms 
to locate income in tax haven countries that have little "substantive economic 
relation" to the income.  As passed by Congress, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 
1997 (Public Law 105-34) generally restored the exceptions with minor 
modifications.  In making the restoration, Congress expressed concern that 
without them, Subpart F extended to income that was neither passive nor 
easily movable.  However, the Act provided for only a temporary restoration, 
applicable to 1998.  Additionally, the Joint Committee on Taxation identified 
the exceptions' restoration as a provision susceptible to line-item veto under 
the provisions of the 1996 Line-Item Veto Act because of its applicability to 
only a few taxpaying entities, and President Clinton subsequently vetoed the 
exceptions' restoration.  The Supreme Court, however, ruled the line-item 
veto to be unconstitutional, thus making the temporary restoration effective 
for 1998, as enacted.

The banking and insurance exceptions to Subpart F were extended with a 
few modifications for one year by the Tax and Trade Relief Extension Act of 
1998.  (The Act was part of Public Law 105-277, the omnibus budget bill 
passed in October, 1998.)  The modifications include one generally designed 
to require that firms using the exceptions conduct "substantial activity" with 
respect to the financial service business in question and added a "nexus" 
requirement under which activities generating eligible income must take place 
within the CFC's home country.  In 1999, Public Law 106-170 extended the 
provision through 2001.  In 2002, Public Law 107-147 extended the 
provision for five additional years, through 2006.  The American Jobs 
Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) added rules permitting, in some 
circumstances, certain qualifying activities to be undertaken by related 
entities.   In 2006, TIPRA (P.L. 109-222) extended the provision for two 
years, through 2008. 




Assessment

Subpart F attempts to deny the benefits of tax deferral to income that is 
passive in nature or that is easily movable.  It has been argued that the 
competitive concerns of  U.S. firms are not as much an issue in such cases as 
they are with direct overseas investment.  Such income is also thought to be 
easy to locate artificially in tax haven countries with low tax rates.  But banks 
and insurance firms present an almost insoluble technical problem; the types 
of income generated by passive investment and income whose source is easily 
manipulated are also the types of income financial firms earn in the course of 
their active business.  The choice confronting policymakers, then, is whether 
to establish an  approximation that is fiscally conservative or one that places 
most emphasis on protecting active business income from Subpart F.  The 
exceptions' repeal by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 appeared to do the former, 
while the recent restoration of the exceptions appears to do the latter.

It should be noted that traditional economic theory questions the merits of 
the deferral tax benefit itself.  Its tax incentive for investment abroad 
generally results in an allocation of investment capital that is inefficient from 
the point of view of both the capital exporting country (in this case the United 
States) and the world economy in general.  Economic theory instead 
recommends a policy known as "capital export neutrality" under which 
marginal investments face the same tax burden at home and abroad.  From 
that vantage, then, the exceptions to Subpart F likewise impair efficiency.


Selected Bibliography 

McLaughlin, Megan.  "Truly a Wolf, Or Just a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing? 
 The Active Finance Exception to Subpart F."  Virginia Tax Review 21 
(Spring 2002) : 649
Sullivan, Martin A.  "Economic Analysis: Large U.S. Banks Keeping 
More Profits in Tax Havens."  Tax Notes, 14 June, 2004, 1340.	
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Extension and 
Modification of Exceptions under Subpart F for Active Financing Income." In 
General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in the 107th Congress.  Joint 
Committee Print.  107th  Congress, 2nd session.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 2003.  Pp. 279-283.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Policy.  The Deferral of 
Income Earned Through U.S. Controlled Foreign Corporations.  
Washington, DC: December, 2002.
Yoder, Lowell D.  "The Subpart F Exception for Active Financing 
Income."  Tax Management International Journal 31 (June 14, 2002) : 283-
303.








General Science, Space, and Technology

TAX CREDIT FOR
INCREASING RESEARCH EXPENDITURES


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006







2007







2008







2009







2010







*This provision expired on December 31, 2005 and was modified 
and extended through 2007 by H.R. 6111 in December 2006.  If  
permanently reinstated in its 2005 form, the annual cost would be about 
$8.6 billion, according to the Treasury Department.  The December 
2006 revisions resulted a a projected  cost for fiscal years 2007-2010 of 
$7.5, $4,2, $2.2, and $1.6 billion; FY2006 would presumably be about 
the same magnitude as FY2007.


	Authorization

Section 41.  

	Description

A non-refundable, 20-percent tax credit is allowed for certain research 
expenditures paid or incurred in carrying on the trade or business of a 
taxpayer.  In reality, this credit is the sum of three separate and distinct 
credits: a regular or alternative incremental credit, a basic research credit, and 
a credit for energy research.



The regular credit applies only to the taxpayer's qualified research 
expenditures for a tax year in excess of a base amount.  This amount is 
computed by multiplying a fixed ratio-which for so-called established 
corporations is total research expenditures divided by total gross receipts in 
1984-1988-by average gross receipts for the past four years.  The base 
amount cannot be less than 50 percent of current-year qualified research 
expenditures, and the fixed ratio may not exceed 0.16.  Firms not considered 
established are assigned an initial fixed ratio of 0.03 during the first five tax 
years in which they have both gross receipts and qualified research expenses.

Firms also have the option of claiming an alternative incremental research 
tax credit.  It is equal to the sum of 2.65 percent of a firm's qualified research 
expenditures above 1 percent but not greater than 1.5 percent of its average 
gross receipts in the four previous years, 3.2 percent of its qualified research 
expenditures above 1.5 percent but not greater than 2.0 percent of the same 
receipts, and 3.75 percent of its qualified research expenditures that exceed 
2.0 percent of the same receipts. (These credit  rates are increased to  3, 4, and 
5 percent respectively for 2007).  In general, firms are likely to benefit more 
from the alternative credit than the regular credit if their qualified research 
expenditures in the current tax year are somewhat greater than their base 
amounts for the regular credit.  Firms can also elect an alternative simplified 
credit of 12% of expenses that exceed 50% of spending in the last three years 
(6% if there are no expenditures in any one of those years).

The definition of research that qualifies for the credit has been a 
contentious and unresolved issue since the credit first entered the tax code in 
July 1981.  As it now stands, research must satisfy three criteria in order to 
qualify for the credit.  First, the research must relate to activities that can be 
expensed under section 174, which is to say that the research must be 
"experimental" in the laboratory sense.  Second, the research must be 
undertaken to discover information that is "technological in nature" and 
useful in the development of a new or improved product, process, computer 
software technique, formula, or invention that is to be sold, leased, licensed, 
or used by the firm performing the research.  Finally, the research must relate 
to activities that constitute a process of experimentation whose goal is the 
development of a product or process with a "new or improved function, 
performance, or reliability or quality."

Not all spending on qualified research is eligible for the incremental or 
alternative credits.  Only outlays for the following purposes can be used to 
compute the credit:

(1) wages, salaries, and supplies used in research conducted in house;

(2) certain time-sharing costs for computers used in research, and



(3)  65 percent of amounts paid by the taxpayer for contract research; the 
share rises to 75 percent if non-profit scientific research consortia perform 
the research, and to 100 percent if the research is performed by qualified 
small firms, certain universities, or federal laboratories.

The credit does not apply to expenditures for equipment and structures 
used in qualified research, the fringe benefits of employees involved in this 
research, and overhead costs related to research activities (e.g., rent, utility 
costs, leasing fees, administrative and insurance costs, and property taxes).  
Nor can it be claimed for research done after the start of commercial 
production, research aimed at adapting existing products for a specific 
customer's needs, research that duplicates existing products, surveys, routine 
testing, research to modify computer software for internal use, foreign 
research, research funded by others, and research in the social sciences, arts, 
or humanities.

If a taxpayer claims a research tax credit and a deduction for research 
expenditures under section 174, then the deduction must be reduced by the 
amount of the credit.  This reduction, which is sometimes referred to as a 
basis adjustment, has the effect of including the credit in a firm's taxable 
income, thereby lowering the marginal effective rate of the credit.

In addition, payments made by most firms for basic research conducted by 
universities and non-profit scientific research organizations are eligible for a 
basic research tax credit.  The credit is equal to 20 percent of these payments 
above a base amount, which is defined as the sum of 1 percent of a taxpayer's 
in-house and contract research spending in the base period and any excess of 
its average non-basic research contributions to qualified organizations in the 
base period, adjusted for increases in the cost of living, over its contributions 
in the current tax year.  Research expenditures used to compute the basic 
research credit may not also be used to compute the regular or alternative 
research credits.

Firms may also claim a 20 percent credit for any payments they make to an 
energy research consortium.

The credit may not be claimed for eligible expenses paid or incurred after 
June 30, 1995 and before July 1, 1996, for the reason that the credit was not 
in effect during that period and has not been renewed retroactively to cover it.


	Impact



The credit reduces the after-tax or net cost to a business of performing 
qualified research.  Though the statutory rate of the credit is 20 percent for 
qualified research expenses above the base amount, the marginal effective 
rate is much less in many cases.  The reason lies in some of the rules 
governing the computation of the credit.  One such rule requires that any 
deduction claimed for research expenditures under section 174 be reduced by 
the amount of any research credit claimed.  Doing so lowers the credit's 
marginal effective rate to 13 percent:  [0.20 x (1-0.35)].  Another rule 
stipulates that a firm's base amount for the credit must be equal to 50 percent 
or more of qualified research expenses in the current tax year.  As a result of 
this rule, the marginal effective rate of the credit can fall to 6.5 percent for 
research expenditures in excess of double the base amount.  This rate can be 
even lower when outlays for structures and equipment, which are not eligible 
for the credit, account for a large share of the total cost of an R&D 
investment.

Because of its design, the credit does not provide benefits to all firms 
undertaking qualified research.  For instance, it is of no benefit to firms 
whose research intensity (i.e., research expenditures as a share of gross 
receipts in a certain period) is declining.  If the reason for the decline in 
research intensity is faster growth in sales than research expenditures, then it 
is conceivable that the credit could function as an implicit and slight tax on 
sales growth.  

At the same time, the credit provides the largest benefits to firms whose 
investment in research and development (R&D) is rising faster than their sales 
revenue.

Individuals to whom the credit is properly allocated from a partnership or 
subchapter S corporation may use the credit in a particular year to offset only 
the tax on their taxable income derived from that business.  This means that -
owners of partnerships or S corporations cannot use research tax credits 
earned by these entities to offset the tax on income from the other sources.

The credit is claimed mostly by C corporations, while its direct tax benefits 
accrue largely to higher-income individuals (see discussion in the 
Introduction).


	Rationale

Section 41 first entered the federal tax code through the Economic 
Recovery Tax Act of 1981.  Under the act, the credit rate was fixed at 25 
percent, there was no basis adjustment, and the base amount was equal to the 
average of the past three years of research expenditures.  Such a design served 
two purposes:  (1) to give U.S.-based firms an incentive to invest more in 
R&D than they otherwise would, and (2) to offset some of the significant 
costs associated with initiating or expanding business R&D programs.



The original credit was supposed to expire at the end of 1985, to give 
Congress an opportunity to evaluate its effects before deciding whether or not 
to extend it.  It was extended retroactively through 1988, at a reduced rate of 
20 percent, by the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  The Technical and 
Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 extended the credit for another year and 
a half and added a basis adjustment equal to 50 percent of the credit.

Additional changes were made in the credit through the Omnibus 
Reconciliation Act of 1989. Specifically, the act extended the credit through 
1990, allowed the base amount to increase in pace with gross receipts rather 
than research expenditures, allowed the credit to apply to research intended to 
explore future lines of business as well as to develop current ones, and 
provided for the full basis adjustment.  The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 
1990 extended the credit through the end of 1991, and the Tax Extension Act 
of 1991 further extended it through June 1992.  After the credit expired and 
remained in abeyance for about one year, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation 
Act of 1993 retroactively extended it through June 1995.  After the credit 
again expired and lapsed for about one year, the Small Business Job 
Production Act of 1996 reinstated it retroactively to July 1, 1996 and 
extended it through May 31, 1997, leaving a one-year gap in coverage that 
still exists.  That act also introduced the three-tiered alternative credit and 
allowed 75 percent of payments to  non-profit research consortia to be eligible 
for the credit.  The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 further extended the credit 
through June 1998, and the omnibus budget bill passed in 1998 (P.L. 105-
277) extended the credit through June 1999.  After expiring yet again, the 
credit was extended to June 30, 2004 by the Ticket to Work and Work 
Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170).  In October 2004, 
President Bush signed into law a tax bill (the Working Families Tax Relief 
Act of 2004, P.L. 108-311) that included a provision extending the credit 
through December 31, 2005.  H.R. 6111, adopted in December 2006, 
extended the credit through 2007, increased the alternative rates for 2007, and 
added the alternative simplified credit.


Assessment



Among economists and policymakers, there is widespread agreement that 
investment in research and development (R&D) exerts a profound influence 
on long-term economic growth through the innovations it spawns.  At the 
same time, it is thought that private R&D investment is bound to be less than 
optimal in an economy dominated by competitive markets, mainly because 
firms other than the ones financing the R&D may capture some of the 
economic benefits from research.  This leakage can occur in spite of the 
presence of patents and other forms of intellectual property protection.  For 
example, when a group of research scientists and engineers decides to break 
away from a company and start a new company for the purpose of developing 
a technology related to technologies owned and sold by their former 
employer, some (or even all) of any returns they eventually earn on their 
investment could be attributed to the R&D investments made by their former 
employer.  There is some evidence that the social returns to R&D are much 
larger than the private returns.  In the absence of government intervention in 
the market for R&D, the private sector is likely to invest less in R&D than its 
potential social returns would warrant.  Public subsidies for R&D (e.g., 
research tax credits) can remedy this market failure, making everyone better 
off.

Since its enactment in 1981, the research tax credit has provided over $1 
billion a year in tax subsidies for business R&D investment.  The credit's 
effectiveness hinges on the sensitivity of this investment to declines in its real 
after-tax cost.  Available evidence suggests that in the 1980s, a decline in this 
cost of one dollar was associated with an increase in business R&D 
investment of one to two dollars.  Because this sensitivity may shift over long 
periods, it is not known whether R&D investment remains as responsive 
today.

Even though the existing credit can be justified on economic grounds and 
is thought to be cost-effective, it is open to several criticisms.  First, a tax 
subsidy may not be the most efficient way to encourage increased investment 
in basic research, since an open-ended subsidy like the credit does not 
necessarily target R&D with the greatest social returns.  Second, the lack of a 
clear and comprehensive definition of the research that qualifies for the credit 
makes it easier for firms to claim the credit for expenses that may have little 
or nothing to do with R&D.  Third, the credit's incentive effect may be too 
weak to boost business R&D to levels commensurate with its social benefits.  
Fourth, some critics of the credit contend that it mostly subsidizes R&D that 
would be done even if the credit did not exist.  Finally, the credit's lack of 
permanence is thought to deter some R&D investment by heightening the 
uncertainty surrounding the expected after-tax returns on prospective R&D 
investments.


	Selected Bibliography

Altschuler, Rosanne.  "A Dynamic Analysis of the Research and 
Experimentation Credit," National Tax Journal, v. 41.  December 1988, pp. 
453-466.
Atkinson, Robert D.  The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit: A 
Critical Policy Tool for Boosting Research and Enhancing U.S. Economic 
Competitiveness.  Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  
Washington, D.C.: September 4, 2006.
Baily, Martin Neil, and Robert Z. Lawrence. "Tax Policies for Innovation 
and Competitiveness," Paper Commissioned by the Council on Research and 
Technology.  Washington, DC, April 1987.
  -.  "Tax Incentives for R&D:  What do the Data Tell Use?"  Study 
Commissioned by the Council on Research and Technology. Washington, 
DC, 1992.
Berger, Philip G.  "Explicit and Implicit Tax Effects of the R&D Tax 
Credit."  Journal of Accounting Research, v. 3, August 1993, pp. 131-71.


Bernstein, Jeffry I. and M. Ishaq Nadiri. "Interindustry R&D Spillovers, 
Rates of Return, and Production in High Tech Industries,"  American 
Economic Review, v. 76.  June 1988, pp. 429-434.
Billings, B. Anthony and Randolph Paschke, "Would H.R. 463 Improve 
the Competitiveness of U.S. R&D Tax Incentives?," Tax Notes, June 9, 2003, 
pp. 1509-1524.
-.  "Permanent Research Tax Credit Could Reverse Offshoring of Jobs," 
Tax Notes, March 29, 2004, pp. 1655-1666.
Brown, Kenneth M., ed.  The R&D Tax Credit.  Issues in Tax Policy and 
Industrial Innovation.  Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for 
Public Policy, 1984.
Busom, Isabel.  An Empirical Evaluation of the Effects of R&D Subsidies. 
 Burch Working Paper No. B99-05.  Berkeley, CA, University of California, 
Berkeley, May 1999.
Cordes, Joseph J.  "Tax Incentives for R&D Spending: A Review of the 
Evidence," Research Policy, v. 18.  1989,  pp. 119-133.
-.  "Research and Experimentation Tax Credit."  The Encyclopedia of 
Taxation and Tax Policy, edited by Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and 
Jane G. Gravelle.  Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005. pp. 330-332.
Cox, William A.  Research and Experimentation Credits:  Who Got How 
Much?  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 96-505, 
June 4, 1996. 
Gravelle, Jane G.  The Tax Credit for Research and Development: An 
Analysis.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 85-6. 
 Washington, DC, January 25, 1985.
Grigsby, McGee and John Westmoreland, "The Research Tax Credit: A 
Temporary and Incremental Dinosaur."  Tax Notes, December 17, 2001, pp. 
1627-1640.
Guenther, Gary.  Research and Experimentation Tax Credit: Current 
Status and Policy Issues for the 108th Congress.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report No. RL31181.  Washington, D.C., 
September 22, 2006.
Guinet, Jean, and Hroko Kamata.  "Do Tax Incentives Promote 
Innovation?"  OECD Observer, no. 202, October-November, 1996, pp. 22-
25.
Hall, Bronwyn H. "R & D Tax Policy During the 1980s," in Tax Policy 
and the Economy 7, ed. James M. Poterba.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 
1993.
-, and John van Reenen.  How Effective Are Fiscal Incentives for R&D?  A 
Review of the Evidence.  Working Paper 7098.  Cambridge, MA, National 
Bureau of Economic Research, April 1999.
Hines, James R.  "On the Sensitivity of R&D to Delicate Tax Changes:  
The Behavior of U.S. Multinationals in the 1980s."  In Studies in 
International Taxation in the 1980s," Ed. Alberto Giovanni, R. Glenn 
Hubbard, and Joel Slemrod. Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 
1993.  


Kiley, Michael T. Social and Private Rates of Return to Research and 
Development in Industry.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report 93-770.  Washington, DC: August 27, 1993.
KPGM Peat Marwick, LLP, Policy Economics Group, Extending the R&E 
Credit: The Importance of Permanence. Prepared for the Working Group on 
Research and Development.  Washington, DC: November 1994.
Landau, Ralph, and Bruce Hannay, eds.  Taxation, Technology and the 
US. Economy.  NY: Pergamon Press, 1981.  See particularly George Carlson, 
"Tax Policy and the U.S. Economy," (a version of which was published as 
Office of Tax Analysis Paper 45, U.S. Treasury Department, January 1981), 
pp. 63-86, and Joseph Cordes, "Tax Policies for Encouraging Innovation: A 
Survey," pp. 87-99.
Mamureas, Theofaris P. and M. Ishaq Nadiri.  "Public R&D Policies and 
Cost Behavior of the U.S. Manufacturing Industries."  National Bureau of 
Economic Research Working Paper 5059, Cambridge, MA, March 1995.
Mansfield, Edwin, et al.  "Social and Private Rates of Return from 
Industrial Innovations,"  Quarterly Journal of Economics, v. 41.  March 
1977, pp. 221-240.
McIntyre, Bob.  Proposed Extension of Corporate Tax Credit: Throwing 
Good Money After Bad, Citizens for Tax Justice.  Washington, D.C.: May 12, 
2006.
Office of Technology Assessment, The Effectiveness of Research and 
Experimental Tax Credits, OTA-BRITC-174, September 1995.
Ohmes, Christopher J., David S. Hudson, and Monique J. Migneault, 
"Final Research Credit Regulations Expected to Immediately Affect IRS 
Examinations," Tax Notes, February 23, 2004, pp. 1015-1024.
Rashkin, Michael D.  Research and Development Tax Incentives: Federal, 
State, and Foreign.  Chicago:  CCH Inc., 2003.
Tillinger, Janet W. "An Analysis of the Effectiveness of the Research and 
Experimentation Tax Credit in a Q Model of Valuation."  The Journal of the 
American Taxation Association, Fall 1991, pp. 1-29. 
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means.  Research and Ex-
perimentation Tax Credit Hearing, 98th Congress, 2nd session. August 2, 
1984.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description and Analysis of Tax 
Provisions Expiring in 1992.   January 27, 1992: pp. 59-68.
-, Joint Economic Committee.  The R&D Tax Credit: An Evaluation of 
Evidence on Its Effectiveness, 99th Congress, 1st Session.  Senate Report 99-
73, August 23, 1985.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Additional Information on the Research 
Tax Credit.  Testimony of Natwar Gandhi Before the House Ways and Means 
Subcommittee on Oversight.  Publication GGD-95-162, Washington, 1995. 
-.  Studies of the Effectiveness of the Research Tax Credit.  Publication 
GGD-96-43.  May 1996.
  Watson, Harry.  "The 1990 R&D Tax Credit:  A Uniform Tax on Inputs and 
a Subsidy for R&D."  National Tax Journal, v. 49, March 1996, pp. 93-103.








General Science, Space, and Technology

EXPENSING  OF
RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTAL EXPENDITURES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

2.0

2.0

2007

0.1

3.7

3.8

2008

0.1

5.5

5.6

2009

0.1

6.0

6.1

2010

0.1

5.8

5.9
                         
(1)Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 174.


Description

As a general rule, business expenditures to acquire an asset with a useful 
life extending beyond a single tax year, such as a machine tool or computer 
system, must be capitalized and cannot be deducted in the year when the 
expenditures are made or incurred.  These costs usually are recovered through 
depreciation deductions taken over the useful life of the asset, or through the 
sale or abandonment of the asset.



Under section 174, however, a business taxpayer may deduct, as a current 
expense, certain research expenditures that are paid or incurred in connection 
with the taxpayer's trade or business.  This treatment is available even though 
the research expenditures are likely to generate intangible assets (e.g., patents) 
with a useful life extending far beyond a single tax year.  Alternatively, a 
taxpayer may treat these expenditures as deferred expenses and deduct them 
on a straight-line basis over a period of 60 months or more; this treatment is 
know as amortization.  Treasury regulations define the expenditures eligible 
for the section 174 deduction as "research and development costs in the 
experimental or laboratory sense."  The regulations also specify that eligible 
research expenditures include all costs related to "the development of an 
experimental or pilot model, a plant process, a product, a formula, an 
invention, or similar property, and the improvement of already existing 
property."

Expenditures for the acquisition or improvement of land, or for the 
acquisition or improvement of depreciable or depletable property to be used 
in connection with research, cannot be deducted under section 174.  In 
practice, this means that outlays for structures and equipment used in research 
and development (R&D) must be recovered over 15 years and 3 years, 
respectively, using the depreciation schedules allowed under section 167.  In 
addition, expenditures to determine the existence, location, extent, or quality 
of mineral deposits, including oil and gas, may not be deducted under section 
174.

To prevent business taxpayers from benefitting twice from the same 
research expenditures, the deduction allowed under section 174 must be re-
duced by the amount (if any) of any credit claimed under section 41 for 
certain increases in research expenditures.


Impact

The expensing of research spending under section 174 has the effect of 
deferring taxes on the return to investment in the assets generated by this 
spending.  Such a deferral can yield a significant tax savings, after adjustment 
for inflation, for a firm over the life of a depreciable asset.  For example, if a 
profitable corporation were to spend $1 million on wages and supplies related 
to R&D in a tax year, it would be able to deduct that amount from its taxable 
income, producing an addition to cash flow (at a 35-percent marginal tax rate) 
of $350,000.  The value to the corporation of such treatment is the amount by 
which the present value of the immediate deduction exceeds the present value 
of the periodic deductions that otherwise would be taken over the useful life 
of any asset (such as a patent) generated by the research expenditures.  Under 
certain circumstances, expensing is equivalent to taxing the returns to an asset 
at a marginal effective rate of zero.  In other words, expensing has the 
potential to equalize the after-tax and pre-tax returns on an investment.



The direct beneficiaries of the section 174 deduction obviously are firms 
that undertake research.  For the most part, these tend to be larger 
manufacturing corporations engaged in developing, producing, and selling 
technologically advanced products.  As a corporate tax deduction, the benefits 
of expensing any capital cost accrue mainly to upper-income individuals (see 
discussion in the Introduction).


	Rationale

Section 174 was enacted as part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.  
The legislative history of the act indicates that Congress was pursuing two 
overriding aims in enacting section 174.  One was to encourage firms 
(especially smaller ones) to invest in R&D.  The second aim was to eliminate 
the difficulties and uncertainties facing business taxpayers as a result of the 
depreciation of research expenditures under previous tax law.


Assessment

There appears to be no controversy over the desirability of the provision, 
reflecting a widely held view that its benefits outweigh its costs.  Section 174 
simplifies tax compliance and accounting for business taxpayers by 
eliminating the problems associated with identifying qualified R&D 
expenditures and assigning useful lives to any assets created through these 
expenditures.  It can also be argued that the provision stimulates business 
R&D investment by boosting real after-tax returns to such investment and 
increasing the cash flow of firms engaged in R&D.  This benefit addresses the 
perennial concern that firms are inclined to invest too little in R&D in the 
absence of government support, mainly because of the spillover effects of 
R&D.  There is some empirical evidence that the social returns to R&D 
exceed the private returns.

While these considerations may constitute a strong economic case for 
subsidizing R&D investments, they do not necessarily support the use of a tax 
preference like section 174.  A principal shortcoming with tax subsidies like 
section 174 is that they do not target R&D investments with the largest social 
benefits.


Selected Bibliography

Baily, Martin Neil, and Robert Z. Lawrence.  "Tax Policies for Innovation 
and Competitiveness," Paper Commissioned by the Council on Research and 
Technology.   April 1987.
Bernstein, Jeffry I., and M. Ishaq Nadiri.  "Interindustry R&D Spillovers, 
Rates of Return, and Production in High Tech Industries,"  American 
Economic Review, v. 76.  June 1988, pp. 429-434.
Cordes, Joseph J.  "Tax Incentives for R&D Spending: A Review of the 
Evidence," Research Policy, v. 18.  1989, pp. 119-133.


-.  "Expensing."  The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, edited by 
Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  Washington, D.C.: 
Urban Institute Press, 2005.  pp. 128-130.
Goldbas, Michael and Greg Alan Fairbanks.  "The Final Step in 
Computing the R&E Credit."  Tax Adviser, vol. 36, no. 3, March 1, 2005.  p. 
136.
Guenther, Gary.  Research and Experimentation Tax Credit: Current 
Status and Policy Issues for the 108th Congress.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL31181.  Washington, updated 
September 22, 2006.
Hall, Bronwyn H. and John van Reenen, "How Effective are Fiscal 
Incentives for R&D?  A Review of the Evidence.  Working Paper 7098.  
National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, April 1999.
Hudson, David S.  "The Tax Concept of Research or Experimentation."  
Tax Lawyer, v. 45, Fall 1991, pp. 85-121.
Kiley, Michael T. Social and Private Rates of Return to Research and 
Development in Industry.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report 93-770.  Washington, DC: August 27, 1993.
Landau, Ralph, and Bruce Hannay, eds.  Taxation, Technology and the 
U.S. Economy.  New York: Pergamon Press, 1981.  See particularly George 
Carlson, "Tax Policy and the U.S. Economy" (a version of which was 
published as Office of Tax Analysis Paper 45, U.S. Treasury Department, 
January 1981), pp. 63-86, and Joseph J. Cordes, "Tax Policies for 
Encouraging Innovation: A Survey," pp. 87-99.
Lee, Andrew B., "Section 174: "Just in Time" for Deducting Costs of 
Developing New or Improved Manufacturing Processes," The Tax Adviser, 
July 1996, p. 401.
Mansfield, Edwin, et al.  "Social and Private Rates of Return from 
Industrial Innovations,"  Quarterly Journal of Economics, v. 41.   March 
1977,  pp. 221-240.
McClelland, David Huston, "Deductibility of Contract Development Costs 
Under Section 174," The Tax Adviser, January 2000, p. 19.
McConaghy, Mark L. and Richard B. Raye.  "Congressional Intent, Long-
Standing Authorities Support Broad Reading of Section 174," Tax Notes, 
Feb. 1, 1993, pp. 639-653.
Mamureas, T., and M.J. Nadiri.  "Public R&D Policies and Cost Behavior 
of the U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Public Economics, v. 63, 
no. 1, pp. 57-83.
Rashin, Michael. D.  Research and Development Tax Incentives: Federal, 
State, and Foreign.  CCH, Inc.  Chicago: 2003, pp. 23-44.
Tobin, Brian F., "New Regulations Clarify R&E Definition," The Tax 
Adviser, May 1995, p. 287.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Federal Support for R&D 
and Innovation, April 1984.








	Energy

EXPENSING OF EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT COSTS;
AMORTIZATION OF GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL 
COSTS:  OIL, GAS, AND OTHER FUELS


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]



Individuals

Corporations

Total

Fiscal year

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

2006

(1)

(1)

1.1

(1)

1.1

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

1.7

(1)

1.7

(1)

2008

0.1

(1)

1.9

(1)

2.0

(1)

2009

0.1

(1)

1.0

(1)

1.1

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

0.7

(1)

0.7

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.
*The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (P.L. 109-222) 
increased the recovery period for the amortization of geological and 
geophysical costs for major integrated oil companies from 2 to 5 years, which 
increased revenues by the following amounts: $5 million in FY2006, $28 
million in FY2007, $49 million in FY2008, $48 million in FY2009, and  $30 
million in FY 2010. 


	Authorization

Section 263(c), 291, 616-617, 57(a)(2), 59(e) and 1254.


	Description



Firms engaged in the exploration and development of oil, gas, or 
geothermal properties have the option of expensing  (deducting in the year 
paid or incurred) rather than capitalizing (i.e., recovering  such costs through 
depletion or depreciation) certain intangible drilling and development costs 
(IDCs). Expensing is an exception to general tax rules that provide for the 
capitalization of costs related to generating income from capital assets.  In lieu 
of expensing, firms have the option of amortizing IDCs in equal amounts over 
a five-year period. This option may reduce or eliminate the alternative 
minimum tax on the IDCs, which, as discussed below, is a tax preference 
item.

IDCs are amounts paid by the operator for fuel, labor, repairs to drilling 
equipment, materials, hauling, and supplies.  They are expenditures incident 
to and necessary for the drilling of wells and preparing a site for the 
production of oil, gas, or geothermal energy. IDCs include the cost to 
operators of any drilling or development work done by contractors under any 
form of contract, including a turnkey contract. Amounts paid for casings, 
valves, pipelines, and other tangible equipment that have a salvage value are 
capital expenditures and they cannot be expensed; they are recovered through 
depreciation. (And as discussed in the subsequent entry on percentage 
depletion, amounts expended to purchase a property are depleted using either 
percentage or cost depletion.)  Geological and geophysical (G&G) costs  - 
exploratory costs associated with determining the precise location and 
potential size of a mineral deposit - are amortized by independents over two 
years and by major integrated oil companies over five years.

The option to expense IDCs applies to domestic properties, which include 
certain off-shore wells (essentially those within the exclusive economic zone 
of the United States), including generally offshore platforms subject to certain 
restrictions. Except for IDCs incurred in the North Sea, IDCs on foreign 
properties must be either amortized (deducted in equal amounts) over 10 
years or added to the adjusted cost basis and recovered through cost 
depletion. An integrated oil company, generally a large producer that also has 
refining and marketing operations, can expense only 70% of the IDCs - the 
remaining 30% must be amortized over a five-year period. Dry hole costs for 
either domestic or foreign properties may be expensed or capitalized at the 
discretion of the taxpayer.



For integrated producers, the excess of expensed IDCs over the 
amortizable value (over a 10-year period) is a tax preference item that is 
subject to the alternative minimum tax to the extent that it exceeds 65% of the 
net income from the property.  Independent (non-integrated) producers 
include only 60% of their IDCs as a tax preference item.  As noted above, 
instead of expensing, a taxpayer may choose to amortize IDCs over a five-
year period and avoid the alternative minimum tax. The amortization claimed 
under IRC section 59(e) is not considered a tax preference item for alternative 
minimum tax purposes.  Prior to 1993, an independent producer's intangible 
drilling costs were subject to the alternative minimum tax, and they were 
allowed a special "energy deduction" for 100% of certain IDCs, subject to 
some limitations. If an operator has elected to amortize IDCs on a well that 
proves later to be a dry hole, the operator may deduct such costs as an 
ordinary loss. The taxpayer is not required to include these costs as an IDC 
tax preference item in computing alternative minimum tax. If a property is 
disposed of prior to its exhaustion, any expensed IDCs are recaptured as 
ordinary income.


	Impact

IDCs and other intangible exploration and development costs represent a 
major portion of the costs of finding and developing a mineral reserve.  In the 
case of oil and gas, which historically accounted for 99% of the revenue loss 
from this provision, IDCs typically account for about 66% of the total 
exploration and development costs - the cost of creating a mineral asset.

Historically, expensing of IDCs was a major tax subsidy for the oil and gas 
industry, and, combined with other tax subsidies such as the depletion 
allowance, reduced effective tax rates significantly below tax rates on other 
industries. These subsidies provided incentives to increase investment, 
exploration, and output, especially of oil and gas.  Oil and gas output, for 
example, rose from 16% of total U.S. energy production in 1920 to 71.1% in 
1970 (the peak year). Coupled with reductions in corporate income tax rates, 
increased limits on expensing, and the alternative minimum tax, the value of 
this subsidy has declined over time.  And, since the early 1970s, domestic 
crude oil production has fallen substantially. However, the subsidy still keeps 
effective marginal tax rates on oil and gas (especially for independent 
producers) somewhat below the marginal effective tax rates on other 
industries in most cases.  

Unlike percentage depletion, which may only be claimed by independent 
producers, this tax expenditure is shared by both independents and by the 
integrated oil and gas producers. However, independent oil producers, many 
of which are large, drill 80-90% of the wells and undertake the bulk of the 
expenditures for exploration and development, thus receiving the bulk of the 
benefits from this tax expenditure.  The at-risk, recapture, and minimum tax 
restrictions that have since been placed on the use of the provision have 
primarily limited the ability of high-income taxpayers to shelter their income 
from taxation through investment in mineral exploration. However, the 
exemption for working interests in oil and gas from the passive loss limitation 
rules still creates opportunities for tax shelters in oil and gas investments.


	Rationale

     Expensing of IDCs was originally established in a 1916 Treasury 
regulation (T.D. 45, article 223), with the rationale that such costs were 
ordinary operating expenses.


In 1931, a court ruled that IDCs were capital costs, but permitted 
expensing, arguing that the 15-year precedent gave the regulation the force of 
a statute.  In 1942, Treasury recommended that expensing be repealed, but the 
Congress did not take action. A 1945 court decision invalidated expensing, 
but the Congress endorsed it (on the basis that it reduced uncertainty and 
stimulated exploration of a strategic mineral) and codified it as section 263(c) 
in 1954.  Continuation of expensing has been based on the perceived need to 
stimulate exploratory drilling, which can increase domestic oil and gas 
reserves, and (eventually) production, reduce imported petroleum, and 
enhance energy security.  However, none of the four economic rationales for 
intervention in the energy markets (the market failures rationales) justify 
expensing treatment of IDCs.

The Tax Reform Act of 1976 added expensing of IDCs as a tax preference 
item subject to the minimum tax.  Expensing of IDCs for geothermal wells 
was added by the Energy Tax Act of 1978.  The Tax Equity and Fiscal 
Responsibility Act of 1982 limited expensing for integrated oil companies to 
85%; the remaining 15% of IDCs had to be amortized over 3 years.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 limited expensing for integrated 
producers to 80% of IDCs. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 established uniform 
capitalization rules for the depreciation of property, but IDCs (as well as mine 
development and other exploration costs) are exempt from those rules.  The 
Tax Reform Act further limited expensing for integrated producers to 70% of 
costs, and also repealed expensing of foreign properties.

In 1990, a special energy deduction was introduced, against the alternative 
minimum tax, for a portion of the IDCs and other oil and gas industry tax 
preference items. For independent producers, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 
limited the amount of IDCs subject to the alternative minimum tax to 60% 
(70% after 1993) and suspended the special energy deduction through 1998. 
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) included a provision to 
amortize geological and geophysical (G&G) costs over two years.  The Tax 
Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (P.L. 109-222) raised the 
amortization period to 5 years for major integrated oil companies. 


	Assessment

IDCs are generally recognized to be capital costs, which, according to 
standard economic principles, should be recovered using depletion (cost 
depletion adjusted for inflation). Lease bonuses and other exploratory costs 
(survey costs, geological and geophysical costs) are properly treated as capital 
costs, although they may be recovered through percentage rather than cost 
depletion. From an economic perspective, dry hole costs should also be 
depleted, rather than expensed, as part of the costs of drilling a successful 
well.


Immediate expensing of IDCs provides a tax subsidy for capital invested in 
the mineral industry, especially for oil and gas producers, with a relatively 
larger subsidy for independent producers. Technological innovation has 
reduced the percentage of dry holes in both exploratory and development 
drilling, thus reducing the tax benefits from immediate expensing of dry hole 
costs.

Expensing rather than capitalizing IDCs allows taxes on income to be 
effectively eliminated. As a capital subsidy, however, expensing is 
economically inefficient because it promotes investment decisions that are 
based on tax considerations rather than inherent economic considerations.

To the extent that IDCs stimulate drilling of successful wells, they reduce 
dependence on imported oil in the short run, but contribute to a faster 
depletion of the nation's resources in the long run.  Arguments have been 
made over the years to justify expensing on grounds of unusual risks, national 
security, uniqueness of oil as a commodity, the industry's lack of access to 
capital, and protection of small producers.

Volatile oil prices make oil and gas investments very risky, but this would 
not necessarily justify expensing. The corporate income tax does have 
efficiency distortions, but economists argue that income tax integration may 
be a more appropriate policy to address this issue; sustained high oil and gas 
prices increase profits and provide sufficient financial incentives for 
exploration and drilling, making expensing unnecessary. For the goal of 
enhancing energy security, one alternative approach is through an oil 
stockpile program such as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.


	Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office. Budget Options. Section 28: Repeal the 
Expensing of Exploration and Development Costs for Extractive Industries 
February 2005.
Eicher, Jeffrey D. And Leo N. Hitt.  "The Alternative Minimum Tax 
System: A Stealth Tax,"  Taxes, v. 84 July 2006, pp. 37-45.
Friske, Karyn Bybee. "Alternative Minimum Tax Credit and the 
Consolidated Regulations: Is Simplification Possible?" The Oil and Gas and 
Energy Quarterly, September 2001, pp.139-145. 
Ghiselin, Dick.  "Drilling Economics" Oil and Gas Investor, December 
2005, pp.13-22.
Gravelle, Jane G.  "Effective Federal Tax Rates on Income from New 
Investments in Oil and Gas Extraction," The Energy Journal, v. 6 (1985), pp. 
145-153.
Lazzari, Salvatore. Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. Library 
of Congress, Congressional Research Service, Report RL33578. Washington, 
DC: Updated September 23, 2004.


- . Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30406. Washington, DC: June 28, 
2005.
- . Energy Tax Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 1992.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service, Report 94-525 E.  Washington, 
DC: June 22, 1994. (Archived: Available upon request from the author.)
Lucke, Robert, and Eric Toder.  "Assessing the U.S. Federal Tax Burden 
on Oil and Gas Extraction," The Energy Journal, v. 8.  October 1987, pp. 51-
64. 
Rook, Lance W.  "The Energy Policy Act of 1992 Changes the Effect of 
the AMT on Most Oil and Gas Producers," Tax Adviser, v. 24 (August 1993), 
pp. 479-484.
U.S Congress, Senate Committee on Finance.  JCT Description of Federal 
Energy Tax Provisions, Hearings, 107th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 10th and 11, 2001.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Additional Petroleum Production Tax 
Incentives Are of Questionable Merit, GAO/GGD-90-75.  July 1990.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1990.
U.S. Treasury Department. Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and 
Economic Growth, v. 2.  November 1984, Washington, DC: 1984, pp. 229-
231. 
U.S. Treasury Department.  Internal Revenue Service.  Publication 535: 
Business Expenses. 2005.
Zlatkovich, Charles P., and Karl B. Putnam.  "Economic Trends in the Oil 
and Gas Industry and Oil and Gas Taxation," Oil and Gas Quarterly, v. 41. 
March, 1993, pp. 347-365.








	Energy

EXCESS OF PERCENTAGE OVER COST DEPLETION:
OIL, GAS, AND OTHER FUELS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]



Individuals

Corporations

Total

Fiscal year

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

Oil and 
Gas

Other 
Fuels

2006

(1)

(1) 

1.0

0.1 

1.0

0.1

2007

(1)

(1) 

1.0

0.1

1.0

0.1

2008

(1)

(1)

0.9

0.1

0.9

0.1

2009

(1)

(1)

0.9

0.1

0.9

0.1

2010

 (1) 

(1)

0.9

0.1

0.9

0.1

(1)Less than $50 million.  H.R. 6111, which extended a portion of this 
tax benefit cost an additional $0.1 billion in FY2007.


	Authorization

Sections 611, 612, 613, 613A, and 291.


	Description

Firms that extract oil, gas, or other minerals are permitted a deduction to 
recover their capital investment in a mineral reserve, which depreciates due to 
the physical and economic depletion or exhaustion  as the mineral is 
recovered (section 611). Depletion, like depreciation, is a form of capital 
recovery: An asset, the mineral reserve itself, is being expended in order to 
produce income.  Under an income tax, such costs are deductible. 



There are two methods of calculating this deduction: cost depletion and 
percentage depletion. Cost depletion allows for the recovery of the actual 
capital investment - the costs of discovering, purchasing, and developing a 
mineral reserve - over the period during which the reserve produces income. 
 Each year, the taxpayer deducts a portion of the adjusted basis (original 
capital investment less previous deductions) equal to the fraction of the 
estimated remaining recoverable reserves that have been extracted and sold.  
Under this method, the total deductions cannot exceed the original capital 
investment.

Under percentage depletion, the deduction for recovery of capital 
investment is a fixed percentage of the "gross income"-  i.e., revenue - 
from the sale of the mineral. Under this method, total deductions typically 
exceed, despite the limitations, the capital invested to acquire and develop the 
reserve.

Section 613 states that mineral producers must claim the higher of cost or 
percentage depletion. The percentage depletion rate for oil and gas is 15% 
and is limited to average daily production of 1,000 barrels of oil, or its 
equivalent in gas. For producers of both oil and gas, the limit applies on a 
combined basis. For example, an oil producing company with 2006 oil 
production of 100,000 barrels, and natural gas production of 1.2 billion cubic 
feet (the equivalent of 200,000 barrels of oil) has average daily production of 
821.92 barrels (300,000 ? 365 days). Percentage depletion is not available to 
integrated major oil companies - it is available only for independent 
producers and royalty owners. An independent producer is one that does not 
have refinery operations that refine more than 75,000 barrels of oil per day, 
and does not have retail oil and gas operations grossing more than $5 million 
per year. Beginning in 1990, the percentage depletion rate on production from 
marginal wells - oil from stripper wells (those producing no more than 15 
barrels per day, on average), and heavy oil -  was raised. This rate starts at 
15% and increases by one percentage point for each whole $1 that the 
reference price of oil for the previous calendar years is less than $20 per 
barrel (subject to a maximum rate of 25%). This higher rate is also limited to 
independent producers and royalty owners, and for up to 1,000 barrels, 
determined as before on a combined basis (including non-marginal 
production).  Small independents operate about 400,000 small stripper wells 
in about 28 states, which  produce about 1 million barrels of marginal oil/day, 
about 20% of domestic production.								
						


Percentage depletion is limited to 65% of the taxable income from all 
properties for each producer.  A second limitation, the 100% net-income 
limitation, which applied to each individual property rather than to all the 
properties, was retroactively suspended for oil and gas production from 
marginal wells by the  Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-
311) through December 31, 2005. From 1998-2007, the 100% net-income 
limitation has also been suspended.  Since 1990, transferred properties have 
been eligible for percentage depletion. The difference between percentage 
depletion and cost depletion is considered a subsidy.  It was once a tax 
preference item for purposes of the alternative minimum tax, but this was 
repealed by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-486).

The percentage depletion allowance is available for many other types of 
fuel minerals, at rates ranging from 10% (coal, lignite) to 22% (uranium). The 
rate for regulated natural gas and gas sold under a fixed contract is 22%; the 
rate for geo-pressurized methane gas is 10%.  Oil shale and geothermal 
deposits qualify for a 15% allowance.  The net-income limitation to 
percentage depletion for coal and other fuels is 50%, as compared to 100% 
for oil and gas. Under code section 291, percentage depletion on coal mined 
by corporations is reduced by 20% of the excess of percentage over cost 
depletion.


	Impact

Historically, generous depletion allowances and other tax benefits reduced 
effective tax rates in the fuel minerals industry significantly below tax rates 
on other industries, which provided additional incentives to increase 
investment, exploration, and output, especially of oil and gas.  Oil and gas 
output, for example, rose from 16% of total U.S. energy production in 1920 to 
71.1% of 1970 (the peak year).

The combination of this subsidy and the deduction of intangible drilling 
and other costs (see previous entry) represented a significant boon to mineral 
producers who were eligible for both. The deduction of intangible drilling 
costs allows up to three-quarters of the original investment to be "written off" 
immediately, and under the percentage depletion allowance a portion of gross 
revenues can be written off for the life of the investment. It was possible for 
cumulative depletion allowances to total many times the amount of the 
original investment.

The 1975 repeal of percentage depletion for the major integrated oil 
companies, and declining oil production, means that the value of this tax 
subsidy has been greatly reduced in the last 30 years. The reduction in the 
depletion allowance to 15% in 1984 means that independent producers 
benefit from it much less than they used to, although independents have 
increased their share of total output, and they qualify for the higher depletion 
rate on marginal production. Most recently, high oil and gas prices may have 
raised somewhat the subsidy value of percentage depletion to the 
independents. In addition, cutbacks in other tax benefits and additional excise 
taxes have raised effective tax rates in the mineral industries, although 
independent oil and gas producers continue to be favored.  However, the 
exemption for working interests in oil and gas from the passive loss limitation 
rules still creates opportunities for tax shelters in oil and gas investments.  
This rule allows losses incurred from exploring for and producing oil and gas 
to offset ordinary non oil and gas income.



Undoubtedly, these cutbacks in percentage depletion contributed to the 
decline in domestic oil production, which peaked in 1970 and recently 
dropped to a 30-year low.  Percentage depletion for other mineral deposits 
was unaffected by the 1975 legislation.  Nevertheless, in an average year 
more than half the percent revenue loss is a result of oil and gas depletion.  
The value of this expenditure to the taxpayer is the amount of tax savings that 
results from using the percentage depletion method instead of the cost 
depletion method.

Percentage depletion has little, if any, effect on oil prices, which are 
determined by supply and demand in the world oil market.  However, it may 
encourage higher prices for drilling and mining rights.


	Rationale

Provisions for a mineral depletion allowance based on the value of a mine 
were made under a 1912 Treasury Department regulation (T.D. 1742) but 
were never implemented.  A court case resulted in the enactment, as part of 
the Tariff Act of 1913, of a "reasonable allowance for depletion" not to 
exceed 5% of the value of mineral output. Treasury regulation No. 33 limited 
total deductions to the original capital investment.

This system was in effect from 1913 to 1918, although in the Revenue Act 
of 1916, depletion was restricted to no more than the total value of output, 
and in the aggregate no more than capital originally invested or fair market 
value on March 1, 1913 (the latter so that appreciation occurring before 
enactment of income taxes would not be taxed).

The 1916 depletion law marked the first time that the tax laws mentioned 
oil and gas specifically.  On the grounds that the newer discoveries that 
contributed to the war effort were treated less favorably, discovery value 
depletion was enacted in 1918. Discovery depletion, which was in effect 
through 1926, allowed deductions in excess of capital investment because it 
was based on the market value of the deposit after discovery.  Congress 
viewed oil and gas as a strategic mineral, essential to national security, and 
wanted to stimulate the wartime supply of oil and gas, compensate producers 
for the high risks of prospecting, and relieve the tax burdens of small-scale 
producers.

In 1921, because of concern with the size of the allowances, discovery 
depletion was limited to net income; it was further limited to 50% of net 
income in 1924. Due to the administrative complexity and arbitrariness of the 
method, and due to its tendency to establish high discovery values, which 
tended to overstate depletion deductions, discovery value depletion was 
replaced in 1926 by the percentage depletion allowance, at the rate of 27.5%.



In 1932, percentage depletion was extended to coal and most other 
minerals.  In 1950, President Truman recommended that the depletion rate be 
reduced to 15%, but Congress disagreed.  In 1969, the top depletion rates 
were reduced from 27.5% to 22%, and in 1970 the allowance was made 
subject to the minimum tax.

The Tax Reduction Act of 1975 eliminated the percentage depletion 
allowance for major oil and gas companies and reduced the rate for 
independents to 15% for 1984 and beyond.  This was in response to the Arab 
oil embargo of 1973-74, which caused oil prices to rise sharply.  The 
continuation of percentage depletion for independents was justified by 
Congress on the grounds that independents had more difficulty in raising 
capital than the major integrated oil companies, that their profits were smaller, 
and that they could not compete with the majors.

The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 limited the 
allowance for coal and iron ore.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 denied 
percentage depletion for lease bonuses, advance royalties, or other payments 
unrelated to actual oil and gas production.

The Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1990 introduced the 
higher depletion rates on marginal production, raised the net income 
limitation from 50% to 100%, and made the allowance available to 
transferred properties.  These liberalizations were based on energy security 
arguments.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 repealed the minimum tax on 
percentage depletion.  The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 suspended the 100% 
taxable income limitation for marginal wells for two years, and further 
extensions were made by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives 
Improvement Act of 1999 and the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 
2002. The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 retroactively suspended 
the 100% net-income limitation through December 31, 2005.  H.R. 
6111extended the suspension of this limitation through 2007.


	Assessment

Standard accounting and economic principles state that the appropriate 
method of capital recovery in the mineral industry is cost depletion adjusted 
for inflation. The percentage depletion allowance permits independent oil and 
gas producers, and other mineral producers, to continue to claim a deduction 
even after all the investment costs of acquiring and developing the property 
have been recovered.  Thus it is a mineral production subsidy rather than an 
investment subsidy.



As a production subsidy, however, percentage depletion is economically 
inefficient. It incorrectly  measures the income of qualifying independent oil 
and gas producers, and it encourages excessive development of existing 
properties - the source of the depletion benefit - over exploration for new 
ones, which will not produce a flow of depletion benefits until actual output 
results. This tax treatment contrasts with capital subsidies, such as accelerated 
depreciation for non-mineral assets. Although accelerated depreciation may 
lower effective tax rates by speeding up tax benefits, these assets cannot be 
used for depreciation deductions in excess of investment.

Percentage depletion for oil and gas subsidizes independent producers that 
are primarily engaged in exploration and production. To the extent that it 
stimulates oil production, it reduces dependence on imported oil in the short 
run, but it contributes to a faster depletion of the Nation's resources in the 
long run, which may increase long-term oil import dependence. Arguments 
have been made over the years to justify percentage depletion on grounds of 
unusual risks, the distortions in the corporate income tax, national security, 
uniqueness of oil as a commodity, the industry's lack of access to capital, and 
protection of small producers.

Volatile oil prices make oil and gas investments more risky, but this would 
not necessarily justify percentage depletion or other tax subsidies.  The 
corporate income tax does have efficiency distortions, but from an economic 
perspective income tax integration may be a more appropriate policy to 
address this problem.

To address national security concerns, one alternative is an oil stockpile 
program such as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.


	Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office. Budget Options. Section 31: Curtail Income 
Tax Preferences for Businesses and Other Entities. February 2001.
Edmunds, Mark A.  "Economic Justification for Expensing IDC and 
Percentage Depletion Allowance," Oil & Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 36. 
September 1987, pp. 1-11.
Energy Information Administration.  Accelerated Depletion: Assessing the 
Impact on Domestic Oil and  Natural Gas Prices and Production.  
SR/OIAF/2000-04.  July 2000.
Fenton, Edmund D.  "Percentage Depletion, RMFP, and the Exxon 
Cases," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v.52.  September 2003, pp. 1-17.
Frazier, Jessica, and Edmund D. Fenton. "The Interesting Beginnings of 
the Percentage Depletion Allowance," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 38.  
June 1990, pp. 697-712.
Ghiselin, Dick.  "Drilling Economics" Oil and Gas Investor, December 
2005, pp.13-22.
Gravelle, Jane G. "Effective Federal Tax Rates on Income from New 
Investments in Oil and Gas Extraction," The Energy Journal, v.6.  1985, pp. 
145-153.
Harberger, Arnold G. Taxation and Welfare. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago 
Press, 1974, pp. 218-226.


Hennessee, Patrick A. Percentage Depletion - How Natural Gas 
Producers Can Avoid the Retailer Exclusion of 613A.  The Journal of 
Taxation.  July 2005, pp. 39-46. 
Lazzari, Salvatore. Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: Updated July 28, 2006.
- .  Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service, Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
Lucke, Robert, and Eric Toder.  "Assessing the U.S. Federal Tax Burden 
on Oil and Gas Extraction," The Energy Journal, v. 8.  October 1987, pp. 51-
64. 
Lyon, Andrew B. "The Effect of Changes in the Percentage Depletion 
Allowance on Oil Firm Stock Prices,"  The Energy Journal, v.10. October 
1989, pp.101-116.
McDonald, Stephen L. Federal Tax Treatment of Income from Oil and 
Gas.   The Brookings Institution, 1963.
Rook, Lance W. "The Energy Policy Act of 1992 Changes the Effect of 
the AMT on Most Oil Producers," Tax Advisor, v. 24.  August 1993, pp. 479-
484.
Thomas, Christopher, Maurice, S. Charles, Crumbley, D. Larry.  Vertical 
Integration, Price Squeezing, and Percentage Depletion Allowance.  The 
Quarterly Review of Economics and Business, v. 29. Winter 1989, pp26-37. 
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Additional Petroleum Production Tax 
Incentives Are of Questionable Merit, GAO/GGD-90-75.  Washington, DC: 
July 1990.
U.S. Treasury Department. Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and 
Economic Growth, v. 2.  Washington, DC: November 1984, pp. 229-231.
U.S. Treasury Department.  Internal Revenue Service.  IRS Audit Guide: 
Oil and Gas Industry, Market Segmentation Specialization Program.  2006.










	Energy

	TAX CREDIT FOR
	PRODUCTION OF NON-CONVENTIONAL FUELS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

1.0

2.7

3.7

2007

1.0

3.2

4.2

2008

0.2

1.2

1.4

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million


	Authorization

Section 45K.


	Description

Section 45K provides for a production tax credit of $3 per barrel of 
oil-equivalent (in 1979 dollars) for certain types of liquid, gaseous, and solid 
fuels produced from selected types of alternative energy sources (so called 
"non-conventional fuels"), and sold to unrelated parties. The full credit is 
available if oil prices fall below $23.50 per barrel (in 1979 dollars); the credit 
is phased out as oil prices rise above $23.50 (in 1979 dollars) over a $6 range 
(i.e., the inflation-adjusted $23.50 plus $6).  The phase out limit does not 
apply to coke or coke gas.



Both the credit and the phase-out range are adjusted for inflation 
(multiplied by an inflation adjustment factor) since 1979. With an inflation 
adjustment factor of 2.264  (meaning that inflation, as measured by the Gross 
National Product deflator, has more than doubled since 1979), the credit for 
2005 production was $6.79 per barrel of oil equivalent, which is the amount 
of the qualifying fuel that has a British thermal unit content of 5.8 million.  
The credit for gaseous fuels was $1.23 per thousand cubic feet (mcf).  The 
credit for tight sands gas is not indexed to inflation; it is fixed at the 1979 
level of $3 per barrel of oil equivalent (about $0.50 per mcf). With the 
reference price of oil, which was $50.76/barrel for 2005, still below the 
inflation adjustment phase-out threshold oil price of $53.20 for 2005 ($23.50 
multiplied by 2.264), the full credit of $6.56 per barrel of equivalent was 
available for qualifying fuels.  

Qualifying fuels include synthetic fuels (either liquid, gaseous, or solid) 
produced from coal, and gas produced from either geopressurized brine, 
Devonian shale, tight formations, or biomass. Synthetic fuels from coal, either 
liquid, gaseous, or solid, are also qualifying fuels provided that they meet the 
statutory and regulatory requirement that they undergo a significant chemical 
transformation, defined as a measurable and reproducible change in the 
chemical bonding of the initial components. In most cases, producers apply a 
liquid bonding agent to the coal or coal waste (coal fines), such as diesel fuel 
emulsions, pine tar, or latex, to produce the solid synthetic fuel. The coke 
made from coal and used as a feedstock, or raw material, in steel-making 
operations also qualifies as a synthetic fuel as does the breeze (which are 
small pieces of coke) and the coke gas (which is produced during the coking 
process). Depending on the precise Btu content of these synfuels, the section 
29 tax credit could be as high as $26/ton or more, which is a significant 
fraction of the market price of coal. Qualifying fuels must be produced within 
the United States. The credit for coke and coke gas is also $3/barrel of oil 
equivalent and is also adjusted for inflation, but the credit is set to a base year 
of 2004, making the nominal unadjusted tax credit less than for other fuels.

The section 45K credit for gas produced from biomass, and synthetic fuels 
produced from coal or lignite,  is available through December 31, 2007, 
provided that the production facility was placed in service before July 1, 
1998, pursuant to a binding contract entered into before January 1, 1997. The 
credit for coke and coke gas is available through December 31, 2009, for 
plants placed in service before January 1, 1992, and after June 30, 1998.  The 
section 45K credit used to apply to oil produced from shale or tar sands, and 
coalbed methane (a colorless and odorless natural gas that permeates coal 
seams and that is virtually identical to conventional natural gas). But for these 
fuels the credit terminated on December 31, 2002 (and the facilities had to 
have been placed in service (or wells drilled) by December 31, 1992). 



The section 45K credit is part of the general business credit. It is not 
claimed separately; it is added together with several other business credits, 
and is also subject to the limitations of that credit. The section 45K credit is 
also offset (or reduced) by other types of government subsidies that a taxpayer 
may benefit from: government grants, subsidized or tax-exempt financing, 
energy investment credits, and the enhanced oil recovery tax credit that may 
be claimed with respect to such project. Finally, the credit is nonrefundable 
and cannot be used to offset a taxpayer's alternative minimum tax liability. 
Any unused section 45K credits generally may not be carried forward or back 
to another taxable year. (However, under the minimum tax section 53, a 
taxpayer receives a credit for prior-year minimum tax liability to the extent 
that a section 45K credit is disallowed as a result of the operation of the 
alternative minimum tax.)


	Impact

The production tax credit is intended to reduce the marginal (and average) 
costs of producing the qualifying non-conventional fuels so as to be profitable 
enough to compete with conventional fuels. For those fuels whose cost 
reductions (and increased rates of return) are sufficiently large, the resulting 
price effects could encourage increased production of the subsidized non-
conventional fuels for the more conventional fuels. To the extent that these 
effects stimulate the supply of fuels such as shale oil or heavy oil, the 
resulting substitution effects lead to a reduction in the demand for petroleum, 
and a reduction in imported petroleum (the marginal source of oil), which 
would work toward the credit's original purpose:  enhancing energy security.  

However, to date, the credits have not stimulated production of fuels, such 
as shale oil or heavy oil, that would substitute for petroleum. These and other 
non-conventional fuels are still generally too costly to be profitably produced. 
 With the exception of coalbed methane, tight sands gas, and "synfuels" from 
coal, the credit's effects have, generally, not been sufficient to offset the 
disincentive effects of previously low and unstable oil prices, and the high 
cost of non-conventional fuels mining and production. Recently high crude 
oil prices (over $70/barrel in 2006) might, if they remain high and stable, 
render some of the non-conventional petroleum fuels (such as oil shale and tar 
sands) competitive, which might stimulate production even without a tax 
credit.  However, variable oil prices add to the risk of these and other types of 
energy ventures and investments, and undermine profitability and investments 
in these areas.



The primary supply effects of the section 45K tax credit have been on non-
conventional gases, particularly of coalbed methane, tight sands gas, and 
shale gas. The credit has increased drilling for these gases, and added to total 
natural gas reserves.  In the case of coalbed methane, the combined effect of 
the large tax credit (the credit of $1.00 per mcf was, at times, 100% of natural 
gas prices) and declining production costs (due to technological advances in 
drilling and production techniques) has helped boost production from 0.1 
billion cubic feet in 1980 to 1.6 trillion cubic feet in 2003. More recently, 
favorable rulings by the Internal Revenue Service have increased the 
production of solid "synthetic" fuels from coal,  increasing the supply of these 
fuels for use as a feedstock in steel-making operations and in electricity 
generation. The credit for coalbed methane benefits largely oil and gas 
producers, both independent producers and major integrated oil companies, 
and coal companies. Many oil and gas companies, such as DTE Energy, 
Phillips Petroleum, and the Enron Corporation, used section 45K tax credits 
to help reduce their effective tax rates.


	Rationale

The original concept for the alternative fuels production tax credit goes 
back to an amendment by Senator Talmadge to H.R. 5263 (95th Congress), 
the Senate's version of the Energy Tax Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-618), one of five 
public laws in President Carter's National Energy Plan.  H.R. 5263 provided 
for a $3.00 per barrel tax credit or equivalent, but only for production of shale 
oil, gas from geopressurized brine, and gas from tight rock formations.

The final version of the Energy Tax Act did not include the production tax 
credit.  The original concept was resuscitated in 1979 by Senator Talmadge as 
S. 847 and S. 848, which became part of the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax 
Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-223). 

The purpose of the credits was to provide incentives for the private sector 
to increase the development of alternative domestic energy resources because 
of concern over oil import dependence and national security.  The United 
States has a large resource base of unconventional energy resources, including 
shale oil and unconventional gases such as tight sands gas and coalbed 
methane. According to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Minerals 
Management Service, estimated U.S. recoverable reserves of unconventional 
gases exceed those of any other category of gas, including estimates of 
conventional reserves, comprising 35% of the total. 

The section 45K credit's "placed-in-service" rule has been amended 
several times in recent years. The original 1980 windfall profit tax law 
established a placed-in-service deadline of December 31, 1989.  This was 
extended by one year to December 31, 1990, by the Technical and 
Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-647). That deadline was 
extended to December 31, 1991, as part of OBRA, the Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1990 (P.L.101-508).  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 
(P.L.102-486) extended coverage for facilities for biomass and fuels produced 
from coal  through 1997 and extended the credit on production from these 
facilities through 2007.  The Small Business Jobs Protection Act of 1996 
(P.L. 104-188) further extended the placed-in-service rule by an additional 
eighteen months.  In Rev. Proc. 2001-30 and 2001-34, the Internal Revenue 
Service implemented regulations that permitted greater production of solid 
synthetic fuels from coal to qualify for the section 45K credit. Some have 
questioned the scientific validity of these rules and have christened the 
process "spray and pray." 


The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) provided a 
production tax credit for refined coal.  The production tax credit's provisions 
were inserted in section 45 of the tax code, the section that provides a tax 
credit for electricity produced from renewable energy resources.  (A 
discussion of the section 45 tax credit appears elsewhere in the Energy section 
of this compendium.)

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) made several amendments to 
the section 45K tax credit. First, the credit's provisions were moved from 
section 29 of the tax code to new 45K. Before this, this credit was 
commonly known as the "section 29 credit." Second, the credit was made 
available for qualified facilities that produce coke or coke gas that were 
placed in service before January 1, 1993, or after June 30, 1998, and before 
January 1, 2010. Coke and coke gas produced and sold during the period 
beginning on the later of January 1, 2006, or the date the facility is placed in 
service, and ending on the date which is four years after such period begins, 
would be eligible for the production credit, but at a reduced rate and only for 
a limited quantity of fuel. The tax credit for coke and coke gas would be 
$3.00/barrel of oil equivalent, but the credit would be indexed for inflation 
starting with a 2004 base year as compared with a 1979 base year for other 
fuels. A facility producing coke or coke gas and receiving a tax credit under 
the previous section 29 rules would not be eligible to claim the credit under 
the new section 45K. The new provision also requires that the amount of 
credit-eligible coke produced not exceed an average barrel-of-oil equivalent 
of 4,000 barrels per day. Third, the 2005 Act provided that, with respect to 
the IRS moratorium on taxpayer-specific guidance concerning the credit, the 
IRS should consider issuing rulings and guidance on an expedited basis to 
those taxpayers who had pending ruling requests at the time that the IRS 
implemented the moratorium. Finally, the 2005 legislation made the general 
business limitations applicable to the tax credit. Any unused credits could be 
carried back one year and forward 20 years, except that the credit could not be 
carried back to a taxable year ending before January 1, 2006.  These new 
rules were made effective for fuel produced and sold after December 31, 
2005, in taxable years ending after such date.

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) eliminated the phase out limit for coke and 
coke gas, and clarified that petroleum based coke or coke gas does not 
qualify.


	Assessment



The section 45K credit has significantly reduced the cost and stimulated 
the supply of unconventional gases - particularly of coalbed methane from 
coal seams not likely to be mined for coal in the foreseeable future, and of 
tight sands gas and shale gas. Due to recently tight natural gas markets and 
relatively high prices, these additional supplies might have kept natural gas 
prices from rising even more.  In general, much of the added gas output has 
substituted for domestic and imported (i.e., Canadian) conventional natural 
gas rather than for imported petroleum, meaning that the credit has basically 
not achieved its underlying energy policy objective of enhancing energy 
security by reducing imported petroleum. More recently, additional supplies 
of domestic unconventional gases may be substituting for imported LNG 
(liquefied natural gas). Declining conventional natural gas production in 
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico has been 
partially offset by increases in Colorado and Wyoming, reflecting the growing 
prominence of unconventional sources such as tight sands, shales, and 
coalbeds. Unconventional gas production, currently at nearly 5 trillion cubic 
feet (1/4 of total domestic production), is projected to increase at the fastest 
rate of any other type of natural gas, largely because of expansion of 
unconventional gases from the Rocky Mountain region.

Economists see little justification for such a credit on grounds of allocative 
efficiency, distributional equity, or macroeconomic stability.  From an 
economic perspective, although tax incentives are generally less distortionary 
than mandates and standards, critics maintain that the section 45K tax credit 
compounds distortions in the energy markets, rather than correcting for 
preexisting distortions due to pollution, oil import dependence, "excessive" 
market risk, and other factors.  Such distortions may be addressed by other 
policies: Pollution and other environmental externalities may be dealt with by 
differential taxes positively related to the external cost; excessive dependence 
on imported petroleum and vulnerability to embargoes and price shocks have 
led to calls for either an oil import tax or a petroleum stockpile such as the 
Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

 The credit has not encouraged the collection of coalbed methane from 
active coal mines, which continues to be vented and which contributes a 
potent greenhouse gas linked to possible global warming.  Hydraulic 
fracturing of coal beds, and other environmental effects from the production 
of coalbed methane and other unconventional gases, is coming under greater 
scrutiny.  

In recent years, much of the benefits of the tax credits has accrued to coal 
producers and users, who spray the coal with a fuel and sell it as a solid 
"synthetic fuel." The coal industry has also benefitted from the expansion of 
the credit to coke and coke gas. Under the original statute and regulations, 
such conversion of coal into a synthetic fuel was premised on a significant 
chemical transformation that would increase the energy content of the 
resulting fuel.








	Selected Bibliography

Andrews, Anthony. Oil Shale: History, Incentives, and Policy.  Library of 
Congress. Congressional Research Service Report RL33359, Washington, 
D.C. April 13, 2006.
Bryner, Gary C. "Coalbed Methane Development: The Costs and Benefits 
of an Emerging Energy Resource."  Natural Resource Journal, v. 43, Spring 
2003. pp. 519-560.
Clark, Judy. "Geopolitics, Unconventional Fuels to Reshape Industry," Oil 
and Gas Journal, April 25, 2005, pp 44-44
Crow, Patrick, and A.D. Koen. "Tight Gas Sands Drilling Buoying U.S. E 
& D Activity." Oil and Gas Journal, v. 90.  November 2, 1992, pp. 21-27.
Fletcher, Sam. "Major U.S. Supply Role Seen for Unconventional Gas," 
Oil and Gas Journal, December 20, 2004, pp. 32-34.
Kuuskraa, Vello A., and Charles F. Brandenburg.  "Coalbed Methane 
Sparks New Energy Industry," Oil and Gas Journal, v. 87.  October 9, 1989, 
pp. 49-56.
Lazzari, Salvatore.   Economic Analysis of the Section 29 Tax Credit for 
Unconventional Fuels, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report 97-679 E.  Washington, DC: July 7, 1997.
-. "Energy Taxation: Subsidies for Biomass," Encyclopedia of Energy 
Technology and the Environment, John Wiley & Sons, 1995, pp. 1238-1245.
-. Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL33578, Washington, D.C. July 28, 
2006.
_.  Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
Lemons, Bruce N. and Larry Nemirow. "Maximizing the Section 29 Credit 
in Coal Seam Methane Transactions," The Journal of Taxation.  April 1989, 
pp. 238-245.
Matlock, Judith M. and Laurence E. Nemirow.  "Section 29 Credits: The 
Case Against Requiring an NGPA Well-Category Determination," Journal of 
Taxation, v. 85.  August 1996, pp. 102-107.
McIntire Robert, and T.D. Coo Nguyen. Corporate Income Taxes in the 
1990s. Citizens for Tax Justice. October 2000.
McKinnon, John D. "Washington Alchemy Turns Coal Products Into Big 
Tax Credits."  The Wall Street Journal, v. 238, July 12, 2001. 
Morgan, Dan. "Coal State Senators Question Tax Audits: IRS Reviews 
Use of Synthetic Fuel Credits." The Washington Post, September 13, 2003. p. 
A-3.
Schraufnagel, D. G. Hill and R. A. McBane.  Coalbed Methane: A Decade 
of Success.  Paper Presented at the Conference of the Society of Petroleum 
Engineers. 1994.
Wills, Irene Y, and Norman A. Sunderman. "Section 29 Tax Credit Still 
Available," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 40. December 1991.











	Energy

	TAX CREDITS FOR ALCOHOL AND BIODIESEL FUELS


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

 -

(1)

(1)

2007

 -

0.1

0.1

2008

 -

0.1

0.1

2009

 -

(1)

(1)

2010

 -

(1)

(1)

* The figures exclude the revenue loss from the equivalent excise tax 
credit.  The JCT estimates that the credits result in a reduction in excise tax 
receipts, net of income tax effect, of $11.15 billion over the FY2006-2010 
period.
(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 38, 40, 40A, 87, 196, 6426.


	Description

There are three income tax credits for alcohol-based motor fuels: the 
alcohol mixtures credit, the pure alcohol fuel credit, and the small ethanol 
producer credit.  The existing alcohol mixture (or blender's) credit and the 
pure alcohol fuel credit is 51� per gallon of ethanol (60� for methanol) of at 
least 190 proof, and 37.78� for each gallon of alcohol between 150 and 190 
proof (45�  for methanol).  No credit is available for alcohol that is less than 
150 proof. The 51� credit was reduced from 52� on January 1, 2005. The 
alcohol mixtures credit is available to the blender (who typically is either the 
refiner, wholesale distributor or marketer); the pure (or "neat") alcohol credit 
may only be claimed by the consumer or retail seller.  


The alcohol fuels mixtures tax credit is typically claimed as an instant 
excise tax credit that is equivalent to the excise tax exemption, and which 
may be claimed in lieu of the income tax credits. For 90/10 mixtures (90% 
gasoline, 10% ethanol) the excise tax credit is 5.1� per gallon of the blend - 
the blend is taxed at 13.3� per gallon, 5.1� less than the full rate of 18.4� per 
gallon on gasoline blends. The current 5.1� credit, which is equivalent to 51� 
per gallon of ethanol, is generally claimed up front on sales of gasoline loaded 
onto tanker trucks. Blenders prefer to claim the excise tax credit, rather than 
the income tax credit, because its benefits accrue immediately upon the 
purchase of the fuels for blending rather than when the tax return is filed.  
Also, the excise tax credit is not treated as taxable income, whereas the 
income tax credits have to be reported as taxable  income, and are thus taxed. 
 Before January 1, 2005, the primary tax subsidy for alcohol fuel 
blends was an excise tax exemption (at the rate of 5.2�/gallon of 
blended fuels (mixtures of 10% ethanol, and 90% gasoline). This 
exemption was taken against the excise taxes otherwise due on each 
gallon of blended mixtures. This exemption, which was scheduled to 
decline to 5.1� on January 1, 2005, reduced the gasoline excise tax 
for "gasohol," from 18.4� to 13.2�/gallon. Because the primary benefits 
from alcohol fuels were realized through an exemption rather than a tax 
credit, revenue losses (or reduced excise taxes) accrued to the Highway Trust 
Fund (HTF) rather than the general fund. 

For fuel ethanol, current law also provides for a production tax credit in 
the amount of 10� per gallon of ethanol produced and sold for use as a 
transportation fuel. This credit, called the "small ethanol producer credit," is 
limited to the first 15 million gallons of annual alcohol production for each 
small producer, defined as one with an annual production capacity of under 
60 million gallons.  This is in addition to any blender's tax credit claimed on 
the same fuel.  The small ethanol producer's tax credit currently flows 
through to the members of a farmers' cooperative, which means that the 
current system of ethanol incentives effectively is of no benefit to such 
cooperatives.

A 1990 IRS ruling allowed mixtures of gasoline and ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary 
Butyl Ether) to qualify for the 52� blender's credit. ETBE is a compound that 
results from a chemical reaction between ethanol (which must be produced 
from renewables under this ruling) and isobutylene.  ETBE is technically 
feasible as a substitute for ethanol or MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) as 
a source of oxygen in gasoline regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  Up 
until recently, MTBE was the preferred oxygenate, although ethanol was also 
used in some regions of the United States, particularly in the Midwest. MTBE 
has, however, been linked to groundwater contamination and has been banned 
in many states.  The Energy Policy Act of 2005  (P.L. 109-58) repealed the 
oxygenate requirement for reformulated gasoline and imposed a renewable 
fuel standard, which effectively stimulates the use of ethanol in place of 
MTBE as a fuel additive.


The alcohol fuels income tax credits must be included as income, and are 
taxable, under IRC 87.  Also, the alcohol credits are components of the 
general business credit and are subject to the limitations and the carry-back 
and carry-forward rules of that credit. Under tax code section 196, any credit 
amount that is unused because of these limitations may be claimed as a 
deduction in the subsequent tax year.

For biodiesel fuel, the structure of the tax subsidies is similar to those for 
fuel ethanol, although very little of these blends is actually produced.  There 
are essentially three  new tax credits: a credit for biodiesel fuel mixtures 
(blends of biodiesel and petroleum diesel), a credit for unblended (pure) 
biodiesel either used or sold at retail by the taxpayer, and a small biodiesel 
producer credit. The biodiesel mixtures credit and pure biodiesel credit is 50� 
per gallon of biodiesel made from recycled oils and $1.00 per gallon of 
biodiesel made from virgin oils - so called "agri"-biodiesel. The mixtures 
tax credit may also be claimed as an instant excise tax credit against the 24.4� 
per gallon tax on diesel blends. The mixtures credit is proportionate to the 
fraction of biodiesel in the mixture- a blend of 80% diesel with 20% virgin 
biodiesel would qualify for a 20�/gallon tax credit against the 24.4� tax.

Also, effective on August 9, 2005, an "eligible small agri-biodiesel 
producer credit" of  10� is available for each gallon of "qualified 
agri-biodiesel production." An eligible "small agri-biodiesel producer" is 
defined as any person who, at all times during the taxable year, has annual 
productive capacity for agri-biodiesel not in excess of 60,000,000 gallons. 
The term "qualified agri-biodiesel production" would be defined as any 
agri-biodiesel, not to exceed 15,000,000 gallons, that: (1) the producer sells 
during the taxable year for use by the purchaser (a) in the production of a 
qualified biodiesel mixture in the purchaser's trade or business, (b) as a fuel in 
a trade or business, or (c) for sale at retail to another person who places the 
agri-biodiesel in that person's fuel tank; or (2) the producer uses or sells for 
any of such purposes. Aggregation rules are provided for determining the 
15,000,000 and 60,000,000 gallon limits, for applying the limits to 
passthrough entities, and for allocating productive capacity among multiple 
persons with interests in one facility, and authorize anti-abuse regulations. 
The section also permits IRC 1381(a) cooperative organizations to elect to 
apportion the eligible small agri-biodiesel producer credit among their 
patrons, and would set forth the election procedure. The eligible small 
agri-biodiesel producer credit is effective for taxable years ending after 
August 8, 2005 and sunsets after December 31, 2008. 



Thus, as of January 1, 2005, the reduced rates of excise taxes (i.e., the 
exemptions) for alcohol-blended fuels that were the principal tax incentives 
are repealed. Blenders instead will pay the full rate of tax on gasoline and 
diesel purchases (18.4� and 24.4�, respectively) - and claim the respective 
tax credits on each gallon of ethanol and biodiesel intended to be blended 
with gasoline and petroleum diesel, respectively.  Taxpayers are to file a claim 
for a refund of these tax credits, which must be paid by the IRS within 45 
days, after which interest begins to accrue. Both the restructured fuel ethanol 
tax credits and the new biodiesel tax credits are part of the general business 
credit and subject to its limits. The provisions restructuring the tax incentives 
for fuel ethanol and introducing the biodiesel tax credits are effective for fuel 
produced, sold, or used after December 31, 2004, and before January 1, 2011, 
for both biodiesel and fuel ethanol. This means that the biodiesel tax credits 
and the fuel ethanol blender's tax credits expire on these dates, respectively.  

In all cases, the alcohol fuels tax credits apply to biomass ethanol (alcohol 
from renewable resources such as vegetative matter), and to methanol derived 
from biomass, including wood.  Alcohol derived from petroleum, natural gas, 
or coal (including peat) does not qualify for either the current (or the 
restructured) tax credits or the current exemption. Most economically feasible 
methanol is derived primarily from natural gas; methanol from renewable 
resources is generally too costly to produce economically.  The effect of this 
is to exclude most of actual methanol production from the tax incentives.  
However, methanol derived from methane gas produced from landfills is not 
alcohol produced from natural gas, and is included for credit purposes.  About 
90% of current biomass ethanol production is derived from corn.   Most 
biodiesel is made from either recycled or virgin vegetable oil, but biodiesel 
made from animal fats also qualifies for the biodiesel tax credits.  Agri-
biodiesel is derived from virgin oils including esters derived from corn, 
soybeans, sunflower seeds, and other agricultural products.


	Impact

The fuel ethanol tax subsidies increase the demand for ethanol, which 
further raises its price (on a before-tax basis) and increases the output of 
ethanol. After taxes, however, the net price of ethanol to the blender is 
comparable to the wholesale price of gasoline and to other blending 
components. Thus, the effect of the subsidies is to create a market for ethanol 
producers, such as Archer Daniels Midland, who supply the ethanol to the 
blenders. It should be noted that although ethanol producers do not claim the 
tax credits, the economic benefit of the subsidies accrues primarily to them.  
Most of the alcohol fuel produced in the United States is ethanol; about 90% 
of it is produced from corn, which is the cheapest feedstock..



Production of ethanol as a motor fuel, most of which is a gasoline blend, 
has increased from about 40 million gallons in 1979 to 1.7 billion gallons in 
2001, 2.8 billion gallons in 2003, and 3.9 billion gallons in 2005. Ethanol 
production for 2006 is estimated to reach 5 billion gallons. This represents 
about 3.0% of the gasoline consumption of about 140 billion gallons, but at 
10% blends, ethanol is now used in a significant fraction of the total gasoline 
market (currently about 30% of the gasoline sold in the United States contains 
10% ethanol). The initial growth in ethanol production was mostly due to the 
federal excise tax exemption, the excise tax exemptions at the state and local 
level, tariffs on imported ethanol, and the high oil prices in the late 1970s and 
early 1980s, rather than to the alcohol fuels tax credits, which have been little 
used. More recently environmental policy - Clean Air Act requirements for 
reformulated and oxygenated fuels, the widespread banning of MTBE, and 
the establishment of a renewable fuels standard - have also increased 
demand for fuel ethanol.  In addition to the various tax and regulatory 
subsidies for fuel ethanol, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 also established a 
mandate (the "renewable fuels standard") for refiners to use ethanol in certain 
proportions in place of other oxygenates such as MTBE. The standard for 
2006 is 4.0 billion gallons of ethanol, increasing to 7.5 billion gallons in 
2012. 

The banning of MTBE by many states and the repeal of the Clean Air 
Act's oxygenate requirement, and the renewable fuels standard are projected 
to further stimulate the production of ethanol for use as an oxygen source for 
reformulated gasoline, and thus to reduce the production and importation of 
alternate oxygen sources. As this occurs, it will increase the share of the U.S. 
corn crop allocated to ethanol production  (13% in 2004). It is expected also 
to increase federal revenue losses from the alcohol fuels credits, which 
heretofore have been negligible due to blenders' use of the exemption over 
the credit.

Under the modified tax incentives, the ethanol blender's tax credits against 
the excise tax are roughly equivalent to the value of the excise tax exemption 
on each gallon of ethanol, but the tax restrictions under the general business 
credit, and the inclusion of the credit itself in income, will reduce the 
economic value of the tax credits. For biodiesel, however, which had no tax 
subsidies prior to the restructuring, the new tax credits are potentially of 
significant economic benefit, even with the requirement that they be taxable 
income.


	Rationale

The alcohol fuels tax credits enacted in 1980 were intended to complement 
the excise-tax exemptions for alcohol fuels enacted in 1978. These 
exemptions provided the maximum tax benefit when the gasohol mixture was 
90% gasoline and 10% alcohol. Subsequent tax law changes provided a 
prorated exemption to blends of 7.7% and 5.7% alcohol, so that ethanol used 
to meet the former CAA requirement for reformulated and the continuing 
requirement for oxygenated gasoline receives the maximum tax benefit. 
Under the restructured incentives and the mandate, these prorated exemptions 
will no longer be used. 



The Congress wanted the credits to provide incentives for the production 
and use of alcohol fuels in mixtures that contained less than 10% alcohol. The 
Congress also wanted to give tax-exempt users (such as farmers) an incentive 
to use alcohol fuel mixtures instead of tax-exempt gasoline and diesel. 
Ethanol-blended gasoline leads to greater reductions in carbon monoxide than 
does MTBE-blended gasoline.  Ethanol-blended gasoline, however, has 
relatively higher evaporative emissions, as compared with reformulated 
gasoline with MTBE, which cause increases in the ozone-forming potential of 
volatile organic compounds, which leads to increased ozone (smog) 
formation.  

Both the credits and excise-tax exemptions were enacted to encourage the 
substitution of alcohol fuels produced from renewables for petroleum-based 
gasoline and diesel. The underlying policy objective is, as with many other 
energy tax incentives, to reduce reliance on imported petroleum. In addition, 
the Congress wanted to help support farm incomes by finding another market 
for corn, sugar, and other agricultural products that are the basic raw materials 
for alcohol production. About 1.6 billion bushels of corn were used in 2005 to 
produce fuel ethanol, over 15% of the total corn crop. The increased demand 
for corn will raise the price of all corn and may increase annual income from 
corn farming by $5 billion or more. The rationale for the biodiesel tax credits 
is to provide tax incentives to create an environmentally friendly substitute for 
conventional diesel fuel, while also creating additional markets for farm 
products.  

The alcohol fuels mixture credit and the pure alcohol fuels credit were 
enacted as part of the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-
223), at the rate of 40� per gallon for alcohol that was 190 proof or more, and 
30� per gallon for alcohol between 150 and 190 proof. The credits were 
increased in 1982 and 1984. The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990 (P.L. 
101-508) reduced the credits to 54� and 40� and introduced the 10� per-
gallon small ethanol producer credit. The Transportation Equity Act for the 
21st Century (P.L. 105-178) reduced the blender's tax credit from 54� to its 
current rate of 52�, and to 51� beginning in 2005. 

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) reformed the tax 
incentives for fuel ethanol, by, in effect, treating the tax credits as if they were 
payments of excise tax liability. The rationale for the restructuring was to 
increase revenues for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Consumption of fuel 
ethanol blends results in revenue losses to the HTF in the amount of the 5.2� 
exemption times the quantity of fuel ethanol blends used. In addition, under 
tax code sections enacted in 1990, 2.5� of the taxable portion of the tax (the 
13.2� for 90/10 fuel ethanol blends) was retained in the general fund.  Thus, 
in total, the HTF lost, under previous law, 7.7�/gallon of fuel ethanol blends 
(5.2� plus 2.5�).  Under the restructured incentives, tax revenue losses accrue 
to the general fund, rather than the HTF. The American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004 also introduced the biodiesel fuel tax credits, and allowed, for the first 
time, the small ethanol producer's tax credit to flow through to members of a 
farmers' cooperative.  



The Energy Policy Act of 2005 made several amendments to the tax 
subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel fuels. First, it raised the maximum annual 
alcohol production capacity for an eligible small ethanol producer from 30 
million gallons to 60 million gallons. The provision also modified the election 
by a cooperative to allocate the credit to its patrons by conditioning the 
validity of the election on the cooperative's mailing a written notice of the 
allocation to its patrons during the period beginning on the first day of the 
taxable year covered by the election and ending with the fifteenth day of the 
ninth month following the close of that taxable year. Second, the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 added the 10�/gallon "eligible small agri-biodiesel 
producer credit" to the list of credits that comprise the biodiesel fuels credit. 
The Energy Policy Act also permitted cooperative organizations to elect to 
apportion the eligible small agri-biodiesel producer credit among their 
patrons, and set forth the election procedure.  Another provision extended the 
existing income tax credit, excise tax credit, and payment incentives for 
biodiesel (which were enacted in 2004 under the "Jobs Bill") through 
December 31, 2010. 


	Assessment

The alcohol fuels tax credits were enacted as part of President Carter's 
National Energy Program to increase the development and use of a domestic 
renewable fuel as a substitute for imported petroleum motor fuels, which 
account for the bulk of petroleum consumption and imports.  The subsidies 
lower the cost of producing and marketing ethanol fuels that would otherwise 
not be competitive. They target one specific alternative fuel over many others 
- such as methanol, liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, or 
electricity - that could theoretically substitute for gasoline and diesel.  
Alcohol fuel is a more costly fuel or fuel additive, as compared with 
alternatives such as MTBE, especially when total resource costs, including 
revenue losses, are factored in.  Alcohol fuels also require substantial energy 
to produce, thereby diminishing the net overall conservation effect.

These incentives originated as energy security measures - reducing 
dependence on petroleum imports - but their effect in expanding farm 
incomes (due to the increase in corn demand, and a higher corn price for all 
corn output) has not been overlooked by policymakers. To the extent that the 
credits induce a substitution of domestically produced ethanol for petroleum-
based motor fuels, they reduce petroleum imports and provide some 
environmental gains, although not necessarily more than other alternative 
fuels. So far, it is the excise tax exemptions, rather than the blender's credits, 
that have provided these stimulative effects.



At 51� per gallon of alcohol, the ethanol subsidy is approximately $22 per 
barrel of oil displaced (43% of the average domestic oil price of $51 in 2005); 
at $1.00/gallon of virgin biodiesel, the biodiesel subsidy is $42/barrel of 
displaced oil (82% of the 2005 crude price).  Tax subsidies are generally an 
inefficient way of dealing with energy security or environmental concerns, 
and this is also the case with the alcohol and biodiesel fuels tax subsidies, 
which do not directly address the external costs of petroleum motor fuels 
production, use, and importation. Providing tax subsidies for one type of fuel 
over others could further distort market decisions and engender an inefficient 
allocation of resources, even if doing so produces some energy security and 
environmental benefits.  

With a renewable fuels standard the tax credits no longer become 
incentives for demand and production, but increase profits for ethanol 
producers and farmers, raise costs for refiners (as ethanol prices increase), and 
increase fuel prices for consumers.  This leads to not just substantial losses in 
federal tax revenue, but additional economic distortions in fuels and 
agricultural markets.


	Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office. Budget Options. Section 31: Curtail Income 
Tax Preferences for Businesses and Other Entities. February 2001.
Consumer Reports.  The Ethanol Myth. Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. 
October 2006.
Downstream Alternatives, Inc. Infrastructure Requirements for an 
Expanded Fuel Ethanol Industry.  January 15, 2002.
Evans, Michael K.  Economic Impact of the Demand for Ethanol. 
Midwestern Governors' Conference.  February 1997.   
Fischer, Carolyn and Michael Toman. Environmentally and Economically 
Damaging Subsidies: Concepts and Illustrations  (Climate Issue Brief #14). 
Resources for the Future, 2000.  
Kane, Sally, John Reilly, Michael LeBlanc, and James Hrubovcak. 
"Ethanol's Role: An Economic Assessment," Agribusiness, v. 5. September 
1989, pp. 505-522.
Lareau, Thomas J. "The Economics of Alternative Fuel Use: Substituting 
Methanol for Gasoline."  Contemporary Policy Issues, v. 8. October 1990, 
pp. 138-155. 
Lazzari, Salvatore. Alcohol Fuels Tax Incentives. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 32979.  Washington, DC: July 6, 
2005.
Lazzari, Salvatore. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, 
DC: June 28, 2005.
The Renewable Fuels Association.  Industry Outlook: 2006. February 
2006.  
U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Ways and Means. Certain Tax and 
Trade Alcohol Fuel Initiatives, Hearing, 101st Congress, 2nd session.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, February 1, 1990.


-. Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Crude Oil 
Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980 (H.R. 3919, P.L. 96-233), 96th Congress, 
2nd session.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Energy. Breaking the Biological Barriers to Cellulosic 
Ethanol: A Joint Research Agenda.  DOE/SC-0095. June 2006.
U.S. General Accounting Office. Effects of the Alcohol Fuels Tax 
Incentives, GAO/GGD-97-41.  March 6, 1997.
Womach, Jasper, and Brent Yacobucci.  Fuel Ethanol: Background and 
Public Policy Issues.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report RL30369, Washington, DC: October 19, 2006.
Yacobucci, Brent. Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33572, 
Washington, DC: July 25, 2006.
Yacobucci, Brent. "Boutique Fuels" and Reformulated Gasolines: 
Harmonization of Fuel Standards. Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report RL31361, Washington, DC: May 10, 2006.











Energy

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT QUALIFIED PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS
FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION FACILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

(1)

0.1

2007

0.1

(1)

0.1

 2008

0.1

(1)

0.1

2009

0.1

(1)

0.1

2010

0.1

(1)

0.1

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 142, and 146.


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance the construction 
of certain energy facilities for a city and one contiguous county or two 
contiguous counties, is tax exempt.  These energy facility bonds are classified 
as private-activity bonds, rather than as governmental bonds, because a 
substantial portion of their benefits accrues to individuals or business rather 
than to the general public.  For more discussion of the distinction between 
governmental bonds and private-activity bonds, see the entry under General 
Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State 
and Local Debt.



These bonds may be issued to finance the construction of hydroelectric 
generating facilities at dam sites constructed before March 18, 1979, or at 
sites without dams that require no impoundment of water.  Bonds may also be 
issued to finance solid waste disposal facilities that produce electric energy.  
These exempt facility bonds generally are subject to the State private-activity 
bond annual volume cap.  Bonds issued for government-owned solid waste 
disposal facilities, a different category of private activity bond, are not, 
however, subject to the volume cap.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to provide the services of local energy facilities at 
lower cost.

Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and users of the energy facilities, and estimates of the 
distribution of tax-exempt interest income by income class, see the "Impact" 
discussion under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on 
Public Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

The Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act of 1980 used tax credits to 
encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy sources.  Because 
State and local governments pay no Federal income tax, Congress in this Act 
authorized governmental entities to use tax-exempt bonds to reduce the cost 
of investing in hydroelectric generating facilities.  The portion of the facility 
eligible for tax-exempt financing ranged from 100 percent for 25-megawatt 
facilities to zero percent for 125-megawatt facilities.

The definition of solid waste plants eligible for tax-exempt financing was 
expanded by the 1980 Act because the Treasury regulations then existing 
denied such financing to many of the most technologically efficient methods 
of converting waste to energy.  This expansion of eligibility included plants 
that generated steam or produced alcohol.  Tax exemption for steam 
generation and alcohol production facilities bonds were eliminated by the 
1986 Tax Act.


	Assessment

Any decision about changing the status of these two eligible private 
activities would likely consider the Nation's need for renewable energy 
sources to replace fossil fuels, and the importance of solid waste disposal in 
contributing to environmental goals.


Even if a case can be made for a Federal subsidy of energy production 
facilities based on  underinvestment at the State and local level, it is important 
to recognize the potential costs.  As one of many categories of tax-exempt 
private-activity bonds, those issued for energy production facilities increase 
the financing cost of bonds issued for other public capital.  With a greater 
supply of public bonds, the interest rate on the bonds necessarily increases to 
lure investors.  In addition, expanding the availability of tax-exempt bonds 
increases the range of assets available to individuals and corporations to 
shelter their income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and 
Background Related to State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee 
Print JCX-14-06, March 16, 2006.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.  General 
Explanation of the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act of 1980.  96th 
Congress, 2nd session, 1980.
U.S. Department of Treasury,  Internal Revenue Service.  Tax-Exempt 
Private Activity Bonds, Publication 4078, June 2004.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  Electricity Restructuring and Tax-Exempt Bonds: 
Economic Analysis of Legislative Proposals, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30411.
-.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling Public Subsidy of 
Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 1991.










Energy

EXCLUSION OF ENERGY CONSERVATION SUBSIDIES
PROVIDED BY PUBLIC UTILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

-

(1)

2007

(1)

-

(1)

 2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 136.


	Description

Gross income does not include the value of any subsidy provided (directly 
or indirectly) by a public utility to a customer for the purchase or installation 
of any energy conservation measure. An energy conservation measure is any 
installation or modification primarily designed to reduce consumption of 
electricity or natural gas or to improve the management of energy demand 
with respect to a dwelling unit.  To the extent that an energy conservation 
expenditure by a taxpayer qualifies for this exclusion, tax law denies any 
other tax benefits on the same expenditure, and requires a reduction in the 
adjusted basis of the property to which the energy conservation devices were 
added.




Impact

The exclusion reduces the total cost of energy-efficiency devices provided 
under programs by utilities to conserve energy, since, absent such provisions, 
the value of the rebates or other incentives provided by the utility would be 
included in the customer's gross income and subject to tax.  Depending on the 
marginal tax rate of the customer, the tax saving could be as much as one-
third the value of the subsidy. While beneficiaries will be primarily residential 
customers, the exclusion applies to dwelling units and so could also be 
claimed by businesses that own condominiums or apartments, for example. 


	Rationale

An exclusion for residential customers had originally been enacted as part 
of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-619). This 
exclusion was amended by Title V of the Energy Security Act of 1980 (P.L. 
96-294), but had expired in mid-1989. The current provision was adopted as 
part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-486), to encourage residential 
and business customers of public utilities to participate in energy conservation 
programs sponsored by the utility. The goal was to enhance the energy 
efficiency of dwelling units and encourage energy conservation in residential 
and commercial buildings. The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 
(P.L. 104-188) repealed the partial exclusion with respect to business 
property, effective on January 1, 1997, unless pursuant to a binding contract 
in effect on September 13, 1995. In addition, the 1996 amendments dropped a 
part of section 136 that allowed the exclusion to apply to industrial energy 
conservation devices and technologies. 


Assessment

Utilities sometimes use rebates and other incentives to induce their 
customers to invest in more energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, 
and other energy-saving devices. Such a program might be justified on the 
grounds of conservation, if consumption of energy resulted in negative effects 
on society, such as pollution. In general, however, it would be more efficient 
to directly tax energy fuels than to subsidize a particular method of achieving 
conservation.  From an economic perspective, allowing special tax benefits 
for certain types of investment or consumption results in a misallocation of 
resources.



There may be a market failure in tenant-occupied homes, if the tenant pays 
for electricity separately.  In rental housing, the tenant and the landlord lack 
strong financial incentives to invest in energy conservation equipment and 
materials, even when the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, because the 
benefits from such conservation may not entirely accrue to the party 
undertaking the energy-saving expenditure and effort.  Builders and buyers 
may also lack sufficient information, a problem which is discussed below.

As a general rule, tenants are not going to improve the energy efficiency of 
a residence that does not belong to them, even if the unit is metered.  They 
might if the rate of return (or payback) is sufficiently large, but most tenants 
do not occupy rental housing long enough to reap the full benefits of the 
energy conservation investments. Part of the problem is also that it is not 
always easy to calculate the energy savings potential (hence rates of return) 
from the various retrofitting investments. Landlords may not be able to 
control the energy consumption habits of renters to sufficiently recover the 
full cost of the energy conservation expenditures, regardless of whether the 
units are individually metered. If the units are individually metered, then the 
landlord would not undertake such investments since all the benefits 
therefrom would accrue to the renters, unless a landlord could charge higher 
rents on apartments with lower utility costs.  If the units are not individually 
metered, but under centralized control, the benefits of conservation measures 
may accrue largely to the landlord, but even here the tenants may have 
sufficient control over energy use to subvert the accrual of any gains to the 
landlord.  In such cases, from the landlord's perspective, it may be easier and 
cheaper to forgo the conservation investments and simply pass on energy 
costs as part of the rents.  Individual metering can be quite costly,  and while 
it may reduce some of the distortions, it is not likely to completely eliminate 
them, because even if the landlord can charge higher rents, he may not be able 
to recover the costs of energy conservation efforts or investments.

These market failures may lead to underinvestment in conservation 
measures in rental housing and provide the economic rationale for Internal 
Revenue Code (IRC) 136.  Without such explicit exclusion, such subsidies 
would be treated as gross income and subject to tax.  This exclusion, 
however, applies both to owner-occupied and to rental housing.


	Selected Bibliography

Bird, Bruce, Steven M. Platau, and Warren A. Beatty.  "Excluding Utility 
Rebates from Gross Income." The CPA Journal, v. 63, March 1993. 
Brown, Marilyn  "Market Failures and Barriers as a Basis for Clean 
Energy Policies," Energy Policy, v. 29.  November 2001, pp. 1197-1207.
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf.  "Market Failure and 
Energy Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17. 
 August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hahn, Robert W. "Energy Conservation: An Economic Perspective."  
American Enterprise Institute, October 2005.
Hassett, Kevin A., and Gilbert E. Metcalf.  "Energy Conservation 
Investment: Do Consumers Discount the Future Correctly?"  Energy Policy, 
v. 21.  June 1993, pp. 710-716.


Howarth, Richard B. and Bo Anderson.  "Market Barriers to Energy 
Efficiency." Energy Economics, October, 1993. pp. 262-292.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
_. Energy Tax Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 94-525. Washington, DC: 
June 22, 1994.
Loskamp, Wendy. Energy, Water Efficiencies and Savings Come From 
Meter Data Management.  Energy Pulse.  Insight Analysis and Commentary 
on the Global Power Industry.  http\www.energypulse.net.
Pauley, Patricia, et al. "The Energy Policy Act of 1992: Provisions 
Affecting Individuals." Taxes, February, 1993, pp. 91-96.
Metcalf, Gilbert E.  "Economics and Rational Conservation Policy." 
Energy Policy, v. 22.  October 1994, pp. 819-825.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "Energy Efficiency or the Efficient Use of Energy 
Resources."  Energy Sources, v. 16, pp. 257-268.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "The Economics of Energy Conservation Policy."  
Energy Policy, v. 24.  April 1996, pp. 361-370.
U.S. Congress, House. Report to Accompany H.R. 776, the Comprehensive 
Energy Policy Act.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Report 102-474, Part 6,  pp. 35-37.
-. House. Committee on Energy and Commerce.  National Energy Policy: 
Conservation and Energy Efficiency. Hearings Before the Subcommittee on 
Energy and Air Quality. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
June 22, 2001. 
U.S. Department of Energy. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 
"Energy Efficiency, Market Failures, and Government Policy."  Levine, Mark 
D. et al.  March 1994.








Energy

TAX CREDIT FOR INVESTMENTS
IN SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL, FUEL CELLS, AND 
MICROTURBINES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

0.1

0.1

2008

(1)

 (1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 46 and 48.


	Description



Sections 46 and 48 provide a  non-refundable income-tax credit for 
business investment in solar and geothermal energy equipment, fuel cells, and 
microturbines. The energy credit percentage is 30% for solar and fuel cell 
equipment, and 10% for geothermal and microturbine energy equipment. The 
30% business energy credit for the purchase of qualified fuel cells applies to 
the costs of the power plants subject to a limit of  $1,000 for each kilowatt of 
capacity. The power plant must have an electricity-only generation efficiency 
of greater than 30% and generation capacity of at least 0.5 kilowatt of 
electricity. For microturbines, the system must have an electricity-only 
generation efficiency of not less that 26% at International Standard 
Organization conditions and a capacity of less than 2,000 kilowatts. The 
microturbine credit is 10% of the equipment costs (or basis) subject to a limit 
of $200 for each kilowatt of capacity. 

Solar equipment is defined as a system that generates electricity directly 
(photovoltaic systems), or that heats, cools, or provides hot water in a 
building.  It also includes equipment that illuminates the inside of a structure 
using fiber-optic distributed sunlight. Solar property used for heating a 
swimming pool is not eligible for the solar credit. Geothermal equipment 
includes systems used to produce, distribute, or use energy from a natural 
underground deposit of hot water, heat, or steam (such as geysers). In the case 
of geothermal equipment used to generate electricity, only equipment up to 
the transmission stage qualifies for the credit. A qualified fuel cell power 
plant is an integrated system comprised of a fuel cell stack assembly and 
associated balance of plant components that converts a fuel (usually natural 
gas) into electricity using electrochemical means, and which has an 
electricity-only generation efficiency of greater than 30%. The 10% credit for 
microturbines applies to the purchase of stationary microturbine power plants, 
including secondary components located between the existing infrastructure 
for fuel delivery and the existing infrastructure for power distribution.

The 30% credit for solar, and the credits for fuel cells and microturbines, 
are effective for property placed in service periods after December 31, 2005, 
and before January 1, 2009. On January 1, 2009, the credit for solar reverts 
back to 10% - the credit rate for solar and geothermal before expansion 
under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58).

Investment in solar and wind energy equipment may also be recovered 
over 5 years, which provides for more accelerated  depreciation deductions, 
and, therefore, lower effective tax rates, than under the more standard 
depreciation guidelines. However, the taxpayer's property costs for purposes 
of depreciation would be reduced by the amount of the investment tax credit 
claimed. As of January 1, 2005, electricity generated by solar and geothermal 
technologies has qualified for the section 45 production tax credit (as 
described in a separate entry in the Energy section of this compendium).  
However, if an investment tax credit is claimed under sections 46 and 48, 
then rules against double-dipping prevent a section 45 production tax credit 
from being claimed for power generated from the equipment that would 
receive the investment tax credit.

The business tax credits for solar, geothermal, fuel cell, and microturbine 
technologies are components of the general business credits  and are thus 
subject to the restrictions, limitations, and carryover provisions of those 
credits.



	Impact

The energy tax credits lower the cost of, and increase the rate of return to, 
investing in solar and geothermal equipment, whose return is generally much 
lower due to significantly higher capital costs, as compared to conventional 
energy equipment. Even with a 10% credit, and the recent technological 
innovations that have reduced costs, solar, geothermal, and other renewable 
energy technologies require relatively high and stable real oil prices in order 
to realize rates of return high enough to justify private investment. However, 
the quality of, and access to, a geothermal deposit can, in specialized cases, 
lower the production costs to below the costs of conventional energy.  
Sustained high real crude oil prices -  both in nominal and real terms such 
prices have, recently, been the highest since the early 1980s - would render 
these technologies more competitive.

Even during the early 1980s, when oil prices were higher than today in real 
terms, and effective tax rates on these types of equipment were sometimes 
negative (due to the combined effect of the energy tax credits, the regular 
10%  investment tax credit, and accelerated depreciation), business 
investment in these technologies was negligible. It is not clear how much 
these credits encourage additional investment as opposed to subsidizing 
investment that would have been made anyway.



Renewable energy resources are, by definition,  naturally replenished in a 
relatively short period of time. They include biomass, hydro power, 
geothermal energy, wind energy, and solar energy. In 2005, about 6% of all 
energy consumed, and about 9% of total electricity production was from 
renewable energy sources.  About half of renewable energy is consumed by 
the electric power sector to generate electricity, derived mostly from 
hydroelectric (45%), wood (31%), geothermal (6%), and wind (2.5%). 
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar power 
accounts for 1% of total renewable energy consumption,  used mostly in 
personal residences. Due primarily to high capital costs and low (or even 
negative) rates of return of solar systems, this still accounts for a negligible 
fraction of total residential energy use.  Most solar thermal collectors are used 
for heating water and pools in residences. Geothermal energy consumption 
increased slightly from 2004 to 2005 (about 3%). Electricity generated from 
wind turbines has recently increased, mostly in response to a combination of 
federal and state incentives, but also due to the recent high energy prices. 
Wind power, which is virtually all electric, has been rising rapidly recently, 
increasing from negligible amounts in 1988 to about 15 kWhrs in 2005. 
However, EIA says wind still accounts for only 2.5% of  renewable energy, 
and for only 0.36% of total U.S. electricity generation. Electricity from wind 
receives a production tax credit, but wind equipment does not qualify for an 
investment tax credit. There is little  energy generated from fuel cells or 
microturbines, as these technologies are in their infancy. But these 
technologies - particularly microturbines - are frequently mentioned 
among the newly emerging high-efficiency advanced energy technologies.

Despite this, however, production and use of solar thermal collectors and 
photovoltaic systems has increased significantly over the last 20 years. 2005 
was a big year for photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, returning to the 
pattern of strong growth seen between 2000 and 2002. For 2005, EIA reports 
that total shipments of PV cells and modules reached a record high of 
226,916 peak kilowatts, a 25% increase from the 2004 level (181,116 peak 
kilowatts), but 108% more than the 2003 level (109,357 peak kilowatts). The 
total value of photovoltaic cell and module shipments grew around 40% to 
$702 million in 2005. The average price for modules and cells (dollars per 
peak watt) has declined significantly over the years. The impressive gains in 
production and use of photovoltaic systems, some of which are exported, has 
been driven primarily by declines in manufacturing costs, and the high price 
of conventional energy, but government policies promoting renewable energy 
have undoubtedly also played a significant role.  

The demand for solar thermal collectors (measured in square feet) has also 
increased in recent years, although demand is still below the levels of the late 
1970s and early 1980s  - both the number of  manufacturers and their 
shipments of collectors reached a peak in the early 1980s coincident with the 
peak in oil prices.  The 1986 drop in oil prices and the termination of the 
original residential solar credit in 1985 led to a decline in solar collector 
shipments for the next 10 years. Total shipments began to increase again in 
1997 and in 2005 were more than double the amount in 1996. The residential 
sector continued to be the prime market for solar thermal collectors, totaling 
14.7 million square feet in 2005, or 92% of total shipments. The largest end 
use for solar collectors shipped in 2004 was for heating swimming pools, 
consuming 15 million square feet in 2005 (94% of total shipments). As a 
result, the vast majority of solar thermal collector shipments were  not eligible 
for the tax credits. The most recent data available shows that geothermal heat 
pump manufacturers shipped 43,806 geothermal heat pumps in 2004, a 20% 
increase over the 2003 total of 36,439. The total rated capacity of heat pumps 
shipped in 2004 was 144,301 tons of capacity (one ton of capacity = 12,000 
Btu's per-hour), compared to 124,438 tons in 2003. The average unit size 
shipped in 2004 was 3.29 tons, compared to an average unit size of 3.41 tons 
in 2003. 


	Rationale



The business energy tax credits were established as part of the Energy Tax 
Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-618), which was one of five public laws enacted as part 
of President Carter's National Energy Plan. The rationale behind the credits 
was primarily to reduce U.S. consumption of oil and natural gas by 
encouraging the commercialization of renewable energy technologies, to 
reduce dependence on imported oil and enhance national security. The larger 
credit for solar and the fuel cell credit were extended through 2008 by H.R. 
6111 enacted in December 2006.

Under the original 1978 law, which also provided for tax credits for solar 
and geothermal equipment used in residences, several other types of 
equipment qualified for tax credits: shale oil equipment, recycling equipment, 
wind energy equipment, synthetic fuels equipment, and others.  For some 
types of equipment, the credits expired on December 31, 1982; others were 
extended by the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-223) 
through 1985.

The 1980 Windfall Profit Tax Act extended the credit for solar and 
geothermal equipment, raised their credit rates from 10% to 15%, repealed 
the refundability of the credit for solar and wind energy equipment, and 
extended the credit beyond 1985 for certain long-term projects.  The Tax 
Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514) retroactively extended the credits for solar, 
geothermal, ocean thermal, and biomass equipment through 1988, at lower 
rates.

The Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-647) extended the 
solar, geothermal, and biomass credits at their 1988 rates - ocean thermal 
was not extended. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (P.L. 
101-239) extended the credits for solar and geothermal and reinstated the 
credit for ocean thermal equipment, through December 31, 1991. The credit 
for biomass equipment was not extended. The Tax Extension Act of 1991 
(P.L. 102-227) extended the credits for solar and geothermal through June 30, 
1992.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-486) made the credits for 
solar and geothermal equipment permanent.  The American Jobs Creation Act 
of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) allowed solar, geothermal, and other types of 
renewable energy technologies to qualify for the section 45 electricity 
production tax credit.

Thus, the credits for solar and geothermal equipment are what remained of 
the business energy tax credits enacted under the Energy Tax Act of 1978. 
Prior to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and with the reforestation credit and 
the rehabilitation credit, they were the sole exceptions to the repeal of the 
investment tax credits under the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  The Energy Policy 
Act of 2005 raised the credit rate for solar equipment from 10% to 30%, and 
expanded it to fiber optic distributed sunlighting, fuel cells, and 
microturbines.  


	Assessment



The business energy tax credits encourage investments in technologies that 
rely on clean, abundant, and, in the case of solar energy, unlimited renewable 
energy as substitutes for conventional fossil-fuel technologies that pollute the 
environment and contribute to dependence on imported petroleum. A major 
policy question is the cost -  in terms of foregone federal tax revenue and 
distortions to the allocation of resources - in relation to the relatively small 
fossil fuels savings and environmental gains.

In the aggregate, the credits don't lose much federal tax revenue, but in 
relation to the small amounts of fossil energy they save the revenue loss per 
barrel of displaced energy response to the credits is low.  They also subsidize 
two specific technologies where others arguably might provide greater benefit 
if they were subsidized instead.  The environmental and security problems 
associated with production and consumption of fossil fuels could also be 
addressed with emissions taxes or emissions trading rights - such as those in 
the Clean Air Act - in lieu of tax subsidies which are not only costly, but 
distortionary. 

The high capital costs for renewable and alternative energy technologies, 
and market uncertainty, are not evidence of energy market failure, although 
they do act as barriers to the development and commercialization of these 
technologies. However, the incentive effects of the investment tax credits 
might lead to technological innovations that may reduce the costs of the 
subsidized technologies and (eventually) make them more competitive (or at 
least, less uneconomical).


	Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office. Prospects for Distributed Electricity 
Generation. A CBO Paper.  Washington, DC: September 2003.
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf. "Market Failure and Energy 
Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation,"  Energy Policy, v. 17. 
August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hoerner, J. Andrew and Avery P. Gilbert.  Assessing Tax Incentives for 
Clean Energy Technologies:  A Survey of Experts Approach.  Center for a 
Sustainable Economy.  Washington, DC: April 2000.
Inyan,S., L. Sunganthi, and Anand A. Samuel. "Energy Models for 
Commercial Energy Production and Substitution of Renewable Energy 
Resources." Energy Policy, v.34. November 2006, pp. 26-40.
Kobos, Peter H., Jon D. Erickson, and Thomas E. Drennen. 
"Technological Learning and Renewable Energy Costs: Implications for US 
Renewable Energy Policy."  Energy Policy, v. 34, September 2006, pp.16-45.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
Lazzari, Salvatore. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, 
DC: June 28, 2005.


Sav, G. Thomas.  "Tax Incentives for Innovative Energy Sources: 
Extensions of E-K Complementarity," Public Finance Quarterly, v. 15.  
October 1987, pp. 417-427.
Rich, Daniel, and J. David Roessner.  "Tax Credits and U.S. Solar 
Commercialization Policy," Energy Policy, v. 18.  March 1990, pp. 186-198.
-. House Committee on Ways and Means.  Tax Credits for Electricity 
Production from Renewable Energy Resources. Hearing Before the 
Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, 109th Congress, 1st session, 
May 24, 2005.
-. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Power Generation 
Resource Incentives and Diversity.  Hearings, 109rd Congress, 1st session.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, March 8, 2005.
Sissine, Fred.  Renewable Energy Policy: Tax Credit, Budget, and 
Regulatory Issues.  Congressional Research Service Report RL33588.  
Washington, DC:  July 28, 2006
       U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Survey 
of Geothermal Heat Pump Shipments: 2004.  Spring 2006.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. 
Renewable Energy Annual: 2004.  June 2006.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Solar 
Thermal and Photovoltaic Collector Manufacturing Activities: 2005.  August 
2006.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. 
Legislation Affecting the Renewable Energy Marketplace: 2006.











Energy

TAX CREDITS FOR ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION
FROM RENEWABLE RESOURCES


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.9

(1)

0.9

2007

0.9

(1)

3.8

2008

1.0

(1)

5.6

2009

1.6

0.1

6.1

2010

1.2

0.1

5.9

(1) Positive tax expenditure less than $50,000.  H.R. 6111 adopted in 
December 2006 extended deadlines, adding a revenue cost for fiscal years 
2008, 2009, and 2010 of $0.1, $0.3, and $0.3 billion respectively.


	Authorization

Section 45.


	Description



Taxpayers are allowed a 1.9� credit for 2006 per kilowatt-hour of 
electricity produced from qualified wind energy, "closed-loop" biomass, 
geothermal, and solar. Taxpayers are also allowed a 1.0�/kWh. credit for 
electricity produced from open-loop biomass (including poultry and other 
livestock waste), small irrigation power, and municipal solid waste. In 
addition, section 45 provides a tax credit of $5.68/ton in 2006 ($4.375/ton, in 
1992 dollars), for production of refined coal - not for the electricity 
produced from the coal. Municipal solid waste covers two types of power 
facilities: trash combustion facilities that burn trash directly to generate 
power, and  landfill gas facilities that first produce methane, which is then 
burned to generate electricity.  The 1.9� and 1.0� tax credits are values for 
2006, which equal the  to 1992 base credits of 1.5� and 0.75� adjusted for 
inflation. In the case of both types of municipal waste facilities, small 
irrigation power, and open-loop biomass facilities, the credit was established 
at half, in base 1992 dollars, the credit for the other types of renewables.  The 
electricity must be produced from a facility owned by a taxpayer and it must 
be sold to an unrelated third party.  

Closed-loop biomass involves the use of plant matter, where plants are 
grown solely as fuel to produce electricity, and can be combined with either 
coal or open-loop biomass in a co-fired system. Open-loop biomass refers to a 
variety of  waste materials and by-product sources, such as scrap wood or 
agricultural livestock waste and crop wastes, or timber wastes such as mill 
and harvesting residues, pre-commercial thinnings, slash, and brush. Poultry 
waste is defined as poultry manure and litter, but it also includes wood 
shavings, straw, rice hulls, and other bedding materials for the disposition of 
manure.  Small irrigation power is a hydro-power system without a dam or 
water impoundment ranging in size between 150 kilowatts and 5 megawatts 
of power.  It uses ditches and canals to generate power. The definition of 
municipal solid waste is taken from the Solid Waste Disposal Act. This 
basically includes most types of organic waste or garbage in landfills and 
municipal biosolids, sludge, and other residues removed by a municipal 
wastewater treatment facility.  Refined coal is defined as a liquid, gaseous, or 
solid synthetic fuel produced from coal (and lignite) or high carbon fly ash, 
including such fuel used as a feedstock. Qualifying coal must emit 20% less 
sulfur dioxide, and either 20% less mercury or nitrous oxide, than comparable 
coal sources.

Generally, the credits are available for ten years beginning on the date the 
facility is first placed into service, which varies by type of qualifying property. 
 However, in the case of open-loop biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy, 
small irrigation power, landfill gas facilities, and trash combustion facilities, 
the credit is available for only 5 years from the placed-in-service date. The 
property must be placed in service by December 31, 2008.



Both the 1.5� electricity credit and the $4.375 coal credit are phased out as 
reference energy prices exceed certain thresholds. The 1.5� electricity credit 
(adjusted for post-1992 inflation) is phased out as the reference price of 
electricity - the average annual contract price of electricity from the 
renewable source -  rises over a 3� range, beginning with an inflation-
adjusted threshold of 8� per kilowatt hour (kWh). For example, if the 
reference price of electricity were 9.5�, the 1.5� tax credit would be reduced 
by � [( .095-.08)/3 = .5] to .75�/ kWh. Each of these amounts, except the 3�, 
have been adjusted for inflation since 1992. For 2006, the reference price for 
wind electricity was 2.89� per kWh; the reference price for such electricity 
was 8� x 1.2981 (the inflation adjustment), which equals10.4�.  Because the 
reference price (2.89�) was less than 10.4�, there was no phase-out and the 
full credit of 1.5� x 1.2981 = 1.95�/ kWh is available in 2006. For 
comparison, the IRS said the credit for 2004 was 1.8�. For electricity 
produced from all other renewables other than wind, the full credit is also 
available, although the IRS has not yet calculated reference prices. IRS is 
currently working on determining reference prices and phase-out calculations 
for 2007.  

The $4.375 refined coal credit is phased out as the market price of refined 
coal exceeds certain threshold levels. The threshold levels are defined by 
reference to the price of feedstock fuel used to produce the refined coal, 
which has been annually adjusted for inflation beginning in 2002. Thus, if a 
producer of refined coal uses Powder River Basin coal as a feedstock, the 
threshold price is determined by reference to the price of that coal; if the 
producer uses Appalachian coal, the threshold price is determined by 
reference to prices of Appalachian coal. The $4.375 refined coal credit is also 
adjusted for inflation since 1992. With an inflation-adjusted factor of 1.2981 
for 2006, the credit is $5.68 per ton (it was $5.84/ton in 2005). Because the 
reference price of $42.78/ton was less than the inflation-adjusted base price, 
the full credit was available in 2006.

Cooperatives that are eligible for the 45 credit may elect to pass through 
any portion of the credit to their patrons. To be eligible for this election, the 
cooperative would have to be more than 50%-owned by agricultural 
producers or entities owned by agricultural producers. The election would be 
made on an annual basis, and it would be irrevocable once made.

A facility that qualifies for the section 45 credit may also claim other 
government benefits, including the business energy credit or investment credit 
and the tax benefits under the tax-exempt clean renewable energy bond 
provisions. However, in all cases except for co-fired facilities, the section 45 
credits are reduced by half - no such reduction is required of co-fired 
facilities, which means that qualifying systems may "double dip." In all cases, 
the credit is available to the owner of the facilities that produce the electricity 
or refined coal. In two exceptions - in the case of open-loop biomass, and 
co-firing facilities - the lessee operator may also claim the tax credit in lieu 
of the facility's owner.

The section 45 tax credits are components of the general business credit, 
and are subject to the rules governing the restrictions and carry-overs of that 
section of the tax code.  Additionally, the section 45 tax credits may be 
claimed against the alternative minimum tax.


	Impact



Both the renewable electricity credit and the new refined coal credit are 
production incentives - the former  reduce the marginal and average costs of 
generating electricity from renewable energy resources, and latter costs for 
producing refined coal. The renewable electricity credit was originally 
intended to encourage the generation of electricity from wind and biomass by 
making such electricity more competitive with electricity generated from coal 
fired power plants and other sources. Until recently, very little electricity was 
actually generated from wind and closed-loop (energy coop) biomass, 
although substantial electricity is generated from wood, wastes, and other 
open-loop biomass - bu this is still a relatively small fraction of  total 
electricity generation. 

Renewable energy resources are, by definition,  naturally replenished in a 
relatively short period of time. They include biomass, hydro power, 
geothermal energy, wind energy, and solar energy. In 2005, about 6% of all 
energy consumed, and about 9% of total electricity production was from 
renewable energy sources.  About half of renewable energy is consumed by 
the electric power sector to generate electricity, derived mostly from 
hydroelectric (45%), wood (31%), geothermal (6%), and wind (2.5%). 
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar power 
accounts for 1% of total renewable energy consumption,  used mostly in 
personal residences. Due primarily to high capital costs and low (or even 
negative) rates of return of solar systems, this still accounts for a negligible 
fraction of total residential energy use.  Most solar thermal collectors are used 
for heating water and pools in residences. Geothermal energy consumption 
increased slightly from 2004 to 2005 (about 3%). Electricity generated from 
wind turbines has recently increased, mostly in response to a combination of 
federal and state incentives, but also due to the recent high energy prices. 
Wind power, which is virtually all electric, has been rising rapidly recently, 
increasing from negligible amounts in 1988 to about 15 kWhrs in 2005. 
However, EIA says wind still accounts for only 2.5% of  renewable energy, 
and for only 0.36% of total U.S. electricity generation. Electricity from wind 
receives a production tax credit, but wind equipment does not qualify for an 
investment tax credit The extension and broadening of the renewable 
electricity production tax credit will likely support further growth in 
generation from wind turbines and may also stimulate biomass co-firing with 
coal.



In general,  energy from biomass has been declining in recent years 
although some types of biomass - landfill gas, and energy from waste - are 
used in greater quantities to generate power. Still most biomass electricity is 
generated from open-loop sources such as forest/lumber waste, accounting for 
70% of the total electricity generated from biomass. There is little, if any, 
electricity generated from closed-loop biomass as it is uneconomic to grow 
plants exclusively under a "closed-loop" system, but the expansion of  the 
45 tax credit to "open-loop" biomass, i.e., to various types of agricultural 
waste and other biomass products, will likely further increase electricity from 
this renewable resource. By allowing existing power plants to claim the 
electricity credit for burning open-loop biomass, significant co-firing of 
existing coal facilities is possible.  Some coal facilities are able to rapidly 
convert to co-firing with biomass, while others would take a couple of years 
to make the required capital investment for conversion at a cost of about 
$200/kilowatt hour, which is lower than most alternatives.

The credit phase-outs are designed to remove the subsidy when the price of 
electricity (and refined coal) becomes sufficiently high that a subsidy is no 
longer needed.  The tonnage credit for refined coal is also a production tax 
credit, which reduces the marginal and average costs of producing refined 
coal as compared with conventional coal for electricity generation. 


	Rationale

This provision was adopted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 
102-486). Its purpose was to encourage the development and utilization of 
electric generating technologies that use specified renewable energy 
resources, as opposed to conventional fossil fuels. The Ticket to Work and 
Work Incentive Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170) extended the 
placed-in-service deadline from July 1, 1999, to January 1, 2002.  It also 
added poultry waste as a qualifying energy resource. The Job Creation and 
Worker Assistance Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-147) extended the placed-in-service 
deadline to January 1, 2004. The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 
(P.L. 108-311) extended the placed-in-service dates for wind, closed-loop 
biomass, and poultry waste facilities so that those placed into service after 
December 31, 2003, would also qualify for the tax credit.  The American Jobs 
Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) expanded the renewable electricity 
credit to  open-loop biomass, geothermal, solar, small irrigation power, and 
municipal solid waste facilities, and created the production tax credit for 
refined coal.  (The refined coal tax credit was originally part of the proposed 
expansion of the nonconventional fuels production tax credit under initial 
comprehensive energy legislation.  That provision was dropped from 
comprehensive energy legislation and established as part of the American 
Jobs Creation Act of 2004.)



The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) extended the placed-in-
service deadline  for all facilities except for solar energy facilities described in 
45(d)(4) and refined coal production facilities described in 45(d)(8) by two 
years to December 31, 2007. In addition, P.L. 109-58 extended the credit 
period to 10 years for all qualifying facilities placed in service after the date 
of enactment (August 8, 2005), eliminating the five-year credit period to 
which some facilities had been subject.  Also, the definition of qualified 
energy resources that can receive the credit was expanded to include qualified 
hydropower production, although a qualified hydroelectric facility would be 
entitled to only 50% of the usual credit. P.L. 109-58 also added Indian coal 
production facilities to the list of those facilities eligible for the credit. The 
credit is available for sales of Indian coal to an unrelated party from a 
qualified facility beginning January 1, 2006, and ending December 31, 2012. 
The credit is $1.50 per ton during 2006-2009 and increases to $2.00 per ton 
in 2110- 2012; the credit amount for Indian coal is to be adjusted for inflation 
in calendar years after 2006.  H.R. 6111 adopted in December 2005 extended 
the placed-in-service date for facilities other than solar, qualified coal and 
Indian coal to the end of 2008 for .

Assessment

Federal tax policy, and other federal energy policy, has been critical to the 
development of renewable electricity, particularly wind power.  In the late 
1970's and 1980's the investment tax credits established under President 
Carter's National Energy Act (NEA), along with California state tax credits, 
helped establish the first installations of wind power generation capacity.  
There was a slowdown in wind power investments  in response to the sunset 
of these investment incentives, and the decline in real oil prices, but a lagged 
response after the enactment of the 45 production tax credit in 1992. The 
evidence also suggests that termination of the 45 tax credit to wind power 
due to the expiration of the placed-in-service date on January 1, 2004, created 
policy uncertainty, and probably adversely affected (if only temporarily) 
investment in the technology. 

In addition to the 45 production tax credit, two other federal policies have 
contributed to the development of electricity from wind: PURPA, the Public 
Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-617, Section 210) as 
amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and REPI, the renewable energy 
production incentive. PURPA, which was also enacted as part of President 
Carter's NEA, required electric utilities to buy electricity from "qualifying 
facilities" at the utilities' avoided cost, the cost to the utility to generate or 
otherwise purchase electricity from another source. PURPA has been one of 
the most significant laws for the development of wind power, landfill gas, and 
other renewable energy resources. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 repealed 
the mandatory purchase requirement for new contracts if the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission finds that a competitive electricity market exists and 
a qualifying facility has access to independently administered, auction-based, 
day-ahead, real-time wholesale markets and long-term wholesale markets.  
This amendment may adversely affect renewable energy markets. The REPI, 
introduced in 1992 as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, is a financial 
incentive provided to tax exempt entities - tax exempt utilities 
(cooperatives), and state and local governments - for electricity generated 
from certain types of renewable energy resources. The incentive, which is 
1.9�/kWh of electricity generated, is the grant or spending subsidy equivalent 
of the 45 tax credit available for private taxable businesses. 



The electricity production tax credit might be justified on the basis of 
reducing pollution - generating power from non-polluting energy resources, 
such as wind, which emit no pollutants. Generally, however,  special tax (as 
well as other types of government) subsidies in one market to address external 
costs (pollution) created by other markets (the market for conventional fossil 
fuels) are seen as being inefficient and costly.  Also, providing tax credits and 
deductions for certain types of investment or consumption, even if for 
environmentally clean energy technologies, depending on other market 
distortions and failures, may result in a misallocation of resources. An 
alternative way to reduce pollution is by directly taxing either the emissions, 
or the conventional energy resources that produce the emissions.  Economic 
theory holds that this would allow the markets to choose the optimal response.

The provision cannot be justified on the grounds of reducing dependence 
on imported oil since virtually none of the renewable electricity substitutes for 
petroleum - most of it would substitute for either coal or cleaner, but still 
polluting, natural gas. Also, there are more effective and efficient alternatives 
to address petroleum import dependence, such as stockpiling.


	Selected Bibliography

Dallas Morning News. "U.S. Wind Energy Business Hindered by Federal 
Energy Bill Delay." March 2, 2004.
DeCarolis, Joseph F. and David W. Keith.  "The Economics of Large-Scale 
Wind Power in a Carbon-Constrained World." Energy Policy, v. 34, March 
2006, pp. 395-410. 
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf.  "Market Failure and 
Energy Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17. 
 August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hill, Lawrence J. and Stanton W. Hadley. "Federal Tax Effects on the 
Financial Attractiveness of Renewable vs. Conventional Power Plants," 
Energy Policy, v. 23.  July 1995, pp. 593-597.
Hoerner, J. Andrew and Avery P. Gilbert.  Assessing Tax Incentives for 
Clean Energy Technologies:  A Survey of Experts Approach.  Center for a 
Sustainable Economy.  Washington, DC: April 2000.
Inyan,S., L. Sunganthi, and Anand A. Samuel. "Energy Models for 
Commercial Energy Production and Substitution of Renewable Energy 
Resources." Energy Policy, v.34. November 2006, pp. 26-40.
Klass, Donald L.  "Biomass Energy in North American Policies," Energy 
Policy, v. 23.  December 1995, pp. 1035-1048.
Kobos, Peter H., Jon D. Erickson, and Thomas E. Drennen. "Technological 
Learning and Renewable Energy Costs: Implications for US Renewable 
Energy Policy."  Energy Policy, v. 34, September 2006, pp.16-45.
Lazzari, Salvatore. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, 
DC: June 28, 2005.
- .  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. Washington, DC: July 28, 
2006.


-.  Energy Tax Subsidies: Biomass vs. Oil and Gas, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 93-19 E, Washington, DC: January 5, 
1993.
-. "Federal Tax Policy Toward Biomass Energy: History, Current Law, and 
Outlook," Biologue.  July/August 1989, pp. 8-11.
Grobman, Jeffrey H. and Janis M. Carey.  "The Effect of Policy 
Uncertainty on Wind-Power Investment." The Journal of Energy And 
Development, v. 28, Autumn 2002. pp. 1-14.
Owen, Anthony D.  "Environmental Externalities: Market Distortions and 
the Economics of Renewable Energy Technologies." The Energy Journal, v. 
25. Fall, 2004, pp. 127-156.
Petersilk, Thomas W. Modeling the Costs of U.S. Wind Supply. U.S. 
Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. EIA/DOE-
0607(99). 
Price, Jeff.  The Production Tax Credit: Getting More Credit Than It's 
Due?  Public Utilities Fortnightly, May 15, 2002.  p. 38-41.
Sissine, Fred.  Renewable Energy Policy: Tax Credit, Budget, and 
Regulatory Issues. Congressional Research Service Report RL33588.  
Washington, DC:  July 28, 2006.
Schnepf, Randy. Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production. 
Congressional Research Service Report RL32712.  Washington, DC: August 
4, 2006. 
Spath, Pamela L., Margaret K. Mann, and Stefanie A. Woodward.  "Life 
Cycle Assessment of a Biomass-to-Electricity System," Biologue, v. 16, 1st Q, 
1998, pp. 16-21.
U.S. Department of Energy.  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  
Analyzing the Interaction Between State Tax Incentives and the Federal 
Production Tax Credit for Wind Power.  [by Wiser, Ryan, et al.] September 
2002.  11 p.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Summary 
Impacts of Modeled Provisions of the 2003 Conference Energy Bill.  
SR/OIAF/2004-02. February 2004.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. 
Renewable Energy Annual: 2004.  June 2006.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Solar 
Thermal and Photovoltaic Collector Manufacturing Activities: 2005.  August 
2006.
U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. 
Legislation Affecting the Renewable Energy Marketplace: 2006.








Energy

TAX CREDIT AND DEDUCTION FOR SMALL REFINERS
WITH CAPITAL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH
EPA SULFUR REGULATION COMPLIANCE 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

(1)

(1)

2007

-

(1)

(1)

2008

-

(1)

(1)

2009

-

(1)

(1)

2010

-

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 45H and 179B.


	Description

Section 45H allows a small refiner to claim a tax credit for the production 
of low-sulfur diesel fuel that is  in compliance with Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) sulfur regulations (the Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control 
Requirements). The credit is $2.10/barrel of low sulfur diesel fuel produced; 
it is limited to 25% of the capital costs incurred by the refiner to produce the 
low sulfur diesel fuel. The 25% limit is phased out proportionately as a 
refiner's capacity increases from 155,000 to 205,000 barrels per day. 



Section 179B allows a small refiner to also claim a current year tax 
deduction, i.e., expensing, in lieu of depreciation, for up to 75% of the capital 
costs incurred in producing low-sulfur diesel fuel that is in compliance with 
EPA sulfur regulations. This incentive is also pro-rated for refining capacity 
between 155,000 and 205,000 barrels per day. The taxpayer's basis in the 
property that receives the exemption is reduced by the amount of the 
production tax credit. In the case of a refinery organized as a cooperative, 
both the credit and the expensing deduction may be passed through to 
patrons.

For both incentives, a small business refiner is a taxpayer who 1) is in the 
business of refining petroleum products, 2) employs not more than 1,500 
employees directly in refining, and 3) has less than 205,000 barrels per day 
(averaged over the year) of total refining capacity. The incentives took effect 
retroactively beginning on January 1, 2003.


	Impact

The low-sulfur diesel tax credit lowers the average and marginal cost of 
producing low sulfur diesel fuel.  Expensing allows capital costs to be 
deducted fully in the year incurred rather than over the useful life of the asset 
- the time period in which the asset generates returns.  Under the current 
depreciation system (the Modified Cost Recovery System) refinery assets 
have a class life of 16 years and a recovery period - that they would 
otherwise be depreciated over - of 10 years. Immediate deduction 
(expensing) of capital costs has the effect of deferring tax liability. For any 
given expenditure, total tax deductions are the same whether expensed or 
capitalized but deductions that are taken immediately, rather than spread out 
over time, are more valuable: The present value of the deductions is greater 
than the present value of deductions that are capitalized over the production 
horizon of the oil or gas well. Expensing rather than capitalizing refinery 
costs allows taxes on income to be effectively eliminated - it is equivalent to 
a marginal effective tax rate of zero on the returns to the expenditures. 
Without expensing (i.e., assuming accelerated depreciation over 10 years), the 
marginal effective tax rate on refineries is estimated at about 25%, still below 
the marginal statutory rate of 35%.  Expensing of refinery capital investments 
lowers its cost, and increases the rate of return to, investing in refinery 
equipment for refining low sulfur diesel fuel.  

The combined effect of these two tax incentives is to increase the demand 
for refinery capital, and the supply of low-sulfur diesel fuel. According to 
industry figures, refiners currently produce about 2.4 million barrels per day 
of low-sulfur diesel fuel, about 90% of total demand (the regulations required 
that by October 15, 2006, 80% of diesel fuel had to meet the stringent 
standards of 15 parts per million or less for sulfur content).  However, 
refinery capacity and production is highly concentrated, and most of this is 
held by  major integrated refiners that do not qualify for the tax incentives; 
there are many domestic refineries below the qualification thresholds, but they 
refine a small fraction of the total supply of low-sulfur diesel fuel.


	Rationale

Both incentives were introduced as part of the energy tax provisions in 
comprehensive energy legislation; they were enacted as part of the American 
Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357).  The incentives compensate small 
refiners for the costs of complying with EPA's new tougher standards for 
diesel fuel under the Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control Requirements, 
which begin to take effect in 2006. All refiners of diesel fuel, including 
imported diesel, have to comply with the new standards. By reducing 
production costs and capital costs of domestic refiners that meet the 
standards, the two tax incentives reduce the probability that small refiners 
would be forced out of business.  

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) provides that cooperative 
refineries that qualify for 179B expensing of capital costs incurred in 
complying with EPA sulfur regulations could elect to allocate all or part of 
the deduction to their owners, determined on the basis of their ownership 
interests. The election would be made on an annual basis and would be 
irrevocable once made. This provision was effective retroactively, as if it had 
been included in 338(a) of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.


	Assessment

Under an income tax system, there would be no production tax credits, and 
the appropriate method of capital cost recovery would require the taxpayer to 
spread out depreciation deductions for the cost of the asset based on its 
economic depreciation, i.e., the rate at which the asset depreciates in value 
over its useful life.  Neither of the tax subsidies correct for market distortions 
and are intended only to compensate through the tax system for regulatory 
costs imposed by the EPA. They are thus distortionary. In theory, the 
distortions resulting from pollution externalities - the damages (health and 
environmental) resulting from the production and use of high-sulfur diesel 
fuel - would be more efficiently corrected with a tax on the producer of 
high-sulfur diesel fuel rather than a subsidy to producers of low-sulfur fuel. 


	Selected Bibliography

Cordes, Joseph J.  "Expensing," in the Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy, Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle, eds 
(Washington: Urban Institute Press, 2005).
Environmental Protection Agency.  Summary and Analysis of the 2005 
Highway and Non-Road Diesel  Fuel Pre-Compliance Reports. EPA 420-R-
06-012. June 2006.



Federal Register. Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: 
Heavy Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards, and Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur 
Control Requirements; Final Rule. Thursday, January 18, 2001.
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Expensing Allowance: Current Status, 
Legislative Proposals, and Economic Effects.  CRS Report RL31852, 
October 3, 2006.
Sterner, Thomas. Policy Instruments for Environmental and Natural 
Resource Management.  Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. 2003.  
	U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Description and Technical 
Explanation of the Conference Agreement of H.R. 6, Title XIII, "The Energy 
Tax Incentives Act of 2005."  July 27, 2005.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  EPA Could Take Additional Steps to 
Help Maximize the Benefits from the 2007 Diesel Emissions Standards. 
Report to Congressional Requester, GAO-04-313, March 2004.
Yacobucci, Brent D., James E. McCarthy, John W. Fischer, Alejandro E. 
Segarra, and Lawrence C. Kumins. Diesel Fuel and Engines: An Analysis of 
EPAs New Regulations.  CRS Report RL30737, May 1, 2001.








Energy

DEFERRAL OF GAIN FROM THE DISPOSITION OF
ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION PROPERTY TO IMPLEMENT
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
RESTRUCTURING POLICY 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.6

0.6

2007

-

0.5

0.5

2008

-

(4)

(4)

2009

-

-0.3

-0.3

2010

-

-0.3

-0.3

(4) Negative tax expenditure of less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 451.


	Description

Section 451 permits taxpayers to elect to recognize any capital gain from 
the sale of qualifying electricity transmission property to an independent 
transmission company (ITC), pursuant to a Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission (FERC) restructuring policy, evenly over eight years beginning 
with the year of the sale. The sale proceeds must be reinvested in other 
electricity assets within four years. This special tax incentive is available for 
sales through December 31, 2007.


	Impact

Generally a taxpayer selling property recognizes any profits for tax 
purposes in the year of the sale.  The recognition of gain over eight years, 
rather than in the year of sale, is a deferral, rather than a complete 
forgiveness, of tax liability - it is a delay in the recognition of income, hence 
in the payment of tax. The economic benefit derives from the  reduction in the 
present value of the tax owed below what the tax would otherwise be if it 
were required to be recognized in the year of sale. Transmission property is 
also depreciated over 15 years, which means that depreciation deductions are 
taken somewhat faster than economic depreciation.  This lowers effective tax 
rates on the return to such investments.


	Rationale

The deferral of gain on the sale of transmission assets to an ITC is intended 
to foster a more competitive industry by facilitating the unbundling of 
transmission assets held by vertically integrated utilities. Under restructuring, 
states and Congress have considered rules requiring the separate ownership of 
generation and distribution and transmission assets. However, vertically  
integrated electric utilities still own a large segment of the nation's 
transmission infrastructure. The tax provision encourages the sale of 
transmission assets by vertically integrated electric utilities - the unbundling 
of electricity assets - to independent system operators or regional 
transmission organizations, who would own and operate the transmission 
lines. The provision is intended to improve transmission management and 
service, and facilitate the formation of competitive electricity markets. 
Without this incentive, any gain from the forced sale of transmission assets, 
pursuant to a FERC (or other regulatory body) restructuring policy would be 
taxed as ordinary income (i.e., at the highest rates) all in the year of sale.

This provision is intended to promote restructuring of the electric utility 
industry away from the traditional monopoly structure and toward increased 
competition. The incentive was introduced as part of the energy tax 
provisions in comprehensive energy legislation; it  was enacted as part of the 
American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357). The Energy Policy Act 
of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) extended deferral treatment from December 31, 2006, 
to December 31, 2007.


	Assessment



The restructuring of the electric power industry has, and may continue to 
result in significant reorganization of power assets. In particular, it may result 
in a significant disposition of transmission assets and possibly, depending on 
the nature of the transaction, trigger an income tax liability and interfere with 
industry restructuring.  Under an income tax system, the sale for cash of 
business assets subject to depreciation deductions triggers a tax on taxable 
income in the year of sale to the extent of any gain.  Corporations pay capital 
gains on sales of capital assets, such as shares of other corporations. But gains 
on the sale of depreciable assets involve other rules. For example, sales of 
personal property, such as machinery, are taxed partly as capital gains and 
partly as ordinary income. The overall taxable amount is the difference 
between the sales price and basis, which is generally the original cost minus 
accumulated depreciation. That amount is taxed as ordinary income to the 
extent of previous depreciation allowances (depreciation is "recaptured").


	Selected Bibliography

Abel, Amy. Electric Reliability: Options for Electric Transmission 
Infrastructure Improvements.  Library of Congress.  Congressional Research 
Service Report RL32075.  Washington, DC:  September 20, 2006.
Abel, Amy. Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58: Electricity 
Provisions. Congressional Research Service Report  RL33248.  Washington, 
DC: January 24, 2006. 
Boyce, John R. and Aidan Hollis. "Governance of Electricity Transmission 
Systems." Energy Economics, v. 27, March 2005.
Desay, Mihir and William Gentry.  "The Character and Determinants of 
Corporate Capital Gains," The National Bureau of Economic Research, 
NBER Working Paper #w10153, December 2003.
Joskow, Paul L. "Competitive Electricity Markets and Investment in New 
Generating Capacity," MIT Research Paper. April, 28, 2006.
Joskow, Paul L. Transmission Policy in the United States.  AEI-Brookings 
Joint Center for Regulatory Studies.  October 2004.
Joskow, Paul L. "Restructuring, Competition, and Regulatory Reform in 
the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer 
1997. pp. 119-138.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Federal Tax Issues Relating 
to Restructuring of the Electric Power Industry. Hearing before the 
Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction of the Senate 
Finance Committee, October 15, 1999. JCX 72-99. 
Vogelsang, Ingo. "Electricity Transmission Pricing and Performance-based 
Regulation." Energy Journal, v.27, 2006, pp. 97-127.










Energy

TAX CREDIT FOR HOLDERS OF
CLEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 54.


	Description



Clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs) are available for the finance of 
qualified energy production projects which include: (1) wind facilities, (2) 
closed-loop bio-mass facilities, (3) open-loop bio-mass facilities, (4) 
geothermal or solar energy facilities, (5) small irrigation power facilities, (6) 
landfill gas facilities, (7) trash combustion facilities, and (8) refined coal 
production facilities.  Holders of CREBs can claim a credit equal to the dollar 
value of the bonds held multiplied by a credit rate determined by the 
Secretary of the Treasury.  The credit rate is equal to the percentage that will 
permit the bonds to be issued without discount and without interest cost to the 
issuer.  The national limit on the bonds was $1.2 billion, of which a 
maximum of $750 million could be granted to governmental bodies (the 
remainder would go to utilities).  The bonds must be issued before January 1, 
2009.  The credit rate is equal to the rate that will permit the bonds to be 
issued without discount and without interest cost to the issuer.  The maximum 
maturity of the bonds is that which will set the present value of the obligation 
to repay the principal equal to 50 percent of the face amount of the bond 
issue.  The discount rate for the calculation is the average annual interest rate 
on tax-exempt bonds issued in the preceding month, having a term of at least 
10 years.  CREBs are subject to arbitrage rules that require the issuer to spend 
95 percent of the proceeds within five years of issuance.


	Impact

The interest income on bonds issued by State and local governments 
usually is excluded from Federal income tax (see the entry "Exclusion of 
Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt").  Such bonds result in the 
Federal government paying a portion (approximately 25 percent) of the 
issuer's interest costs.  CREBs are structured to have the entire interest cost of 
the State or local government paid by the Federal Government in the form of 
a tax credit to the bond holders.  CREBs are not tax-exempt bonds.  The cost 
has been capped at the value of Federal tax credits generated by the $800 
million volume cap.


	Rationale

Proponents of CREBs argue that the Federal subsidy is necessary because 
private investors are unwilling to accept the risk and relatively low return 
associated with renewable energy projects.  Proponents argue that the market 
has failed to produce investment in renewable energy because the benefits of 
these projects extend well beyond the service jurisdiction to the surrounding 
community and to the environment more generally.  The rate payers of the 
utility are not compensated for these external benefits, and it is unlikely, 
proponents argue, that private investors would agree to provide them without 
some type of inducement.  The program was introduced in 2005 (P.L. 109-
58); H.R. 6111, adopted in December of 2006, increased the amount to be 
issued by $400 billion and extended issuance authority through 2008.


	Assessment



The legislation (P.L. 109-58) that created these bonds was enacted on 
August 8, 2005, and  the potential success of the program is still uncertain.  
One way to think of this alternative subsidy is that investors can be induced to 
purchase these bonds if they receive the same after-tax return from the credit 
that they would from the purchase of tax-exempt bonds.  The value of the 
credit is included in taxable income, but is used to reduce regular or 
alternative minimum tax liability.  Assuming the taxpayer is subject to the 
regular corporate income tax, the credit rate should equal the ratio of the 
purchaser's forgone market interest rate on tax-exempt bonds divided by one 
minus the corporate tax rate.  For example, if the tax-exempt interest rate is 6 
percent and the corporate tax rate is 35 percent, the credit rate would have to 
be equal to .06/(1-.35), or about 9.2 percent to induce investment.  Thus, an 
investor purchasing a $1 million CREB would need to receive a $92,000 
annual tax credit each year.

With CREBs, the Federal Government pays 100 percent of interest costs.  
One alternative, government issued tax-exempt bonds, have only a portion of 
interest costs subsidized by the Federal Government.  For example, if the 
taxable bond rate is 9.2 percent and the tax-exempt rate is 6 percent, the 
issuer of the tax-exempt bond receives a subsidy equal to 3.2 percentage 
points of the total interest cost, the difference between 9.2 percent and 6 
percent.  The CREB receives a subsidy equal to all 9.2 percentage points of 
the interest cost.  Thus, CREBs reduce the price of investing in renewable 
energy projects compared to investing in other public services provided by 
governments.  In addition, with CREBS, the entire subsidy (the cost to the 
Federal taxpayer) is received by the issuing government (or utility) through 
reduced interest costs.  In contrast, with tax-exempt bonds, part of the Federal 
revenue loss is a windfall gain for some wealthy investors.  The Federal 
revenue loss, and thus benefit, is not fully captured by the issuing 
government.


	Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office, Tax Credit Bonds and the Federal Cost 
Financing Public Expenditures, July 2004.
Davie, Bruce, "Tax Credit Bonds for Education: New Financial 
Instruments and New Prospects," Proceedings of the 91st Annual Conference 
on Taxation, National Tax Association.
Joint Committee on Taxation, General Explanation of Tax Legislation 
Enacted in 1997, Joint Committee Print JCS-23-97, December 17, 1997, 40-
41.
Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and Background Related to 
State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee Print JCX-14-06, 
March 16, 2006.
Maguire, Steven.  Tax Credit Bonds: A Brief Explanation.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS20606.  August 21, 
2006.
-.   Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government Debt.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30638.  
March 10, 2006.















	





	Energy

	TAX CREDITS FOR INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN
	COAL POWER GENERATION FACILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

(1)

(1)

2007

-

0.1

0.1

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.2

0.2

2010

-

0.2

0.2

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 48A and 48B.


	Description

An investment tax credit is provided for selected types of clean coal 
technologies: (1) integrated gasification combined cycle technologies (IGCC) 
and other advanced clean coal systems, and (2) qualifying gasification 
systems.  The credit for IGCC systems is 20 percent of the investment subject 
to a total limit of $800 million on the aggregate credits claimed. The credit for 
other advanced clean coal systems is 15 percent of the investments subject to 
a total credit limit of $300 million. The credit for qualifying gasification 
systems is also 20percent of the investment cost, but the aggregate lifetime 
limit is $350 million. Each of the credits would be allocated by the Secretary 
based on the amount invested. These credits are effective for investments 
made after August 8, 2005.  




	Impact

Clean coal technologies are technologically feasible strategies for 
generating electric power from coal efficiently and cleanly.  Clean-coal 
technologies include the pressurized fluidized-bed combustion-combined 
cycle, IGCC, the indirect-fired cycle repowering, the coal diesel-combined 
cycle, and slagging  technology.  Such technologies are significantly more 
energy efficient than the conventional coal-fired power plants currently in use, 
which have an operating efficiency of about 34 percent (meaning that 66 
percent of the energy used is lost in the generation process). Currently, some 
of the clean-coal technologies can achieve  45 percent efficiency.  Some 
clean-coal technologies also reduce emissions of one or more of 4 air 
pollutants (NOx SO2,PM, Hg) with CO2, to a greater degree than conventional 
coal plants.  This technology development is occurring as the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) has regulations to further reduce emissions of NOx 
and SO2, and to begin reducing Hg emissions.  Subbituminous coal can be 
used if 99% of the SO2 emissions are removed or an emission limit of 0.04 
pounds of SO2 per million Btus over 30 days. 

Clean coal systems are, however, very capital intensive and require 
relatively large  investments in  construction and development costs - 
basically fixed capital costs. Per kilowatt of capacity, such technologies 
currently cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Because of high capital costs, rates 
of return are very low or even negative, even with existing accelerated 
depreciation provisions. Thus, although clean coal technologies have been 
successfully demonstrated, none are commercially viable at the present time, 
and none would be commercially viable without additional tax incentives. 
The investment tax credits may reduce the after-tax cost of the qualifying 
technologies and increase the rates of return sufficiently to overcome the high 
fixed capital cost and higher operating costs. This lowers effective tax rates 
on the return to such investments. Combined with existing accelerated 
depreciation benefits, the investment tax credit would improve the financial 
attractiveness of clean coal technologies relative to these alternatives.  In 
addition, with global warming becoming an important concern, clean coal 
technologies, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology 
may be an important option in reducing greenhouse gases. In particular, 
IGCC, the one technology targeted by the investment tax credits, may become 
(combined with CCS) a cost-effective option for limiting CO2 in the future.



Also, the additional commercialization that may result from the generous 
investment tax credits may engender further technological improvements that 
could lower the cost of clean coal technologies sufficiently to overcome the 
hurdle rate of return (basically the cost of capital) and make them competitive 
with advanced combined-cycle natural gas units, the most competitive, and 
relatively clean, current generating technology.  According to the Coal 
Utilization Research Council, by the year 2020 clean coal technologies could 
achieve an efficiency of 49 percent and cost an average of $800/KW, 
suggesting at least a potential downward trend in cost. If cost declines occur 
- or  if the capital costs of the next best alternative technology (probably the 
advanced natural gas combined cycle units) were to increase in the long term 
(or both) - some clean coal technologies might become more competitive 
without tax credits.  

Clean coal technologies might also become more competitive if, for 
example, the price of natural gas were to increase either as a result of the 
additional use of advanced natural gas technologies or due to some unrelated 
market factor. However, electric utilities would have to make investment 
decisions based on current technologies and reasonable assessment of relative 
fuel prices in the near future. Without the investment tax credits, these 
considerations would seem to favor advanced natural gas combined-cycle 
units, and possibly some types of renewables such as wind power.

Uncertainty in commercial viability is another key factor inhibiting 
investment in these technologies.  Costs are not likely to decline if risk 
remains high. Even if capital costs would fall, there is the additional problem 
of the risk of clean-coal technologies. 


	Rationale

The investment tax credits for clean coal technologies were established by 
the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58). Congress has, since 1986, 
authorized billions of dollars to the Department of Energy (DOE) to 
demonstrate emerging clean coal technologies, particularly those that can 
substantially reduce SO2 and NOx to further control acid rain. The Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 also created a new loan guarantee program for clean coal 
technologies, and other clean energy technologies. They were intended to 
promote a technologically feasible electric generating technology that is 
efficient, is environmentally less harmful than conventional coal fired 
generators, and relies on an abundant domestic energy resource.  The 
provision relating to subbituminous coal was added by H.R. 6111 in 
December 2006.


	Assessment



The 20 percent investment tax credit reduces the levelized costs of the 
IGCC clean coal technology from $4.80/kWh to $4.15/kWh (in 2004 dollars). 
This is somewhat lower than the levelized costs of many other types of 
generating technologies, including conventional coal-fired units ($4.32/kWh). 
Despite some successful demonstrations, clean coal technologies are still 
generally economically unproven technologies in the sense that none have 
become commercial without significant subsidies. As a result, utilities may 
not have the confidence in them as compared to conventional systems or 
advanced natural gas combined cycle systems, which have a proven track 
record.  Even if capital costs were lower, the unpredictability of the clean coal 
systems increases risks and possibly operating and maintenance costs to the 
utility, which may inhibit investment. Thus, even after they become 
competitively priced, it may take time - some estimate 5-10 years or more - 
to penetrate the market. Finally, even if the tax credits were to be effective in 
stimulating investment in clean coal technologies, such subsidies are an 
economically inefficient way of addressing either energy or environmental 
externalities.  


	Selected Bibliography

Brown, Marilyn, Benjamin K. Sovacool, and Richard F. Hirsh. "Assessing 
U.S. Energy Policy."   Daedalus v. 135.  Summer 2006. Boston:  pp. 5- 12.
Fri, Robert W. "From Energy Wish Lists to Technological Realities." 
Issues in Science and Technology, v. 23, Fall 2006;  Washington: pp. 63-69.
Metcalf, Gilbert E.  Federal Tax Policy Towards Energy.  Paper prepared 
for the NBER conference on Tax Policy and the Economy.  September 14, 
2006.
Lackner Klaus F.  "The Conundrum of Sustainable Energy: Clean Coal as 
One Possible Answer." Asian Economic Papers v. 4. Fall 2005.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30406.  Washington, DC: June 28, 
2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Description and Technical 
Explanation of the Conference Agreement of H.R. 6, Title XIII, "The Energy 
Tax Incentives Act of 2005."  July 27, 2005.
U.S. Department of Energy.  Office of Fossil Energy.  Clean Coal Today.  
DOE/FE-0215P.  Summer, 1998.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Outlook for Utilities' Potential Use of 
Clean Coal Technologies.  GAO/RCED-90-165, May 1990, p.3.
U.S. Treasury Department.  Internal Revenue Service.  "Establishing 
Qualifying Advanced Coal Project Program." IRS Notice 2006-24.  Internal 
Revenue Bulletin. March 13, 2006.










	Energy

EXPENSING OF THE COST OF PROPERTY USED IN THE 
REFINERS OF LIQUID FUELS 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

(1)

(1)

2007

-

(1)

(1)

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.2

0.2

2010

-

0.3

0.3

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 168(l), 179C.


	Description



Oil refineries are allowed to irrevocably elect to expense 50 percent of the 
cost of qualified refinery property, with no limitation on the amount of the 
deduction. The deduction would be allowed in the taxable year in which the 
refinery property is placed in service. The remaining 50 percent of the cost 
would remain eligible for regular cost recovery provisions. To qualify for the 
deduction: (1) original use of the property must commence with the taxpayer; 
(2) construction must be pursuant to a binding construction contract entered 
into after June 14, 2005, and before January 1, 2008, (ii) in the case of 
self-constructed property, construction began after June 14, 2005, and before 
January 1, 2008, or (iii) the refinery property is placed in service before 
January 1, 2008; (3) the property must be placed in service before January 1, 
2012; (4) the property must meet certain production capacity requirements if 
it is an addition to an existing refinery; and (5) the property must meet all 
applicable environmental laws when placed in service. Certain types of 
refineries, including asphalt plants, would not be eligible for the deduction, 
and there is a special rule for sale-leasebacks of qualifying refineries. If the 
owner of the refinery is a cooperative, it may elect to allocate all or a part of 
the deduction to the cooperative owners, allocated on the basis of ownership 
interests.  This provision is effective for qualifying refineries placed in service 
after date of enactment.	

Small refiners are also allowed two other tax incentives (which are 
discussed elsewhere in this compendium): a $2.10/barrel tax credit for the 
production of low-sulfur diesel fuel that is  in compliance with Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) sulfur regulations (IRC 45H); and expensing, in 
lieu of depreciation, for up to 75 percent of the capital costs incurred in 
producing low-sulfur diesel fuel that is in compliance with EPA sulfur 
regulations.

This benefit is also allowed for property used to produce cellulosic biomass 
ethanol through 2012. 


	Impact

Under current depreciation rules (the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery 
System) refinery assets are generally depreciated over 10 years using the 
double declining balance method.  Allowing 50 percent of the cost of the 
refinery to be deducted immediately (expensed) rather than depreciated over 
the normal 10 year life reduces the cost of constructing a refinery by slightly 
under 5 percent for a taxpayer in the 35 percent  tax bracket. The present 
value of a 10-year, double declining balance depreciation per dollar of 
investment is $0.74 with an 8 percent nominal discount rate. For every dollar 
expensed, the benefit of expensing is to increase the present value of 
deductions by $0.26, and since half of the investment is expensed, the value is 
$0.13.  Multiplying this value by 35 percent leads to a 4.6 percent benefit as a 
share of investment.  The value would be larger with a higher discount rate.  
For example, at a 10 percent discount rate, the benefit would be 5.4 percent.  
The benefit is smaller for firms with limited tax liability or lower tax rates. 

Since the provision is temporary, there is an incentive to speed up the 
investment in refinery capacity so as to qualify it, unless the tax benefit is 
expected to be made permanent.  Nevertheless, the incentive to speed up 
investment is limited, because the effective price discount is small. Investing 
in excess capacity that would not otherwise be desirable would either leave 
the plant  idle or provide too much output and lower prices and profits for a 
period of time.  The latter cost should be at least as big as the cost of 
remaining idle.  With a five percent price discount, the interest cost of 
carrying excess capacity or losing profits would roughly offset the tax credit's 
value within a year.


  
Refiners will, however, receive a windfall benefit on construction that 
would have taken place in the absence of the subsidy.

	Rationale

This provision was enacted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-
58).  Its purpose is to increase investments in existing refineries so as to 
increase petroleum product output, and reduce prices.  The provision 
extending the benefit to cellulosic biomass ethanol was added by H.R. 6111 
in February of 2006.


	Assessment

Economic theory suggests that investments should be treated in a neutral 
fashion to maximize economic well being. There is no obvious reason that the 
price of refined liquids should be subsidized, even for a temporary time. 
Indeed, there are pollution, congestion, and other external negative effects of 
the consumption of petroleum products that might suggest the reverse of a 
subsidy.  

The transitory subsidy, if indeed it remains transitory, would not have 
lasting effects and would lead to investments being made more quickly, 
resulting either in wasted investment or temporarily lower prices.  If the 
subsidy is continued, as has been the case with other tax provisions, then, 
absent other market distortions, overconsumption of petroleum products 
would occur.  

The effect on refinery construction is difficult to estimate. The precise 
effect depends on the price elasticity of investment with respect to changes in 
costs.  To illustrate, if such an elasticity were 1, then a 5.4 percent reduction 
in costs could be expected to increase refinery capital by 5.4 percent, which 
would translate into  a roughly 900 thousand barrels per day.  Such an 
increase, if it were to materialize, would increase domestic petroleum output 
and reduce prices.   However, recent evidence regarding a similar provision 
for equipment in general including refineries (bonus depreciation), which 
applied from 2002 through 2004, indicated that the response was not as large 
as hoped for and that, indeed, many firms did not appear to take advantage of 
the provision.  In addition, most estimates of the elasticity of investment 
response to a permanent change in the cost of capital goods suggest a fairly 
low response, on the order of 0.25, although one study has found a higher 
response of about 0.66.







	Selected Bibliography

Chirinko, Robert S., Steven M. Fazzarri, and Andrew P. Meyer.  "How 
Responsive is Business Capital Formation to its User Cost?  An Exploration 
with Micro Data?"  Journal of Public Economics vol. 74 (1999), pp. 53-80.  
	Cohen Darryl and Jason Cummins.  A Retrospective Evaluation of the 
Effects of Temporary Partial Expensing. Federal Reserve Board Staff 
Working Paper 2006-19, April 2006. 
Cordes, Joseph J.  "Expensing," in the Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy, Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle, eds 
(Washington: Urban Institute Press, 2005).
Jason G. , Kevin A. Hassett, and R. Glen Hubbard, "A Reconsideration of 
Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments."  Brookings Papers on 
Economic Activity, 1994, no. 1, pp. 1-72.	
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Expensing Allowance: Current Status, 
Legislative Proposals, and Economic Effects.  CRS Report RL31852, 
October 3, 2006.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30406.  Washington, DC: June 28, 
2005.
Pirog, Robert L. Petroleum Refining: Economic Performance and 
Challenges for the Future. Congressional Research Service Report RL32248. 
 Washington: May 9, 2005 
Sterner, Thomas. Policy Instruments for Environmental and Natural 
Resource Management.  Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. 2003.  
	U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Description and Technical 
Explanation of the Conference Agreement of H.R. 6, Title XIII, "The Energy 
Tax Incentives Act of 2005."  July 27, 2005.








Energy

DEDUCTION OF EXPENDITURES ON ENERGY-EFFICIENT 
COMMERCIAL BUILDING PROPERTY


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

0.1

0.1

0.2

 2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(2)

(2)

(2)

2010

(2)

(2)

(2)

(1)Less than $50 million.
(2) Positive tax expenditure of less than $50 million.
This provision was extended through 2008 by H.R. 6111 in December 
2006 with a revenue cost in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 of $0.1 billion.

	Authorization

Section 179D.


	Description



A new formula-based tax deduction is available for energy-efficient 
commercial building property expenditures made by the taxpayer, subject to a 
limit of $1.80 per square foot of commercial building space. The property 
must be installed as part of a plan to reduce the energy and power 
consumption of a commercial building by 50 percent. In the case of a building 
that does not meet the 50 percent energy savings target, a partial deduction is 
allowed. For some property, e.g., lighting systems, the deduction is pro-rated 
based on cuts in lighting power density. Qualifying property includes property 
installed as part of interior lighting systems, heating, cooling, ventilation and 
hot water systems, or the building envelope, to the extent certified as energy 
efficient. The cost basis of  the property, for purposes of depreciation, would 
be reduced by the amount of the deduction. 
The provision allows designers of the commercial building to claim this 
deduction if the energy efficiency items are installed in the buildings of 
nontaxable entities such as public schools. This provision is effective for 
property placed in service after December 31, 2005, and prior to January 1, 
2009.


Impact

Under current law there is no special tax advantage or break for 
expenditures on energy efficiency property used in a business. In general 
these types of expenses are part of businesses' assets, and hence are 
depreciable in accordance with the guidelines established by law and 
regulation, which vary by type of business. Under current depreciation rules 
(the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System), structures and structural 
components - such as heating/cooling systems and lighting - are 
depreciated over 39 years using the straight line method. Allowing a current 
deduction for energy efficient capital goods that would otherwise be 
depreciated over such a long period of time - that is, allowing expensing of 
the costs of such property - greatly accelerates, and increases the present 
value of, the deductions. This reduces effective tax rates and would normally 
encourage investment.  However, this deduction is in place for a relatively 
short period of time, just over 2 years, and given the 1) the long lead time for 
constructing commercial buildings, and 2) the complexity of determining the 
deduction, there is some question of its effectiveness in inducing investment 
in qualifying property. 


	Rationale

This deduction was introduced by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 
109-58), to encourage  businesses to retrofit their commercial buildings with 
energy conserving components and equipment.  The goal was to enhance the 
energy efficiency of commercial buildings. The Energy Tax Act of 1978 (P.L. 
96-518) provided for a 10 percent investment tax credit for certain categories 
of property that conserved energy in industrial processes, which generally 
applied to the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. These types of property 
-  there were actually 13 categories -  were called specially defined energy 
property, but none included property for conserving energy in commercial 
buildings. These credits generally expired at the end of 1982.
H.R. 6111 in December 2006 extended eligibility through 2008







Assessment

Commercial buildings include a wide variety of building types - such as 
offices, hospitals, schools, police stations, places of worship, warehouses, 
hotels, barber shops, libraries, shopping malls. These different commercial 
activities all have unique energy needs but, as a whole, commercial buildings 
use more than half their energy for heating and lighting. Electricity and 
natural gas are the most common energy sources used in commercial 
buildings, accounting for 90 percent of total commercial sector energy use. 
The commercial sector in the United States uses almost as much energy as the 
residential sector, about 18 percent in 2005, but yet it has not generally been 
the target of energy conservation incentives. As noted above, the (now 
expired) energy tax credits of 1978 targeted the industrial energy sector.

There is no generally acknowledged market failure in the use of energy in 
commercial buildings or the production and investment in energy 
using/saving capital goods in such buildings that requires government 
intervention via subsidies. The business profit maximizing (and cost 
minimizing) objective is generally sufficient to invest in energy-saving capital 
when the rate of return on such investments is above the opportunity cost. 
From an economic perspective, allowing special tax benefits for certain types 
of investment or consumption can result in a misallocation of resources. The 
deduction under IRC  179D might be justified on the grounds of 
conservation, if consumption of energy resulted in negative effects on society, 
such as pollution. In general, however, it would be more economically 
efficient to directly tax energy fuels than to subsidize a particular method of 
achieving conservation.

There may be a market failure in tenant-occupied homes, if the tenant pays 
for electricity separately.  In rental housing, the tenant and the landlord lack 
strong financial incentives to invest in energy conservation equipment and 
materials, even when the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, because the 
benefits from such conservation may not entirely accrue to the party 
undertaking the energy-saving expenditure and effort. Builders and buyers 
may also lack sufficient information, a problem which is discussed below.



As a general rule, tenants are not going to improve the energy efficiency of 
a residence that does not belong to them, even if the unit is metered.  They 
sometimes make such improvements if the rate of return (or payback) is 
sufficiently large, but most tenants do not occupy rental housing long enough 
to reap the full benefits of the energy conservation investments. Part of the 
problem is also that it is not always easy to calculate the energy savings 
potential (hence rates of return) from the various retrofitting investments. 
Landlords may not be able to control the energy consumption habits of renters 
to sufficiently recover the full cost of the energy conservation expenditures, 
regardless of whether the units are individually metered. If the units are 
individually metered, then the landlord would generally not undertake such 
investments since all the benefits therefrom would accrue to the renters, 
unless a landlord could charge higher rents on apartments with lower utility 
costs.  If the units are not individually metered, but under centralized control, 
the benefits of conservation measures may accrue largely to the landlord, but 
even here the tenants may have sufficient control over energy use to subvert 
the accrual of any gains to the landlord.  In such cases, from the landlord's 
perspective, it may be easier and cheaper to forgo the conservation 
investments and simply pass on energy costs as part of the rents. Individual 
metering can be quite costly, and while it may reduce some of the distortions, 
it is not likely to completely eliminate them, because even if the landlord can 
charge higher rents, he may not be able to recover the costs of energy 
conservation efforts or investments.

These market failures may lead to underinvestment in conservation 
measures in rental housing and provide the economic rationale for gross 
income exclusion under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 136, as discussed 
elsewhere in this compendium.  Without such explicit exclusion, such 
subsidies would be treated as gross income and subject to tax. This exclusion, 
however, applies both to owner-occupied and to rental housing.


	Selected Bibliography

Brown, Marilyn  "Market Failures and Barriers as a Basis for Clean Energy 
Policies," Energy Policy, v. 29.  November 2001, pp. 1197-1207.
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf. "Market Failure and Energy 
Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17.  
August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hahn, Robert W. "Energy Conservation: An Economic Perspective."  
American Enterprise Institute, October 2005.
Hassett, Kevin A., and Gilbert E. Metcalf.  "Energy Conservation 
Investment: Do Consumers Discount the Future Correctly?"  Energy Policy, 
v. 21.  June 1993, pp. 710-716.
Howarth, Richard B. and Bo Anderson. "Market Barriers to Energy 
Efficiency." Energy Economics, October, 1993. pp. 262-292.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
Loskamp, Wendy. "Energy, Water Efficiencies and Savings Come From 
Meter Data Management." Energy Pulse.  Insight Analysis and Commentary 
on the Global Power Industry. 2006
Metcalf, Gilbert E.  "Economics and Rational Conservation Policy." 
Energy Policy, v. 22.  October 1994, pp. 819-825.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "Energy Efficiency or the Efficient Use of Energy 
Resources."  Energy Sources, v. 16, pp. 257-268.


Sutherland, Ronald J.  "The Economics of Energy Conservation Policy."  
Energy Policy, v. 24.  April 1996, pp. 361-370.
 U.S. Congress.  House. Committee on Energy and Commerce.  National 
Energy Policy: Conservation and Energy Efficiency. Hearings Before the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, June 22, 2001. 
U.S. Department of Energy. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 
"Energy Efficiency, Market Failures, and Government Policy."  Levine, Mark 
D. et al.  March 1994.
U.S. Department of Energy.  Energy Information Administration. 1999 
Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey-Commercial Buildings 
Characteristics. May 2006.
U.S. Department of Energy.  Energy Information Administration. 2003 
Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey-Overview of 
Commercial Buildings Characteristics. May 2002.
U.S. Department of Energy. Monthly Energy Review.  October 2006.
U.S. Department of Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service. "Deduction for 
Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings." Internal Revenue Bulletin.  Notice 
2006-52, June 26, 2006.










Energy

TAX CREDIT FOR THE PURCHASE OF QUALIFIED ENERGY 
EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO EXISTING HOMES


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

-

0.1

2007

0.3

-

0.3

 2008

0.2

-

0.2

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 25C, 25D, and 45L.


	Description

A 10% tax credit is provided to home owners for the installation of 
qualified energy efficiency improvements and residential energy property 
expenditures. The maximum credit for a taxpayer with respect to the same 
dwelling is $500 for all taxable years, of which no more than $200 may be 
attributable to expenditures on windows. Qualified improvements are defined 
as any energy efficient building envelope component that meets the criteria 
set by the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code and is installed in or 
on a dwelling unit owned and used as the taxpayer's principal residence. 
Building envelope components include: (1) insulation materials or other 
systems designed to reduce the heat loss or gain, (2) exterior windows 
(including skylights), (3) exterior doors, and (4) any metal roof that has 
coatings designed to reduce heat gain.



There are also tax credits for residential energy efficient property, 
including: a  $50 credit for each advanced main air circulating fan; a $150 tax 
credit for each qualified natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water 
boiler; and a $300 credit each for qualifying electric heat pump water heaters, 
electric heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, central air conditioners, and 
natural gas, propane or oil water heaters.

The basis of the property would be required to be reduced by the amount 
of the credit. Special proration rules are applied for jointly owned property, 
condominiums, and cooperative housing corporations, and where less than 
80% of the property is used for nonbusiness purposes. Also, certain 
expenditures for labor are eligible.

A 30% credit, not to exceed $2,000, is provided for home owners that 
purchase photovoltaic property used exclusively for residential purposes. A 
separate 30% credit is provided for residential solar water heating property 
other than property heating swimming pools and hot tubs. At least half of the 
energy produced by the solar water heating property must be derived from the 
sun. Also a 30% tax credit is provided for fuel cell power plants, not to 
exceed $1,000 for each kilowatt of capacity. The power equipment must have 
a  generation efficiency greater than 30% and a capacity of at least 0.5 
kilowatts. The power plant must also be installed on or in connection with a 
dwelling unit located in the United States and that is used by the taxpayer as a 
principal residence. The depreciable basis of the property must be reduced by 
the amount of the credit.  In addition, the credit applies to the basis remaining 
after subtracting any state subsidies (such as grants) or utility incentives 
claimed on the same property. Expenditures for labor costs are included. 
Certain equipment safety requirements must be met to qualify for the credit 
and special proration rules apply for jointly owned property, condominiums, 
and cooperative housing corporations, and where less than 80 percent of the 
property is used for nonbusiness purposes. All residential energy tax credits 
are effective for periods after December 31, 2005, and before January 1, 
2009. 

Finally, a new general business tax credit is available for the construction 
of qualified new energy-efficient homes if the homes achieve an energy 
savings of 50% over the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code. For 
manufactured homes, the required standard is a 30% energy savings. A 
$1,000 credit would be available for each manufactured home that is certified 
as having an annual heating and cooling energy consumption level that is at 
least 30% below the annual energy consumption level of a comparable 
dwelling unit, and $2,000 for a new home that has an annual heating and 
cooling energy consumption level that is at least 50% below the annual 
energy consumption level of a comparable dwelling unit. This credit is 
available only to contractors, and it is effective for homes whose construction 
is substantially completed after December 31, 2005, and which are purchased 
after December 31, 2005, and prior to January 1, 2009.



Impact

These tax credits provide an investment subsidy to  homeowners who 
invest in a variety of home energy conserving equipment and materials, 
including (1) more energy-efficient heating or cooling systems, water heaters, 
or envelope component materials such as insulation and storm windows or (2) 
energy production  systems such as solar or fuel cell systems. This subsidy 
helps to offset some of the purchase cost, which is generally higher than 
conventional energy equipment. The idea is to reduce the purchase price of 
qualifying equipment and thereby increase the rate of return or reduce its 
payback time. If the credits are to be effective, then the net present value of 
expected energy savings should equal the purchase price, net of the tax credits 
(or equivalently, the rate of return on the net purchase price should be higher 
than the opportunity cost of capital - the rate of return on the best alternative 
use of the capital outlay).


	Rationale

These provisions were established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 
109-58) to encourage homeowners to retrofit their homes with energy 
efficient materials  - materials and property that reduce the heat loss during 
winter and cooling loss during summer -  and replace their energy using 
systems with either more energy efficient conventional systems or with solar 
energy or fuel cell systems.  These tax credits are very similar to those enacted 
under the Energy Tax Act of 1978 (P.L. 96-518) and which expired at the end 
of 1985.  The 1978 tax credits were part of President Carter's National 
Energy Program.  H.R. 6111 extended the 30% credit and the credit for new 
homes through 2008.

More specifically, residential energy use for heating and cooling 
constitutes a significant fraction of total U.S. energy consumption, and 
therefore, measures to reduce heating and cooling requirements have the 
potential to reduce such consumption. Further, the Congress believed that 
many existing homes are not adequately insulated.  The tax credit for the 
construction of energy efficient homes is premised on the belief that the most 
cost-effective time to equip a home with energy efficient property is when it is 
under construction, and that the most effective mechanism to encourage the 
use of energy-efficient components in the construction of new homes is 
through an incentive to the builder.  Reduced home energy consumption will 
reduce imported oil and pollution.


Assessment



From an economic perspective, allowing special tax credits for certain 
targeted activities can distort the allocation of resources, encouraging 
investments that would not otherwise be economical at current and expected 
prices and rates of return.  Conversely, when home energy prices are high, 
many homeowners have sufficient financial incentives to undertake energy 
efficiency improvements without tax credits.  This results in a windfall for 
many households - a financial reward for doing something that the person 
would have done anyway - at taxpayers' expense.  This may not be a good 
use of taxpayer revenues, particularly during times of large budget deficits.  
Some recent data suggest that the demand for building insulation has 
increased rapidly due primarily to higher energy prices.

The credits for solar and fuel cells tend to favor middle and upper income 
households as the technologies are expensive and require large outlays of 
capital. Thus, they may be questionable on distributional grounds. Generally, 
these technologies require grid backup in most areas where they are installed, 
and their return may be low or even negative. Such tax credits are often 
justified on the grounds of energy conservation, where consumption of energy 
results in negative effects on society, such as pollution. In general, however, it 
would be more economically efficient to directly tax energy fuels than to 
subsidize a particular method of achieving conservation measures.  

There are generally no acknowledged market failures in personal decisions 
to invest in energy efficient  capital goods or property for the home; nor is 
there a market failure to provide or supply such goods or property by the 
business sector.  The market generally works to supply such products and 
consumers readily invest in them as long as the rate of return is sufficient, 
which tends to be the case when home energy prices are high. There may be a 
market failure in decisions by builders to invest in appliances and other 
energy-using systems that  equip a new home or building. The builder's 
incentive is to use the least costly, i.e., what may be the least energy efficient, 
appliance since this leads to a lower price and more profit for each dwelling 
unit sold; this could leave the home buyer or investor with higher monthly 
energy bills. Such a  buyer of the new home might otherwise invest in the 
more expensive, but more energy saving appliances.

There may be a market failure in tenant-occupied homes, if the tenant pays 
energy bills separately.  In rental housing, the tenant and the landlord lack 
strong financial incentives to invest in energy conservation equipment and 
materials, even when the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, because the 
benefits from such conservation may not entirely accrue to the party 
undertaking the energy-saving expenditure and effort.  Builders and buyers 
may also lack sufficient information (a problem which is discussed in more 
detail in Lazzari, CRS Report RL30406).


	Selected Bibliography

Brown, Marilyn.  "Market Failures and Barriers as a Basis for Clean 
Energy Policies," Energy Policy, v. 29.  November 2001, pp. 1197-1207.
Clinch, J. Peter, and John D. Healy.  "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Domestic 
Energy Efficiency." Energy Policy, v. 29.  January 2000. pp.113-124.
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf.  "Market Failure and 
Energy Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17. 
 August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hahn, Robert W. "Energy Conservation: An Economic Perspective." 
American Enterprise Institute, October 2005.
Hassett, Kevin A., and Gilbert E. Metcalf.  "Energy Conservation 
Investment: Do Consumers Discount the Future Correctly?"  Energy Policy, 
v. 21.  June 1993, pp. 710-716.
Howarth, Richard B., and Bo Anderson.  "Market Barriers to Energy 
Efficiency." Energy Economics, October, 1993. pp. 262-292.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
_. Energy Tax Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 94-525. Washington, DC: 
June 22, 1994.
Metcalf, Gilbert E.  "Economics and Rational Conservation Policy." 
Energy Policy, v. 22.  October 1994, pp. 819-825.  
Pimental, D., A. Pleasant, et al.  "U.S. Energy Conservation and 
Efficiency: Benefits and Costs." Energy, Development, and Sustainability. v. 
6, September 2004. pp. 279-306.
Scafidi, Catina M., and Anthony P. Curatola. "ETIA of 2005 and New 
Energy-Efficient Appliances." Strategic Finance. V. 87, June 2006. 
Montvale: pp. 16-18. 
Stern, Paul C. "Blind Spots in Policy Analysis: What Economics Doesn't 
Say About Energy Use."  Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, v.5.  
April 1986.  Pp200-227.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "Energy Efficiency or the Efficient Use of Energy 
Resources."  Energy Sources, v. 16, 1996. pp. 257-268.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "The Economics of Energy Conservation Policy."  
Energy Policy, v. 24.  April 1996, pp. 361-370.
U.S. Congress, House. Report to Accompany H.R. 776, the Comprehensive 
Energy Policy Act.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Report 102-474, Part 6,  pp. 35-37.
-. House. Committee on Energy and Commerce.  National Energy Policy: 
Conservation and Energy Efficiency. Hearings Before the Subcommittee on 
Energy and Air Quality. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
June 22, 2001. 


U.S. Department of Energy. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 
"Energy Efficiency, Market Failures, and Government Policy."  Levine, Mark 
D. et al.  March 1994.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service.  Credit for 
Nonbusiness Energy Property.  Notice 2006-26.  March 13, 2006.








Energy

TAX CREDIT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY-
EFFICIENT APPLIANCES


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.1

0.1

2007

(1)

0.1

0.1

 2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 45M.


	Description

Internal Revenue Code section 45M provides a tax credit for the eligible 
production (manufacture) of certain energy-efficient dishwashers, clothes 
washers, and refrigerators. The credit for dishwashers is $3/dishwasher 
multiplied by the percentage by which the energy efficiency of the 2007 
standards (not yet known) exceeds that of the 2005 standards. The maximum 
credit is $100 per dishwasher. For example, if the 2007 standards exceed the 
2005 standards by 30%, the credit would be $90 per dishwasher.  The credit 
for dishwashers would apply to dishwashers produced in 2006 and 2007 that 
meet the Energy Star standards for 2007. Any residential dishwasher that 
exceeds the energy conservation standards established by the Department of 
Energy qualifies for the credit.



The credit for clothes washers ranges from $50 to $200 per unit, 
depending on when the units were manufactured and the average water and 
energy savings.  The credits would be at least $100 for washers manufactured 
in 2006 and 2007 that meet the requirements of the Energy Star program in 
effect for clothes washers in 2007. A clothes washer would be any residential 
clothes washer, including a residential style coin operated washer, that 
satisfies the relevant efficiency standard.

The credit for refrigerators ranges from $75-$150 each based on the 
amount of energy savings and the year of manufacture. The energy savings 
are determined relative to the energy conservation standards promulgated by 
the Department of Energy that took effect on July 1, 2001. Refrigerators that 
achieve a 15 percent to 20 percent energy saving and that are manufactured in 
2006 receive a $75 credit. Refrigerators that achieve a 20 percent to 25 
percent energy saving receive a $125 credit if manufactured in 2006 or 2007. 
Refrigerators that achieve at least a 25 percent energy saving receive a $175 
credit if manufactured in 2006 or 2007. A refrigerator must be an automatic 
defrost refrigerator-freezer with an internal volume of at least 16.5 cubic feet 
to qualify for the credit. 

In all cases, appliances eligible for the credit would include only those that 
exceed the average amount of production from the three prior calendar years 
for each category of appliance. Eligible production of refrigerators would be 
production that exceeds 110 percent of the average amount of production 
from the three prior calendar years. An eligible manufacturer (the taxpayer) 
may not claim credits in excess of $75 million for all taxable years, and may 
not claim credits in excess of $20 million with respect to refrigerators eligible 
for the $75 credit.  The credit allowed in a taxable year for all appliances may 
not exceed 2% of the average annual gross receipts of the taxpayer for the 
three taxable years preceding the taxable year in which the credit is 
determined. The appliance credit is part of the general business credit. It is 
claimed in concert with a variety of other business tax credits, and it is subject 
to the limits of those credits as well. This provision became effective for 
appliances produced after December 31, 2005, and it ends on December 31, 
2007.


Impact



The appliance tax credits provide a per-unit subsidy to those domestic 
companies (Whirlpool, General Electric, etc.) that manufacture energy-
efficient appliances that qualify for the Energy Star program.  Appliances and 
other energy using items receive an Energy Star label from the Department of 
Energy if they use less energy than the minimum federal standard for that 
item. This subsidy helps to offset some of the cost of manufacturing such 
appliances, which are generally more costly than less energy efficient ones. In 
general, most of the energy saving appliances are also the more expensive and 
purchased more by relatively higher income households. The credit thus 
lowers the marginal and average costs of producing the more energy efficient 
appliances, which shifts production of such upscale appliances (and producers 
of such appliances) at the expense of the lower end models. This would 
generally lead to a lower market price to consumers - i.e., part of the 
production subsidy is shifted forward to consumers as a lower price net of the 
subsidy - but an increase in the total resource costs of producing the 
appliances inclusive of the  subsidy. This may raise questions about the 
distributional impacts of the appliance tax credits. It also shifts what are 
otherwise private production costs onto taxpayers.  

While not directly affecting consumers, manufacturers of energy efficient 
clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators are eligible for tax breaks 
themselves. The combination of production credits and energy savings from 
use of the more energy efficient products might spur additional sales and use. 
For example, homeowners might be induced to upgrade to the more energy-
efficient appliances that qualify for the credit. 


	Rationale

Section 45M was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-
58) to encourage production of appliances that exceed the minimum federal 
energy-efficiency standards, and thus qualify for the federal Energy Star 
energy-efficiency program.  


Assessment



From an economic perspective, allowing special tax credits for certain 
targeted activities distorts the allocation of resources, encouraging companies 
to undertake certain types of investments and production that would not 
otherwise be economical at current and expected prices and rates of return. 
For instance, the credits are targeted for only three of the many home 
appliances - they exclude, for instance, clothes dryers and range ovens.  
Studies have shown that clothes dryers consume four  times as much energy 
(in kilowatts per hour) than a refrigerator and 10 times more energy than a 
clothes washer. Also, since appliance manufacturers also have to comply with 
federal energy efficiency standards, the tax credits act as incentives to shift 
resources toward the more expensive and least economical appliance.  Some 
of the tax credits accrue to the manufacturer as increased profits and 
economic rents. The credits, thus, may be viewed as a form of corporate 
welfare, and are questionable on distributional grounds - they may provide 
more benefits to upper income households than to lower income ones. Such a 
program is often justified on the grounds of energy conservation, if 
consumption of energy resulted in negative effects on society, such as 
pollution. In general, however, it would be more efficient to directly tax 
energy fuels than to subsidize a particular method of achieving conservation.  

There are no generally acknowledged market failures in the production of 
energy efficient appliances and other capital goods. There may be a market 
failure in decisions by builders to invest in appliances and other energy using 
equipment to equip a building. The builder's incentive is to use the least 
costly, i.e., what may be the least energy efficient, appliance since this leads 
to a lower price and more profit for each dwelling unit sold, but whereas the 
builder does not have to pay the energy bills, the home buyer or investor has 
to make such monthly payments.  Such a  buyer of the new home might 
otherwise invest in the more expensive, but more energy saving, appliances. 
There are market failures in research and development and which serve as the 
economic rationale for the various tax subsidies for R&D expenditures as 
discussed elsewhere in this compendium.  R&D for energy-saving devices 
also qualifies for such subsidies.


	Selected Bibliography

Brown, Marilyn.  "Market Failures and Barriers as a Basis for Clean 
Energy Policies," Energy Policy, v. 29.  November 2001, pp. 1197-1207.
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf.  "Market Failure and 
Energy Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17. 
 August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Hahn, Robert W. "Energy Conservation: An Economic Perspective."  
American Enterprise Institute, October 2005.
Hassett, Kevin A., and Gilbert E. Metcalf.  "Energy Conservation 
Investment: Do Consumers Discount the Future Correctly?"  Energy Policy, 
v. 21.  June 1993, pp. 710-716.
Howarth, Richard B. and Bo Anderson.  "Market Barriers to Energy 
Efficiency." Energy Economics, October, 1993. pp. 262-292.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
_. Energy Tax Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 94-525. Washington, DC: 
June 22, 1994.
Loskamp, Wendy. "Energy, Water Efficiencies and Savings Come From 
Meter Data Management.  Energy Pulse."  Insight Analysis and Commentary 
on the Global Power Industry.  http\www.energypulse.net.
Metcalf, Gilbert E.  "Economics and Rational Conservation Policy." 
Energy Policy, v. 22.  October 1994, pp. 819-825.  


Pimental, D., A. Pleasant, et al.  "U.S. Energy Conservation and 
Efficiency." Energy, Development, and Sustainability.  V. 6, September 2004. 
pp. 279-306.
Scafidi, Catina M., and  Anthony P. Curatola. "ETIA of 2005 and New 
Energy-Efficient Appliances." Strategic Finance. V. 87, June 2006. 
Montvale: pp. 16-18. 
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "Energy Efficiency or the Efficient Use of Energy 
Resources."  Energy Sources, v. 16, 1994.  pp. 257-268. 
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "The Economics of Energy Conservation Policy."  
Energy Policy, v. 24.  April 1996, pp. 361-370.
U.S. Congress, House.  Committee on Energy and Commerce.  National 
Energy Policy: Conservation and Energy Efficiency. Hearings Before the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, June 22, 2001. 
U.S. Department of Energy. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 
"Energy Efficiency, Market Failures, and Government Policy."  Levine, Mark 
D. et al.  March 1994.










Energy

TAX CREDITS FOR ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY
VEHICLES


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.2

0.1

0.3

2007

0.2

0.1

0.3

 2008

0.1

(1)

0.1

2009

0.1

(1)

0.1

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 30 and 30B.


	Description

Section 30B provides for a new system of nonrefundable tax credits for 
four types of so-called alternative technology motor vehicles: hybrid vehicles, 
advanced lean-burn technology vehicles,  alternative fuel vehicles, and fuel 
cell vehicles. Advanced technology vehicles (ATVs) may use either an 
alternative fuel or a conventional fuel (such as diesel) more efficiently. In 
general, they are less polluting than standard (non- advanced) motor vehicles. 
 For each of the four vehicle types, the amount of the credits depend on 
vehicle weight class (passenger and light truck vs. heavy duty trucks) and 
either estimated lifetime fuel savings or the incremental (marginal) cost of the 
technology. 



Hybrid Vehicles and Advanced Lean-Burn Technology Vehicles. For 
hybrid and advanced lean- burn technology vehicles weighing less than 8,500 
pounds (i.e., for passenger cars or light trucks), the total credit consists of two 
components: a fuel economy credit, which ranges from $400-$2,400 
depending on the rated city fuel economy of the vehicle, and a conservation 
credit, which ranges from $250-$1,000 depending on estimated lifetime fuel 
savings. For both components, the comparison is made with a comparable 
2002 model year standard  gasoline powered vehicle. In addition, the 
conservation credit is based on the estimated lifetime fuel savings between the 
two vehicles  assumed to travel 120,000 miles. 

For qualified hybrid and advanced lean-burn technology vehicles weighing 
8,500 lbs or more, the credit is either 20, 30, or  40 percent of the marginal 
cost of the vehicle's advanced technology, subject to certain limits based on 
the precise vehicle weight. The precise percentage depends on the vehicle's 
fuel economy relative to a comparable gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. 
The marginal cost of the hybrid vehicle is the difference in the suggested 
manufacturer selling price between the hybrid vehicle and a gasoline or diesel 
powered vehicle comparable in weight, size, and use, as determined and 
certified by the manufacturer. 

In the case of hybrids and advanced lean-burn vehicles, there is a 
cumulative 60,000 limit imposed on the number of vehicles (all models of the 
hybrid or lean-burn type) sold by each manufacturer that are eligible for the 
credit. Once the cumulative limit is reached for either technology, the credit 
for that manufacturer begins to phase out during the second quarter after the 
limit is reached and is completely phased out - no credit is available - after 
the sixth quarter (the fourth quarter after the phase-out begins).  The credit is 
available for imported vehicles, but no credit is allowed for any vehicle used 
outside of the United States.

Hybrid vehicles are defined as motor vehicles that draw propulsion energy 
from two onboard sources of stored energy: an internal combustion or heat 
engine using consumable fuel, and a rechargeable energy storage system. A 
qualifying hybrid vehicle must meet the applicable regulations under the 
Clean Air Act. For a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 6,000 
pounds or less (passenger cars and many light trucks), the applicable 
emissions standards are the Bin 5 Tier II emissions standards of the Clean Air 
Act. For a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 6,000 
pounds and less than or equal to 8,500 pounds, the applicable emissions 
standards are the Bin 8 Tier II emissions standards. The tax credit for hybrid 
vehicles is available for vehicles purchased after December 31, 2005, and 
before January 1, 2010.  A qualifying advanced lean-burn technology motor 
vehicle is one that incorporates direct injection, and achieves at least 125 
percent of the 2002 model year city fuel economy.  The 2004 and later model 
vehicles must meet or exceed certain Environmental Protection Agency 
emissions standards. A qualifying advanced lean- burn technology motor 
vehicle must be placed in service before January 1, 2011.



Alternative Fuel Vehicles. The credit for new qualified alternative fuel 
motor vehicles is generally equal to 50 percent of the incremental cost of the 
technology, relative to a conventionally powered vehicle of the same class and 
size. The incremental cost depends on the vehicle's weight. However, a bonus 
credit of 30 percent is also provided for alternative fuel vehicles that also 
meet certain EPA emission standards. In all cases, the credit cannot exceed 
$4,000-$32,000 per vehicle depending on vehicle weight. A new qualified 
alternative fuel motor vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle that is capable of 
operating on an alternative fuel, defined as compressed natural gas, liquefied 
natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, and any liquid at least 85 
percent of the volume of which consists of methanol. A reduced credit is 
available for mixed-fuel (flexible fuel) vehicles. The vehicle must be new and 
 acquired by the taxpayer for use or lease, but nor for resale. The new credit 
for alternative fuel vehicles applies to purchases made between January 1, 
2006, and December 31, 2010. Alternative fuels also receive favorable tax 
treatment - a 50�/gallon equivalent of gasoline tax credits - against the 
federal excise tax.  Automakers also get credit toward meeting fuel economy 
standards by producing alternative fuel vehicles.

Fuel Cell Vehicles. The credit for fuel cell vehicles ranges from $8,000 
($4,000 if placed in service after 2009) to $40,000, depending on vehicle 
weight. If the new qualified fuel cell motor vehicle is a passenger automobile 
or light truck, the amount of the credit is increased if certain fuel efficiencies 
are met based on the 2002 model year city fuel economy for specified weight 
classes. A new qualified fuel cell motor vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle: 
(1) that is propelled by power derived from one or more cells that convert 
chemical energy into electricity by combining oxygen and hydrogen fuel that 
is stored on board the vehicle in any form; (2) that, in the case of a passenger 
automobile or light truck, receives an EPA certification; (3) the original use of 
which commences with the taxpayer; (4) that is acquired for use or lease by 
the taxpayer and not for resale; and (5) is made by a manufacturer.  The new 
credit for fuel cell vehicles applies to purchases made between January 1, 
2006, and December 31, 2014. 

For all of the above ATV types, businesses may qualify for the credits and 
the vehicles also qualify for depreciation treatment, although there are limits 
on the annual depreciation deductions, and the cost basis is reduced by the 
credit. Also, while the credits are available for the purchaser, in the event of a 
sale to a governmental agency or a tax-exempt organization - entities that 
pay no income tax, and therefore cannot benefit from the credits - the seller 
of the vehicle would receive the credit.

Electric Vehicles. Finally, a 10 percent tax credit is available for the cost 
of an electric vehicle up to a maximum credit of $4,000. However, under 
phase-out provisions, only 25 percent of this credit ($1,000) is available in 
2006.  No credit is available after 2006.  This credit has been available since 
1992; the above advanced technology vehicles credits were enacted in 2005.



Impact

Substantial economic research over the years has demonstrated that lack of 
consumer demand for ATVs is the primary reason for the lack of market for 
these types of vehicles. This lack of consumer demand for ATVs, in turn, is 
generally due to five variables: 1) the high fixed, up-front costs (or purchase 
price) for the vehicle itself relative to the price of conventional vehicles; 2) 
the historically low price (real, inflation adjusted prices) of conventional fuels 
generally, and in relevant cases, the price of conventional fuels in relationship 
to the price of alternative fuels; 3) the variability in the price of oil, which 
translates into variability in the price of gasoline and diesel, and which 
increases the risk of alternative fuel investment and development, 
independent of the level of conventional fuels prices; 4) the additional risks 
associated with investing in or purchasing a relatively new, unknown, and 
unproven technology; and 5) the utility that consumers derive from an 
automobile's features that ATVs generally cannot provide at this time (due in 
various cases to poorer acceleration, smaller capacity, fewer refueling 
locations, possibly higher maintenance costs, and fewer model options). 

The new tax credits for the purchase of ATVs attempt to address one of 
these variables: the price of the vehicles. The credits should lead to a 
reduction in the price of the vehicles, relative to the price of conventional 
vehicles and increase the demand for them. The magnitude of the potential 
increase in consumer demand depends upon the magnitude of the price 
decline in response to the tax incentives and the price elasticity of demand for 
ATVs. These are basically unknown parameters at this time, but it seems 
reasonable that given the currently high costs of ATVs, current consumer 
demand is probably relatively elastic, which implies a sizeable responsiveness 
to potential price declines, if they actually take place. 



The new tax credits may also stimulate business investments in ATVs. A 
business's decision to invest is determined by three variables: 1) the rate of 
depreciation of its existing capital; 2) the demand for its output; and 3) the 
rate of return, after tax, on prospective investments. Assuming a given rate of 
depreciation and a continued market for its product, the decision to invest in 
any particular machine, equipment, or even a vehicle is determined by the 
after-tax rate of return on that prospective investment as compared to the cost 
of capital (which is basically the opportunity cost of capital, or the return on 
the best foregone investment alternative). Tax policy variables - the 
marginal statutory tax rate (including the alternative minimum tax), the 
effective investment tax credit, the system of depreciation, including any 
accelerated depreciation; the fraction of interest payments that are tax 
deductible; and effective tax rate on capital gains - all affect investment 
decisions through their effect on the marginal effective tax rate. The ATV 
credits are thus one of several variables that could affect the effective income 
tax rate on the marginal investment. The credit  increases the after-tax returns, 
which tends to stimulate investment demand, other things being equal. (Note 
that in both personal and business ATVs, future price declines in response to 
R&D tax incentives could increase the degree of responsiveness to the 
demand curve for ATVs.) However, under current depreciation rules there are 
two limitations as they apply to automobiles that may reduce the incentive 
effects of the ATV credits for businesses. First, there is a limit on the amount 
of a passenger vehicle that may be expensed under IRC section 179.  Second, 
there is a limit on the amount of a luxury automobile - ATVs would be 
classified as passenger automobiles for this purpose - that does not apply to 
a truck or SUV.  Thus, a business taxpayer that buys an SUV is not subject to 
these depreciation limits, while one that buys an ATV is.

Finally, to the extent that the credits are effective in increasing demand for 
ATVs, there is a decline in petroleum use and importation. Fuel consumed in 
conventional motor vehicles accounts for the largest fraction of total 
petroleum consumption and is a leading source of dependence on foreign oil. 
 ATVs are also generally less polluting, producing significantly lower total 
fuel cycle emissions when compared to equivalently sized conventional 
vehicles.


	Rationale

 Section 30B was enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 
109-58) to stimulate the demand for more fuel efficient and environmentally 
clean automobiles. The Congress believed that further investments in 
alternative fuel and ATVs are necessary to transform the mode of 
transportation in the United States toward more clean fuel efficient vehicles, 
relying less on petroleum. This would reduce petroleum consumption and 
importation, which endangers U. S. energy and economic security. In this 
regard, hybrids and alternative fueled vehicles (e.g., ethanol fueled vehicles) 
were viewed as the short term options; advanced lean-burn and fuel cell 
vehicles were viewed as the long-term options. The Energy Policy Act of 
1992 (P.L. 102-486) introduced a $2,000 tax deduction for passenger vehicles 
that run on alternative fuels (up to a $50,000 for heavy duty trucks), and also 
established a tax credit for electric vehicles. Under an administrative ruling by 
the Internal Revenue Service (Revenue Procedure 2002-42), purchasers of 
model year 2000-2006 hybrid vehicles were allowed to claim the clean-fuel 
vehicle deduction, which expired on January 1, 2006.  


Both the $4,000 electric car credit, and the alternative fuel vehicle 
deduction were subject to a phase out evenly over a 3-year period beginning 
in  2004 and ending in 2006.  This original phase-down schedule was 
modified in the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, which 
extended it from the 2002-2004 period to the 2004-2006 period. Early 
versions of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 
proposed to further extend the phase-down period to the 2005-2007 three-
year period, but the provision was dropped from the bill. The Energy Policy 
Act of 2005 allowed the deduction to sunset at the end of 2005; the electric 
vehicle tax credit sunsets in 2006.


Assessment

From 2000-2006 the demand for hybrid passenger automobiles 
(particularly, the demand for the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight) increased 
rapidly, mostly in response to the rapid runup of gasoline prices but also at 
least in part due to the incentive effects of the $2,000 federal deduction. 
Hybrid vehicles are priced somewhat higher than gasoline-powered cars of 
comparable size and quality, but the $2,000 tax deduction reduced the net 
price to the point that they became competitive. Also, there are numerous 
federal, state, and local government programs (such as fleet requirements) that 
have stimulated the use of hybrids (and, in some cases, alternative fuel 
vehicles). 

As to the effects of the new tax credits, which replaced the deduction, the 
presumption is that they have had some stimulative effect. Toyota, for 
example, reached the 60,000 vehicle limit by the second quarter of 2006, 
three and one-half years before the expiration of the hybrid credit. Still, while 
the ATV tax credits had some effect on demand for hybrids, it is difficult (and 
probably premature) to assess the relative effects of the tax credits and the 
recent high petroleum prices on the demand for hybrids. The importance of 
petroleum prices is further suggested, however, by the following evidence: 1) 
despite the phase-down of the deduction, which began on January 1, 2004, 
the demand for hybrids stayed at fairly sustained levels, and even increased 
before January 1, 2006, the date that the new tax credits became effective; 
and 2) the demand for the larger, and less fuel efficient, hybrids such as 
hybrid Sport Utility Vehicles has been less than the smaller hybrids. With the 
exception of hybrid cars, relatively few AFVs have been sold that qualify for 
the deduction. The limited availability of fuel cell, advanced lean-burn 
vehicles, and other ATVs, and the 60,000 output limit on the number of 
creditable hybrids means that the tax credits will likely have little direct 
impact on the total U.S. demand for transportation petroleum demand. With 
the exception of Toyota, other hybrid manufacturers are nowhere near the 
60,000 limit, which means that the tax credits for the purchasers of their 
hybrid should continue to be available.



 There is also a concern that the credits have favored foreign at the expense 
of domestic auto manufactures, because the demand for hybrids has been met 
primarily by imports.  Very few of the hybrid vehicles receiving the tax 
credits have been manufactured by domestic auto companies. In the short run, 
domestic automobile companies have favored production of flexible-fuel 
vehicles (particularly vehicles that can use E85 - mixtures of 15 percent 
gasoline and 85 percent ethanol) rather than hybrids; in the long run they 
appear to be putting their research and development efforts (and spending) 
into hydrogen fuel-cell technologies, which create electricity through an 
electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Given the current 
rudimentary state of development of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fueling 
infrastructure required for their use, and given the many technological and 
cost barriers to this development, however, it is unlikely that the tax credit for 
fuel cell vehicles will stimulate much demand. However, if these problems 
could be addressed, then tax credits that reduce the price of fuel cell vehicles 
to the comparable gasoline vehicle price could stimulate demand for fuel cells 
and reduce petroleum consumption. To the extent that the ATV credits accrue 
to flexible fuel vehicles there is some concern that consumers will continue to 
use gasoline in those vehicles rather than E85.  Available data suggest that 
very few such vehicles actually use E85, which is not only more expensive 
than gasoline, but is scarce due to the lack of supply infrastructure.  This 
means that, in effect, the ATV tax credits are actually encouraging the 
demand for conventionally powered domestic vehicles.  

From an economic perspective, allowing special tax credits for selected 
technologies (and not others)  distorts the allocation of resources - it creates 
economic inefficiencies and distortions. It encourages investments in high 
cost technologies, ones that would not otherwise be economical at current and 
expected prices and rates of return. For businesses this requires retooling and 
the cost of commercialization. Some data indicate that the cost of hybrids is 
greater than the retail selling price - that manufacturers are losing money on 
hybrids. This cost premium is, in part, due to the higher cost of hybrid power 
train components.  Conversely, when motor fuel  prices are high, many 
motorists have sufficient financial incentives to purchase more fuel efficient 
vehicles, such as hybrids, without tax credits. This results in a windfall for 
many consumers - a financial reward for undertaking investments that 
would have been undertaken even without the credits - at taxpayer's 
expense. This may not be a good use of taxpayer revenues, particularly during 
times of large federal budget deficits. 

Some of the ATVs that qualify for the tax credits are not only imported but 
are very expensive and would tend to be purchased by upper income 
households or businesses, which raise questions of the distributional effects of 
the credits: For example, such an imported vehicle may sell for $55,000 or 
more. The credits might tend to favor middle and upper income households, 
or businesses that have the income and wealth to invest in such expensive 
ATVs. Such tax credits are often justified on the grounds of energy 
conservation, if consumption of energy resulted in negative effects on society, 
such as pollution. In general, however, it would be more efficient to directly 
tax energy motor fuels or gas guzzlers than to subsidize a particular method of 
achieving conservation measures.   







	Selected Bibliography

Bearden, David M.  EPA's Tier 2 Emission Standards for New Motor 
Vehicles: A Fact Sheet, U.S. Library of Congress.  Congressional Research 
Service. CRS Report RS20247.  June 12, 2000. 
European Commission. Urban Transport: Options for Propulsion Systems 
and Instruments for Analysis.  March 22, 2001.  (Contract No. UR-97-SC-
2076), p. 64, 65. 
Fisher, Anthony C., and Michael H. Rothkopf.  "Market Failure and 
Energy Policy: A Rationale for Selective Conservation," Energy Policy, v. 17. 
 August 1989, pp. 397-406.
Graham, R.  Comparing the Benefits and Impact of Hybrid Electric 
Vehicle Options.  EPRI Report # 1000349.  July 2001.
Hahn, Robert W. "Energy Conservation: An Economic Perspective." 
American Enterprise Institute, October 2005.
Hassett, Kevin A., and Gilbert E. Metcalf.  "Energy Conservation 
Investment: Do Consumers Discount the Future Correctly?"  Energy Policy, 
v. 21.  June 1993, pp. 710-716.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 32265. Washington, DC: March 
10, 2004.
_. Expired and Expiring Energy Tax Incentives. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 94-525. Washington, DC: June 22, 
1994.
Metcalf, Gilbert E. "Economics and Rational Conservation Policy." 
Energy Policy, v. 22. October 1994, pp. 819-825.  
Pimental, D. and A. Pleasant, et al.  "U.S. Energy Conservation and 
Efficiency." Energy, Development, and Sustainability. v. 6, September 2004. 
pp. 279-306.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "Energy Efficiency or the Efficient Use of Energy 
Resources."  Energy Sources, v. 16, 1994. pp. 257-268.
Sutherland, Ronald J.  "The Economics of Energy Conservation Policy."  
Energy Policy, v. 24.  April 1996, pp. 361-370.
U.S. Department of Energy. TAFV Alternative Fuels and Vehicle Choice 
Model Documentation.  Prepared for Oak Ridge National Laboratory 
(ORNL/TM-2001/134), by David L. Greene.  July, 2001.
U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. IRS News 
Release: IR-2006-145.  September 20, 2006.
U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. IRS Notice: 
2006-78. Cumulative Bulletin 2006-41.  October 10, 2006.
Yacobucci, Brent. Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles: Energy, 
Environment, and Developmental Issues. U.S. Library of Congress.  
Congressional Research Service.  CRS Report RL 30758, January 7, 2005.



Yacobucci, Brent D. Advanced Vehicle Technologies: Energy, 
Environment, and Developmental Issues.  U.S. Library of Congress:  
Congressional Research Service. CRS Report RL 30484, December 17, 2004.
Yacobucci, Brent D. Tax Incentives for Alternative and Advanced 
Technology Vehicles. U.S. Library of Congress:  Congressional Research 
Service. CRS Report RL 22351, December 19, 2005.










Energy

TAX CREDITS FOR CLEAN FUEL VEHICLE
REFUELING PROPERTY


Estimated Revenue Loss

 [In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

 2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 30C.


	Description



A 30 percent tax credit is provided for the cost of any qualified alternative 
fuel vehicle refueling property installed in a business or at the taxpayer's 
principal residence. The credit is limited to $30,000 for businesses at each 
separate location, and $1,000 for residences. Clean fuel refueling property is 
basically any tangible equipment (such as a pump) used to dispense a fuel 
into a vehicle's tank. Qualifying property includes fuel storage and dispensing 
units and electric vehicle recharging equipment. A clean fuel is defined as any 
fuel at least 85 percent of the volume of which consists of ethanol (E85) or 
methanol (M85), natural gas, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied 
natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and hydrogen, or any mixture of 
biodiesel and diesel fuel, determined without regard to any use of kerosene 
and containing at least 20 percent biodiesel. The taxpayer's basis in the 
property is reduced by the amount of the credit. No credit is available for 
property used outside the United States.

Only the portion of the credit attributable to property subject to an 
allowance for depreciation would be treated as a portion of the general 
business credit; the remainder of the credit would be allowable to the extent 
of the excess of the regular tax (reduced by certain other credits) over the 
alternative minimum tax for the year. This credit is effective for property 
placed in service after December 31, 2005, and in the case of property 
relating to hydrogen, before January 1, 2015; and in the case of any other 
property, before January 1, 2010.


Impact

Under current depreciation rules (the Modified Cost Recovery System) the 
cost of most equipment used in retail gasoline and other fuel dispensing 
stations is generally recovered over five years using the double-declining 
balance method. However, some of the property might be classified 
differently and have a longer recovery period. For example, concrete footings 
and other "land improvements" have a recovery period of nine years. 
Alternatively, under IRC section 179, a small business fuel retailer may elect 
to expense up to $100,000 of such investments. Allowing a 30 percent 
investment tax credit for alternative fuel dispensing equipment greatly 
reduces the after-tax cost, raises the pre-tax return, and reduces the marginal 
effective tax rates significantly. This should increase investment in alternative 
fuel dispensing equipment and increase the supply of alternative fuels.

To the extent that the credits are effective in increasing the supply of 
alternative fuels, and substitute for petroleum products (gasoline and diesel 
fuel), there is a decline in petroleum use and importation. Fuel consumed in 
conventional motor vehicles accounts for the largest fraction of total 
petroleum consumption and is a leading source of dependence on foreign oil. 
Alternative fuel vehicles are also generally less polluting, producing 
significantly lower total fuel cycle emissions when compared to equivalently 
sized conventional vehicles.


	Rationale



 Section 30C was enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 
109-58) to stimulate the supply of alternative motor fuels such as E85 
(mixtures of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol) and CNG. The 
provision complements the two other major tax incentives for alternative 
fuels: the tax credits for advanced technology vehicles, including alternative 
fueled vehicles, under IRC section 30B, and the tax credits for the sale or use 
of the alternative fuel under IRC section 6426 and 6427. The Congress 
believed that further investments in alternative fuel infrastructure are 
necessary to encourage consumers to invest in alternative fuel vehicles. This 
investment, in turn, is necessary to transform the mode of transportation in the 
United States toward more clean fuel efficient vehicles, relying less on 
petroleum, particularly imported petroleum, which endangers U.S. energy and 
economic security. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-486) introduced 
a $100,000 tax deduction for business investment in clean fuel refueling 
property. This tax deduction was set to expire on January 1, 2007, but the 
Energy Policy Act of 2005 accelerated the expiration date by one year and 
replaced the deduction with the 30% tax credit.  


Assessment

Substantial economic research over the years suggests that lack of 
investment in alternative fuel supply is due, at least in part, to lack of 
consumer demand for the vehicles, which was in turn due to the lack of 
alternative fuel infrastructure. The section 30C tax credit for clean fuel 
refueling property was intended to address this market obstacle to alternative 
fuel production and use. In the short run, domestic automobile companies 
have favored production of flexible-fuel vehicles (particularly vehicles that 
can use E85). To the extent that the ATV credits under IRC section 30B 
accrue to flexible fuel vehicles, there is some concern that consumers will 
continue to use gasoline in those vehicles rather than E85.  Available data 
suggest that very few such vehicles actually use E85, which is not only more 
expensive than gasoline, but is scarce due to the lack of supply infrastructure. 
This finding means that, in effect, the ATV tax credits may actually 
encourage the demand for vehicles that end up running on conventional fuels. 

Recent data show, for instance, that of the 120,000 fuel retailers in the 
United States, only about 600 dispense E85. The 30 percent tax credit for 
alternative fuel property at refueling stations could address this shortage and 
market problem to the development of alternative fuels. Given the current 
rudimentary state of development of E85 and other alternative fuel refueling 
infrastructure required for their use, and given the many technological and 
cost barriers to this development, the tax credit might stimulate additional 
investment. Greater (and more convenient) supply of alternative fuels could 
then reduce their price, stimulate demand for alternative fuels, and reduce 
petroleum consumption and importation.  



From an economic perspective, however, allowing special tax credits for 
selected technologies (and not others)  distorts the allocation of resources - it 
creates distortions and economic inefficiencies. It encourages investments in 
high cost technologies, ones that would not otherwise be economical at 
current and expected prices and rates of return.  Economic theory suggests 
that taxes on conventional fuels and conventional fuels using vehicles, such as 
the gas-guzzler tax of IRC section 4064, is more effective and efficient in 
stimulating the development of the least cost alternatives to gasoline and 
diesel fuel. When conventional motor fuel  prices are sufficiently high, many 
motorists have sufficient financial incentives to purchase more fuel efficient 
vehicles, and vehicles fueled by alternative fuels, without tax credits.


	Selected Bibliography

European Commission. Urban Transport: Options for Propulsion Systems 
and Instruments for Analysis.  March 22, 2001. (Contract No. UR-97-SC-
2076), p. 64, 65. 
Boes, Richard F., and G. Michael Ransom. "Clean-Fuel Vehicles and 
Refueling Property in the United States Tax Code." Logistics and 
Transportation Review. March 1994.v.30.  pp. 73-79. 
Chirinko, Robert S., Steven M. Fazzarri, and Andrew P. Meyer.  "How 
Responsive is Business Capital Formation to its User Cost?  An Exploration 
with Micro Data."  Journal of Public Economics vol. 74 (1999), pp. 53-80.  
	Cohen, Darryl, and Jason Cummins.  A Retrospective Evaluation of the 
Effects of Temporary Partial Expensing. Federal Reserve Board Staff 
Working Paper 2006-19, April 2006. 
Cordes, Joseph J.  "Expensing," in the Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy, Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle, eds 
(Washington: Urban Institute Press, 2005).
Cummins, Jason G., Kevin A. Hassett, and R. Glenn Hubbard, "A 
Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural 
Experiments."  Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1994, no. 1, pp. 1-
72.	
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Expensing Allowance: Current Status, 
Legislative Proposals, and Economic Effects.  CRS Report RL31852, 
October 3, 2006.
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues. 
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33578. 
Washington, DC: July 28, 2006.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 32265. Washington, DC: March 
10, 2004.
_. Expired and Expiring Energy Tax Incentives. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 94-525. Washington, DC: June 22, 
1994.
U.S. Department of Energy. TAFV Alternative Fuels and Vehicle Choice 
Model Documentation.  Prepared for Oak Ridge National Laboratory 
(ORNL/TM-2001/134), by David L. Greene.  July, 2001.
"Tax Briefing: A Look at the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 and the 
SAFE Transportation Equity Act of 2005." Taxes. September 2005. v. 83.  
pp. 19-27. 
Yacobucci, Brent. Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles: Energy, 
Environment, and Developmental Issues. U.S. Library of Congress.  
Congressional Research Service.  CRS Report RL 30758, January 7, 2005.


Yacobucci, Brent D. Advanced Vehicle Technologies: Energy, 
Environment, and Developmental Issues.  U.S. Library of Congress:  
Congressional Research Service. CRS Report RL 30484, December 17, 2004.
Yacobucci, Brent D. Tax Incentives for Alternative and Advanced 
Technology Vehicles. U.S. Library of Congress:  Congressional Research 
Service. CRS Report RL 22351, December 19, 2005.












Energy

FIVE-YEAR CARRYBACK PERIOD FOR CERTAIN
NET OPERATING LOSSES OF
ELECTRIC UTILITY COMPANIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.1

0.1

2007

-

(1)

(1)

2008

-

(1)

(1)

2009

-

(2)

(2)

2010

-

(2)

(2)

(1) Tax expenditure of less than $50 million. 
(2) Negative tax expenditure of less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 172.


	Description

Certain electric utility companies may elect to extend the Net Operating 
Loss (NOL) carryback period to five years for a portion of NOLs arising in 
2003, 2004 and 2005. The election applies to the 2006-2008 taxable years, 
and is limited to 20 percent of the taxpayer's transmission and pollution 
control investments during the prior taxable year. There are various other 
limitations.




	Impact

The net operating loss (NOL) of a business enterprise is generally the 
amount by which tax deductions exceed gross revenue. In general, for most 
businesses, NOLs may be carried back two years and forward 20 years.  
However, special NOL carryback rules apply to (1) casualty and theft losses 
of individual taxpayers, (2) NOLs in a farming or small business due to 
(presidentially declared) disasters, (3) selected types of farm losses, (4) real 
estate investment trusts, (5) special liability losses, (6) excess interest losses, 
and (7) bad debt losses of commercial banks. For these 7 categories of NOLs, 
the carryback period is three years instead of two.  

A carryback is more valuable than a carry-forward, because there is no 
delay in receiving the benefit of the loss deduction.  For example, at a 10% 
discount rate, a dollar received one year into the future is worth only 91 cents; 
a dollar received five years into the future is worth 62 cents, and a dollar 
received 20 years into the future is worth 15 cents.  If the losses were 
expected to never be used, the value of the loss deduction is zero.  

The loss carryback not only provides some cash flow benefits to the firm, 
but also, because it is limited to 20 percent of prior year investment in 
qualified property, provides the equivalent of an investment credit.  For 
example, if the losses are expected to be delayed five years and the taxpayer's 
tax rate is 35 percent, another dollar of qualified investment would yield an 
NOL deduction valued at the equivalent of a 2.7 percent investment tax 
credit, i.e., 2.7 cents [($1-0.62) times 0.2 times 0.35)].  The maximum 
investment tax credit equivalent value for the NOL under this provision (for 
losses that were expected to expire) is 7 percent, i.e., under the most favorable 
assumptions, the five-year carryback of NOLs for electric utilities is 
equivalent to an investment tax credit of 7 percent. The exact nature of the 
investment subsidy is, however, difficult to determine, since the amount of 
losses is limited and can be applied to different years. Which of the two 
ceilings is reached first, therefore, determines the value of the investment 
subsidy.


	Rationale

The NOL deduction has been a part of the federal tax code for a long time. 
 In general, the rationale for allowing NOLs to be carried forward and back is 
to try to achieve symmetry in tax treatment between businesses with stable 
incomes and those whose incomes are more variable but average the same 
over time.  Without this deduction, there would be disparity in tax treatment 
between these types of businesses. The five year carryback of electric utility 
losses was enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58). 



There is no explicit statement of rationale for this provision.  The initial 
provision, which was originally in the Senate bill and limited to all 
investment, appeared in the Joint Tax Committee explanation to be viewed as 
an extension of an earlier relief provision rather than an investment incentive. 
 This earlier provision in the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 
(P.L. 107-147) provided for a temporary extension of the carryback period 
from two to five years for all firms, for NOLs generated (or reported) in 2001 
and 2002.  In this case, the special treatment was apparently intended to 
address the economic hardship of many electric utilities at a time of faltering 
restructuring and deregulation. 


	Assessment

This provision is a combination of a relief provision for firms with tax 
losses and an investment subsidy (due to the investment limit). Both the need 
for utilities to handle restructuring costs and the desirability of an investment 
incentive, as well as their inter-relationship, must be addressed. One could 
make a case that some difficulties facing utilities were the result of changes in 
government regulation, and some relief is warranted. Providing a loss 
carryback is one way to target such relief.  

A case may be made for a subsidy to investment in electric transmission 
assets based on the under supply of transmission services by a natural 
monopoly. However, in this regard, the juxtaposition of the carryback with a 
limit based on investment is difficult to justify as the investment subsidy 
applies only to firms with losses. Those utilities most in need of relief are 
probably least likely to have significant current capital investment, if their 
losses arose from an excess capacity arising from prior investment. Nor is 
there a clear reason to restrict an investment subsidy, if one is desired, to 
firms in loss positions.  Also,  economically efficient pollution control is 
better achieved by a tax on pollution rather than an investment subsidy. 


	Selected Bibliography

Brumbaugh, David L. Federal Taxes, the Steel Industry, and Net 
Operating Loss Carryforwards.  Library of Congress.  Congressional 
Research Service Report 88-5 E.  Washington, DC: December 18, 1987.
Abel, Amy. Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58: Electricity 
Provisions. Congressional Research Service Report  RL33248.  Washington, 
DC: January 24, 2006. 
Joskow, Paul L. "Restructuring, Competition, and Regulatory Reform in 
the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer 
1997. pp. 119-138.




Mills, Lillian F., Kaye J. Newberry, and  Garth F. Novack. "How Well Do 
Compustat NOL Data Identify Firms With U.S. Tax Return Loss Carryovers? 
 The Journal of the American Taxation Association. v.25, Fall 2003. pp.1-17. 
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Federal Tax Issues Relating 
to Restructuring of the Electric Power Industry. Hearing before the 
Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction of the Senate 
Finance Committee, October 15, 1999. JCX 72-99. 
















































	Natural Resources and Environment

	EXCESS OF PERCENTAGE OVER COST DEPLETION:
	NONFUEL MINERALS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

0.1

0.2

2007

0.1

0.1

0.2

2008

0.1

0.1

0.2

2009

0.1

0.1

0.2

2010

0.1

0.1

0.2


	Authorization

Sections 611, 612, 613, and 291.


	Description

Firms that extract minerals, ores, and metals from mines are permitted a 
deduction to recover their capital investment, which depreciates due to the 
physical and economic depletion of the reserve as the mineral is recovered 
(section 611).

There are two methods of calculating this deduction: cost depletion, and 
percentage depletion.  Cost depletion allows for the recovery of the actual 
capital investment -  the costs of discovering, purchasing, and developing a 
mineral reserve - over the period during which the reserve produces income. 
 Each year, the taxpayer deducts a portion of the adjusted basis (original 
capital investment less previous deductions) equal to the fraction of the 
estimated remaining recoverable reserves that have been extracted and sold.  
Under this method, the total deductions cannot exceed the original capital 
investment.



Under percentage depletion, the deduction for recovery of capital 
investment is a fixed percentage of the "gross income" -  i.e., sales revenue 
- from the sale of the mineral. Under this method, total deductions typically 
exceed the capital invested.

Section 613 states that mineral producers must claim the higher of cost or 
percentage depletion. The percentage depletion allowance is available for 
many types of minerals, at rates ranging from 5 percent (for clay, sand, gravel, 
stone, etc.) to 22 percent (for sulphur, uranium, asbestos, lead, etc.).

Metal mines generally qualify for a 14 percent  depletion, except for gold, 
silver, copper, and iron ore, which qualify for a 15 percent depletion. The 
percentage depletion rate for foreign mines is generally 14 percent.

Percentage depletion is limited to 50percent of the taxable income from the 
property. For corporate taxpayers, section 291 reduces the percentage 
depletion allowance for iron ore by 20 percent. Allowances in excess of cost 
basis are treated as a preference item and taxed under the alternative 
minimum tax.


	Impact

Historically, generous depletion allowances and other tax benefits reduced 
effective tax rates in the minerals industries significantly below tax rates on 
other industries, providing incentives to increase investment, exploration, and 
output, especially for oil and gas. It is possible for cumulative depletion 
allowances to total many times the amount of the original investment.  The 
combination of this subsidy and the deduction of exploration and 
development expenses represents a significant boon to mineral producers that 
are eligible for both.  In addition, the Mining Law of 1872 permits U.S. 
citizens and businesses to freely prospect for hard rock minerals on federal 
lands, and allows them to mine the land if an economically recoverable 
deposit is found. No federal rents or royalties are imposed upon the sale of the 
extracted minerals. A prospecting entity may establish a claim to an area that 
it believes may contain a mineral deposit of value and preserve its right to that 
claim by paying an annual holding fee of $100 per claim. Once a claimed 
mineral deposit is determined to be economically recoverable, and at least 
$500 of development work has been performed, the claim holder may apply 
for a "patent" to obtain title to the surface and mineral rights. If approved, the 
claimant can obtain full title to the land for $2.50 or $5.00 per acre.

Issues of principal concern are the extent to which percentage depletion:

(1) decreases the price of qualifying minerals, and therefore encourages 
their consumption;



(2) bids up the price of exploration and mining rights; and

(3) encourages the development of new deposits and increases production.

Most analyses of percentage depletion have focused on the oil and gas 
industry, which - before the 1975 repeal of percentage depletion for major 
oil companies - accounted for the bulk of percentage depletion. There has 
been relatively little analysis of the effect of percentage depletion on other 
industries. The relative value of the percentage depletion allowance in 
reducing the effective tax rate of mineral producers is dependent on a number 
of factors, including the statutory percentage depletion rate, income tax rates, 
and the effect of the net income limitation.


      		  	Rationale

Provisions for a depletion allowance based on the value of the mine were 
made under a 1912 Treasury Department regulation (T.D. 1742), but this was 
never effectuated.

A court case resulted in the enactment, as part of the Tariff Act of 1913, of 
a "reasonable allowance for depletion" not to exceed five percent of the value 
of output. This statute did not limit total deductions; Treasury regulation No. 
33 limited total deductions to the original capital investment.

This system was in effect from 1913 to 1918, although in the Revenue Act 
of 1916, depletion was restricted to no more than the total value of output, 
and, in the aggregate, to no more than capital originally invested or fair 
market value on March 1, 1913 (the latter so that appreciation occurring 
before enactment of income taxes would not be taxed).

On the grounds that the newer mineral discoveries that contributed to the 
war effort were treated less favorably, discovery value depletion was enacted 
in 1918.  Discovery depletion, which was in effect through 1926, allowed 
deductions in excess of capital investment because it was based on the market 
value of the deposit after discovery.  In 1921, because of concern with the 
size of the allowances, discovery depletion was limited to net income; it was 
further limited to 50 percent of net income in 1924.

For oil and gas, discovery value depletion was replaced in 1926 by the 
percentage depletion allowance, at the rate of 27.5percent. This was due to 
the administrative complexity and arbitrariness, and due to its tendency to 
establish high discovery values, which tended to overstate depletion 
deductions.



For other minerals, discovery value depletion continued until 1932, at 
which time it was replaced by percentage depletion at the following rates: 
23percent for sulphur, 15percent for metal mines, and 5percent for coal.

From 1932 to 1950, percentage depletion was extended to most other 
minerals.  In 1950, President Truman recommended a reduction in the top 
depletion rates to 15percent, but Congress disagreed. The Revenue Act of 
1951 raised the allowance for coal to 10percent and granted it to more 
minerals.

In 1954, still more minerals were granted the allowance, and foreign mines 
were granted a lower rate.  In 1969, the top depletion rates were reduced and 
the allowance was made subject to the minimum tax.  The Tax Equity and 
Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 reduced the allowance for corporations that 
mined coal and iron ore by 15percent.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 raised 
the cutback in corporate allowances for coal and iron ore from 15percent to 
20percent.

	
	Assessment

Standard accounting and economic principles state that the appropriate 
method of capital recovery in the mineral industry is cost depletion adjusted 
for inflation.  The percentage depletion allowance permits mineral producers 
to continue to claim a deduction even after all the investment costs of 
acquiring and developing the property have been recovered. Thus it is a 
mineral production subsidy rather than an investment subsidy.  In cases where 
a taxpayer has obtained mining rights relatively inexpensively under the 
provisions of the Mining Law of 1872, it can be argued that such taxpayers 
should not be entitled to the additional benefits of the percentage depletion 
provisions.

As a production subsidy, however, percentage depletion is economically 
inefficient, encouraging excessive development of existing properties rather 
than exploration of new ones. Although accelerated depreciation for non-
mineral assets may lower effective tax rates by speeding up tax benefits, these 
assets cannot claim depreciation deductions in excess of investment.

However, arguments have been made to justify percentage depletion on 
grounds of unusual risks, the distortions in the corporate income tax, and 
national security, and to protect domestic producers. Mineral price volatility 
alone does not necessarily justify percentage depletion.

  Percentage depletion may not be the most efficient way to increase 
mineral output. Percentage depletion may also have adverse environmental 
consequences, encouraging the use of raw materials rather than recycled 
substitutes.



	Selected Bibliography

Andrews-Speed, Philip, and Christopher Rogers."Mining Taxation on 
Issues for the Future," Resources Policy, v. 25.  1999, pp. 221-227.
Anderson, Robert D., Alan S. Miller, and Richard D. Spiegelman.  "U.S. 
Federal Tax Policy: The Evolution of Percentage Depletion for Minerals," 
Resources Policy, v. 3.  September 1977, pp. 165-176.
Conrad, Robert F.  "Mining Taxation: A Numerical Introduction," 
National Tax Journal, v. 33.  December, 1980, pp. 443-449.	
Crowson, Philip.  Inside Mining: The Economics of the Supply and 
Demand of Minerals and Metals.  London: Mining Journal Books, 1998.
Davidson, Paul.  "The Depletion Allowance Revisited," Natural Resources 
Journal, v. 10.  January 1970, pp. 1-9.
Dorsey, Christine.  "Clinton Administration Revives Plan to Revoke 
Mining Tax Break." Las Vegas Review - Journal. February 10, 2000. p. 4D. 
Fenton, Edmund D.  "Tax Reform Act of 1986: Changes in Hard Mineral 
Taxation," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 36.  September, 1987, pp. 85-98.
Frazier, Jessica and Edmund D. Fenton. "The Interesting Beginnings of the 
Percentage Depletion Allowance," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 38.  June 
1990, pp. 697-712.	
Lagos, Gustavo. "Mining Investment and Compensation - Mineral 
Taxation and Investment." Natural Resources Forum. August 1993.v.17. 
Lazzari, Salvatore.  The Effects of the Administration's Tax Reform 
Proposal on the Mining Industry.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report 85-WP.  Washington, DC: July 29, 1985.
_. Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL 30406.  Washington, DC: June 
28, 2005.
-.  The Federal Royalty and Tax Treatment of the Hard Rock Minerals 
Industry: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report 90-493 E.  Washington, DC: October 15, 1990.
Muzondo, Timothy R.  "Mineral Taxation, Market failure, and the 
Environment." International Monetary Fund. Staff Papers - International 
Monetary Fund. March 1993.v.40. Washington,  pp. 152-178. 
Randall, Gory.  "Hard Mineral Taxation-Practical Problems," Idaho Law 
Review, v. 19.  Summer 1983, pp. 487-503.
Tripp, John D., Hugh D. Grove, and Michael McGrath. "Maximizing 
Percentage Depletion in Solid Minerals," Oil and Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 30.  
June 1982, pp. 631-646.
Updegraft, Kenneth E., and Joel D. Zychnick.  "Transportation of Crude 
Mineral Production by Mine Owners and its Effect on Hard Minerals 
Depletion Allowance," Tax Lawyer, v. 35.  Winter 1982, pp. 367-387.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Selected Tax Provisions Affecting the 
Hard Minerals Mining and Timber Industry.  GAO/GGD-87-77 FS. June 
1987.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1987.


Ward, Frank A., and Joe Kerkvliet. "Quantifying Exhaustible Resource 
Theory: An Application to Mineral Taxation Policy." Resource and Energy 
Economics. June 1993.v.15.  pp. 203-242. 








Natural Resources and Environment

EXPENSING OF MULTIPERIOD TIMBER-GROWING
COSTS; AMORTIZATION AND EXPENSING OF 
REFORESTATION EXPENSES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

0.2

0.3

2007

0.1

0.2

0.3

2008

0.1

0.2

0.3

2009

0.1

0.2

0.3

2010

0.1

0.2

0.3


	Authorization

Sections 194, 263A(c)(5).


	Description

Taxpayers may deduct up to $10,000 of reforestation expenditures 
incurred with respect to any qualified timber property in any tax year.  
Expenditures exceeding the cap may be amortized over 84 months.  In most 
other industries, such indirect costs are capitalized under the uniform 
capitalization rules.

Most of the production costs of maintaining a timber stand after it is 
established are expensed (deducted when incurred), rather than capitalized 
(reducing gain when the timber is sold).  These costs include indirect carrying 
costs, such as interest and property taxes, as well as costs of disease and pest 
control and brush clearing.





	Impact

By allowing the deduction of expenses when incurred, the effective tax 
rate on investments in these indirect costs is zero.  These provisions lower the 
effective tax rate on timber growing in general.  The extent of the effect of tax 
provisions on the timber industry is in some dispute.  Most of the benefit goes 
to corporations, and thus is likely to benefit higher-income individuals (see 
discussion in Introduction).


	Rationale

The original ability to expense indirect costs of timber growing was 
apparently part of a general perception that these costs were maintenance 
costs, and thus deductible as ordinary costs of a trade or business.  There were 
a series of revenue rulings and court cases over the years distinguishing 
between what expenses might be deductible and what expenses might be 
capitalized (for example, I. T. 1610 in 1923, an income tax unit ruling), Mim. 
6030 in 1946 (a mimeographed letter ruling), Revenue Ruling 55-412 in 
1955, and Revenue Ruling 66-18 in 1966).

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 included uniform capitalization rules which 
required indirect expenses of this nature to be capitalized in most cases.  
Several exception were provided, including timber.  There is no specific 
reason given for exempting timber per se, but the general reason given for 
exceptions to the uniform capitalization rules is that they are cases were 
application "might be unduly burdensome." 

The expensing of the first $10,000 of reforestation costs was added in 
American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357) and clarified in Gulf 
Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-135).  The provision replaced an 
existing reforestation credit.  The change was made to simplify the treatment 
of reforestation costs, and the basic purpose of the incentive was to encourage 
reforestation.  The act also included timber growing in the manufacturing 
activities eligible for the new manufacturing deduction under Sec. 199 of the 
Code.


	Assessment



The tax benefit provides a forgiveness of tax on the return to part of the 
investment in timber growing.  While tax subsidy often lead to misallocation 
of resources and a welfare loss, this provision might be different.  Timber 
growing might provide benefits to society in general (called externalities in 
economics), such as improved environment, recreational opportunities, or 
aesthetics.  In general, private investors cannot capture most of these benefits, 
therefore they would tend to invest less than may be socially desirable in 
reforestation and timber growing.  Tax subsidy may help alleviate this 
problem.  Still, some argue that the tax benefit design make it a rather weak 
incentive.  In addition, the tax approach must be weighed against other 
alternatives, such as direct subsidies or direct ownership of timber lands by 
the government. 


	Selected Bibliography

Society of American Foresters, Study Group on Forest Taxation.  "Forest 
Taxation."  Journal of Forestry, v. 78.  July 1980, pp. 1-7.
U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee.  "The Federal Tax Subsidy of 
the Timber Industry," by Emil Sunley, in The Economics of Federal Subsidy 
Programs.  92nd Congress, 2nd session.  July 15, 1972.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986.  May 4, 1987, pp. 508-509.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.  A Forest Owner's Guide 
to the Federal Income Tax, Agriculture Handbook No. 708.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, October 1995.
U.S. Department of Treasury.  Special Expensing and Amortization Rules 
in Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth, v. 2, Nov. 
1984, pp. 299-313.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Selected Tax Provisions Affecting the 
Hard Minerals Mining and Timber Industries, Fact Sheet for the Honorable 
John Melcher, United States Senate.  June 1987.
-. Forest Service: Timber Harvesting, Planting, Assistance Programs and 
Tax Provisions, Briefing Report to the Honorable Sander M. Levin, House of 
Representatives.  April 1990.










Natural Resources and Environment

EXPENSING OF EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT COSTS: 
NONFUEL MINERALS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.1

(1)

2007

(1)

0.1

(1)

2008

(1)

0.1

(1)

2009

(1)

0.1

(1)

2010

(1)

0.1

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 263, 291, 616-617, 56, 1254.


Description

Firms engaged in mining are permitted to expense (to deduct in the year 
paid or incurred) rather than capitalize (i.e., recover such costs through 
depletion or depreciation) certain exploration and development (E&D) costs. 
This provision is an exception to general tax rules.

In general, mining exploration costs are those (non-equipment) costs 
incurred to ascertain the existence, location, extent, or quality of any 
potentially commercial deposit of ore or other depletable mineral prior to the 
development stage of the mine or deposit.



Development costs generally are those incurred for the development of a 
mine or other natural deposits after the existence of ores in commercially 
marketable quantities has been determined. Development expenditures  
generally include those for construction of shafts and tunnels, and in some 
cases drilling and testing to obtain additional information for planning 
operations. There are no limits on the current deductibility of such costs. 
Expensing of mine E&D costs may be taken in addition to percentage 
depletion, but it subsequently reduces percentage depletion deductions (i.e., is 
recaptured). The costs of tangible equipment must be depreciated.

Expensing of E&D costs applies only to domestic properties;  E&D costs 
on foreign properties must be depreciated. The excess of expensing over the 
capitalized value (amortized over 10 years) is a tax preference item that is 
subject to the alternative minimum tax.


	Impact

E&D costs for non-fuels minerals are not as large a portion of the costs of 
finding and developing a mineral reserve as is the case for oil and gas, where 
they typically account for over two-thirds of the costs of creating a mineral 
asset.  Expensing of such costs is also less of a benefit than percentage 
depletion allowances.  The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates total tax 
expenditures from expensing E&D costs at $500 million over the period 
2006-2010.

Nevertheless they are a capital expense which otherwise would be depleted 
over the income-producing life of the mineral reserve. Combined with other 
tax subsidies, such as percentage depletion, expensing reduces effective tax 
rates in the mineral industry below tax rates on other industries, thereby 
providing incentives to increase investment, exploration, and output. This cost 
reduction increases the supply of the mineral and reduces its price.

This tax expenditure is largely claimed by corporate producers. The at-risk, 
recapture, and minimum tax restrictions that have since been placed on the 
use of the provision have primarily limited the ability of high-income 
taxpayers to shelter their income from taxation through investment in mineral 
exploration.


      		  	Rationale

Expensing of mine development expenditures was enacted in 1951 to 
encourage mining and reduce ambiguity in its tax treatment. The provision for 
mine exploration was added in 1966.  

Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1969, a taxpayer could elect either to 
deduct without dollar limitation exploration expenditures in the United States 
(which subsequently reduced percentage depletion benefits), or to deduct up 
to $100,000 a year with a total not to exceed $400,000 of foreign and 
domestic exploration expenditures without recapture.


The 1969 act subjected all post-1969 exploration expenditures to 
recapture.  The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 added 
mineral exploration and development costs as tax preference items subject to 
the alternative minimum tax, and limited expensing for corporations to 85 
percent. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 required that all exploration and 
development expenditures on foreign properties be capitalized.  


	Assessment

E&D costs are generally recognized to be capital costs, which, according 
to standard accounting and economic principles, should be recovered through 
depletion (cost depletion adjusted for inflation).

Lease bonuses and other exploratory costs (survey costs, geological and 
geophysical costs) are properly treated as capital costs, although they may be 
recovered through percentage rather than cost depletion.  Immediate 
expensing of E&D costs provides a tax subsidy for capital invested in the 
mineral industry with a relatively large subsidy for corporate producers.

By expensing rather than capitalizing these costs, the tax code effectively 
sets taxes on the return to such expenditures at zero. As a capital subsidy, 
however, expensing is inefficient because it makes investment decisions 
based on tax considerations rather than inherent economic considerations.

Arguments have been made over the years to justify expensing on the basis 
of unusual investment risks, the distortions in the corporate income tax, 
strategic materials and national security, and protection of  domestic 
producers (especially small independents).

Expensing is a costly and inefficient way to increase mineral output and 
enhance energy security.  Expensing may also have adverse environmental 
consequences by encouraging the development of raw materials as opposed to 
recycled substitutes.    


	Selected Bibliography

Andrews-Speed, Philip, and Christopher Rogers.  "Mining Taxation Issues 
for the Future," Resources Policy, v. 25 (1999), pp. 221-227.
Congressional Budget Office. Budget Options. Section 28: Repeal the 
Expensing of Exploration and Development Costs for Extractive Industries. 
February 2005.
Conrad, Robert F.  "Mining Taxation: A Numerical Introduction." 
National Tax Journal, v. 33, December, 1980, pp. 443-449.	
Crowson, Philip.  Inside Mining: The Economics of the Supply and 
Demand of Minerals and Metals. London: Mining Journal Books, 1998.


Dorsey, Christine.  "Clinton Administration Revives Plan to Revoke 
Mining Tax Break." Las Vegas Review - Journal. February 10, 2000. p. 4D. 
Lagos, Gustavo. "Mining Investment and Compensation - Mineral 
Taxation and Investment." Natural Resources Forum. August 1993. v.17. 
Lazzari, Salvatore.  Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30406. Washington, 
DC: June 28, 2006.
-.  The Federal Royalty and Tax Treatment of the Hard Rock Minerals 
Industry: An Economic Analysis.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report 90-493E. Washington, DC: October 15, 1990.
Muzondo, Timothy R. "Mineral Taxation, Market Failure, and the 
Environment." International Monetary Fund. Staff Papers. International 
Monetary Fund. March 1993.v.40. Washington,  pp. 152-178. 
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Selected Tax Provisions Affecting the 
Hard Minerals Mining and Timber Industry.  GAO/GGD-87-77 FS,  
Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, June 1987.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Selected Tax Provisions Affecting the 
Hard Minerals Mining and Timber Industry.  GAO/GGD-87-77 FS. June 
1987.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1987.
Ward, Frank A., and Joe Kerkvliet. "Quantifying Exhaustible Resource 
Theory: An Application to Mineral Taxation Policy." Resource and Energy 
Economics. June 1993.v.15.  pp. 203-242. 
Wilburn, D.R. "Exploration." Mining Engineering. May 2003. v.55.  pp. 
30-43.








Natural Resources and Environment

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT SEWAGE, WATER, AND
HAZARDOUS WASTE FACILITIES BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.4

0.2

0.6

2007

0.4

0.2

0.6

2008

0.5

0.2

0.7

2009

0.5

0.2

0.7

2010

0.5

0.2

0.7


Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 142, and 146.


	Description

Interest income from State and local bonds used to finance the construction 
of sewage facilities, facilities for the furnishing of water, and facilities for the 
disposal of hazardous waste is tax exempt.

Some of these bonds are classified as private-activity bonds rather than as 
governmental bonds because a substantial portion of their benefits accrues to 
individuals or business rather than to the general public.  For more discussion 
of the distinction between governmental bonds and private-activity bonds, see 
the entry under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on 
Public Purpose State and Local Debt.

The bonds classified as private activity for these facilities are subject to the 
State private-activity bond annual volume cap.



	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to finance the facilities at reduced interest rates.

Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and users of the sewage, water, and hazardous waste facilities, 
and estimates of the distribution of tax-exempt interest income by income 
class, see the "Impact" discussion under General Purpose Public Assistance: 
Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Prior to 1968, no restriction was placed on the ability of State and local 
governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance sewage, water, and 
hazardous waste facilities.  Although the Revenue and Expenditure Control 
Act of 1968 imposed tests that would have restricted issuance of these bonds, 
it provided a specific exception for sewage and water (allowing continued 
unrestricted issuance).

Water-furnishing facilities must be made available to the general public 
(including electric utility and other businesses), and must be either operated 
by a governmental unit or have their rates approved or established by a 
governmental unit.  The hazardous waste exception was adopted by the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986.  The portion of a hazardous waste facility that can be 
financed with tax-exempt bonds cannot exceed the portion of the facility to be 
used by entities other than the owner or operator of the facility.  In other 
words, a hazardous waste producer cannot use tax-exempt bonds to finance a 
facility to treat its own wastes.


	Assessment

Many observers suggest that sewage, water, and hazardous waste treatment 
facilities will be under-provided by state and local governments because the 
benefit of the facilities extends beyond State and local government 
boundaries.  In addition, there are significant costs, real and perceived, 
associated with siting an unwanted hazardous waste facility.  The federal 
subsidy through this tax expenditure may encourage increased investment as 
well as spread the cost to more potential beneficiaries, federal taxpayers.



Alternatively, subsidizing hazardous waste treatment facilities reduces the 
cost of producing waste if the subsidy is passed through to waste producers.  
When the cost of producing waste declines, then waste emitters may in turn 
increase their waste output.  Thus, subsidizing waste treatment facilities may 
actually increase waste production.  Recognizing the potential effect of 
subsidizing private investment in waste treatment, Congress eliminated a 
general subsidy for private investment in waste and pollution control 
equipment in the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Even if a subsidy for sewage, water, and hazardous waste facilities is 
considered appropriate, it is important to recognize the potential costs.  As 
one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity bonds, bonds for these 
facilities increase the financing cost of bonds issued for other public capital.  
With a greater supply of public bonds, the interest cost on the bonds 
necessarily increases to lure investors.  In addition, expanding the availability 
of tax-exempt bonds increases the range of assets available to individuals and 
corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Fredriksson, Per G.  "The Siting of Hazardous Waste Facilities in Federal 
Systems: The Political Economy of NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard],"  
Environmental and Resource Economics v. 15, no. 1 (January 2000), pp. 75-
87.
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government Debt.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30638.  
March 10, 2006.
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and 
Background Related to State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee 
Print JCX-14-06, March 16, 2006.
U.S. Department of Treasury,  Internal Revenue Service.  Tax-Exempt 
Private Activity Bonds, Publication 4078, June 2004.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  Environmental Infrastructure and the State-Local 
Sector: Should Tax-Exempt Bond Law Be Changed?  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 91-866 E.  Washington, DC: 
December 16, 1991.
-.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling Public Subsidy of 
Private Activities.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 1991.










Natural Resources and Environment

SPECIAL RULES FOR MINING RECLAMATION RESERVES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 468.


Description

Firms are generally not allowed to deduct a future expense until "economic 
performance" occurs--that is, until the service they pay for is performed and 
the expense is actually paid.  Electing taxpayers may, however, deduct the 
current-value equivalent of certain estimated future reclamation and closing 
costs for mining and solid waste disposal sites.

For Federal income tax purposes, the amounts deducted prior to economic 
performance are deemed to earn interest at a specified interest rate.  When the 
reclamation has been completed, any excess of the amounts deducted plus 
deemed accrued interest over the actual reclamation or closing costs is taxed 
as ordinary income.



Impact

Section 468 permits reclamation and closing costs to be deducted at the 
time of the mining or waste disposal activity that gives rise to the costs.  
Absent this provision, the costs would not be deductible until the reclamation 
or closing actually occurs and the costs are paid.  Any excess amount 
deducted in advance (plus deemed accrued interest) is taxed at the time of 
reclamation or closing.


Rationale

This provision was adopted in 1984.  Proponents argued that allowing 
current deduction of mine reclamation and similar expenses is necessary to 
encourage reclamation, and to prevent the adverse economic effect on mining 
companies that might result from applying the general tax rules regarding 
deduction of future costs.


Assessment

Reclamation and closing costs for mines and waste disposal sites that are 
not incurred concurrently with production from the facilities are capital 
expenditures.  Unlike ordinary capital expenditures, however, these outlays 
are made at the end of an investment project rather than at the beginning.

Despite this difference, writing off these capital costs over the project life 
is appropriate from an economic perspective, paralleling depreciation of up-
front capital costs.  The tax code does not provide systematic recognition of 
such end-of-project capital costs.  Hence they are treated under special 
provisions that provide exceptions to the normal rule of denying deduction 
until economic performance.  Because the provisions align taxable income 
and economic incomes closer together, it is debatable whether the exceptions 
should be regarded as tax expenditures at all.


Selected Bibliography

Halperin, Daniel I.  Interest in Disguise: Taxing the 'Time Value of 
Money,' The Yale Law Journal.  January 1986, pp. 506-552.
Kiefer, Donald W.  The Tax Treatment of a 'Reverse Investment,' Tax 
Notes.  March 4, 1985, pp. 925-932.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 
98th Congress, 2nd session, December 31, 1984, pp. 273-276.
Wise, Spence and J. Ralph Byington.  Mining and Solid Waste 
Reclamation and Closing Costs, Oil, Gas & Energy Quarterly, vol. 50, pp. 
47-55, September 2001.








Natural Resources and Environment

SPECIAL TAX RATE
FOR NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING RESERVE FUND  


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.5

0.5

2007

-

0.6

0.6

2008

-

0.7

0.7

2009

-

0.8

0.8

2010

-

0.8

0.8


Authorization  

Section 468A.

Description  

Taxpayers who are responsible for the costs of decommissioning nuclear 
power plants (e.g., utilities) can elect to create reserve funds to be used to pay 
for decommissioning.  The funds receive special tax treatment: amounts 
contributed to a reserve fund are deductible in the year made and are not 
included in the taxpayer's gross income until the year they are distributed, 
thus effectively postponing tax on the contributed amounts.  Amounts actually 
spent on decommissioning are deductible in the year they are made.  The 
fund's investments, however, are subject to a 20% tax rate - a lower rate than 
that which applies to most other corporate income.  The amount that can be 
contributed to an account is limited to the lesser of the "cost of service" 
amount or an amount the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines would 
provide funding for the actual decommissioning costs, when they occur.  The 
"cost of service" amount is the amount charged by utilities to customers as 
representing decommissioning costs.




Impact

As noted above, amounts contributed to a qualified fund are deductible in 
the year contributed but are taxed when withdrawn to pay for 
decommissioning costs.  By itself, such treatment would constitute a tax 
deferral.  However, full taxation of the investment earnings of the tax-
deferred funds (the treatment that applied before 1992) would offset any 
benefit from the deferral.  Accordingly, taken alone, only current law's 
reduced tax rate poses a tax benefit.

But an additional issue is whether the favorable tax treatment accorded to 
the funds simply compensates for other, unfavorable, tax treatment of 
decommissioning costs.  Under current law there is a tax penalty associated 
with decommissioning because outlays for nuclear decommissioning are not 
permitted to be deducted until they are actually made.  To the extent a 
taxpayer incurs a liability for those costs in advance of the outlays, this 
treatment constitutes a tax penalty similar to a reverse tax deferral; accurate 
treatment would require the costs to be deducted to reflect the loss in value of 
the plant as the required outlay becomes closer in time.

The likely economic effect of the reduced rates is to encourage outlays on 
nuclear decommissioning because the tax-saving funds are contingent on 
making such outlays.  At the same time, however, to the extent that 
decommissioning costs are required by government regulations to be incurred 
with or without the special tax treatment, the reduced rates pose an incentive 
to invest in nuclear power plants.  The benefit of the favorable tax treatment 
likely accrues to owners of electric utilities that use nuclear power and to 
consumers of the electricity they produce.  


Rationale    

The special decommissioning funds were first enacted by the Deficit 
Reduction Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-369), but the funds' investment 
earnings were initially subject to tax at the highest corporate tax rate (46%, at 
the time).  The funds were established because Congress believed that the 
establishment of segregated reserve funds was a matter of "national 
importance."  At the same time, however, Congress "did not intend that this 
deduction should lower the taxes paid by the owners...in present value terms," 
and thus imposed full corporate taxes on funds' investment earnings.



The reduced tax rate was enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Public 
Law 102-486).  The rate was reduced  to provide "a greater source of funds" 
for decommissioning expenses.  More recently, Congress in 2000 approved a 
measure that would eliminate the "cost of service" limitation on contributions 
to funds (leaving intact, however, the limit posed by the IRS determination.)  
The Clinton Administration proposed a similar measure in its fiscal year 2001 
budget, but the congressional bill was vetoed for reasons not related to 
decommissioning costs.  


Assessment  

As noted above, the reduced tax rates may provide a tax benefit linked 
with amounts contributed to qualified funds.  The impact of the resulting tax 
benefit on economic efficiency depends in part on the effect of non-tax 
regulations governing decommissioning.  Nuclear powerplants that are not 
appropriately decommissioned might impose external pollution costs on the 
economy that are not reflected in the market price of nuclear energy.  To the 
extent government regulations require plants to be shut down in a manner that 
eliminates pollution, this "market failure" may already be corrected and any 
tax benefit is redundant.  To the extent regulations do not require effective 
decommissioning, the tax benefit may abet economic efficiency by 
encouraging decommissioning outlays.  The equity effect of the tax benefit is 
distinct from regulatory fixes of pollution.  It is likely that decommissioning 
costs required by regulation are borne by utility owners and consumers of 
nuclear energy.  The tax benefit probably shifts a part of this burden to 
taxpayers in general.  Note also, however, that the reduced rates may simply 
compensate for the delayed deduction of decommissioning costs.


Selected Bibliography  

Khurana, Inder K., Richard H. Pettway, and K.K. Raman.  "The Liability 
Equivalence of Unfunded Nuclear Decommissioning Costs."  Journal of 
Accounting and Public Policy, vol. 20, no. 2, Summer 2001.
Palmer, Stephen L.  "A Suggestion for Federal Tax Treatment of Accrued 
Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Expenses." Tax Lawyer 35 (Spring 
1982), pp. 779-797.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Federal Tax Issues Relating 
to Restructuring of the Electric Power Industry.  Joint Committee Print, 106th 
Congress, 1st session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, October 
15, 1999, pp. 39-43. 
-.  General Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit 
Reduction Act of 1984.  Joint Committee Print, 98th Congress, 2d Session.  
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1971, pp.  270-272.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  General Explanations of the 
Administration's Fiscal Year 2001  Revenue Proposals.  Washington, DC:  
2000, pp. 117-118.
U.S. General Accounting Office, Nuclear Regulation: NRC Needs More 
Effective Analysis to Ensure Accumulation of Funds to Decommission 
Nuclear Power Plants.  Report GAO-04-32, October 2003.


Zimmerman, Raymond A. and Jeri Farrow.  "Decommissioning Funds: 
Snagged on Tax Law?"  Public Utilities Fortnightly 139 (April 1, 2001), pp. 
34.








Natural Resources and Environment

EXCLUSION OF CONTRIBUTIONS IN AID OF CONSTRUCTION 
FOR WATER AND SEWER UTILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

(1)

(1)

2007

-

(1)

(1)

2008

-

(1)

(1)

2009

-

(1)

(1)

2010

-

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 118(c),(d).


	Description

Contributions in aid of construction are charges paid by utility customers, 
usually builders or developers, to cover the cost of installing facilities to 
service housing subdivisions, industrial parks, manufacturing plants, etc.  In 
some cases, the builder/developer transfers completed facilities to the utility 
rather than paying cash to the utility to finance construction of the facilities.



Qualifying contributions in aid of construction received by regulated water 
and sewage disposal utilities which provide services to the general public in 
their service areas are not included in the utilities' gross income if the 
contributions are spent for the construction of the facilities within 2 years 
after receipt of the contributions.  Service charges for starting or stopping 
services do not qualify as nontaxable capital contributions.  Assets purchased 
with (or received as) qualifying contributions have no basis (hence, cannot be 
depreciated by the utility) and may not be included in the utility's rate base for 
rate-making purposes.


	Impact

Before the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86), the special treatment 
described above applied to contributions in aid of construction received by 
regulated utilities that provide steam, electric energy, gas, water, or sewage 
disposal services.  This treatment effectively exempted from taxation the 
services provided by facilities financed by contributions in aid of 
construction.  The treatment was repealed by TRA86 but reinstated by the 
Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 for water and sewage facilities 
only.

Repeal of the special treatment resulted in increases in the amounts utilities 
charge their customers as contributions in aid of construction.  Before 
TRA86, a utility would charge its customers an amount equal to the cost of 
installing a facility.  After TRA86, utilities had to charge an amount equal to 
the cost of the facility plus an amount to cover the tax on the contribution in 
aid of construction.  This parallels the pricing of most other business services, 
for which companies must charge customers the actual cost of providing the 
service plus an amount to cover the tax on the income.

The higher cost associated with contributions in aid of construction as a 
result of the change in the TRA86 led to complaints from utility customers 
and proposals to reverse the change.  The special treatment of contributions in 
aid of construction was reinstated - but only for water and sewage utilities - 
in the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996.  As a result of this 
reinstatement, water and sewage utility charges for contributions in aid of 
construction are lower than they would be if the contributions were still 
taxable.  The charge now covers only the cost of the financed facility; there is 
no markup to cover taxes on the charge.

To the extent that the lower charges to builders and developers for 
contributions in aid of construction are passed on to ultimate consumers 
through lower prices, the benefit from this special tax treatment accrues to 
consumers.  If some of the subsidy is retained by the builders and developers 
because competitive forces do not require it to be passed forward in lower 
prices, then the special tax treatment also benefits the owners of these firms.


	Rationale



The stated reason for reinstating the special treatment of contributions in 
aid of construction for water and sewage utilities was concern that the 
changes made by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 may have inhibited the 
development of certain communities and the modernization of water and 
sewage facilities.

	
	Assessment

The contribution in aid of construction tax treatment allows the utility to 
write off or expense the cost of the financed capital facility in the year it is put 
in place rather than depreciating it over its useful life.  This treatment, in 
effect, exempts the services provided by the facility from taxation and thereby 
provides a special subsidy.  Absent a public policy justification, such 
subsidies distort prices and undermine economic efficiency.

In repealing the special tax treatment of contributions in aid of construction 
in TRA86, Congress determined that there was no public policy justification 
for continuing the subsidy.  In reinstating the special tax treatment for water 
and sewage utilities in the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, 
Congress determined that there was an adequate public policy justification for 
providing the subsidy to these particular utilities.


	Selected Bibliography

Committee on Finance, Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, Report 
104-281, U.S. Senate, 104th Congress, 2d Session, June 18, 1996, p. 136-
137.
Conference Report, Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, Report 
104-737, U.S. House of Representatives, 104th Congress, 2d Session, August 
1, 1996, p. 158-160.
Joint Committee on Taxation, General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act 
of 1986, Joint Committee Print, JCS-10-87, May 4, 1987, p. 544-547.










	Energy

	AMORTIZATION OF CERTIFIED POLLUTION
	CONTROL FACILITIES  


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

(1)

(1)

2007

-

(1)

(1)

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.1

0.1

2010

-

0.1

0.1

(1) Negative tax expenditure of less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 169(d)(5).


	Description

This provision makes the pre-1976 5 year option to amortize investments in 
pollution control equipment for coal-fired electric generation plants available 
to those plants placed in service on or after January 1, 1976.  Before 
enactment of IRC section 169(d)(5), 5-year amortization of  pollution control 
equipment applied only to older coal-fired power plants - those placed in 
service before January 1, 1976.  However, investments in pollution control 
equipment made in connection with post-1975 power plants now qualify for 
amortization over 7 years rather than 5 years. The 5-year amortization 
incentive for pre-1976 plants applies only to pollution control equipment with 
a useful life of 15 years or less.  In that case 100% of the cost can be 
amortized over five years. If the property or equipment has a useful life 
greater than 15 years, then the proportion of the costs that can be amortized 
over 5 years is less than 100%. 


Qualifying pollution control equipment means any technology that is 
installed in or on a qualifying facility to reduce air emissions of any pollutant 
regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air 
Act. This includes scrubber systems, particulate collectors and removal 
equipment (such as electrostatic precipitators), thermal oxidizers,  vapor 
recovery systems, low nitric oxide burners, flare systems, bag houses, 
cyclones, and continuous emission monitoring systems. The pollution control 
equipment needs to have been placed in service after April 11, 2005. 


	Impact

In the federal tax code, amortization is a method of depreciation that 
recovers the total cost basis evenly (i.e., straight line depreciation) over the 
recovery period, in this case either 5 or 7 years depending on the age of the 
power plant. In either case, however, because the two recovery periods are 
substantially less than the economic life of the assets, such amortization 
provides more accelerated depreciation deductions for pollution control 
equipment than would otherwise be the case under the Modified Accelerated 
Cost Recovery System ( MACRS ), in which the recovery period for the 
conventional type of electric generating equipment is either 15 or 20 years, 
depending on the type of equipment. The recovery period is 15 years for 
generating equipment that uses internal combustion, jet, or diesel engines; 20 
years for  most types of conventional electric utility tangible property such as 
steam or gas turbines, boilers, combustors, condensers, combustion turbines 
operated in a combined cycle with a conventional steam unit, and related 
assets. The shorter period for internal combustion engines is because this type 
of equipment typically deteriorates faster than conventional coal-fired 
equipment. Also the recovery method is one of the more accelerated types: 
either the double-declining balance method or the 150% declining balance 
method.  Amortization in this way thus provides more accelerated 
depreciation deductions for pollution control equipment than does MACRS.  
Because of the time value of money, the earlier deduction is worth more in 
present value terms, which reduces the cost of capital and the effective tax 
rates on the investment returns. This should provide an incentive for power 
plant companies (primarily the tax paying investor-owned utilities, or IOUs) 
to invest in pollution control equipment.  

This provision targets electric utilities,  a major source of the 
disproportionate amount of air pollution.  And while older coal plants still 
emit a disproportionate amount of pollution among all  coal-fired plants, the 
provision complements prior law by also targeting emissions from newer 
plants.  The incentive will facilitate utilities in meeting a new suite of EPA 
mandates to reduce  emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2 ), nitrous oxide (NO2), 
and mercury (Hg)





	Rationale

This provision was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58).  
Before that investments in pollution control equipment for pre-1976 coal-fired 
plants were amortizable over 5 years. Before the 2005 act, pollution control 
equipment added to "newer" plants  (those placed in service after 1975) was 
depreciated using the same MACRS methods that apply to other electric 
generating equipment on the date they are placed in service (15- or 20-year 
recovery period using the 150% declining balance method, as discussed 
below).  The 5-year amortization of pollution control equipment was added by 
the Tax Reform Act of 1969 to compensate for the loss of the investment tax 
credit, which was repealed by the same act. Prior to 1987, pollution control 
equipment could be financed by tax-exempt bonds. This benefitted all types 
of electric utilities and not just public power companies, because although the 
state or local government would issue the bonds, the facilities were leased 
back to the IOUs or  cooperatives. Billions of dollars of pollution control 
equipment were financed in this way until the safe-harbor leasing tax rules 
were repealed by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. 


	Assessment

Pollution control equipment used in connection with coal-fired power 
plants is a significant fraction of a plant's cost. Thus, the tax treatment of this 
type of equipment is important in determining the investment decisions of the 
electric utility.  The Clean Air Act's "New Source Review" provisions require 
the installation of state-of-the-art pollution-control equipment whenever an 
air-polluting plant is built or when a "major modification" is made on an 
existing plant.  By creating a more favorable (in some cases much more 
favorable) regulatory environment for existing facilities than new ones, 
grandfathering creates an incentive to keep old, grandfathered facilities up 
and running. 

The federal tax code has also provided an unintended incentive to retain - 
 a disincentive to scrap - equipment and other business assets. One of these 
tax provisions is the 5-year amortization of  pollution control equipment 
connected with older (pre-1976) power plants. This, and other provisions 
under prior law (such as accelerated depreciation and investment tax credits), 
and   current tax penalties for premature dispositions of capital equipment 
under the recapture provisions and the alternative minimum tax) may have 
provided a disincentive to invest in new equipment and other  new assets.


	Selected Bibliography

Abel, Amy. Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58: Electricity 
Provisions. Congressional Research Service Report  RL33248.  Washington, 
DC: January 24, 2006. 
Hsu, Shi-Ling. "What's Old Is New: The Problem with New Source 
Review." Regulation. Spring 2006. v. 29.  Washington: pp. 36-43. 
Joskow, Paul L. "Competitive Electricity Markets and Investment in New 
Generating Capacity," MIT Research Paper. April, 28, 2006.
Joskow, Paul L. Transmission Policy in the United States.  AEI-Brookings 
Joint Center for Regulatory Studies.  October 2004.
Joskow, Paul L. "Restructuring, Competition, and Regulatory Reform in 
the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives. Summer 
1997. pp. 119-138.
Lee, Amanda I., and  James Alm. "The Clean Air Act Amendments and 
Firm Investment in Pollution Abatement Equipment."  Land Economics.  
August 2004. v. 80.  pp. 433. 
McCarthy, James E., and Larry Parker. Costs and Benefits of Clear Skies: 
EPA's Analysis of Multi-Pollutant Clean Air Bills. U.S. Library of Congress.  
Congressional Research Service Report  RL33165. November 23, 2005.
Parker, Larry, and John Blodgett. Air Quality and Electricity: Enforcing 
New Source Review. U.S. Library of Congress.  Congressional Research 
Service Report  RL30432.  January 31, 2000.
Popp, David. "Pollution Control Innovations and the Clean Air Act of 
1990." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Fall 2003. v. 22. pp. 
641.
Sterner, Thomas. Policy Instruments for Environmental and Natural 
Resource Management.  Resources for the Future, Washington. 2003.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. Federal Tax Issues Relating 
to Restructuring of the Electric Power Industry. Hearing before the 
Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction of the Senate 
Finance Committee, October 15, 1999. JCX 72-99. 








	Agriculture

	EXCLUSION OF COST-SHARING PAYMENTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)


(1)Less than $50 million


Authorization

Section 126.


	Description

There are a number of programs under which both the Federal and State 
Governments make payments to taxpayers which represent a share of the cost 
of certain improvements made to the land.  These programs generally relate to 
improvements which further conservation, protect the environment, improve 
forests, or provide habitats for wildlife.  Under Section 126, the grants 
received under certain of these programs are excluded from the recipient's 
gross income.

To qualify for the exclusion, the payment must be made primarily for the 
purpose of conserving soil and water resources or protecting the environment, 
and the payment must not produce a substantial increase in the annual income 
from the property with respect to which the payment was made. 


	Impact

The exclusion of these grants and payments from tax provides a general 
incentive for various conservation and land improvement projects that might 
not otherwise be undertaken.  


	Rationale

The income tax exclusion for certain cost-sharing payments was part of the 
tax changes made under the Revenue Act of 1978.  The rationale for this 
change was that in the absence of an exclusion many of these conservation 
projects would not be undertaken.  In addition, since the grants are to be spent 
by the taxpayer on conservation projects, the taxpayer would not necessarily 
have the additional funds needed to pay the tax on the grants if they were not 
excluded from taxable income.


Assessment

The partial exclusion of certain cost-sharing payments is based on the 
premise that the improvements financed by these grants benefit both the 
general public and the individual landowner.  The portion of the value of the 
improvement financed by grant payments attributable to public benefit should 
be excluded from the recipient's gross income while that portion of the value 
primarily benefitting the landowner (private benefit) is properly taxable to the 
recipient of the payment.

The problem with this tax treatment is that there is no way to identify the 
true value of the public benefit.  In those cases where the exclusion of cost-
sharing payment is insufficient to cover the value of the public benefit, the 
project probably would not be undertaken.

On the other hand, on those projects that are undertaken the exclusion of 
the cost-sharing payment probably exceeds the value of the public benefit and 
hence, the excess provides a subsidy primarily benefitting the landowner.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Department of the Treasury,  Internal Revenue Service,  Farmer's Tax 
Guide,  Publication 225, 2005,  pp. 11-12.
U.S. Congress.  Joint Committee on Taxation.  Study of the Overall State 
of the Federal Tax System and Recommendations for Simplification, 
Pursuant to Section 8022(3)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 
Volume II.  JCS-3-01, April 2001, pp. 460-462.


-,   Present Law and Description of Proposals Relating to Federal Income 
Tax Provisions That Impact Energy, Fuel, and Land Use Conservation and 
Preservation.  July 24, 2000.
-, Senate Committee on Finance.  Technical Corrections Act of 1979, 96th 
Congress, 1st session.  December 13, 1979, pp. 79-81.
-,  General Explanation of the Revenue Act of 1978.










Agriculture

EXCLUSION OF CANCELLATION
OF INDEBTEDNESS INCOME OF FARMERS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

-

0.1

2007

0.1

-

0.1

2008

0.1

-

0.1

2009

0.1

-

0.1

2010

0.1

-

0.1



Authorization

Sections 108 and 1017.


	Description

This provision allows farmers who are solvent to treat the income arising 
from the cancellation of certain indebtedness as if they were insolvent 
taxpayers.  Under this provision, income that would normally be subject to 
tax, the cancellation of a debt, would be excluded from tax if the discharged 
debt was "qualified farm debt" discharged or canceled by a "qualified 
person."

To qualify, farm debt must meet two tests: it must be incurred directly from 
the operation of a farming business, and at least 50 percent of the taxpayer's 
previous three years of gross receipts must come from farming.



To qualify, those canceling the qualified farm debt must participate 
regularly in the business of lending money, cannot be related to the taxpayer 
who is excluding the debt, cannot be a person from whom the taxpayer 
acquired property securing the debt, or cannot be a person who received any 
fees or commissions associated with acquiring the property securing the debt. 
 Qualified persons include federal, state, and local governments.

The amount of canceled debt that can be excluded from tax cannot exceed 
the sum of adjusted tax attributes and adjusted basis of qualified property.  
Any canceled debt that exceeds this amount must be included in gross 
income.  Tax attributes include net operating losses, general business credit 
carryovers, capital losses, minimum tax credits, passive activity loss and 
credit carryovers, and foreign tax credit carryovers.  Qualified property 
includes business (depreciable) property and investment (including farmland) 
property.

Taxpayers can elect to reduce the basis of their property before reducing 
any other tax benefits.


	Impact

This exclusion allows solvent farmers to defer the tax on the income 
resulting from the cancellation of a debt.  Generally, the exclusion of 
cancellation of indebtedness is not available to other taxpayers unless they are 
insolvent or unless they were living in the core disaster area or the Hurricane 
Katrina disaster area on August 25, 2005, and suffered economic loss as the 
result of the hurricane.


	Rationale

The exclusion for the cancellation of qualified farm indebtedness was 
enacted as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  At the time, the intended 
purpose of the provision was to avoid tax problems that might arise from 
other legislative initiatives designed to alleviate the credit crisis in the farm 
sector.

For instance, Congress was concerned that pending legislation providing 
Federal guarantees for lenders participating in farm-loan write-downs would 
cause some farmers to recognize large amounts of income when farm loans 
were canceled.  As a result, these farmers might be forced to sell their 
farmland to pay the taxes on the canceled debt.  This tax provision was 
adopted to mitigate that problem.


Assessment



The exclusion of cancellation of qualified farm income indebtedness does 
not constitute a forgiveness of tax but rather a deferral of tax. By electing to 
offset the canceled debt through reductions in the basis of property, a taxpayer 
can postpone the tax that would have been owed on the canceled debt until 
the basis reductions are recaptured when the property is sold or through 
reduced depreciation in the future.  Since money has a time value (a dollar 
today is more valuable than a dollar in the future), however, the deferral of 
tax provides a benefit in that it effectively lowers the tax rate on the income 
realized from the discharge of indebtedness.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986.
-, House Committee on the Budget Conference Report.  Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1993.  Washington, DC, 1993.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of H.R. 3768, The 
"Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005" as passed by the House and the 
Senate on September 21, 2005.  JCX-69-05.  September 22, 2005.
U.S. Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service.  Farmer's Tax Guide.  
Publication 225, 2005.  pp. 15-17.
-, Internal Revenue Service.  Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge 
of Indebtedness.  Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 91, Tuesday May 11, 2004.  
pp. 26038-26040.










Agriculture

CASH ACCOUNTING FOR AGRICULTURE


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

--

--

--

2007

--

--

--

2008

--

--

--

2009

--

--

--

2010

--

--

--
* Estimated to produce a negative tax expenditure over the forecast period.  		
	Disaggregated estimates available from the Joint Committee on Taxation. 


Authorization

Sections 162, 175, 180, 446, 447, 448, 461, 464, and 465.


	Description

Most farm businesses (with the exception of certain farm corporations and 
partnerships or any tax shelter operation) may use the cash method of tax 
accounting to deduct costs attributable to goods held for sale and in inventory 
at the end of the tax year.  These businesses are also allowed to expense some 
costs of developing assets that will produce income in future years.  Both of 
these rules thus allow deductions to be claimed before the income associated 
with the deductions is realized.

Costs that may be deducted before income attributable to them is realized 
include livestock feed and the expenses of planting crops for succeeding 
year's harvest.  Costs that otherwise would be considered capital expenditures 
but that may be deducted immediately by farmers include certain soil and 
water conservation expenses, costs associated with raising dairy and breeding 
cattle, and fertilizer and soil conditioner costs.


	Impact

For income tax purposes, the cash method of accounting is less 
burdensome than the accrual method of accounting and also provides benefits 
in that it allows taxes to be deferred into the future.  Farmers who use the cash 
method of accounting and the special expensing provisions receive tax 
benefits not available to taxpayers required to use the accrual method of 
accounting.  


	Rationale

The Revenue Act of 1916 established that a taxpayer may compute 
personal income for tax purposes using the same accounting methods used to 
compute income for business purposes.  At the time, because accounting 
methods were less sophisticated and the typical farming operation was small, 
the regulations were apparently adopted to simplify record keeping for 
farmers.

Specific regulations relating to soil and water conservation expenditures 
were adopted in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.  Provisions governing 
the treatment of fertilizer costs were added in 1960.

The Tax Reform Act of 1976 required that certain farm corporations and 
some tax shelter operations use the accrual method of accounting rather than 
cash accounting.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 further limited the use of cash 
accounting by farm corporations and tax shelters and repealed the expensing 
rules for certain land clearing operations.  The Act also limited the use of cash 
accounting for assets that had preproductive periods longer than two years.  
These restrictions, however, were later repealed by the Technical and 
Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988.


Assessment

The effect of deducting costs before the associated income is realized 
understates income in the year of deduction and overstates income in the year 
of realization.  The net result is that tax liability is deferred which results in an 
underassessment of tax.  In addition, in certain instances when the income is 
finally taxed, it may be taxed at preferential capital gains rates.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service.  Farmer's Tax 
Guide.  Publication 225, 2005, pp. 5-6.
-, Internal Revenue Service.  Accounting Periods and Methods.  
Publication 538.  2004.


U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of Tax 
Legislation Enacted in the 107th Congress.  JCS-1-03, January 2003, pp. 240-
242.  
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Overview of Present Law and Selected 
Proposals Regarding the Federal Income Taxation of Small Business and 
Agriculture.  JCX-45-02, May 2002, pp. 37-39.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue Act 
of 1978.
U.S. Senate, Committee on Finance.  Technical Corrections Act of 1979.  
96th Congress, 1st session, December 13, 1979, pp. 79-81.
U.S. Congress.  Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  February 
2001, p. 439.










Agriculture

INCOME AVERAGING FOR FARMERS AND FISHERMEN 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

-

(1)

2007

(1)

-

(1)

2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 1301.  

	Description

For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1997, taxpayers have the 
option to calculate their current year income tax by averaging over the prior 3-
year period, all or a portion of their income from farming or commercial 
fishing.  The taxpayer can designate all or a part of his current year income 
from farming as "elected farm income" or from fishing as "fishing business" 
income.  The taxpayer then allocates 1/3 of the "elected farm income" or 
"fishing business" income to each of the prior 3 taxable years.

The current year income tax for a taxpayer making this election is 
calculated by taking the sum of his current year tax calculated without 
including the "elected farm income" or "elected fishing business" income and 
the extra tax in each of the three previous years that results from including 1/3 
of the current year's  "elected farm income" or "fishing business" income.


"Elected farm income" can include the gain on the sale of farm assets with 
the exception of the gain on the sale of land.

The tax computed using income averaging for farmers and fisherman does 
not apply for purposes of computing the regular income tax and subsequent 
determination of alternative minimum tax liability. 


	Impact

This provision  provides tax relief primarily to taxpayers whose main 
source of income derives from agricultural production or commercial fishing. 
 It allows these taxpayers to exert some control over their taxable incomes and 
hence, their tax liabilities in those years that they experience fluctuations in 
their incomes. 


	Rationale

Income averaging for farmers was enacted as part of the Taxpayer Relief 
Act of 1997.  Congress believed that the income from farming can fluctuate 
dramatically from year to year and that these fluctuations are outside the 
control of the taxpayers.  To address this problem, Congress felt that 
taxpayers who derive their income from agriculture should be allowed an 
election  to average farm income and mitigate the adverse tax consequences 
of fluctuating incomes under a progressive tax structure.


Assessment

Under an income tax system with progressive tax rates and an annual 
assessment of tax, the total tax assessment on an income that fluctuates from 
year to year will be greater than the tax levied on an equal amount of income 
that is received in equal annual installments.  Under pre-1986 income tax law, 
income averaging provisions were designed to help avoid the over assessment 
of tax that might occur under a progressive tax when a taxpayer's income 
fluctuated from year to year.  These pre-1986 tax provisions were especially 
popular with farmers who, due to market or weather conditions, might 
experience significant fluctuations in their annual incomes.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 repealed income averaging.  At the time, it 
was argued that the reduction in the number of tax brackets and the level of 
marginal tax rates reduced the need for income averaging.  Farmers argued 
that even though the tax brackets had been widened and tax rates reduced, the 
fluctuations in their incomes could be so dramatic that without averaging they 
would be subject to an inappropriately high level of income taxation.



As marginal income tax rates were increased in 1990 and 1993, Congress 
became more receptive to the arguments for income averaging and reinstated 
limited averaging in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.  Under this Act, 
income averaging for farmers was a temporary provision and was to expire 
after January 1, 2001.  The Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency 
Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1998 made income averaging for 
farmers permanent.

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 expanded income averaging to 
include commercial fisherman.  It also coordinated income averaging with the 
individual alternative minimum tax so that the use of income averaging would 
not cause farmers or fishermen to incur alternative minimum tax liability. 
  
 It appears, however, that the current income averaging provisions fall short 
of the economic ideal on several fronts.  For instance,  from an economic 
perspective the source of income fluctuations should not matter when 
deciding whether or not income averaging is needed.  Hence, limiting 
averaging to farm income or commercial fishing income may appear unfair to 
other taxpayers such as artists and writers who also may have significant 
fluctuations in their annual incomes.    

A more significant theoretical problem is that these provisions only allow 
for upward income averaging.  Under a theoretically correct income tax, 
income averaging would be available for downward fluctuations in income as 
well as upward fluctuations.  Downward income averaging would mean that 
taxpayers who experienced major reductions in their annual incomes would 
also qualify for income averaging.  This would allow them to mitigate sharp 
reductions in their current year incomes by reducing their current year taxes to 
reflect taxes that had already been prepaid in previous years when their 
incomes were higher.
  

	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, House of Representatives.  American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004.  Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 4520.  H. Rept. 108-755.  
October 2004.
-,Joint Committee on Taxation.  Overview of Present Law and Selected 
Proposals Regarding the Federal Income Taxation of Small Business and 
Agriculture.  JCX-45-02, May 2002, pp. 44-45.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of S.3152, 
"Community Renewal and New Markets Act of 2000."  JCX-105-00, October 
2000, p. 54.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Conference Report on Tax and Trade 
Provisions of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental 
Appropriations Act.  (H.R. 4328).  October 1998.


-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Taxpayer Relief Act of 1998.  September 
1998.
 	-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.  July 1997.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986.  May 1987.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service.  IRS Final 
Regulations (T.D. 8972) on Averaging of Farm Income.  January 8, 2002.
-, Internal Revenue Service.  Farmer's Tax Guide.  Publication 225.  2005.
	









Agriculture

FIVE-YEAR CARRYBACK PERIOD FOR
NET OPERATING LOSSES ATTRIBUTABLE TO FARMING


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 172.


	Description



A net operating loss, the amount by which business and certain other 
expenses exceed income for the year, may be carried forward and deducted 
from other income for 20 years following the loss year.  It may, at the 
taxpayer's election, instead be carried back to earlier years in which there was 
positive income.  For most taxpayers, the carryback period is limited to the 
previous 2 years, although small businesses in federally declared disaster 
areas may carry losses back 3 years.  (The Job Creation and Workers 
Assistance Act of 2002 temporarily extended the net operating loss carryback 
period to 5 years for losses arising in taxable years ending in 2001 and 2002 
for businesses that normally have a 2 or 3 year loss carryback.)  Current law 
permits losses attributed to a farming business (as defined in section 
263A(e)(4)) to be carried back 5 years.  The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 
2005 broadened the definition of farm income to include losses on qualified 
timber property located in the Gulf or Rita Opportunity Zones.
  

	Impact

For businesses that have paid taxes within the allowed carryback period, 
making use of the carryback rather than the carryforward option for operating 
losses means receiving an immediate refund rather than waiting for a future 
tax reduction.  Although the special 5-year carryback applies only to losses 
incurred in a farming business, the losses may be used to offset taxes paid on 
any type of income.  Thus the beneficiaries of this provision are farmers who 
have either been profitable in the past or who have had non-farm income on 
which they paid taxes.


	Rationale

Some provision for deducting net operation losses from income in other 
years has been an integral part of the income tax system from its inception.  
The current general rules (20-year carryforwards and 2-year carrybacks) date 
from the "Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997," P.L. 105-34, which shortened the 
carryback period from 3 to 2 years (except for farmers and small businessmen 
in federally declared disaster areas, which remained at 3 years).

The 5-year carryback for farm losses was enacted as a part of the "Omnibus 
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act," P.L. 105-
277.  The committee reports state that a special provision for farmers was 
considered appropriate because of the exceptional volatility of farm income.

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 broadened the definition of farm 
income to include losses on qualified timber property located in the Gulf or 
Rita Opportunity Zones.  This change is effective for losses incurred on or 
after August 28, 2005 (in the Gulf Opportunity Zone), on or after September 
23, 2005 (in the Rita Zone), on or after October 23, 2005 (in the Wilma Zone) 
and before January 1, 2007.  


Assessment

In an ideal income tax system, the government would refund taxes in loss 
years with the same alacrity that it collects them in profit years, and a 
carryback of losses would not be considered a deviation from the normal tax 
structure.  Since the current system is less than ideal in many ways, however, 
it is difficult to say whether the loss carryover rules bring it closer to or move 
it further away from the ideal.



The special rule for farmers is intended to compensate for the excessive 
fluctuations in income farmers are said to experience.  This justification is 
offered for many of the tax benefits farmers are allowed, but it is not actually 
based on evidence that farmers experience annual income fluctuations greater 
than other small businessmen.  The farm losses may offset taxes on non-farm 
income, so some of the benefit will accrue to persons whose income is not 
primarily from farming.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Treasury Department.  Internal Revenue Service.  Net Operating 
Losses (NOLs) for Individuals, Estates, and Trusts.  Publication 536.  2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of Tax 
Legislation Enacted in 1998, pp. 276-277.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Summary of P. L. 107-147, The "Job 
Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002", JCX-22-02, March 2002,  p. 2.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of H.R. 4440, "The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005" As 
Passed By The House of Representatives and the Senate.  JCX-88-05, 
December 16, 2005, p. 22.
U.S. House, Committee on Ways and Means.  Taxpayer Relief Act of 1998. 
 105th Congress, 2nd session, September 23, 1998, pp. 57-59.










Commerce and Housing:
	Financial Institutions

EXEMPTION OF CREDIT UNION INCOME


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

1.7

1.7

2007

-

1.8

1.8

2008

-

1.9

1.9

2009

-

2.0

2.0

2010

-

2.1

2.1


	Authorization

Section 501(c)(14) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and section 122 
of the Federal Credit Union Act, as amended (12 U.S.C. sec. 1768).


	Description

Credit unions without capital stock and organized and operated for mutual 
purposes and without profit are not subject to Federal income tax.


	Impact

Credit unions are the only depository institutions exempt from Federal 
income taxes.  If this exemption were repealed, both federally chartered and 
State chartered credit unions would become liable for payment of Federal 
corporate income taxes on their retained earnings but not on earnings 
distributed to depositors.



For a given addition to retained earnings, this tax exemption permits credit 
unions to pay members higher dividends and charge members lower interest 
rates on loans.  Over the past 20 years, this tax exemption may have 
contributed to the more rapid growth of credit unions compared to other 
depository institutions.

Opponents of credit union taxation emphasize that credit unions provide 
many services free or below cost in order to assist low-income members.  
These services include small loans, financial counseling, and low-balance 
share drafts.  They argue that the taxation of credit unions would create 
pressure to eliminate these subsidized services.  But whether or not consumer 
access to basic depository services is a significant problem is disputed.


	Rationale

Credit unions have never been subject to the Federal income tax.  Initially, 
they were included in the provision that exempted domestic building and loan 
associations - whose business was at one time confined to lending to 
members - and nonprofit cooperative banks operated for mutual purposes.  
The exemption for mutual banks and savings and loan institutions was 
removed in 1951, but credit unions retained their exemption.  No specific 
reason was given for continuing the exemption of credit unions.

In 1978, the Carter Administration proposed that the taxation of credit 
unions be phased in over a five-year period.  In 1984, a report of the 
Department of the Treasury to the President proposed that the tax exemption 
of credit unions be repealed.  In 1985, the Reagan Administration proposed 
the taxation of credit unions with over $5 million in gross assets.  In the 
budget for fiscal year 1993, the Bush Administration proposed that the tax 
exemption for credit unions with assets in excess of $50 million be repealed.  
On March 16, 2004, Donald E. Powell, Chairman of the Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corporation, stated that "credit unions ought to pay taxes."  


	Assessment

Supporters of the credit union exemption emphasize the uniqueness of 
credit unions compared to other depository institutions.  Credit unions are 
nonprofit financial cooperatives organized by people with a common bond 
which is a unifying characteristic among members that distinguishes them 
from the general public.



Credit unions are directed by volunteers for the purpose of serving their 
members.  Consequently, the exemption's supporters maintain that credit 
unions are member-driven while other depository institutions are profit-
driven.  Furthermore, supporters argue that credit unions are subject to certain 
regulatory constraints not required of other depository institutions and that 
these constraints reduce the competitiveness of credit unions.  For example, 
credit unions may lend only to members.

Proponents of taxation argue that deregulation has caused extensive 
competition among all depository institutions, including credit unions, and 
that the tax exemption gives credit unions an unwarranted advantage.  
Proponents of taxation argue that depository institutions should have a level 
playing field in order for market forces to allocate resources efficiently.


	Selected Bibliography

Bickley, James M.  Should Credit Unions be Taxed?  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 97-548 E.  Washington, DC: Updated 
March 28, 2006.
Jolly, Robert W., Gary D. Koppenhaver, and Joshua D. Roe.  Growth of 
Large-Scale Credit Union in Iowa: Implications for Public Policy.  Ames, 
Iowa: Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Working Paper 
#04031, November 2004.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, February 2005, p. 301.
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Issues Regarding the Tax-Exempt 
Status of Credit Unions, Testimony before the House Committee on Ways 
and Means, November 3, 2005.
Tatom, John.  Competitive Advantage: A Study of the Federal Tax 
Exemption for Credit Unions.  Washington, DC: Tax Foundation, 2005.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Insurance Companies

	EXCLUSION OF INVESTMENT INCOME
	ON LIFE INSURANCE AND ANNUITY CONTRACTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

25.5

2.5

28.0

2007

26.1

2.5

28.6

2008

26.8

2.6

29.4

2009

27.5

2.7

30.2

2010

28.2

2.7

30.9


	Authorization

Sections 72, 101, 7702, 7702A.


	Description

Life insurance companies invest premiums they collect, and returns on 
those investments help pay benefits.  Amounts not paid as benefits may be 
paid as policy dividends or given back to policyholders as cash surrender 
values or loan values.

Policyholders are not generally taxed on this investment income, 
commonly called "inside build-up," as it accumulates.  Insurance companies 
also usually pay no taxes on this investment income.  Death benefits for most 
policies are not taxed at all, and amounts paid as dividends or withdrawn as 
cash values are taxed only when they exceed total premiums paid for the 
policy, allowing tax-free investment income to pay part of the cost of the 
insurance protection.  Investment income that accumulates within annuity 
policies is also free from tax, but annuities are taxed on their investment 
component when paid.


Life insurance policies must meet tests designed to limit the tax-free 
accumulation of income.  If investment income accumulates very much faster 
than is needed to fund the promised benefits, that income will be attributed to 
the owner of the policy and taxed currently.  If a corporation owns a life 
insurance policy, investment income is included in alternative minimum 
taxable income.


	Impact

The interest exclusion on life insurance savings allows policyholders to 
pay for a portion of their personal insurance with tax-free interest income.  
Although the interest earned is not currently paid to the policyholder, it is 
used to cover at least part of the cost of the insurance coverage, and it may be 
received in cash if the policy is terminated.  In spite of recent limitations on 
the amount of income that can accumulate tax-free in a contract, the tax-free 
interest income benefit can be substantial.

The tax deferral for interest credited to annuity contracts allows taxpayers 
to save for retirement in a tax-deferred environment without restriction on the 
amount that can be invested for these purposes.  Although the amounts 
invested in an annuity are not deductible by the taxpayer, as are contributions 
to qualified pension plans or some IRAs, the tax deferral on the income 
credited to such investments represents a significant tax benefit to the 
taxpayer.

These provisions thus offer preferential treatment for the purchase of life 
insurance coverage and for savings held in life insurance policies and annuity 
contracts.   Middle-income taxpayers, who make up the bulk of the life 
insurance market, reap most of this provision's benefits.  Higher-income 
taxpayers, once their life insurance requirements are satisfied, generally 
obtain better after-tax yields from tax-exempt State and local obligations or 
tax-deferred capital gains.


	Rationale

The exclusion of death benefits paid on life insurance dates back to the 
1913 tax law.  While no specific reason was given for exempting such 
benefits, insurance proceeds may have been excluded because they were 
believed to be comparable to bequests, which also were excluded from the tax 
base.



The nontaxable status of the life insurance inside build-up and the tax 
deferral on annuity investment income also dates from 1913.  Floor 
discussions of the bill made it clear that inside build-up was not taxable, and 
that amounts received during the life of the insured would be taxed only when 
they exceeded the investment in the contract (premiums paid), although these 
provisions were not explicitly included in the law.

These rules were to some extent based on the general tax principle of 
constructive receipt.  The interest income was not viewed as actually 
belonging to the policyholders because they would have to give up the 
insurance protection or the annuity guarantees to obtain the interest.

The inside build-up in several kinds of insurance products was made 
taxable to the policy owners in recent years.  (Corporate-owned policies were 
included under the minimum tax in the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  The Deficit 
Reduction Act of 1984 and the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 
1988 imposed taxes on inside build-up and distributions for policies with an 
overly large  investment component.)  This change suggests that the Congress 
finds the exclusion rationale based on the constructive receipt doctrine 
unpersuasive in some cases.  The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax 
Reform, which issued its final report in November 2005, recommended 
elimination of the exemption on life insurance investment earnings.  Instead 
the Advisory Panel favored savings incentives which would treat various 
investment vehicles in a more neutral manner.  Congress has enacted no 
legislation which would implement recommendations of the Advisory Panel.


	Assessment

The tax treatment of policy income combined with the tax treatment of life 
insurance company reserves (see "Special Treatment of Life Insurance 
Company Reserves," below) makes investments in life insurance policies 
virtually tax-free.   Cash value life insurance can operate as an investment 
vehicle that combines life insurance protection with a financial instrument 
that operates similarly to bank certificates of deposit and mutual fund 
investments.  This exemption of  inside build-up distorts investors' decisions 
by encouraging them to choose life insurance over competing savings 
vehicles such as bank accounts, mutual funds, or bonds.  The result could be 
overinvestment in life insurance and excessive levels of life insurance 
protection relative to what would occur if life insurance products competed on 
a level playing field with other investment opportunities.

There is some evidence, however, that people underestimate the financial 
loss their deaths could cause and so tend to be underinsured.  If this is the 
case, some encouragement of the purchase of life insurance might be 
warranted.  There is no evidence of the degree of encouragement required or 
of the efficacy of providing that encouragement through tax exemption.



The practical difficulties of taxing inside build-up to the policy owners and 
the desire not to add to the distress of heirs by taxing death benefits have 
discouraged many tax reform proposals covering life insurance.  Taxing at the 
company level as a proxy for individual income taxation has been a suggested 
alternative.

Inside build-up exclusion contributed to the surge in the number of 
corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) policies in the 1980s.  Many firms, 
which had previously bought policies only for key personnel, began to buy 
life insurance on large numbers of lower level employees.  Several newspaper 
articles focused COLI policies bought without employees' knowledge or 
consent, which have been termed "dead peasant insurance" or "janitor 
insurance."  The IRS, arguing that such COLI policies serve as a tax shelter, 
sued several major corporations, and these cases limited some of the tax 
benefits of COLI policies. (See the 2006 Joint Tax Committee summary for 
citations.)  The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P. L. 109-280) limited tax 
benefits of COLI policies to key personnel and to benefits paid to survivors, 
and requires firms to obtain employee's written consent.  The Joint Tax 
Committee estimated that these limits will have a negligible effect on 
revenues.


	Selected Bibliography

Brumbaugh, David L.  Taxes and the "Inside Build-Up" of Life 
Insurance: Recent Issues.   Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RS20923, August 2, 2006.
Christensen, Burke A.  "Life Insurance: the Under-Appreciated Tax 
Shelter." Trusts and Estates  135 (November 1996), pp. 57-60.
Esperti, Robert A., et al.  "Post-EGTRRA Life Insurance Planning: the 
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 Promises 
Repeal of the Estate Tax in 2010, But Will it Ever Come to Pass?"  The Tax 
Adviser 33 (August 2002), pp. 532-537.
Gallagher, Gregory W. and Charles L. Ratner, eds.  Federal Income 
Taxation of Life Insurance, 2nd edition.  Chicago: American Bar Association, 
1999.
Goode, Richard.  "Policyholders' Interest Income from Life Insurance 
Under the Income Tax," Vanderbilt Law Review 15 (December 1962), pp. 
33-55.
Harman, William B., Jr.  "Two Decades of Insurance Tax Reform." Tax 
Notes 57 (November 12, 1992), pp. 901-914.
Kotlikoff, Lawrence J.  The Impact of Annuity Insurance on Savings and 
Inequality, Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1984.
McClure, Charles E.  "The Income Tax Treatment of Interest Earned on 
Savings in Life Insurance."  In The Economics of Federal Subsidy Programs. 
  Part 3: Tax Subsidies.  (U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee.)  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 15, 1972.


Pike, Andrew D. Taxation of Life Insurance Products: Background and 
Issues.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL32000, July 18, 2003.
President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Simple, Fair, and 
Pro-Growth: Proposals to Fix America's Tax System: Report of the 
President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.  Washington, DC:  
November 2005.
Schultz Ellen E. and Theo Francis, "Companies Profit on Workers' Deaths 
Through 'Dead Peasants' Insurance", Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2002
U.S. Congress, Committee on Ways and Means.  Technical and 
Miscellaneous Revenue Act of  1988.  Report to accompany H.R. 4333. 100th 
Congress, 2nd session.  House Report 100-1104.  Washington, DC: 
Government Printing Office, October 21, 1988, pp. 96-108.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Life Insurance Tax 
Provisions." In General  Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit 
Reduction Act of 1984.  Joint  Committee Print, 98th Congress, 2nd session.  
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 31, 1984.
-. Tax Reform Proposals: Taxation of Insurance Products and 
Companies.  Joint Committee Print, 99th Congress, 1st session.  Washington: 
Government Printing Office,  September 20, 1985.
-. Present-Law Federal Tax Treatment, Proposals, and Issues Relating to 
Company-Owned Life Insurance, Joint Committee Print JCX-91-03, 108th 
Congress, 1st session.  Washington: Government Printing Office, October 15, 
2003
-. 'Technical Explanation of H.R. 4, The "Pension Protection Act 
of 2006," As Passed by the House on July 28, 2006, and As 
Considered by the Senate on August 3, 2006." Joint Committee Print 
JCX-38-06, 109th Congress, 2nd session.  Washington, DC: Government 
Printing Office, August 3, 2006, pp.208-222.
-. 'Estimated Budget Effects of H.R. 4, The "Pension Protection 
Act of 2006," As Introduced in The House of Representatives on July 
28, 2006.'  Joint Committee Print JCX-36-06 , 109th Congress, 2nd 
session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, July 28, 2006, 
p.4.
U.S. Congressional Budget Office.  "Options to Increase Revenues:  
Include Investment Income from Life Insurance and Annuities in Taxable 
Income."  In Budget Options.  Washington, DC: 2005. 
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Report to the Congress on the Taxation 
of Life Insurance Company Products.  Washington, DC: March 30, 1990.
Vickrey, William S.  Agenda for Progressive Taxation.  New York: 
Ronald Press, 1947.  Reprint, Clifton, NJ: Kelley, 1970.
-.  "Insurance Under the Federal Income Tax," Yale Law Journal 52 (June 
1943), pp. 554-585.	
Webel, Baird. Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI): Insurance and 
Tax Issues, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL33414, May 10, 2006.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Insurance Companies

	SMALL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
	TAXABLE INCOME ADJUSTMENT


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.1

0.1

2007

-

0.1

0.1

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.1

0.1

2010

-

0.1

0.1


	Authorization

Section 806.


	Description

Life insurance companies with gross assets of less than $500 million are 
allowed a special "small life insurance company deduction."  Generally, 
consolidated group tests are used in applying the taxable income and gross 
asset standards.  The amount of the deduction is 60 percent of so much of 
otherwise taxable income from insurance operations for a taxable year that 
does not exceed $3 million, reduced by 15 percent of the excess of otherwise 
taxable income over $3 million.

Thus, the deduction phases out as a company's taxable insurance income 
increases from $3 million to $15 million, computed without this deduction.  A 
company with taxable insurance income over $15 million, computed without 
this deduction, is not entitled to a small life insurance company deduction.



	Impact

The small life insurance company deduction reduces the tax rate for 
"small" life insurance companies.  An insurer with assets of up to $500 
million and taxable incomes of up to $15 million can still be considered small 
relative to very large companies that comprise most of the industry.  A 
company eligible for the maximum small company deduction of $1.8 million 
is, in effect, taxed at a rate of 13.6 percent instead of the regular 34 percent 
corporate rate.

Because these companies may be either investor-owned stock companies 
or policyholder-owned mutual companies, determining the distribution of 
benefits is difficult.  Competitive pressures may force companies to pass some 
of these benefits on to life insurance policyholders.


	Rationale

This provision was added in the massive revision of life insurance 
company taxation included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-
369).  The justification given is that, although "the Congress believed that, 
without this provision, the Act provided for the proper reflection of taxable 
income," the Congress was also concerned about a sudden sharp increase in 
the companies' taxes.  A companion provision, reducing taxes by an arbitrary 
amount for all life insurance companies, was repealed in the Tax Reform Act 
of 1986, but the deduction for small companies was retained.


	Assessment

The principle of basing taxes on the ability to pay, often put forth as a 
requisite of an equitable and fair tax system, does not justify reducing taxes 
on business income for firms below a certain size.  Tax burdens are ultimately 
borne by persons, such as business owners, customers, employees, or other 
individuals, not by firms.  The burden that a business's taxes places on a 
person is not determined by the size of the business.

Imposing lower tax rates on smaller firms distorts the efficient allocation of 
resources, since it offers a cost advantage based on size and not economic 
performance.  This tax reduction serves no simplification purpose, since it 
requires an additional set of computations and some complex rules to prevent 
abuses.  It may serve to help newer companies to become established and 
build up the reserves State laws require of insurance companies.



	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Tax Treatment of Life 
Insurance Companies."  In General  Explanation of the Revenue Provisions 
of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Joint Committee Print, 98th Congress, 
2d session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 31, 
1984, pp. 582-593.
-.  Tax Reform Proposals: Taxation of Insurance Products and 
Companies.  Joint Committee Print, 99th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, 
DC: Government Printing Office,  September 20, 1985.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Insurance Companies

	SPECIAL TREATMENT
	OF LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY RESERVES 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

1.9

1.9 

2007

-

2.0

2.0

2008

-

2.0

2.0

2009

-

2.1

2.1

2010

-

2.2

2.2


	Authorization

Sections 803(a)(2), 805(a)(2), 807.


	Description

Most businesses calculate taxable income by deducting expenses when the 
business becomes liable for paying them.  Life insurance companies, 
however, are allowed to deduct additions to reserves for future liabilities 
under insurance policies, offsetting current income with future expenses.


	Impact



Reserves are accounts recorded in the liabilities section of balance sheets 
to indicate a claim against assets for future expenses.  When additions to the 
reserve accounts are allowed as deductions in computing taxable income, it 
allows an amount of tax-free (or tax-deferred) income to be used to purchase 
assets.  Amounts are added to reserves from both premium income and the 
investment income earned by the invested assets, so reserve accounting 
shelters both premium and investment income from tax.

A large part of the reserves of life insurance companies is credited to 
individual policyholders, to whom the investment income is not taxed either 
(see "Exclusion of Investment Income on Life Insurance and Annuity 
Contracts," above).

The nature of the life insurance industry suggests that a reduction in its 
corporate taxes would go primarily to policyholders.  Thus the beneficiaries 
of this tax expenditure are probably not the owners of capital in general (see 
Introduction) but rather those who invest in life insurance products in 
particular.


	Rationale

The first modern corporate income tax enacted in 1909 provided that 
insurance companies could deduct additions to reserves required by law, and 
some form of reserve deduction has been allowed ever since.

Originally, the accounting rules of most regulated industries were adopted 
for tax purposes, and reserve accounting was required by all State insurance 
regulations.  The many different methods of taxing insurance companies tried 
since 1909 all allowed some form of reserve accounting.

Before the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, which set the current rules for 
taxing life insurance companies, reserves were those required by State law 
and generally computed by State regulatory rules.  The Congress, concluding 
that the conservative regulatory rules allowed a significant overstatement of 
deductions, set rules for tax reserves that specified what types of reserves 
would be allowed and what discount rates would be used.


	Assessment

Reserve accounting allows the deduction from current income of expenses 
relating to the future.  This is the standard method of accounting for insurance 
regulatory purposes, where the primary goal is to assure that a company will 
be able to pay its promised benefits and the understatement of current income 
is regarded as simply being conservative.

Under the income tax, however, the understatement of current income 
gives a tax advantage.  Combined with virtual tax exemption of life insurance 
product income at the individual level, this tax advantage makes life 
insurance a far more attractive investment vehicle than it would otherwise be 
and leads to the overpurchase of insurance and overinvestment in insurance 
products.


One often-proposed solution would retain reserve accounting but limit the 
deduction to amounts actually credited to the accounts of specific 
policyholders, who would then be taxable on the additions to their accounts.  
This would assure that all premium and investment income not used to pay 
current expenses was taxed at either the company or individual level, more in 
line with the tax treatment of banks, mutual funds, and other competitors of 
the life insurance industry.


	Selected Bibliography

Aaron, Henry J.  The Peculiar Problem of Taxing Life Insurance 
Companies.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1983.
Harman, William B., Jr.  "Two Decades of Insurance Tax Reform."  Tax 
Notes 57 (November 12, 1992), pp. 901-914.
Kopcke, Richard W.  "The Federal Income Taxation of Life Insurance 
Companies." New England Economic Review.  (March/April 1985), pp. 5-19.
Taylor, Jack.  "Federal Taxation of the Insurance Industry."  In The 
Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy (2nd ed.), eds. Joseph J. Cordes, 
Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  Washington DC: Urban Institute 
Press, 2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Life Insurance Tax 
Provisions." In General  Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit 
Reduction Act of 1984.  Joint  Committee Print, 98th Congress, 2d session.  
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 31, 1984.
-.  Tax Reform Proposals: Taxation of Insurance Products and 
Companies.  Joint Committee Print, 99th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, 
DC: Government Printing Office,  September 20, 1985.  
-.  Taxation of Life Insurance Companies.  Joint Committee Print, 101st 
Congress, 1st session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, October 
16, 1989, pp. 8-11.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Final Report to the Congress on Life 
Insurance Company Taxation.  Washington, DC, 1989. 
-.  Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth, Volume 2, 
General Explanation of the Treasury Department Proposals.  Washington, 
DC, November 1984, pp. 268-269.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Insurance Companies

	DEDUCTION OF UNPAID PROPERTY LOSS RESERVES
FOR PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

3.4

3.4

2007

-

3.4

3.4

2008

-

3.5

3.5

2009

-

3.6

3.6

2010

-

3.6

3.6


	Authorization

Sections 832(b)(5), 846.


	Description

Most businesses calculate taxable income by deducting expenses when the 
business becomes liable for paying them.  Property and casualty insurance 
companies, however, are allowed to deduct the discounted value of estimated 
losses they will be required to pay in the future under insurance policies 
currently in force, including claims in dispute.  This allows them to deduct 
future expenses from current income and thereby defer tax liability.


	Impact



The allowance of a deduction for unpaid losses of a property or casualty 
insurer differs from the treatment of other taxpayers in two important 
respects.  First, insurers may estimate not only the amount of liabilities they 
have incurred but also the existence of the liability itself.  Second, the 
company may deduct an unpaid loss even though it is contesting the liability.  
An ordinary accrual-method taxpayer generally may not deduct the amount of 
a contested liability.

The net effect of these differences is to permit insurers to accelerate the 
deduction of losses claimed relative to the timing of those deductions under 
the generally applicable rules.

Competition in the property and casualty insurance industry would cause 
most of this reduction in corporate taxes to go to the benefit of the purchasers 
of insurance, including other businesses, homeowners, and private property 
owners.


	Rationale

The first modern corporate income tax enacted in 1909 provided that 
insurance companies could deduct additions to reserves required by law, and 
some form of loss-reserve deduction has been allowed ever since.  Originally, 
the accounting rules of most regulated industries were adopted for tax 
purposes, and reserve accounting was required by all State insurance 
regulations.

Before the Tax Reform Act of 1986, property and casualty insurance 
company reserves for unpaid losses were simply the undiscounted amount 
expected to be paid eventually, as generally required or allowed by State law. 
 The Congress, concluding that the conservative regulatory rules allowed an 
overstatement of loss reserve deductions, required that loss reserves be 
discounted for tax purposes.


	Assessment

Reserve accounting allows the deduction from current income of expenses 
relating to the future.  This is the standard method of accounting for insurance 
regulatory purposes, where the primary goal is assuring that a company will 
be able to pay its policyholders and the possible understatement of current 
income is not regarded as a problem.

But the understatement of current income gives an income tax advantage, 
which is the basis for calling this item a tax expenditure.



An argument can be made, however, that deducting additions to a properly 
discounted reserve for losses that have already occurred and that can be 
estimated with reasonable certainty does not distort economic income.  Since 
the insurance industry is based on being able to estimate its future payments 
from current policies, measuring current income could appropriately take into 
account the known future payments.  From this perspective, only those 
additions to reserves that exceed expected losses (as perhaps those for 
contested liabilities) would properly be considered a tax expenditure.


	Selected Bibliography

Harman, William B., Jr.  "Two Decades of Insurance Tax Reform."  Tax 
Notes 57 (November 12, 1992), pp. 901-914.
Shepard, Lee A.  "Normal Tax Accounting for Property and Casualty 
Insurance." Tax Notes 71 (April 15, 1996), pp. 395-398.
Taylor, Jack.  "Federal Taxation of the Insurance Industry."  In The 
Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy (2nd ed.), eds. Joseph J. Cordes, 
Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  Washington DC: Urban Institute 
Press, 2005. 
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Loss Reserves."  In  
General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  Joint Committee Print, 
100th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
May 4, 1987, pp. 600-618.
-..  Tax Reform Proposals: Taxation of Insurance Products and 
Companies.  Joint Committee Print, 99th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, 
DC: Government Printing Office,  September 20, 1985, pp. 32-49.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  "Limit Property and Casualty Insurance 
Company Reserve Deduction."  In Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and 
Economic Growth.  General Explanation of the Treasury Department 
Proposals.  Washington, DC:  November 1984, pp. 273-277.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Congress Should Consider Changing 
Federal Income Taxation of the Property/Casualty Insurance Industry.  
GAO/GGD-85-10.  Washington, DC, March 25, 1985.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Insurance Companies

	SPECIAL DEDUCTION FOR
	BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD COMPANIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.9

0.9

2007

-

1.0

1.0

2008

-

1.0

1.0

2009

-

1.0

1.0

2010

-

1.0

1.0


	Authorization

Section 833.


	Description

Blue Cross and Blue Shield and a number of smaller health insurance 
providers in existence on August 16, 1986, and other nonprofit health insurers 
that meet strict community-service standards, are subject to tax as property 
and casualty insurance companies, but are allowed a special deduction (for 
regular tax purposes only) of up to 25 percent of the excess of the year's 
health-related claims and expenses over their accumulated surplus at the 
beginning of the year.  The deduction is limited to net taxable income for the 
year and is not allowed in computing the alternative minimum tax.  These 
organizations are also allowed a full deduction for unearned premiums, unlike 
other property and casualty insurance companies.


	Impact

The special deduction exempts from the regular corporate tax of up to 35 
percent enough taxable income each year to maintain reserves equal to 25 
percent of the year's health-related payouts (three months' worth).  Since the 
deduction is not allowed for the alternative minimum tax, however, the 
income is subject to tax at the minimum tax rate of 20 percent.  The Blue 
Cross/Blue Shield organizations are not investor owned, so the reduced taxes 
benefit either their subscribers or all health insurance purchasers (in reduced 
premiums), their managers and employees (in increased wages and/or 
discretionary funds), or affiliated hospitals and physicians (in increased fees).


	Rationale

The Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans were first subjected to tax in the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986, which also provided for the special deduction described 
above.  The "Blues" had been ruled tax-exempt by Internal Revenue 
regulations since their inception in the 1930s, apparently because they were 
regarded as community service organizations.  The special tax deduction was 
given them in 1986 partly in recognition of their continuing (but much more 
limited) role in providing community-rated health insurance.


	Assessment

Most of the health insurance written by Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans 
is in the form of group policies indistinguishable in price and coverage from 
those offered by commercial insurers.  Some of the plans have accumulated 
enough surplus to purchase unrelated businesses, many receive a substantial 
part of their income from administering Medicare or self-insurance plans of 
other companies, and some have argued that their tax preferences have 
benefitted their managers and their affiliated hospitals and physicians more 
than their communities.

They do, however, retain in their charters a commitment to offer individual 
policies not available elsewhere.  Some continue to offer policies with 
premiums based on community payout experience ("community rated").  
Their former tax exemption and their current reduced tax rates presumably 
serve to subsidize these community activities.




	Selected Bibliography

Embry-Thompson, Leah D. and Robert K. Kolbe.  "Federal Tax 
Exemption of Prepaid Health Care Plans after IRC 501(m)." Exempt 
Organizations 1992 Continuing Professional Education Text.  Available at 
[www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicl92.pdf].
Law, Sylvia A.  Blue Cross: What Went Wrong?  New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1974.
McGovern, James J.  "Federal Tax Exemption of Prepaid Health Care 
Plans." The Tax Adviser 7  (February 1976), pp. 76-81.
McNurty, Walter.  "Big Questions for the Blues: Where to from Here?"  
Inquiry 33 (Summer 1996), pp. 110-117.
Starr, Paul.  The Social Transformation of American Medicine.  New 
York: Basic Books, 1983, pp.290-310.
Taylor, Jack.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Tax Reform. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 86-651 E.  Washington, 
DC: April 9, 1986.
-.  Income Tax Treatment of Health Care Insurers.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 94-772 E.  Washington, DC: October 
5, 1994.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Tax Exempt Organizations 
Engaged in Insurance Activities."  In General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986. Joint Committee Print, 100th Congress, 1st session.  Washington, 
DC: Government Printing Office,  May 4, 1987, pp.  583-592.
-.  Description and Analysis of Title VII of H.R. 3600, S. 1757, and S. 
1775 ("Health Security Act"), Joint Committee Print, 103rd Congress, 1st 
session.  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 20, 1993, 
pp. 82-96.
Wasley, Terree P.  "Health Care in the Twentieth Century: A History of 
Government Interference and Protection." Business Economics 28 (April 
1993), pp. 11-17.
Weiner, Janet Ochs.  "The Rebirth of the Blues."  Medicine and Health 
Supplement (February 18, 1991).











	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	DEDUCTION FOR MORTGAGE INTEREST
	ON OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENCES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

69.4

-

69.4

2007

75.6

-

75.6

2008

80.7

-

80.7

2009

85.9

-

85.9

2010

91.1

-

91.1

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increased the cost by $0.1 billion in FY2008.

	Authorization

Section 163(h).


	Description

A taxpayer may claim an itemized deduction for "qualified residence 
interest," which includes interest paid on a mortgage secured by a principal 
residence and a second residence.  The underlying mortgage loans can 
represent acquisition indebtedness of up to $1 million, plus home equity 
indebtedness of up to $100,000.  In 2007, premiums for mortgage insurance 
are deductible as interest, but are phased out as 10 percent for each $1,000 
over $100,000.


Impact



The deduction is considered a tax expenditure because homeowners are 
allowed to deduct their mortgage interest even though the implicit rental 
income from the home (comparable to the income they could earn if the home 
were rented to someone else) is not subject to tax.

Renters and the owners of rental property do not receive a comparable 
benefit.  Renters may not deduct any portion of their rent under the Federal 
income tax.  Landlords may deduct mortgage interest paid for rental property, 
but they are subject to tax on the rental income.

For taxpayers who can itemize, the home mortgage interest deduction 
encourages home ownership by reducing the cost of owning compared with 
renting.  It also encourages them to spend more on housing (measured before 
the income tax offset), and to borrow more than they would in the absence of 
the deduction.

The mortgage interest deduction primarily benefits middle- and upper-
income households.  Higher-income taxpayers are more likely to itemize 
deductions.  As with any deduction, a dollar of mortgage interest deduction is 
worth more the higher the taxpayer's marginal tax rate.

Higher-income households also tend to have larger mortgage interest 
deductions because they can afford to spend more on housing and can qualify 
to borrow more.  The home equity loan provision favors taxpayers who have 
been able to pay down their acquisition indebtedness and whose homes have 
appreciated in value.


Distribution by Income Class of the Tax 
Expenditure for Mortgage Interest, 2005


Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

0.0%

$10 to $20 

0.1%

$20 to $30 

0.7%

$30 to $40

1.6%

$40 to $50

3.1%

$50 to $75

 12.2%

$75 to $100

13.8%

$100 to $200

40.4%

$200 and over

28.1%


	Rationale



The income tax code instituted in 1913 contained a deduction for all 
interest paid, with no distinction between interest payments made for 
business, personal, living, or family expenses.  There is no evidence in the 
legislative history that the interest deduction was intended to encourage home 
ownership or to stimulate the housing industry at that time.  In 1913 most 
interest payments represented business expenses.  Home mortgages and other 
consumer borrowing were much less prevalent than in later years.

Before the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86), there were no restrictions 
on either the dollar amount of mortgage interest deduction or the number of 
homes on which the deduction could be claimed.  The limits placed on the 
mortgage interest deduction in 1986 and 1987 were part of the effort to limit 
the deduction for personal interest.

Under the provisions of TRA86, for home mortgage loans settled on or 
after August 16, 1986, mortgage interest could be deducted only on a loan 
amount up to the purchase price of the home, plus any improvements, and on 
debt secured by the home but used for qualified medical and educational 
expense.  This was an effort to restrict tax-deductible borrowing of home 
equity in excess of the original purchase price of the home.  The interest 
deduction was also restricted to mortgage debt on a first and second home.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 placed new dollar limits 
on mortgage debt incurred after October 13, 1987, upon which interest 
payments could be deducted.  An upper limit of $1 million ($500,000 for 
married filing separately) was placed on the combined "acquisition 
indebtedness" for a principal and second residence.  Acquisition indebtedness 
includes any debt incurred to buy, build, or substantially improve the 
residence(s).  The ceiling on acquisition indebtedness for any residence is 
reduced down to zero as the mortgage balance is paid down, and can only be 
increased if the amount borrowed is used for improvements.

The TRA86 exception for qualified medical and educational expenses was 
replaced by the explicit provision for home equity indebtedness: in addition to 
interest on acquisition indebtedness, interest can be deducted on loan amounts 
up to $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) for other debt secured 
by a principal or second residence, such as a home equity loan, line of credit, 
or second mortgage.  The sum of the acquisition indebtedness and home 
equity debt cannot exceed the fair market value of the home(s).  There is no 
restriction on the purposes for which home equity indebtedness can be used.

Mortgage interest is one of several deductions subject to the phaseout on 
itemized deductions for taxpayers whose AGI exceeds the applicable 
threshold amount--$150,500 for single taxpayers in 2006, indexed for 
inflation.  (This phaseout was instituted for tax years 1991 through 1995 by 
the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 and made permanent by the 
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.)



The temporary deductibility of mortgage insurance was added by H.R. 
6111 (December 2006).			


Assessment

Major justifications for the mortgage interest deduction have been the 
desire to encourage homeownership and to stimulate residential construction. 
 Homeownership is alleged to encourage neighborhood stability, promote 
civic responsibility, and improve the maintenance of residential buildings.  
Homeownership is also viewed as a mechanism to encourage families to save 
and invest in what for many will be their major financial asset.

A major criticism of the mortgage interest deduction has been its 
distribution of tax benefits in favor of higher-income taxpayers.  It is unlikely 
that a housing subsidy program that gave far larger amounts to high income 
compared with low income households would be enacted if it were proposed 
as a direct expenditure program.

The preferential tax treatment of owner-occupied housing relative to other 
assets is also criticized for encouraging households to invest more in housing 
and less in other assets that might contribute more to increasing the Nation's 
productivity and output.

Efforts to limit the deduction of some forms of interest more than others 
must address the ability of taxpayers to substitute one form of borrowing for 
another.  For those who can make use of it, the home equity interest deduction 
can substitute for the deductions phased out by TRA86 for consumer interest 
and investment interest in excess of investment income.  This alternative is 
not available to renters or to homeowners with little equity buildup.

Analysts have pointed out that the rate of homeownership in the United 
States is not significantly higher than in countries such as Canada that do not 
provide a mortgage interest deduction under their income tax.  The value of 
the U.S. deduction may be at least partly capitalized into higher prices at the 
middle and upper end of the housing market.


Selected Bibliography

Bourassa, Steven C. and Grigsby,  William G. "Income Tax Concessions 
for Owner-Occupied Housing," Housing Policy Debate, vol. 11, iss. 3, 2000, 
pp. 521-546. 
Brady, Peter, Cronin, Julie-Anne, and Houser, Scott.  "Regional 
Differences in the Utilization of the Mortgage Interest Deduction," Public 
Finance Review, vol. 31, (July 2003), pp. 327-366.


Capozza, Dennis R., Richard K. Green, and Patric H. Hendershott.  
"Taxes, Mortgage Borrowing and Residential Land Prices," in  Economic 
Effects of Fundamental Tax Reform, eds. Henry H. Aaron and William G. 
Gale.  Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1996, pp. 171-210.
Cecchetti, Stephen G. and Peter Rupert. "Mortgage Interest Deductibility 
and Housing Prices," Economic Commentary. Federal Reserve Bank of 
Cleveland, February 1, 1996.
Chatterjee, Satyjit.  "Taxes, Homeownership, and the Allocation of 
Residential Real Estate Risk," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of 
Philadelphia, September-October 1996, pp. 3-10.
Engen, Eric M. and William G. Gale.  "Tax-Preferred Assets and Debt, 
and the Tax Reform Act of 1986: Some Implications for Fundamental Tax 
Reform," National Tax Journal, vol. 49, (September 1996), pp. 331-339.
Follain, James R., and David C. Ling.  "The Federal Tax Subsidy to 
Housing and the Reduced Value of the Mortgage Interest Deduction," 
National Tax Journal, vol. 44, (June 1991), pp. 147-168.
Follain, James R., and Robert M. Dunsley.  "The Demand for Mortgage 
Debt and the Income Tax," Journal of Housing Research, vol. 8, no. 2, 1997, 
pp. 155-191.
Glaeser, Edward L. and Jesse M. Shapiro.  "The Benefits of the Home 
Mortgage Interest Deduction," NBER Working Paper Series 9284, National 
Bureau of Economic Research, October 2002.
Green, Richard K. and Kerry D. Vandell.  "Giving Households Credit: 
How Changes in the U.S. Tax Code Could Promote Homeownership," 
Regional Science and Urban Economics, vol. 29, no. 4, July 1999, pp. 
419-444.
Gyourko, Joseph  and Sinai, Todd.  "The Spatial Distribution of 
Housing-Related Ordinary Income Tax Benefits," Real Estate Economics, 
vol. 31, (Winter 2003),  pp. 529-531. 
Howard, Christopher.  The Hidden Welfare State: Tax Expenditures and 
Social Policy in the United States.  Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1997.
Jackson, Pamela J. Fundamental Tax Reform: Options for the Mortgage 
Interest Deduction, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report RL33025, April 26, 2006. 
Maki, Dean M.  "Portfolio Shuffling and Tax Reform," National Tax 
Journal , vol. 49, ( September 1996), pp. 317-329.
Nakagami, Yasuhiro and Alfred M. Pereira.  "Budgetary and Efficiency 
Effects of Housing Taxation in the United States," Journal of Urban 
Economics, vol. 39, (January 1996), pp. 68-86.
Rose, Clarence C.  "The Investment Value of Home Ownership," Journal 
of Financial Service Professionals, vol. 60, (January 2006), pp. 57-66. 
Rosen, Harvey S.  "Housing Subsidies: Effects on Housing Decisions, 
Efficiency, and Equity," Handbook of Public Economics, vol. I, eds. Alan J. 
Auerbach and Martin Feldstein.  The Netherlands, Elsevier Science 
Publishers B.V. (North-Holland), 1985, pp. 375-420.
Reschovsky, Andrew and Richard K. Green.  Tax Credits and Tenure 
Choice, Proceedings, 91st Annual Conference on Taxation, 1998.  
Washington, DC:  National Tax Association, 1999, pp. 401-410.


Sinai, Todd, and Joseph Gyourko.  "The (Un)Changing Geographical 
Distribution of Housing Tax Benefits: 1980 to 2000," in Tax Policy and the 
Economy, 2003 Conference Report, ed. James Poterba. National Bureau of 
Economic Research, November 4, 2003.
U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Publication 936, 
Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.








	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	DEDUCTION FOR PROPERTY TAXES
	ON OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENCES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

19.9

-

19.9

2007

13.8

-

13.8

2008

13.5

-

13.5

2009

13.4

-

13.4

2010

13.2

-

13.2


Authorization

Section 164.


	Description

Taxpayers may claim an itemized deduction for property taxes paid on 
owner-occupied residences.


	Impact

The deductibility of property taxes on owner-occupied residences provides 
a subsidy both to home ownership and to the financing of State and local 
governments.  Like the deduction for home mortgage interest, the Federal de-
duction for real property (real estate) taxes reduces the cost of home 
ownership relative to renting.



Renters may not deduct any portion of their rent under the Federal income 
tax.  Landlords may deduct the property tax they pay on a rental property but 
are taxed on the rental income.  

Homeowners may deduct the property taxes but are not subject to income 
tax on the imputed rental value of the dwelling.  For itemizing homeowners, 
the deduction lowers the net price of State and local public services financed 
by the property tax and raises their after-Federal-tax income.

Like all personal deductions, the property tax deduction provides uneven 
tax savings per dollar of deduction.  The tax savings are higher for those with 
higher marginal tax rates, and those homeowners who do not itemize 
deductions receive no direct tax savings.

Higher-income groups are more likely to itemize property taxes and to 
receive larger average benefits per itemizing return.  Consequently, the tax 
expenditure benefits of the property tax deduction are concentrated in the 
upper-income groups.


Distribution by Income Class of the Tax Expenditure 
for Property Taxes, 2005


Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

0.0

$10 to $20 

2.1

$20 to $30 

4.0

$30 to $40

5.9

$40 to $50

8.2

$50 to $75

20.9

$75 to $100

18.8

$100 to $200

30.2

$200 and over

9.0






	Rationale

Under the original 1913 Federal income tax law all Federal, State, and 
local taxes were deductible, except those assessed against local benefits (for 
improvements which tend to increase the value of the property), for 
individuals as well as businesses.



A major rationale was that tax payments reduce disposable income in a 
mandatory way and thus should be deducted when determining a taxpayer's 
ability to pay the Federal income tax.

Over the years, the Congress has gradually eliminated the deductibility of 
certain taxes under the individual income tax, unless they are business-
related.  Deductions were eliminated for Federal income taxes in 1917, for 
estate and gift taxes in 1934, for excise and import taxes in 1943, for State 
and local excise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and fees such as drivers' and 
motor vehicle licenses in 1964, for excise taxes on gasoline and other motor 
fuels in 1978, and for sales taxes in 1986.

In 2004, sales tax deductibility was reinstated for the 2004 and 2005 tax 
years by the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004," (P.L. 108-357).  In 
contrast to pre-1986 law, State sales and use taxes can only be deducted in 
lieu of State income taxes, not in addition to.  Taxpayers who itemize and live 
in States without a personal income tax benefitted the most from the new law. 
 As of October 2006, the sales tax deductibility option had not been extended.

State and local taxes are among several deductions subject to the phaseout 
on itemized deductions for taxpayers whose AGI exceeds the applicable 
threshold amount--$150,500 for 2006, indexed for inflation.  (The phaseout is 
scheduled to gradually phase-out beginning in the 2006 tax year and be 
completely eliminated beginning with the 2010 tax year.)


Assessment

Proponents argue that the deduction for State and local taxes is a way of 
promoting fiscal federalism by helping State and local governments to raise 
revenues from their own taxpayers.   Itemizers receive an offset for their 
deductible State and local taxes in the form of lower Federal income taxes.  
Deductibility thus helps to equalize total Federal-State-local tax burdens 
across the country: itemizers in high-tax States and local jurisdictions pay 
somewhat lower Federal taxes as a result of their higher deductions, and vice 
versa.

By allowing property taxes to be deducted in the same way as State and 
local income, sales, and personal property taxes, the Federal Government 
avoids interfering in State and local decisions about which of these taxes to 
rely on.  The property tax is particularly important as a source of revenue for 
local governments and school districts.



Nevertheless, the property tax deduction is not an economically efficient 
way to provide Federal aid to State and local governments in general, or to 
target aid on particular needs, compared with direct aid.  The deduction works 
indirectly to increase taxpayers' willingness to support higher State and local 
taxes by reducing the net price of those taxes and increasing their income 
after Federal taxes.

The same tax expenditure subsidy is available to property taxpayers, 
regardless of whether the money is spent on quasi-private benefits enjoyed by 
the taxpayers or redistributive public services, or whether they live in 
exclusive high-income jurisdictions or heterogeneous cities encompassing a 
low-income population.  The property-tax-limitation movements of the 1970s 
and 1980s, and State and local governments' increased reliance on non-
deductible sales and excise taxes and user fees during the 1980s and 1990s, 
suggest that other forces can outweigh the advantage of the property tax 
deduction.

Two separate lines of argument are offered by critics to support the case 
that the deduction for real property taxes should be restricted.  One is that a 
large portion of local property taxes may be paying for services and facilities 
that are essentially private benefits being provided through the public sector.  
Similar services often are financed by non-deductible fees and user charges 
paid to local government authorities or to private community associations 
(e.g., for water and sewer services or trash removal).

Another argument is that if imputed income from owner-occupied housing 
is not subject to tax, then associated expenses, such as mortgage interest and 
property taxes, should not be deductible.

Like the mortgage interest deduction, the value of the property tax 
deduction may be capitalized to some degree into higher prices for the type of 
housing bought by taxpayers who can itemize.  Consequently, restricting the 
deduction for property taxes could lower the price of housing purchased by 
middle- and upper-income taxpayers, at least in the short run.


	Selected Bibliography

Aaron, Henry.  Who Pays the Property Tax?  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1975.
Birch, John W., Mark A. Sunderman, and Brent C. Smith.  "Vertical 
Inequity in Property Taxation: A Neighborhood Based Analysis," Journal of 
Real Estate Finance and Economics, v. 29, n. 1, July 2004, pp. 71-78. 
Carroll, Robert J., and John Yinger.  "Is the Property Tax a Benefit Tax?  
The Case of Rental Housing," National Tax Journal, v. 47, no. 2,  June 1994, 
pp. 295-316.
Kenyon, Daphne A.  "Federal Income Tax Deductibility of State and Local 
Taxes," Intergovernmental Perspective, Fall 1984, v. 10, no. 4, pp. 19-22.
Maguire, Steven.  Federal Deductibility of State and Local Taxes.  Library 
of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL32781.  Washington, 
D.C.:  September 28, 2006.


Netzer, Dick.  "Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property 
Tax Exemption," State Tax Notes, June 23, 2003, pp. 1053-1069.
Rosen, Harvey S. "Housing Decisions and the U.S. Income Tax: An 
Economic Analysis," Journal of Public Economics, v. 11, no. 1.  February 
1979, pp. 1-23.
Tannenwald, Robert.  "The Subsidy from State and Local Tax 
Deductibility: Trends, Methodological Issues and its Value After Federal Tax 
Reform," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Working Paper 97/08, December 
1997.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 
Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.  Limiting State-Local Tax 
Deductibility in Exchange for Increased General Revenue Sharing: An 
Analysis of the Economic Effects, 98th Congress, 1st session, Committee 
Print S. Prt. 98-77,   August 1983.  A condensed version was published in  
Nonna A. Noto and Dennis Zimmerman, "Limiting State-Local Tax 
Deductibility: Effects Among the States," National Tax Journal, v. 37, no. 4, 
December 1984, pp. 539-549.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of State and Local Finance.  
Federal-State-Local Fiscal Relations, Report to the President and the 
Congress.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 
1985, pp. 251-283.  Also Technical Papers, September 1986, v. 1, pp. 349-
552.










Commerce and Housing:
Housing

EXCLUSION OF CAPITAL GAINS
ON SALES OF  PRINCIPAL RESIDENCES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

24.1

-

24.1

2007

25.2

-

25.2

2008

25.7

-

25.7

2009

26.3

-

26.3

2010

27.1

-

27.1


Authorization

Section 121.

	Description

A taxpayer may exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000 of capital 
gain ($500,000 in the case of married taxpayers filing joint returns) from the 
sale or exchange of their principal residence.  To qualify the taxpayer must 
have owned and occupied the residence for at least two of the previous five 
years.  The exclusion is limited to one sale every two years.  Special rules 
apply in the case of sales necessitated by changes in employment, health, and 
other circumstances.  


	Impact



Excluding the capital gains on the sale of principal residences from tax 
primarily benefits middle- and upper-income taxpayers.  At the same time, 
however, this provision avoids putting an additional tax burden on taxpayers, 
regardless of their income levels, who have to sell their homes because of 
changes in family status, employment, or health.  It also provides tax benefits 
to elderly taxpayers who sell their homes and move to less expensive housing 
during their retirement years.  This provision simplifies income tax 
administration and record keeping.


	Rationale

Capital gains arising from the sale of a taxpayer's principal residence have 
long received preferential tax treatment.  The Revenue Act of 1951 
introduced the concept of deferring the tax on the capital gain from the sale of 
a principal residence if the proceeds of the sale were used to buy another 
residence of equal or greater value.  This deferral principal was supplemented 
in 1964 by the introduction of the tax provision that allowed elderly taxpayers 
a one-time exclusion from tax for some of the capital gain derived from the 
sale of their principal residence. Over time, the one-time exclusion provision 
was modified such that all taxpayers aged 55 and older were allowed a one-
time exclusion for up to $125,000 gain from the sale of their principal 
residence.

By 1997, Congress had concluded that these two provisions, tax free 
rollovers and the one-time exclusion of $125,000 in gain for elderly 
taxpayers, had created significant complexities for the average taxpayer with 
regard to the sale of their principal residence.  To comply with tax 
regulations, taxpayers had to keep detailed records of the financial 
expenditures  associated with their home ownership.  Taxpayers had to 
differentiate between those expenditures that affected the basis of the property 
and those that were merely for maintenance or repairs.  In many instances 
these records had to be kept for decades.

In addition to record keeping problems, Congress believed that the prior 
law rules promoted an inefficient use of taxpayers' resources.  Because 
deferral of tax required the purchase of a new residence of equal or greater 
value, prior law may have encouraged taxpayers to purchase more expensive 
homes than they otherwise would have.

Finally, Congress believed that prior law may have discouraged some 
elderly taxpayers from selling their homes to avoid possible tax consequences. 
 Elderly taxpayers who had already used their one-time exclusion and those 
who might have realized a gain in excess of $125,000, may have held on to 
their homes longer than they otherwise would have.

As a result of these concerns, Congress repealed the rollover provisions 
and the one-time exclusion of $125,000 of gain in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 
1997.  In their place, Congress enacted the current tax rules which allow a 
taxpayer to exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000 of capital gain 
($500,000 in the case of married taxpayers filing joint returns) from the sale 
or exchange of their principal residence.


Assessment

This exclusion from income taxation gives homeownership a competitive 
advantage over other types of investments, since the capital gains from 
investments in other assets are generally taxed when the assets are sold.  
Moreover, when combined with other provisions in the tax code such as the 
deductibility of home mortgage interest, homeownership is an especially 
attractive investment.  As a result, savings are diverted out of other forms of 
investment and into housing.

Viewed from another perspective, many see the exclusion on the sale of a 
principal residence as justifiable because the tax law does not allow the 
deduction of personal capital losses, because much of the profit from the sale 
of a personal residence can represent only inflationary gains, and because the 
purchase of a principal residence is less of a profit-motivated decision than 
other types of investments.  Taxing the gain on the sale of a principal 
residence might also interfere with labor mobility.


	Selected Bibliography

Gravelle, Jane and Jackson, Pamela J.  The Exclusion of Capital Gains for 
Owner Occupied Housing.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RL32978.  Washington DC: 2006.
Esenwein, Gregg A.  Individual Capital Gains Income: Legislative 
History.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 98-
473E.  Washington DC: 2006.
Fox, John O., If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax.  Boulder, 
Colorado: Westview Press, 2001, pp. 177- 200.
Burman, Leonard E., Sally Wallace, and David Weiner, "How Capital 
Gains Taxes Distort Homeowners' Decisions," Proceedings of the 89th 
Annual Conference, 1996, Washington, DC: National Tax Association, 1997.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Selling Your 
Home, Publication 523, 2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description of Revenue 
Provisions Contained in the President's Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Proposal.  
March 6, 2000.
-.  General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in 1997.  December 
17, 1997.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Perspectives on the 
Ownership of Capital Assets and the Realization of Capital Gains.  May 
1997.










Commerce and Housing:
Housing

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT BONDS FOR OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.9

0.3

1.2

2007

1.0

0.4

1.4

2008

1.0

0.4

1.4

2009

1.1

0.4

1.5

2010

1.1

0.4

1.5


Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 143, and 146 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds issued to provide mortgages at 
below-market interest rates on owner-occupied principal residences of first-
time homebuyers is tax exempt.  The issuer of mortgage bonds typically uses 
bond proceeds to purchase mortgages made by a private lender.  The 
homeowners make their monthly payments to the private lender, which passes 
them through as payments to the bondholders.  The first time homebuyer's 
requirement is waived on a one time basis for veterans from the enactment of 
H.R. 6111 (December 2006) through 2008. 



These mortgage revenue bonds (MRBs) are classified as private-activity 
bonds rather than governmental bonds because a substantial portion of their 
benefits accrues to individuals or business rather than to the general public.  
For more discussion of the distinction between governmental bonds and 
private-activity bonds, see the entry under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.

Numerous limitations have been imposed on State and local MRB 
programs, among them restrictions on the purchase prices of the houses that 
can be financed, on the income of the homebuyers, and on the portion of the 
bond proceeds that must be expended for mortgages in targeted (lower 
income) areas.

A portion of capital gains on an MRB-financed home sold within ten years 
must be rebated to the Treasury.  Housing agencies may trade in bond 
authority for authority to issue equivalent amounts of mortgage credit 
certificates (MCCs).  MCCs take the form of nonrefundable tax credits for 
interest paid on qualifying home mortgages.

MRBs are subject to the private-activity bond annual volume cap that is 
equal to the greater of $80 per State resident or $246.6 million in 2006.  The 
cap has been adjusted for inflation since 2003.  Housing agencies must 
compete for cap allocations with bond proposals for all other private-activities 
subject to the volume cap.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to offer mortgages on owner-occupied housing at 
reduced mortgage interest rates.

Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and homeowners, and estimates of the distribution of tax-exempt 
interest income by income class, see the "Impact" discussion under General 
Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State 
and Local Debt.


	Rationale

The first MRBs were issued without any Federal restrictions during the 
high-interest-rate period of the late 1970s.  State and local officials expected 
reduced mortgage interest rates to increase the incidence of homeownership.  
The Mortgage Subsidy Bond Tax Act of 1980 imposed several targeting 
requirements, most importantly restricting the use of MRBs to lower-income 
first-time purchasers.  The annual volume of bonds issued by governmental 
units within a State was capped, and the amount of arbitrage profits (the 
difference between the interest rate on the bonds and the higher mortgage rate 
charged to the home purchaser) was limited to one percentage point.


Depending upon the state of the housing market, targeting restrictions have 
been relaxed and tightened over the decade of the 1980s.  MRBs were 
included under the unified volume cap on private-activity bonds by the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986.

MRBs had long been an "expiring tax provision" with a sunset date.  
MRBs first were scheduled to sunset on December 31, 1983, by the Mortgage 
Subsidy Bond Tax Act of 1980.  Additional sunset dates have been adopted 
five times when Congress has decided to extend MRB eligibility for a 
temporary period.  The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 made 
MRBs a permanent provision.

The most recent change to the program was enacted by  the Tax Increase 
Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222), which required 
that payors of state and municipal bond tax-exempt interest begin to report 
those payments to the Internal Revenue Service after December 31, 2005.  
The manner of reporting is similar to reporting requirements for interest paid 
on taxable obligations.  Additionally in the 109th Congress, the program was 
expanded temporarily to assist in the rebuilding efforts after the Gulf Region 
hurricanes of the Fall of 2005. 


	Assessment

Income, tenure status, and house-price-targeting provisions imposed on 
MRBs make them more likely to achieve the goal of increased 
homeownership than many other housing tax subsidies that make no targeting 
effort, such as is the case for the mortgage-interest deduction.  Nonetheless, it 
has been suggested that most of the mortgage revenue bond subsidy goes to 
families that would have been homeowners even if the subsidy were not 
available.

Even if a case can be made for this federal subsidy for homeownership, it 
is important to recognize the potential costs.  As one of many categories of 
tax-exempt private-activity bonds, MRBs increase the financing cost of bonds 
issued for other public capital.  With a greater supply of public bonds, the 
interest rate on the bonds necessarily increases to lure investors.  In addition, 
expanding the availability of tax-exempt bonds increases the assets available 
to individuals and corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


Selected Bibliography

Cooperstein, Richard L.  "Economic Policy Analysis of Mortgage Revenue 
Bonds."  In Mortgage Revenue Bonds: Housing Markets, Home Buyers and 
Public Policy, edited by Danny W. Durning, Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic 
Publishers, 1992.


-.  "The Economics of Mortgage Revenue Bonds: A Still Small Voice."  
In Mortgage Revenue Bonds: Housing Markets, Home Buyers and Public 
Policy, edited by Danny W. Durning, Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic 
Publishers, 1992.	
MacRae, Duncan, David Rosenbaum, and John Tuccillo.  Mortgage 
Revenue Bonds and Metropolitan Housing Markets.  Washington, DC: The 
Urban Institute, May 1980.
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 90, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
Temple, Judy.  "Limitations on State and Local Government Borrowing for 
Private Purposes," National Tax Journal, v. 46, March 1993, pp. 41-52.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Home Ownership: Mortgage Bonds Are 
Costly and Provide Little Assistance to Those in Need.  GAO/RCED-88-111. 
 1988.
Wrightson, Margaret T.  Who Benefits from Single-Family Housing 
Bonds? History, Development and Current Experience of State-Administered 
Mortgage Revenue Bond Programs.  Washington, DC:  Georgetown 
University, Public Policy Program, April 1988.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.








Commerce and Housing:
Housing

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT BONDS FOR RENTAL HOUSING


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.5

0.2

0.7

2007

0.5

0.2

0.7

2008

0.5

0.2

0.7

2009

0.6

0.2

0.8

2010

0.6

0.2

0.8


Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 142, and 146 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance the construction 
of multifamily residential rental housing units for low- and moderate-income 
families is tax exempt.  These rental housing bonds are classified as private-
activity bonds rather than as governmental bonds because a substantial 
portion of their benefits accrues to individuals or business, rather than to the 
general public.  For more discussion of the distinction between governmental 
bonds and private-activity bonds, see the entry under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.



These residential rental housing bonds are subject to the State private-
activity bond annual volume cap that is equal to the greater of $80 per State 
resident or $246.6 million in 2006.  The cap has been adjusted for inflation 
since 2003.  Several additional requirements have been imposed on these 
projects, primarily on the share of the rental units that must be occupied by 
low-income families and the length of time over which the income restriction 
must be satisfied.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to offer residential rental housing units at reduced 
rates.  Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  
For a discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and renters, and for estimates of the distribution of tax-exempt 
interest income by income class, see the "Impact" discussion under General 
Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State 
and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Before 1968, State and local governments were allowed to issue tax-
exempt bonds to finance multifamily rental housing without restriction.  The 
Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 (RECA 1968) imposed tests 
that restricted the issuance of these bonds.  However, the Act also provided a 
specific exception which allowed unrestricted issuance for multifamily rental 
housing.

Most States issue these bonds in conjunction with the Leased Housing 
Program under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937.  The Tax 
Reform Act of 1986 restricted eligibility for tax-exempt financing to projects 
satisfying one of two income-targeting requirements: 40 percent or more of 
the units must be occupied by tenants whose incomes are 60 percent or less of 
the area median gross income, or 20 percent or more of the units are occupied 
by tenants whose incomes are 50 percent or less of the area median gross 
income.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 subjected these bonds to the State 
volume cap on private-activity bonds.

The most recent change to the program was enacted by  the Tax Increase 
Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA; P.L. 109-222), which required 
that payors of state and municipal bond tax-exempt interest begin to report 
those payments to the Internal Revenue Service after December 31, 2005.  
The manner of reporting is similar to reporting requirements for interest paid 
on taxable obligations.  Additionally in the 109th Congress, the program was 
expanded temporarily to assist in the rebuilding efforts after the Gulf Region 
hurricanes of the Fall of 2005.

	



	Assessment

This exception was provided because it was believed that subsidized 
housing for low- and moderate-income families provided benefits to the 
Nation, and provided equitable treatment for families unable to take 
advantage of the substantial tax incentives available to those able to invest in 
owner-occupied housing.

Even if a case can be made for a federal subsidy for multifamily rental 
housing due to underinvestment at the State and local level, it is important to 
recognize the potential costs.  As one of many categories of tax-exempt 
private-activity bonds, those issued for multifamily rental housing increase the 
financing cost of bonds issued for other public capital.  With a greater supply 
of public bonds, the interest rate on the bonds necessarily increases to lure 
investors.  In addition, expanding the availability of tax-exempt bonds 
increases the assets available to individuals and corporations to shelter their 
income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Information on Selected Capital 
Facilities Related to the Essential Governmental Function Test.  GAO-06-
1082.  2006.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Tax-Exempt Bonds for 
Multi-Family Residential Rental Property, 99th Congress, 1st session. June 
21, 1985.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  May 4, 1987:  1171-1175.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds:  Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.










	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	TAX CREDIT FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
	IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

-

(1)

2007

(1)

-

(1)

2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

*This provision expired on December 31st, 2005.  H. R. 6111 	
	(December 2006) extended it through 2007 but there is no separate 
revenue estimate.
(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 1400C.


	Description

The Tax Credit for First-Time District of Columbia Homebuyers (TCDCH) 
allows a non-refundable credit against federal taxes of up to $5,000 for the 
first-time purchase of a principal residence in the District of Columbia.  The 
credit applies to both individuals and married couples filing jointly.  The 
credit is phased out for individuals earning from $70,000 to $90,000 and for 
joint filers earning from $110,000 to $130,000.  The credit is available only 
once for homebuyers who acquired title to a qualifying principal residence 
after August 4, 1997 and before December 31, 2005.



Impact

The TCDCH transfers federal revenue to qualified first-time homebuyers in 
the District of Columbia (DC) and indirectly to those selling homes to  tax 
credit recipients. Assuming individuals who receive the tax credit are 
relatively well-off - they have the resources to purchase a home in a relatively 
expensive market - the primary beneficiaries of this credit are most likely 
better off financially than the average federal taxpayer.


	Rationale

Some analysts suggest that a high rate of owner-occupied housing creates 
significant positive spillovers or externalities for a community or city and 
should be encouraged.  Owners, it is argued, maintain their homes and 
property better than do renters, and thus, the value of their property as well as 
neighboring properties increases.  Created by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 
(P.L. 105-34), the TCDCH provides an incentive to purchase a home in DC 
which should then increase the rate of home ownership.  Compared to 
neighboring Maryland (71.2%) and Virginia (71.2%), the homeownership 
rate was significantly lower in the District of Columbia (45.8%).


	Assessment

The TCDCH is intended to encourage the first-time purchase of a home in 
DC.  In effect, the federal government is offering individuals and married 
couples up to $5,000 to do something they may or may not do otherwise: buy 
their first home in the District of Columbia.  The effectiveness of the tax 
credit thus depends upon how many marginal or additional homebuyers are 
induced into buying homes in DC.  There are actually two choices that may 
be influenced by the tax credit: 1) whether or not to buy a first home, and 2) 
whether or not to buy the home in DC.

As an investment, the decision to buy a home is very similar to the decision 
to buy any long-term asset.  From a financial perspective, the decision  
depends on the rate of return of the asset over the holding period.  The one-
time tax credit will not increase the long-term rate of return appreciably and 
thus is unlikely to attract many more first-time homebuyers.  Some of the 
advantage offered by the credit is counterbalanced by the fact that the 
existence of the credit may induce sellers to raise their selling price.  
However, the one-time tax credit may not increase demand (and thus price) 
enough to lure many existing property owners in DC to convert their property 
into owner-occupied housing.



The tax credit is may or may not be very effective in influencing the 
location of a first-time home purchase in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan 
area.  DC is distinctly different from the two alternative home locations, 
Maryland and Virginia.  In theory, the lack of comparable substitute locations 
implies that homebuyers are not going to switch preferences based upon the 
small tax credit (relative to the 2005 median home price in the DC 
metropolitan area of $404,900).  For example, a first-time home-buyer will 
most likely choose a location based on the array of public (and private) 
services to be consumed in the jurisdiction rather than the one-time tax credit.

Currently, little significant empirical evidence exists concerning the use of 
the TCDCH or its effectiveness in promoting home-ownership in DC.  
However, a 2005 study suggests that the credit has been successful because of 
several factors occurring after implementation of the credit, including an 
increase in the rate of  first-time homebuyers, an increase in the rate of  
growth in homeownership in the District of Columbia (as compared to 
neighboring regions in Maryland and Virginia), and an increase in the rate of 
house price appreciation in the District of Columbia (relative to its 
neighbors).  According to Bureau of the Census data, from 1996 (the year 
before the program was implemented) to 2005 the rate of home-ownership in 
DC has increased slightly faster (from 40.4% to 45.8%) than the rate in the 
greater Washington Metropolitan area (from 63.4% to 68.4%).  Of course the 
growth in DC home-ownership rates may have been the same without the 
TCDCH.


	Selected Bibliography

The data on home-ownership rates are available on the internet from the 
United States Bureau of Census,  Housing Vacancy and Homeownership 
Annual Statistics: 2005, Table 13: Homeownership Rates by State: 1984 to 
2005, 
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/annual05/ ann05t13. html
Poterba, James M. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-Occupied Housing: An Asset-
Market Approach," Quarterly Journal of Economics, v. 99 (November 1984), 
p. 729.
Strauss, Robert P.  "The Income of Central City Suburban Migrants: A 
Case Study of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area," National Tax 
Journal, v. 51, no. 3 (September 1998).
Tong, Zhong Yi, "Washington DC's First-Time Home-Buyer Tax Credit:
An Assessment of the Program," Fannie Mae Foundation Special Report, 
2005;
http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org/programs/pdf/dctaxcredit_rpt.pdf.
U.S Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation. General Explanation of Tax 
Legislation Enacted in 1997, committee print, 105th cong., 1st session 
Washington,DC: Government Printing Office, 1997, p. 104.












	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION FOR HOUSING PROVIDED
	TO INDIVIDUALS DISPLACED BY HURRICANE KATRINA

	Estimated Revenue Loss

	[in billions of dollars]







Fiscal Year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

-

0.1

2007

(1)

-

(1)

2008

-

-

-

2009

-

-

-

2010

-

-

-

(1) Less than $50 million in revenue loss.


	Authorization

Section 151.


	Description

Taxable income is reduced by $500 for each Hurricane Katrina displaced 
individual to whom a taxpayer provides housing.  The total for each taxpayer 
is capped at $2,000 and is reduced by any exemptions claimed under the 
provision for prior years.  The exemption is available in 2005 and 2006, 
although a taxpayer may claim a person only once.  No deduction is allowed 
if the taxpayer receives any rent or other amount (from any source) in 
connection with the provision of housing.


The taxpayer must include on his or her return the displaced person's 
taxpayer identification number.  The displaced individual may not be the 
spouse or dependent of the taxpayer.  

In order to qualify, the displaced person must have had a principal place of 
abode on August 28, 2005, in the Hurricane Katrina disaster area. If the home 
was not in the core disaster area, then either the home had to have been 
damaged by the Hurricane or the person was evacuated due to it. 


Impact

The additional exemption generally results in additional tax savings for 
taxpayers who chose to provide free housing to displaced persons.  The 
additional exemption is not subject to the income-based phaseouts applicable 
to personal exemptions and is allowed as a deduction in computing alternative 
minimum taxable income.  


	Rationale

The exemption was enacted by the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 
2005 (KETRA; P.L. 109-73) in September 2005, after the extensive damage 
caused by hurricanes in the Gulf Region.  The law contained temporary tax 
relief intended to directly and indirectly assist individuals in recovering from 
Hurricane Katrina.  The exemption, which was included among several other 
charitable giving incentives, is itself a charitable giving incentive that 
subsidizes the provision of housing assistance by one individual on behalf of 
another. 


Assessment

The provision provides relief to taxpayers who have assisted individuals 
adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina by reducing the amount of income 
subject to tax.  

While the provision was aimed at taxpayers who assisted individuals 
suffering losses, some questions might be raised as to why relief provisions 
were allowed for a major disaster, such as a large scale hurricane, but not for 
smaller scale disasters (e.g., tornadoes) or losses proceeding from other 
sources.




	Selected Bibliography

Gravelle, Jane, Tax Policy Options After Hurricane Katrina, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33088, October 23, 
2006.
Internal Revenue Service, Information for Taxpayers Affected by 
Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita, Publication 4492, January 1, 2006.  
Lunder, Erika.. The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS22344, February 14, 
2006.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, Technical Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of H.R. 3768, The Katrina Emergency Relief Act of  
2005, As Passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, JCX-69-05, 
Washington, DC, September 21, 2005.















	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	EMPLOYER HOUSING FOR INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED
	BY HURRICANE KATRINA

	EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYER PROVIDED HOUSING;
	EMPLOYER CREDIT FOR HOUSING EMPLOYEES  

	Estimated Revenue Loss

	[in billions of dollars]







Fiscal Year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

- 

0.1

0.1

2007

- 

(1)

(1)

2008

- 

-

-

2009

- 

-

-

2010

-

-

-

(1) Less than $50 million in revenue loss.


	Authorization

Section 1400P.


	Description



A temporary income exclusion is available for the value of in-kind lodging 
provided  to a qualified employee (and the employee's spouse or dependents) 
by, or on behalf of, a qualified employer.  The amount of the exclusion for 
any month for which lodging is furnished cannot exceed $600.  The exclusion 
does not apply for purposes of Social Security and Medicare taxes or 
unemployment tax.  Qualified employers providing in-kind lodging to 
qualified employees may claim a credit equal to 30 percent of the amount of 
the expense. The remainder of the cost may be deducted.

In order to be eligible, the employee must have had a principal residence in 
the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone on August 28, 2005, and must perform 
substantially all employment services for the qualified employer in the GO 
Zone. The employer must have a trade or business in the GO Zone, and the 
lodging must have been provided during the first six months after the act's 
enactment.  The GO Zone is the core disaster area designated by the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as eligible for individual assistance 
and includes the southern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, and 
southwestern counties in Alabama.


Impact

Prior to the enactment of the temporary provisions for Katrina victims, 
employer-provided housing was included in income as compensation (and 
deducted by the employer) and was considered wages for purposes of social 
security and Medicare taxes and unemployment tax.  For employees, the 
exclusion reduces income subject to tax.  For employers, the credit is 
equivalent to a direct cost reduction.  For example, for a firm in the 35 
percent tax bracket, the credit reduces the cost of providing housing by 19.5 
percent, the difference between a credit and a deduction (100 -35 or 65 
percent ) on 30 percent of the cost.
  
 	As a result of the special exclusion, taxpayers receiving  housing assistance 
pay less tax than other taxpayers with the same or smaller economic incomes. 
  At the same time, however, they may be willing to accept lower wages so 
that part of the benefit is passed back to the employer as a reduction in 
employment costs.   The individual exclusion also provides a reduction in the 
cost of hiring workers in that case: if the worker is in the 15 percent tax 
bracket, the employer could provide compensation only 85 percent as large as 
needed compared to the case where such compensation is taxable.  

The benefit of the credit is larger for smaller firms with lower tax rates, 
while the benefit of the housing exclusion is greater for higher paid 
employees who have higher marginal tax rates.  As a fraction of wages, 
however, the benefit for higher income individuals is limited because of the 
dollar ceiling. 


	Rationale



The provisions were enacted by the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 
(GOZone; P.L. 109-135) in December 2005 as part of the congressional 
response to the hurricane that struck the Gulf Region.  This legislation, 
adopted within a few months of Hurricane Katrina, was largely directed at 
creating incentives for rebuilding and recovery, and one objective of the 
provision may be to encourage employers to hire workers in an area where 
substantial amounts of housing were destroyed.   


Assessment

There is relatively little evidence to determine the effectiveness of the 
housing exclusion and credit in increasing employment and business activity 
in the GO Zone. The evidence based on previous studies of enterprise zone 
provisions targeted at poor areas does not indicate that tax incentives are very 
successful.  However, experience in a low income area, usually of a city, may 
not provide sufficient evidence to gauge the effects on a much larger 
geographic area composed of both higher and lower income affected by a 
major disaster.  

To the extent that employers would have provided lodging in the absence 
of the incentive, the tax provision provides a benefit to either the employee or 
the employer, resulting in some inequity in the tax system.


	Selected Bibliography

Gravelle, Jane G. "Tax Incentives in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," 
Municipal Finance Journal, v. 26, Fall 2005, pp. 1-13.	
Gravelle, Jane, Tax Policy Options After Hurricane Katrina, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33088, October 23, 
2006.
Lunder, Erika. The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service, Report RS22344, February 14, 
2006.
Stoker, Robert P. And Michael J. Rich.  "Lessons and Limits: Tax 
Incentives and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast After Katrina," The Brookings 
Institution, Survey Series, August 2006.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, Technical Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of H.R. 4440, The "Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005," 
as Passed by The House Of Representatives And The Senate,  JCX-88-05, 
December 16, 2005.















Commerce and Housing:
Housing

DEPRECIATION OF RENTAL HOUSING IN EXCESS
OF ALTERNATIVE DEPRECIATION SYSTEM


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

4.0

0.4

4.4

2007

4.6

0.5

5.1

2008

5.3

0.6

5.9

2009

6.1

0.7

6.8

2010

7.0

0.8

7.8


Authorization

Sections 167 and 168.


	Description

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct the costs of acquiring depreciable assets 
(assets that wear out or become obsolete over a period of years) as 
depreciation deductions. The tax code currently allows new rental housing to 
be written off over 27.5 years, using a "straight line" method where equal 
amounts are deducted in each period.  This rule was adopted in 1986.  There 
is also a prescribed 40-year write-off period for rental housing under the 
alternative minimum tax (also based on a straight-line method).  

The tax expenditure measures the revenue loss from current depreciation 
deductions in excess of the deductions that would have been allowed under 
this longer 40-year period.  The current revenue effects also reflect different 
write-off methods and lives prior to the 1986 revisions, since many buildings 
pre-dating that time are still being depreciated.



Prior to 1981, taxpayers were generally offered the choice of using the 
straight-line method or accelerated methods of depreciation, such as double-
declining balance and sum-of-years digits, in which greater amounts are 
deducted in the early years.  (Used buildings with a life of twenty years or 
more were restricted to 125-percent declining balance methods.)  The period 
of time over which deductions were taken varied with the taxpayer's 
circumstances.

Beginning in 1981, the tax law prescribed specific write-offs which 
amounted to accelerated depreciation over periods varying from 15 to 19 
years.  Since 1986, all depreciation on residential buildings has been on a 
straight-line basis over 27.5 years.

Example: Suppose a building with a basis of $10,000 was subject to 
depreciation over 27.5 years.  Depreciation allowances would be constant at 
1/27.5 x $10,000 = $364.  For a 40-year life the write-off would be $250 per 
year.  The tax expenditure in the first year would be measured as the 
difference between the tax savings of deducting $364 or $250, or $114.


Impact

Because depreciation methods faster than straight-line allow for larger 
deductions in the early years of the asset's life and smaller depreciation deduc-
tions in the later years, and because shorter useful lives allow quicker 
recovery, accelerated depreciation results in a deferral of tax liability.

It is a tax expenditure to the extent it is faster than economic (i.e., actual) 
depreciation, and evidence indicates that the economic decline rate for 
residential buildings is much slower than that reflected in tax depreciation 
methods.

The direct benefits of accelerated depreciation accrue to owners of rental 
housing.  Benefits to capital income tend to concentrate in the higher-income 
classes (see discussion in the Introduction). 


	Rationale

Prior to 1954, depreciation policy had developed through administrative 
practices and rulings.  The straight-line method was favored by IRS and 
generally used.  Tax lives were recommended for assets through "Bulletin F," 
but taxpayers were also able to use a facts-and-circumstances justification.



A ruling issued in 1946 authorized the use of the 150-percent declining 
balance method.  Authorization for it and other accelerated depreciation 
methods first appeared in legislation in 1954 when the double declining 
balance and other methods were enacted.  The discussion at that time focused 
primarily on whether the value of machinery and equipment declined faster in 
their earlier years.  However, when the accelerated methods were adopted, 
real property was included as well.

By the 1960s, most commentators agreed that accelerated depreciation 
resulted in excessive allowances for buildings.  The first restriction on 
depreciation was to curtail the benefits that arose from combining accelerated 
depreciation with lower capital gains taxes when the building was sold.  That 
is, while taking large deductions reduced the basis of the asset for measuring 
capital gains, these gains were taxed at the lower capital gains rate rather than 
the ordinary tax rate.

In 1964, 1969, and 1976 various provisions to "recapture" accelerated 
depreciation as ordinary income in varying amounts when a building was sold 
were enacted.

In 1969, depreciation on used rental housing was restricted to 125 percent 
declining balance depreciation.  Low-income housing was exempt from these 
restrictions.

In the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, residential buildings were 
assigned specific write-off periods that were roughly equivalent to 175-
percent declining balance methods (200 percent for low-income housing) over 
a 15-year period under the Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS).

These changes were intended as a general stimulus to investment.  
Taxpayers could elect to use the straight-line method over 15 years, 35 years, 
or 45 years. (The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 increased the 15-year life to 
18 years; in 1985, it was increased to 19 years.)  The recapture provisions 
would not apply if straight-line methods were originally chosen.  The 
acceleration of depreciation that results from using the shorter recovery period 
under ACRS was not subject to recapture as accelerated depreciation.

The current treatment was adopted as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, 
which lowered tax rates and broadened the base of the income tax.


Assessment

Evidence suggests that the rate of economic decline of residential structures 
is much slower than the rates allowed under current law, and this provision 
causes a lower effective tax rate on such investments than would otherwise be 
the case.  This treatment in turn tends to increase investment in rental housing 
relative to other assets, although there is considerable debate about how 
responsive these investments are to tax subsidies.



At the same time, the more rapid depreciation roughly offsets the 
understatement of depreciation due to the use of historical cost-basis 
depreciation, assuming inflation is at a rate of two percent or so. Moreover, 
many other assets are eligible for accelerated depreciation as well, and the 
allocation of capital depends on relative treatment.

Much of the previous concern about the role of accelerated depreciation in 
encouraging tax shelters in rental housing has faded because the current 
depreciation provisions are less rapid than those previously in place, and 
because there is a restriction on the deduction of passive losses.  (However, 
the restrictions were eased somewhat in 1993.)


	Selected Bibliography

Auerbach, Alan, and Kevin Hassett. "Investment, Tax Policy, and the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986," Do Taxes Matter: The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 
1986, ed. Joel Slemrod.  Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990, pp. 13-49.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  Public Policy and 
Capital Formation.  April 1981.
Brannon, Gerard M.  "The Effects of Tax Incentives for Business 
Investment: A Survey of the Economic Evidence," The Economics of Federal 
Subsidy Programs, Part 3: Tax Subsidies, U.S. Congress, Joint Economic 
Committee, July 15, 1972, pp. 245-268.
Brazell, David W. and James B. Mackie III.  "Depreciation Lives and 
Methods: Current Issues in the U.S. Capital Cost Recovery System," National 
Tax Journal, v. 53 (September 2000), pp. 531-562.
Break, George F. "The Incidence and Economic Effects of Taxation," The 
Economics of Public Finance.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1974.
Bruesseman, William B., Jeffrey D.  Fisher and Jerrold J. Stern.  "Rental 
Housing and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981," Public Finance 
Quarterly, v. 10.  April 1982, pp. 222-241.
Burman, Leonard E., Thomas S. Neubig, and D. Gordon Wilson. "The Use 
and Abuse of Rental Project Models," Compendium of Tax Research 1987, 
Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury. Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 307-349.
DeLeeuw, Frank, and Larry Ozanne.  "Housing," In How Taxes Affect 
Economic Behavior, eds. Henry J. Aaron and Joseph A. Pechman.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1981, pp. 283-326.
Deloitte and Touche.  Analysis of the Economic Depreciation of Structure, 
Washington, DC: June 2000.
Feldstein, Martin.  "Adjusting Depreciation in an Inflationary Economy: 
Indexing Versus Acceleration." National Tax Journal, v. 34. March 1981, pp. 
29-43.
Follain, James R., Patric H. Hendershott, and David C. Ling. "Real Estate 
Markets Since 1980: What Role Have Tax Changes Played?", National Tax 
Journal, v. 45, September 1992, pp. 253-266.


Fromm, Gary, ed.  Tax Incentives and Capital Spending.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1971.
Fullerton, Don, Robert Gillette, and James Mackie. "Investment Incentives 
Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of Tax Research 1987, 
Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 131-172.
Fullerton, Don, Yolanda K. Henderson, and James Mackie. "Investment 
Allocation and Growth Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of 
Tax Research 1987, Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 173-202.
Gravelle, Jane G.  "Differential Taxation of Capital Income: Another Look 
at the Tax Reform Act of 1986,"  National Tax Journal, v. 63.  December 
1989, pp. 441-464.
-. Depreciation and the Tax Treatment of Real Estate. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30163.  Washington, 
DC: October 25, 2000.
-.  Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income, Chapters 3 and 5. 
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  "Whither Tax Depreciation?"  National Tax Journal, vol. 54, 
September, 2001, pp. 513-526.
Harberger, Arnold.  "Tax Neutrality in Investment Incentives," The 
Economics of Taxation, eds. Henry J. Aaron and Michael J. Boskin.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1980, pp. 299-313.
Hulten, Charles, ed.  Depreciation, Inflation, and the Taxation of Income 
From Capital.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 1981.
Hulten, Charles R., and Frank C. Wykoff.  "Issues in Depreciation 
Measurement." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 10-23.
Jorgenson, Dale W.  "Empirical Studies of Depreciaton." Economic 
Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 24-42.
Mackie, James.  "Capital Cost Recovery," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Nadiri, M. Ishaq, and Ingmar R. Prucha.  "Depreciation Rate Estimation of 
Physical and R&D Capital." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 43-
56.   	
Poterba, James M.  "Taxation and Housing Markets: Preliminary Evidence 
on the Effects of Recent Tax Reforms," Do Taxes Matter: The Impact of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986, ed. Joel Slemrod.  Cambridge, Mass: The MIT 
Press, 1990, pp. 13-49.
Surrey, Stanley S.  Pathways to Tax Reform.  Chapter VII: "Three Special 
Tax Expenditure Items: Support to State and Local Governments, to 
Philanthropy, and to Housing."  Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 
1973.
Taubman, Paul and Robert Rasche.  "Subsidies, Tax Law, and Real Estate 
Investment," The Economics of Federal Subsidy Programs, Part 3: "Tax 
Subsidies."  U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, July 15, 1972, pp. 
343-369.


U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Real Estate Tax Shelter 
Subsidies and Direct Subsidy Alternatives.  May 1977.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986.  May 4, 1987, pp. 89-110.
U.S. Department of Treasury.  Report to the Congress on Depreciation 
Recovery Periods and Methods.  Washington, DC: June 2000.








Commerce and Housing:
  Housing

	TAX CREDIT FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSING


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

1.4

3.4

4.8

2007

1.5

3.6

5.1

2008

1.6

3.8

5.4

2009

1.7

4.1

5.8

2010

1.9

4.4

6.3


	Authorization

Section 42.

	Description

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was created by the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514), providing a tax credit for a portion of the 
costs of low-income rental housing.  The credit is claimed over a period of 10 
years.  The credit rate is set so that the present value of the tax credit is equal 
to 70 percent for new construction and 30 percent for projects receiving other 
Federal benefits (such as tax exempt bond financing), or for substantially 
rehabilitated existing housing.



The credit is allowed only for the fraction of units serving low-income 
tenants, which are subject to a maximum rent.  To qualify, at least 40 percent 
of the units in a rental project must be occupied by families with  incomes less 
than 60 percent of the area median or at least 20 percent of the units in a 
rental project must be occupied by families with  incomes less than 50 percent 
of the area median .  (In practice, data show the vast majority of tax credit 
projects are composed almost entirely of low-income units).  Rents in low-
income units are restricted to 30 percent of the 60 percent (or 50 percent) of 
area median income.  An owner's required commitment to keep units 
available for low-income use was originally 15 years, but the Omnibus 
Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 extended this period to 30 years for 
projects begun after 1989. 

The credits are allocated in a competitive process by State housing 
agencies to developers, most of whom then sell their 10-year stream of tax 
credits to investors to raise capital for the project. The original law established 
an annual per-resident limit of $1.25 for the State's total credit authority.  
Under the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (P.L 106-554), this 
limit was increased to $1.50 in 2001, $1.75 in 2002, and thereafter, adjusted 
for inflation ($1.90 for 2006).  There is a minimum annual credit amount for 
small States, also indexed for inflation, currently about $2.1 million for States 
where the $1.90 per capita formula would yield less. The housing authority 
must require an enforceable 30-year low-income use (through restrictive 
covenants), although after the initial 15-year period, an owner may sell the 
project (at a controlled price) or convert it to market-rate housing if the 
housing authority is unable to find a buyer, often a nonprofit group, willing to 
maintain the project as low-income use for the remainder of the 30 year 
period.

The amount of the credit that can be offset against unrelated income is 
limited to the equivalent of $25,000 in deductions, under the passive loss 
restriction rules.


	Impact

This provision substantially reduces the cost of investing in qualified units. 
 The competitive sale of tax credits by developers to investors and the 
oversight requirements by housing agencies should prevent excess profits 
from occurring, and direct much of the benefit to qualified tenants of the 
housing units.  

Most tax credits are now purchased by corporations, including banks who 
are satisfying their requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act, and 
by the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also 
satisfying their affordable housing lending goals.  Freddie Mac reported that 
its low-income housing tax credit portfolio now exceeds $3 billion (200,000 
units in more than 2,800 projects).


	Rationale



The tax credit for low-income housing was adopted in the Tax Reform Act 
of 1986 to provide a subsidy directly linked to the addition of rental housing 
with limited rents for low-income households.  It replaced less targeted 
subsidies in the law, including accelerated depreciation, five-year 
amortization of rehabilitation expenditures, expensing of construction-period 
interest and taxes, and general availability of tax-exempt bond financing.  The 
credit was scheduled to expire at the end of 1989, but was temporarily 
extended a number of times until made permanent by the Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66). 

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-239) required 
States to regulate tax-credit projects more carefully to insure that investors 
were not earning excessive rates of return and  introduced the requirement 
that new projects have a long-term plan for providing low-income housing.  
Legislation in 1988, (the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of  1988, 
P.L. 100-647), in 1989 (noted above), and in 1990 (the Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1990, P.L. 101-508) made technical and substantive 
changes to the provision. As noted above, the Community Renewal Tax 
Relief Act of 2000 increased the annual tax credit allocation limit, indexed it 
to inflation, and made minor amendments to the program.


Assessment

The low-income housing credit, now giving States the equivalent of nearly 
$5.5 billion of annual budget authority, is more targeted to benefitting lower-
income individuals than the more general tax provisions it replaced.  
Moreover, by allowing State authorities to direct its use, the credit can be 
used as part of a general neighborhood revitalization program.  The most 
comprehensive data base of tax credit units, compiled by the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development (HUD), revised as of March 31, 2006, 
shows nearly 24,500 projects and nearly 1,257,000 housing units placed in 
service between 1987 and 2003.  With about 100,000 units now being added 
each year, the current total is likely in excess of 1.5 million units.  The HUD 
data base of units built from 1995 through 2003 shows nearly two-thirds were 
newly constructed (although only one-third in the Northeast were new 
construction), about one-third of the projects had a nonprofit sponsor, nearly 
one-half of units are located in central cities and about 40 percent are in metro 
area suburbs. It is estimated that about 35 percent of LIHTC properties have 
tenant-based rental assistance (HUD's Section 8 program, now called the 
Housing Choice Voucher program). Data also show that LIHTC units are 
more likely to be located in largely minority- or renter-occupied census tracts 
or tracts with large proportions of female-headed households, compared to 
households in general or rental units in general. 
    


Much less is known about the financial aspects of tax credit projects and 
how much it actually costs to provide an affordable rental unit under this 
program when all things are considered.  Many tax credit projects receive 
other Federal subsidies, and as noted, more than one-third of tax credit renters 
receive additional Federal rental assistance.  HUD's Federal Housing 
Administration (FHA) program is insuring an increasing number of tax credit 
projects.  There are reports that some neighborhoods are saturated with tax 
credit projects and projects targeted to households with 60 percent of area 
median income frequently have as high a vacancy rate as the surrounding 
unsubsidized market.

There are a number of  criticisms that can be made of the credit (see the 
Congressional Budget Office study in the bibliography below for a more 
detailed discussion).  The credit is unlikely to have a substantial effect on the 
total supply of low-income housing, based on both micro-economic analysis 
and some empirical evidence.  There are significant overhead and 
administrative costs, especially if there are attempts to insure that investors do 
not earn excess profits.  Direct funding by the Federal government to State 
housing agencies would avoid the cost of the syndication process (the sale of 
tax credits to investors as "tax shelters.") And, in general, many economists 
would argue that housing vouchers, or direct-income supplements to the low-
income, are more direct and fairer methods of providing assistance to lower-
income individuals.  However, others argue that because of landlord 
discrimination against low income people, minorities, and those with young 
children (and sometimes an unwillingness to get involved in a government 
program, particularly in tight rental markets), a mix of vouchers and project-
based assistance like the tax credit might be necessary.

 A study by the Chicago Rehab Network of 1998 audits of Chicago tax 
credit projects containing 8,704 units found that 73 percent had no operating 
reserves and 44 percent had no replacement reserves, with a significant 
number of projects likely to face "a future of deferred maintenance, rising 
vacancies and ever deepening budget shortfalls."  A HUD-commissioned 
study (report dated August 2000) of 39 projects found that 50 percent of tax 
credit renters pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent, 13 percent 
paying more than 50 percent of income.  

A looming issue has to do with the projects completed from 1987 
through1989 that have 15-year affordability restrictions that began expiring in 
2002.  There may be as many as 70,000 of these units whose owners could 
decide to opt out of the low-income rental operations with relative ease.  
There has been almost no information yet reported on this potential.  A report 
by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and the 
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation on the expiring affordability issue 
concluded that : "Lack of monitoring or insufficient funds for property repair 
or purchase will place even properties for which there is an interest in 
preserving affordability at risk of market conversion, reduced income-
targeting, or disinvestment and decline."  An increasing amount of tax credits 
have been and are likely to be used for the preservation of existing affordable 
housing in the future rather than for new units that add to the overall supply 
of affordable units.   


	Selected Bibliography
    
Burman, Leonard. "Low Income Housing Credit," in The Encyclopedia of 
Taxation and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. 
Gravelle.  Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Collignon, Kate.  Expiring Affordability of Low-Income Housing Tax 
Credit Properties: The Next Era in Preservation.  Cambridge, MA: 
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and Joint Center for Housing 
Studies of Harvard University, October 1999.   
Cummings, Jean L, and Denise DiPasquale.  "The Low-Income Housing 
Tax Credit: An Analysis of the First Ten Years," Housing Policy Debate, v. 
10, no. 2, 1999.  pp. 251-307.
Freeman, Lance.  Siting Affordable Housing: Location and Neighborhood 
Trends of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Developments in the 1990s.  The 
Brookings Institution.  March 2004.
Green, Richard K., Stephen Malpezzi, and Kiat-Ying Seah.  Low Income 
Housing Tax Credit Housing Developments And Property Values.  The 
Center for Urban Land Economics Research.  June 12, 2002.
Herman, Kim, Walter Clare, Susan Herd, Dana Jones, Erica Stewart, and 
Barbara Burnham. "Tax Credits and Rural Housing," Voices from the 
Housing Assistance Council , Winter 2003-2004.
Jackson, Pamela J. An Introduction to the Design of the Low-Income 
Housing Tax Credit, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report RS22389, March 21, 2006.
Khadduri, Jill, Larry Buron, and Carissa Climaco. "Are States Using the 
Low Income Housing Tax Credit to Enable Families with Children to Live in 
Low poverty and Racially Integrated Neighborhoods?" a report prepared for 
the Poverty and Race Research Action Council and the National Fair 
Housing Alliance, July 2006. 
Olsen, Edgar O. "The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: An Assessment," 
working paper from the University of Virginia, December 2004.
Olsen, Edgar O. "Fundamental Housing Policy Reform," working paper 
from the University of Virginia, January 2006.
Present Realities, Future Prospects: Chicago's Low Income Housing Tax 
Credit Portfolio.  Summary Report 2002.  Chicago Rehab Network.  
Understanding the Dynamics: A Comprehensive Look at Affordable 
Housing Tax Credit Properties.  Ernst & Young's Affordable Housing 
Services, July, 2002. 
United States General Accounting Office. Costs and Characteristics of 
Federal Housing Assistance.  GAO-01-901R. July 2001.
House Committee on Ways and Means. Tax Provisions Related to 
Housing. 2004 Green Book. 108th Congress, 2nd session, March 2004, pp. 13-
56 to 13-58.
 	Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act 
of 1986.  May 4, 1987, pp. 152-177.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Making the Best 
Use of Your LIHTC Dollars: A Planning Paper for State Policy Makers. 
Washington, D. C.  July 2004.


-, Assessment of the Economic and Social Characteristics of LIHTC 
Residents and Neighborhoods.  Washington, D. C.  August 2000.
-, Updating the Low Income Housing Tax Credit  Database: Projects 
Placed in Service Through 2003.  Washington, D.C. March 2006.










Commerce and Housing:
Housing

TAX CREDIT FOR REHABILITATION OF 
HISTORIC STRUCTURES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

0.3

0.4

2007

0.1

0.3

0.4

2008

0.1

0.3

0.4

2009

0.1

0.3

0.4

2010

0.1

0.3

0.4
                         

Authorization

Section 47.


	Description

Expenditures on certified structures qualify for a 20 percent tax credit if 
used to substantially rehabilitate historic structures for use as residential rental 
or commercial property.  The basis (cost for purposes of depreciation) of the 
building is reduced by the amount of the rehabilitation credit.  The costs of 
acquiring a building or an interest in such a building, such as a leasehold 
interest, are not considered as qualifying expenditures.  The costs of facilities 
related to an existing building, such as a parking lot, also are not considered 
as qualifying expenditures.  Expenditures incurred by a lessee do not qualify 
for the credit unless the remaining lease term on the date the rehabilitation is 
completed is at least as long as the applicable recovery period under the 
general depreciation rules (generally, 27.5 years for residential property and 
39 years for nonresidential property).  Straight-line depreciation must be used 
to qualify for the rehabilitation credit.



The amount of the credit that can be offset against unrelated income is 
limited to the equivalent of $25,000 in deductions under the passive loss 
restriction rules.  The ordering rules for the phaseout are provided in Section 
469 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Certified historic structures are either individually registered in the 
National Register of Historic Places or are structures certified by the Secretary 
of the Interior as having historic significance and located in a registered 
historic district.  The State Historic Preservation Office reviews applications 
and forwards recommendations for designation to the U.S. Department of 
Interior.


Impact

The credit reduces the taxpayer's cost of preservation projects.  Prior to the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514), historic preservation projects had 
become a popular tax shelter with rapid growth.  The limits on credits under 
the passive loss restrictions limit the use of this investment as a tax shelter.


	Rationale

Rapid depreciation (amortized over a 60-month period) for capital 
expenditures incurred in rehabilitation of certified historic structures was 
adopted as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-455).  In addition, the 
act provided that in case of a substantially altered or demolished certified 
historic structure, the amount expended for demolition or any loss sustained 
on account of the demolition is to be charged to the capital account with 
respect to the land and not includible in the depreciable basis of a replacement 
structure.  Further, accelerated depreciation methods are prohibited for the 
replacement structure.  These actions were taken because Congress believed 
the preservation of historic structures and neighborhoods is an important 
national goal dependent upon the enlistment of private funds in the 
preservation movement.  It was argued that prior law encouraged the 
demolition and replacement of old buildings instead of their rehabilitation.

Partly in a move toward simplification and partly to add counterbalance to 
new provisions for accelerated cost recovery, the tax incentives were changed 
to a tax credit in 1981 and made part of a set of credits for rehabilitating older 
buildings (varying by type or age).

The credit amount was reduced in 1986 because the rate was deemed too 
high when compared with the new lower tax rates, and a reduction from a 
three- to a two-tiered rehabilitation rate credit was adopted.  A higher credit 
rate was allowed for preservation of historic structures than for rehabilitations 
of older qualified buildings first placed in service prior to 1936.


In response to tax simplification proposals which noted the numerous 
limitations and qualifications of the loss limitation rules, ordering rules in the 
Internal Revenue Code (Section 469) were clarified with the passage of the 
Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-147).

Temporary expansion of the tax credit amount was enacted with the Gulf 
Opportunity Zone Act (GO Zone; P.L. 109-135).  The expansion, which 
became effective for expenditures made after August 28, 2005 and before 
January 1, 2009, applies to certified historic structures located in specific 
areas of the Gulf Region that were adversely affected by hurricanes in the fall 
of 2005.


Assessment

Owners of historic buildings are encouraged to renovate them through the 
use of the 20 percent tax credit available for substantial rehabilitation 
expenditures approved by the Department of the Interior.  Opponents of the 
credit note that investments are allocated to historic buildings that would not 
be profitable projects without the credit, resulting in economic inefficiency.  
Proponents argue that investors fail to consider external benefits (preservation 
of social and aesthetic values) which are desirable for society at large.


	Selected Bibliography

Alperin, Kenneth A.  "What You Should Know About The Historic 
Rehabilitation Tax Credit," The Practical Tax Lawyer, vol. 19, iss. 2, pp. 31-
39.
Escherich, Susan M., Stephen J. Farneth, and Bruce D. Judd; with a 
preface by Katherine H. Stevenson.  "Affordable Housing Through Historic 
Preservation: Tax Credits and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for 
Historic Rehabilitation."  Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 
National Park Service, Cultural Resources, Preservation Assistance. For sale 
by the U.S. Government Printing Office,  Superintendent of Documents 
[1995].
Fogleman, Valerie M.  "A Capital Tax System to Preserve America's 
Heritage: A Proposal Based on the British National Heritage Capital Tax 
System," Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, vol. 23, 1990,  pp. 1-63.
Foong, Keat.  "Historic Tax Credit Use Continues to Rise: Use of Federal 
Program Can Be Extremely Lucrative, Although Requirements Can Deter 
Developers," Multi-Housing News, vol. 37 (July 2002), pp. 1-4.
Kamerick, Megan. "Framers get a History Lesson: Historic Tax Credits 
Can Help Framers Secure the Shops of Their Dreams," Art Business News, 
vol. 31, April 2003, p. S1.
Linn, Charles. "PSFS Adaptive Reuse Illustrates Preservation Tax Credits 
at Work," Architectural Record, vol. 188, October 2000, p. 63.


Listokin, David, Barbara Listokin, and Micahel Lahr.  "The Contributions 
of Historic Preservation to Housing and Economic Development," Housing 
Policy Debate, vol. 9, Issue 3, 1998, pp. 431-478.
Mann, Roberta F. "Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation: An Antidote 
for Sprawl?" Widner Law Symposium Journal, vol. 8, 2002, pp. 207-236.
National Park Service.  Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives. 
World Wide Web http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/tax/.
Novogradac, Michael J. and Eric J. Fortenbach. "Financing Rehab Projects 
with the Rehabilitation Tax Credit," Journal of Property Management, vol. 
54, September-October 1989, pp. 72-73.
Preservation Tax Incentives for Historic Buildings.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
National Park Service, 1990.
Oliver-Remshefski, Rebecca N. "Washington Slept Here: Protection and 
Preservation of Our Architectural Heritage," Rutgers Law Review, vol. 55, 
Winter 2003, pp. 611-640. 
Smith, Neil.  "Comment on David Listokin, Barbara Listokin, and Michael 
Lahr's The Contributions of Historic Preservation to Housing and Economic 
Development: Historic Preservation in a Neoliberal Age," Housing Policy 
Debate, vol. 9,  1998, pp. 479-485.
Swaim, Richard. "Politics and Policymaking: Tax Credits and Historic 
Preservation," Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, vol. 33, Issue 
1, Spring 2003, pp. 32-40.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  "Reduce 
Tax Credits for Rehabilitating Buildings and Repeal the Credit for 
Nonhistoric Structures."  Washington, DC: February 2001, p. 427.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.  
August 1, 1986.  Washington, DC: GAO, August 1, 1986.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Act of 1978 (H.R. 13511, 95th Congress; Public Law 95-600).  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, March 12, 197, pp. 155-
158.
-.  General Explanation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (H.R. 
4242, 97th Congress; Public Law 97-34).  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, December 31, 1981, pp. 111-116.
-.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (H.R. 3838, 99th 
Congress; Public Law 99-514).  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, May 4, 1987, pp.








	Commerce and Housing:
	Housing

	INVESTMENT CREDIT FOR REHABILITATION
	OF STRUCTURES, OTHER THAN HISTORIC STRUCTURES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

(1)

0.1

2007

0.1

(1)

0.1

2008

0.1

(1)

0.1

2009

0.1

(1)

0.1

2010

0.1

(1)

0.1

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 47.


	Description

Qualified expenditures made to substantially rehabilitate a nonresidential 
building receive a 10-percent tax credit.  Only expenditures on buildings 
placed in service before 1936 are eligible.  Expenditures made during any 24-
month period must exceed the greater of $5,000 or the adjusted basis (cost 
less depreciation taken) of the building.  The basis must be reduced by the full 
amount of the rehabilitation credit.

For buildings to be eligible, at least 50 percent of the external walls must 
be retained as external walls, at least 75 percent of the exterior walls must be 
retained as internal or external walls, and at least 75 percent of the internal 
structural framework of the building must be retained.  The building must not 
have been moved since 1936.


Impact

This provision encourages business firms to renovate property rather than 
relocate.  The credit reduces the cost of rehabilitation and thereby can turn 
unprofitable rehabilitation projects into profitable rehabilitation projects, and 
can make rehabilitation of a building more profitable than new construction.


	Rationale

The Revenue Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-600) provided an investment tax credit 
for rehabilitation expenditures made for nonresidential buildings in use for at 
least 20 years, in response to concerns over the declining usefulness of older 
buildings (especially those in older neighborhoods and central cities).  The 
purpose was to promote stability and restore economic vitality to deteriorating 
areas.

Larger rehabilitation tax credits were enacted in the Economic Recovery 
Tax Act of 1981(P.L. 97-34); the purpose was to counteract any tendency to 
encourage firms to relocate and build new plants in response to significantly 
shortened recovery periods.  Concerns were expressed that investment in new 
structures in new locations does not promote economic recovery if it displaces 
older structures, and that relocation can cause hardship to workers and their 
families.

The credit was retained in the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514), 
because investors were viewed as failing to consider social and aesthetic 
values of restoring older structures.  The credit amount was reduced, because 
the rate would have been too high when compared with the new lower tax 
rates, also changed by the 1986 act.

Temporary expansion of the tax credit amount was enacted with the Gulf 
Opportunity Zone Act (GO Zone; P.L. 109-135).  The expansion, which 
became effective for expenditures made after August 28, 2005 and before 
January 1, 2009, applies to qualified structures located in specific areas of the 
Gulf Region that were adversely affected by hurricanes in the fall of 2005.


Assessment



The main criticism of the tax credit is that it allocates investments to 
restoring older buildings that would not otherwise be profitable, causing 
economic inefficiency.  This allocation may be desirable if there are external 
benefits to society (e.g., aesthetic benefits or the promotion of using the 
existing building stock rather than the promotion of destruction and 
rebuilding at a greater cost) that the firm would not take into account.  
Proponents of the credit note that if buildings at least 50 years old are worth 
saving, then a rolling qualification period should be provided rather than the 
fixed 1936 date, which was set in 1976 for buildings of that age.  More 
recently, the Joint Committee on Taxation recommended the elimination of 
the 10 percent credit based on simplification arguments.


	Selected Bibliography

Everett, John O.  "Rehabilitation Tax Credit Not Always Advantageous," 
Journal of Taxation.  August 1989, pp. 96-102.
Kamerick, Megan. "Framers get a History Lesson: Historic Tax Credits 
Can Help Framers Secure the Shops of Their Dreams," Art Business News, v. 
31, April 2003, p. S1.
Mann, Roberta F. "Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation: An Antidote 
for Sprawl?" Widner Law Symposium Journal, v. 8, 2002, pp. 207-236.
National Park Service.   Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.  
World Wide Web page http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/tax/.
Oliver-Remshefski, Rebecca N. "Washington Slept Here: Protection and 
Preservation of Our Architectural Heritage," Rutgers Law Review, v. 55, 
Winter 2003, pp. 611-640. 
Taylor, Jack.  Income Tax Treatment of Rental Housing and Real Estate 
Investment After the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 87-603 E.  Washington, DC: July 2, 
1987.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  "Reduce 
Tax Credits for Rehabilitating Buildings and Repeal the Credit for 
Nonhistoric Structures."  Washington, DC: February 2001, p. 427.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Act of 1978, H.R. 13511, 95th Congress, Public Law 95-600.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, March 12, 1979, pp. 
155-158.
-.  General Explanation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, H.R. 
4242, 97th Congress, Public Law 97-34.  Washington, DC:  U.S. 
Government Printing Office, December 31, 1981, pp. 111-116.
-.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, H.R. 3838, 99th 
Congress, Public Law 99-514.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, May 4, 1987, pp. 148-152.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.  
Washington, DC: August 1, 1986.























Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	REDUCED RATES OF TAX*
	ON DIVIDENDS AND LONG-TERM CAPITAL GAINS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

92.2

-

92.2

2007

94.5

-

94.5

2008

101.7

-

101.7

2009

99.6

-

99.6

2010

50.2

-

50.2

* The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006 extended 
the reduced rates, with a projected additional revenue cost of $5.3 billion in 
FY2008, $12.8 billion in FY2009 and $5.3 billion in FY2010.


Authorization

Sections 1(h), 631, 1201-1256.


Description



Dividends on corporate stock and gains on the sale of capital assets held for 
more than a year are subject to lower tax rates under the individual income 
tax.  Individuals subject to the 10- or 15-percent rate pay a 5-percent rate and 
individuals in higher rates pay a 15-percent rate.  The 5-percent rate will be 
zero in 2008.  After 2010 the rates will revert to their levels prior to changes 
in 2003 (see rationale). Gain arising from prior depreciation deductions is 
taxed at ordinary rates but with a maximum of 28 percent.  Also, gain on the 
sale of property used in a trade or business is treated as a long-term capital 
gain if all gains for the year on such property exceed all losses for the year on 
such property.  Qualifying property used in a trade or business generally is 
depreciable property or real estate that is held more than a year, but not 
inventory.

The tax expenditure is the difference between taxing gains and dividends at 
the lower rates and taxing them at the rates that apply to other income.

Several special categories of income that are treated as capital gains have 
been listed separately in previous tax expenditure compendiums: energy 
(capital gains treatment of coal royalties), natural resources (capital gains 
treatment of iron ore royalties and timber), and agriculture (gains on farm 
property including livestock).  These items have become smaller, with only a 
small subsidy, limited to individuals.

  To be eligible for the lower dividend rate, stock must be held for 60 days 
out of 120 days that begin 60 days before the ex dividend day.   Only stock 
paid by domestic corporations is eligible.  For passthrough entities RICs 
(regulated investment companies, commonly known as mutual funds) and real 
estate investment trusts (REITs), payments to shareholders are eligible only to 
the extent they were qualified dividends to the passthrough entities.


Impact

Since higher-income individuals receive most capital gains, benefits accrue 
to high-income taxpayers.  Dividends are also concentrated among higher 
income individuals, although not to as great a degree as capital gains.  
Estimates of the benefit in the table below are based on data provided by the 
Joint Committee on Taxation. 


Estimated Distribution of Tax Expenditure, 2005

[In billions of dollars]

Income Class

Capital Gains


Dividends

Less than $50,000

1.5

5.8

$50,000-$100,000

3.9

13.6

$100,000-$200,000

7.1

17.5

$200,000-$1,000,000

21.9

31.1

Over $1,000,000

65.6

32.0



The primary assets that typically yield capital gains are corporate stock, and 
business and rental real estate.  Corporate stock accounts for 20 percent to 50 
percent of total realized gains, depending on the state of the economy and the 
stock market.  There are also gains from assets such as bonds, partnership 
interests, owner-occupied housing, timber, and collectibles, but all of these 
are relatively small as a share of total capital gains.


	Rationale

Although the original 1913 Act taxed capital gains at ordinary rates, the 
1921 law provided for an alternative flat-rate tax for individuals of 12.5 
percent for gain on property acquired for profit or investment.  This treatment 
was to minimize the influence of the high progressive rates on market 
transactions. The Committee Report noted that these gains are earned over a 
period of years, but are nevertheless taxed as a lump sum.

Over the years, many revisions in this treatment have been made.  In 1934, 
a sliding scale treatment was adopted (where lower rates applied the longer 
the asset was held).  This system was revised in 1938.

In 1942, the sliding scale approach was replaced by a 50-percent exclusion 
for all but short-term gains (held for less than six months), with an elective 
alternative tax rate of 25 percent.  The alternative tax affected only 
individuals in tax brackets above 50 percent.  

The 1942 act also extended special capital gains treatment to property used 
in the trade or business, and introduced the alternative tax for corporations at 
a 25-percent rate, the alternative tax rate then in effect for individuals.  This 
tax relief was premised on the belief that many wartime sales were 
involuntary conversions which could not be replaced during wartime, and that 
resulting gains should not be taxed at the greatly escalated wartime rates.

Treatment of gain from cutting timber was adopted in 1943, in part to 
equalize the treatment of those who sold timber as a stand (where income 
would automatically be considered a capital gain) and those who cut timber.  
Capital gains treatment for coal royalties was added in 1951 to make the 
treatment of coal lessors the same as that of timber lessors and to encourage 
coal production.  Similar treatment of iron ore was enacted in 1964 to make 
the treatment consistent with coal and to encourage production.  The 1951 act 
also specified that livestock was eligible for capital gains, an issue that had 
been in dispute since 1942.

The alternative tax  for individuals was repealed in 1969, and the 
alternative rate for corporations was reduced to 30 percent. The minimum tax 
on preference income and the maximum tax offset, enacted in 1969, raised 
the capital gains rate for some taxpayers.


In 1976 the minimum tax was strengthened, and the holding period 
lengthened to one year.  The effect of these provisions was largely eliminated 
in 1978, which also saw introduced a 60-percent exclusion for individuals and 
a lowering of the alternative rate for corporations to 28 percent.  The 
alternative corporate tax rate was chosen to apply the same maximum 
marginal rate to capital gains of corporations as applied to individuals (since 
the top rate was 70 percent, and the capital gains tax was 40 percent of that 
rate due to the exclusion).

The Tax Reform Act of 1986, which lowered overall tax rates and provided 
for only two rate brackets (15 percent and 28 percent), provided that capital 
gains would be taxed at the same rates as ordinary income.  This rate structure 
included a "bubble" due to phase-out provisions that caused effective 
marginal tax rates to go from 28 percent to 33 percent and back to 28 percent.

In 1990, this bubble was eliminated, and a 31-percent rate was added to the 
rate structure.  There had, however, been considerable debate over proposals 
to reduce capital gains taxes.  Since the new rate structure would have 
increased capital gains tax rates for many taxpayers from 28 percent to 31 
percent, the separate capital gains rate cap was introduced.  The 28- percent 
rate cap was retained when the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act 
added a top rate of 36 percent and a 10-percent surcharge on very high 
incomes, producing a maximum rate of 39.6 percent.
  
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 provided the lower rates; its objective 
was to increase saving and risk-taking, and to reduce lock-in.  Individuals 
subject to the 15-percent rate paid a 10-percent rate and individuals in the 28-, 
31-, 36-, and 39.6-percent rate brackets paid a 20-percent rate.  Gain arising 
from prior depreciation deductions was taxed at ordinary rates but with a 
maximum of 28 percent.  Eventually, property held for five years or more 
would be taxed at 8 percent and 18 percent, rather than 10 percent and 20 
percent.  The 8-percent rate applied to sales after 2000; the 18-percent rate 
applied to property acquired after 2000 (and, thus, to such property sold after 
2005). The holding period was increased to 18 months, but cut back to one 
year in 1998.

The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 provided for 
the current lower rates, with a sunset after 2008 (extended to 2010 by the Tax 
Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2006).  The stated rationale 
was to encourage investment and growth, and to reduce the distortions due to 
higher taxes on dividends, which also encouraged use of debt finance and 
retention of earnings.   



Assessment

The original rationale for allowing a capital gains exclusion or alternative 
tax benefit-the problem of bunching of income under a progressive tax-is 
relatively unimportant under the current flatter rate structure.

A primary rationale for reducing the tax on capital gains is to mitigate the 
lock-in effect.  Since the tax is paid only on a realization basis, an individual 
is discouraged from selling an asset.  This effect causes individuals to hold a 
less desirable mix of assets, causing an efficiency loss.  This loss could be 
quite large relative to revenue raised if the realizations response is large.

Some have argued, based on certain statistical studies, that the lock-in 
effect is, in fact, so large that a tax cut could actually raise revenue.  Others 
have argued that the historical record and other statistical studies do not 
support this view and that capital gains tax cuts will cause considerable 
revenue loss.  This debate about the realizations response has been a highly 
controversial issue.

Although there are efficiency gains from reducing lock-in, capital gains 
taxes can also affect efficiency through other means, primarily through the 
reallocation of resources between types of investments.  Lower capital gains 
taxes may disproportionately benefit real estate investments, and may cause 
corporations to retain more earnings than would otherwise be the case, 
causing efficiency losses.  At the same time lower capital gains taxes reduce 
the distortion that favors corporate debt over equity, which produces an 
efficiency gain.

Another argument in favor of capital gains relief is that much of gain 
realized is due to inflation.  On the other hand, capital gains benefit from 
deferral of tax in general, and this deferral can become an exclusion if gains 
are held until death.  Moreover, many other types of capital income (e.g., 
interest income) are not corrected for inflation.

The particular form of this capital gains tax relief also results in more of a 
concentration towards higher-income individuals than would be the case with 
an overall exclusion.

The extension of lower rates to dividends in 2003 significantly reduced the 
pre-existing incentives to corporations to retain earnings and finance with 
debt, and reduced the distortion that favors corporate over non-corporate 
investment.  It is not at all clear, however, that the lower tax rates will induce 
increased saving, another stated objective of the 2003 dividend relief, if the 
tax cuts are financed with deficits.




	Selected Bibliography

Amromin, Gene, Paul Harrison, Nellie Liang, and Steven Sharpe, How Did 
the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut Affect Stock Prices and Corporate Payout Policy? 
 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Finance and Economic 
Discussion Series 2005-57, 2005.	
Amromin, Gene, Paul Harrison, and Steven Sharpe, How Did the 2003 
Dividend Tax Cut Affect Stock Prices?  Board of Governors of the Federal 
Reserve System, Finance and Economic Discussion Series 2005-61, 2005.
Auerbach, Alan J.  "Capital Gains Taxation and Tax Reform,"  National 
Tax Journal, v. 42.  September 1989, pp. 391-401.
Auerbach, Alan J., Leonard E. Burman, and Jonathan Siegel. "Capital 
Gains Taxation and Tax Avoidance," in Does Atlas Shrug? The Economic 
Consequences of Taxing the Rich, ed. Joel B. Slemrod.  New York: Russell 
Sage, 2000.
Auten, Gerald.  "Capital Gains Taxation," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Auten, Gerald E., Leonard E. Burman, and William C. Randolph.  
"Estimation and Interpretation of Capital Gains Realization Behavior: 
Evidence from Panel Data," National Tax Journal, v. 42.  September 1989, 
pp. 353-374.
Auten, Gerald E., and Joseph J. Cordes. "Cutting Capital Gains Taxes," 
Journal of Economic Perspectives, v. 5.  Winter 1991, pp. 181-192.
Bailey, Martin J.  "Capital Gains and Income Taxation," Taxation of 
Income From Capital, ed. Arnold C. Harberger. Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1969, pp. 11-49.
Blouin, Jennifer L. ; Raedy, Jana Smith ; Shackelford, Douglas A.  "Did 
Dividends Increase Immediately After the 2003 Reduction in Tax Rates?"  
NBER Working Paper 10301, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of 
Economic Research, February, 2004.  
Bogart, W.T. and W.M. Gentry.  "Capital Gains Taxes and Realizations: 
Evidence from Interstate Comparisons," Review of Economics and Statistics, 
v. 71, May 1995, pp. 267-282.
Burman, Leonard E.  The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1999.
-.  "Why Capital Gains Tax Cuts (Probably) Don't Pay for Themselves," 
Tax Notes.  April 2, 1990, pp. 109-110.
-, and Peter D. Ricoy. "Capital Gains and the People Who Realize Them," 
National Tax Journal, v. 50, September 1997, pp.427-451.
-, and William C. Randolph. "Measuring Permanent Responses to Capital 
Gains Tax Changes In Panel Data," American Economic Review, v. 84, 
September, 1994.
-.   "Theoretical Determinants of Aggregate Capital Gains Realizations."  
Manuscript, 1992.
-, Kimberly Clark and John O'Hare.  "Tax Reform and Realization of 
Capital Gains in 1986," National Tax Journal, v. 41, March 1994, pp. 63-87.


Carroll, Robert; Hassett, Kevin A.; Mackie, James B., III.  "The Effect of 
Dividend Tax Relief on Investment Incentives," National Tax Journal v56, 
September 2003: 629-51
Cook. Eric W., and John F. O'Hare, "Capital Gains Redux:  Why Holding 
Periods Matter," National Tax Journal, v. 45. March 1992, pp. 53-76.
Chetty, Raj and Emmanuel Saez, Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: 
Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut, National Bureau of Economic 
Research Working Paper 10841, Cambridge, MA, 2004. 
David, Martin.  Alternative Approaches to Capital Gains Taxation.  
Washington DC: The Brookings Institution, 1968.
Davis, Albert J., "Measuring the Distributional Effects of Tax Changes for 
the Congress," National Tax Journal, v. 44. September, 1991, pp. 257-268. 
Desai, Mihir, "Taxing Corporation Capital Gains," Tax Notes, March 6, 
2006, pp. 1079-1092.  
Esenwein, Gregg, and Jane G. Gravelle, The Taxation of Dividend Income: 
An Overview and Economic Analysis of the Issues, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service, Report RL31597, Washington, DC: June 2, 
2006.
Fox, John O., "The Great Capital Gains Debate," Chapter 12, If Americans 
Really Understood the Income Tax, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 
2001.
Gillingham, Robert, and John S. Greenlees, "The Effect of Marginal Tax 
Rates on Capital Gains Revenue: Another Look at the Evidence," National 
Tax Journal, v. 45.  June 1992, pp. 167-178.
Gordon, Roger, and Martin Dietz,  Dividends and Taxes,  National Bureau 
of Economic Research Working Paper 12292, Cambridge, MA, 2005.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Can a Capital Gains Tax Cut Pay for Itself?  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 90-161 RCO.  Washington, 
DC: March 23, 1990. 
-. Capital Gains Taxes: An Overview.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report 96-769 E. Washington, DC: Updated July 15, 2003.
-.  Capital Gains Taxes, Innovation and Growth.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30040, July 14, 1999. 
-.  Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income, Chapters 4 and 6. 
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.
-. "Effects of Dividend Relief on Economic Growth, The Stock Market, 
and Corporate Tax Preferences," National Tax Journal, v. 56, September 
2003, 653-668.
-.  Limits to Capital Gains Feedback Effects.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 91-250. Washington, DC: March 15, 
1991.
Hoerner, J. Andrew, ed.  The Capital Gains Controversy: A Tax Analyst's 
Reader.  Arlington, VA: Tax Analysts, 1992.
Holt, Charles C., and John P. Shelton, "The Lock-In Effect of the Capital 
Gains Tax," National Tax Journal, v. 15.  December 1962, pp. 357-352.


Kiefer, Donald W.  "Lock-In Effect Within a Simple Model of Corporate 
Stock Trading," National Tax Journal, v. 43.  March 1990, pp. 75-95.
Lang, Mark H. and Douglas A. Shackleford.  "Capitalization of Capital 
Gains Taxes: Evidence from Stock Price Reactions to the 1997 Rate 
Reduction." Journal of Public Economics, v. 76 (April 2000), pp. 69-85.
Minarik, Joseph.  "Capital Gains," How Taxes Affect Economic Behavior, 
eds. Henry J. Aaron and Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1983, pp. 241-277.
Plancich, Stephanie.  "Mutual Fund Capital Gain Distributions and the Tax 
Reform Act of 1997," National Tax Journal v.56,March 2003 (Part 2), pp. 
271-96.
Poterba, James, "Venture Capital and Capital Gains Taxation,"  Tax Policy 
and the Economy, v. 3, ed. Lawrence H. Summers, National Bureau of 
Economic Research.  Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989, pp. 47-67.
Slemrod, Joel, and William Shobe.  "The Tax Elasticity of Capital Gains 
Realizations: Evidence from a Panel of Taxpayers," National Bureau of 
Economic Research Working Paper 3737.  January 1990.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  How Capital Gains Tax 
Rates Affect Revenues: The Historical Evidence.  Washington, DC:  U.S. 
Government Printing Office, March 1988.
-.  An Analysis of the Potential Macroeconomic Effects of the Economic 
Growth Act of 1998.  Prepared by John Sturrock.  Washington, DC: August 1, 
1998.
-.  Indexing Capital Gains, prepared by Leonard Burman and Larry 
Ozanne.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, August 1990.
-.  Perspectives on the Ownership of Capital Assets and the Realization of 
Gains.	Prepared by Leonard Burman and Peter Ricoy.  Washington, DC: 
May 1997.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of Tax 
Legislation Enacted in 1997.  105th Congress, 1st Session.  Washington, DC: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, December 17,1997, pp. 48-56.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis.  Report to the 
Congress on the Capital Gains Tax Reductions of 1978.  Washington, DC: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1985.
Wetzler, James W.  "Capital Gains and Losses," Comprehensive Income 
Taxation, ed. Joseph Pechman.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1977, pp. 115-162.
Zodrow, George R.  "Economic Analysis of Capital Gains Taxation: 
Realizations, Revenues, Efficiency and Equity," Tax Law Review, v. 48, no. 
3, pp. 419-527.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

EXCLUSION OF CAPITAL GAINS AT DEATH
CARRYOVER BASIS OF CAPITAL GAINS ON GIFTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

56.3

-

56.3

2007

57.4

-

57.4

2008

58.9

-

58.9

2009

77.3

-

77.3

2010

121.5

-

121.5


Authorization

Sections 1001, 1002, 1014, 1015, 1023, 1040, 1221, and 1222.


Description

A capital gains tax generally is imposed on the increased value of a capital 
asset (the difference between sales price and original cost of the asset) when 
the asset is sold or exchanged.  This tax is not, however, imposed on the 
appreciation in value when ownership of the property is transferred as a result 
of the death of the owner or as a gift during the lifetime of the owner.



In the case of assets transferred at death, the heir's cost basis in the asset 
(the amount that he subtracts from sales price to determine gain if the asset is 
sold in the future) generally is the fair market value as of the date of 
decedent's death.  Thus no income tax is imposed on appreciation occurring 
before the decedent's death, since the cost basis is increased by the amount of 
appreciation that has already occurred.  In the case of gift transfers, the 
donee's basis in the property is the same as the donor's (usually the original 
cost of the asset).  Thus, if the donee disposes of the property in a sale or 
exchange, the capital gains tax will apply to the pre-transfer appreciation.  
Tax on the gain is deferred, however, and may be forgiven entirely if the 
donee in turn passes on the property at death.

Assets transferred at death or by inter vivos gifts (gifts between living 
persons) may be subject to the Federal estate and gift taxes, respectively, 
based upon their value at the time of transfer.  In 2010, when the estate tax is 
scheduled to expire, some gain will be taxed at death, but this provision will 
sunset after 2010. 


	Impact

The exclusion of capital gains at death is most advantageous to individuals 
who need not dispose of their assets to achieve financial liquidity.  Generally 
speaking, these individuals tend to be wealthier.  The deferral of tax on the 
appreciation involved combined with the exemption for the appreciation 
before death is a significant benefit for these investors and their heirs.

Failure to tax capital gains at death encourages lock-in of assets, which in 
turn means less current turnover of funds available for investment.  In 
deciding whether to change his portfolio, an investor, in theory, takes into 
account the higher pre-tax rate of return he might obtain from the new 
investment, the capital gains tax he might have to pay if he changes his 
portfolio, and the capital gains tax his heirs might have to pay if he decides 
not to change his portfolio.

Often an investor in this position decides that, since his heirs will incur no 
capital gains tax on appreciationprior to the investor's death, he should 
transfer his portfolio unchanged to the next generation.  The failure to tax 
capital gains at death and the deferral of tax tend to benefit high-income 
individuals (and their heirs) who have assets that yield  capital gains.

Some insight into the distributional effects of this tax expenditure may be 
found by considering the distribution of current payments of capital gains tax, 
based on data provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation.   These taxes are 
heavily concentrated among high-income individuals.  Of course, the 
distribution of capital gains taxes could be different from the distribution of 
taxes not paid because they are passed on at death, but the provision would 
always accrue largely to higher-income individuals who tend to hold most of 
the wealth in the country.



Estimated Distribution of Capital Gains Taxes, 2005


Income Class

Percentage

Less than $50,000

1.2

$50,000-$100,000

3.7

$100,000-$1,000,000

30.7

Over $1,000,000 

64.4


The primary assets that typically yield capital gains are corporate stock, real 
estate, and owner-occupied housing.


	Rationale

The original rationale for nonrecognition of capital gains on inter vivos 
gifts or transfers at death is not indicated in the legislative history of any of 
the several interrelated applicable provisions.  However, one current 
justification given for the treatment is that death and inter vivos gifts are 
considered as inappropriate events to result in the recognition of income.

The Tax Reform Act of 1976 provided that the heir's basis in property 
transferred at death would be determined by reference to the decedent's basis. 
 This carryover basis provision was not permitted to take effect and was 
repealed in 1980.  The primary stated rationale for repeal was the concern that 
carryover basis created substantial administrative burdens for estates, heirs, 
and the Treasury Department.


Assessment

Failure to tax gains transferred at death is probably a primary cause of lock-
in and its attendant efficiency costs; indeed, without the possibility of passing 
on gains at death without taxation, the lock-in effect would be greatly 
reduced.



The lower capital gains taxes that occur because of failure to tax capital 
gains at death can also affect efficiency through other means, primarily 
through the reallocation of resources between types of investments.  Lower 
capital gains taxes may disproportionally benefit real estate investments and 
may cause corporations to retain more earnings than would otherwise be the 
case, causing efficiency losses. At the same time, lower capital gains taxes 
reduce the distortion that favors corporate debt over equity, which produces 
an efficiency gain.

There are several problems with taxing capital gains at death. There are 
administrative problems, particularly for assets held for a very long time when 
heirs do not know the basis.  In addition, taxation of capital gains at death 
would cause liquidity problems for some taxpayers, such as owners of small 
farms and businesses.  Therefore most proposals for taxing capital gains at 
death would combine substantial averaging provisions, deferred tax payment 
schedules, and a substantial deductible floor in determining the amount of 
gain to be taxed.


	Selected Bibliography

Auerbach, Alan J.  "Capital Gains Taxation and Tax Reform,"  National 
Tax Journal, v. 42.  September, 1989, pp. 391-401.
Auerbach, Alan J., Leonard E. Burman, and Jonathan Siegel. "Capital 
Gains Taxation and Tax Avoidance," in Does Atlas Shrug? The Economic 
Consequences of Taxing the Rich, ed. Joel B. Slemrod.  New York: Russell 
Sage, 2000.
Auten, Gerald.  "Capital Gains Taxation," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Bailey, Martin J.  "Capital Gains and Income Taxation," Taxation of 
Income From Capital, ed. Arnold C. Harberger.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1969, pp. 11-49.
Bogart, W.T. and W.M. Gentry.  "Capital Gains Taxes and Realizations: 
Evidence from Interstate Comparisons," Review of Economics and Statistics, 
v. 71, May 1995, pp. 267-282.
Burman, Leonard E.  The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1999.
Burman, Leonard E., and Peter D. Ricoy. "Capital Gains and the People 
Who Realize Them," National Tax Journal, v. 50, September 1997, pp.427-
451.
Burman, Leonard E., and William C. Randolph.  "Measuring Permanent 
Responses to Capital Gains Tax Changes In Panel Data,"  American 
Economic Review, v. 84, September, 1994.
-.  "Theoretical Determinants of Aggregate Capital Gains Realizations," 
Manuscript, 1992.
David, Martin.  Alternative Approaches to Capital Gains Taxation.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1968.
Fox, John O., "The Great Capital Gains Debate," Chapter 12, If Americans 
Really Understood the Income Tax, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 
2001.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Can a Capital Gains Tax Cut Pay for Itself?  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 90-161 RCO, March 23, 
1990. 


-.  Capital Gains Tax Issues and Proposals: An Overview.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 96-769 E. Washington, 
DC: Updated August 30, 1999.
-.  Capital Gains Taxes, Innovation and Growth.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL30040, July 14, 1999. 
-.  Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income, Chapter 6. Cambridge, 
MA: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  Limits to Capital Gains Feedback Effects.  Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 91-250, March 15, 1991.
Hoerner, J. Andrew, ed.  The Capital Gains Controversy: A Tax Analyst's 
Reader.  Arlington, VA: Tax Analysts, 1992.
Holt, Charles C., and John P. Shelton.  "The Lock-In Effect of the Capital 
Gains Tax," National Tax Journal, v. 15.  December 1962, pp. 357-352.  
Kiefer, Donald W.  "Lock-In Effect Within a Simple Model of Corporate 
Stock Trading,"  National Tax Journal, v. 43.  March, 1990, pp. 75-95.
Minarik, Joseph.  "Capital Gains." How Taxes Affect Economic Behavior, 
eds. Henry J. Aaron and Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1983, pp. 241-277.
Surrey, Stanley S., et al., eds.  "Taxing Capital Gains at the Time of a 
Transfer at Death or by Gift," Federal Tax Reform for 1976.  Washington, 
DC: Fund for Public Policy Research, 1976, pp. 107-114.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Perspectives on the 
Ownership of Capital Assets and the Realization of Gains.  Prepared by 
Leonard Burman and Peter Ricoy.  Washington, DC: May 1997.
-.  An Analysis of the Potential Macroeconomic Effects of the Economic 
Growth Act of 1998.  Prepared by John Sturrock.  Washington, DC: August 1, 
1998.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Finance hearing.  Estate and Gift 
Taxes: Problems Arising from the Tax Reform Act of 1976.  95th Congress, 
1st session, July 25, 1977.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis.  Report to the 
Congress on the Capital Gains Tax Reductions of 1978.  Washington, DC: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, September, 1985.
Wagner, Richard E.  Inheritance and the State.  Washington, DC: 
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1977.
Wetzler, James W.  "Capital Gains and Losses," Comprehensive Income 
Taxation, ed. Joseph Pechman.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1977, pp. 115-162.
Zodrow, George R.  "Economic Analysis of Capital Gains Taxation: 
Realizations, Revenues, Efficiency and Equity," Tax Law Review, v. 48, no. 
3, pp. 419-527.










Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

DEFERRAL OF GAIN ON NON-DEALER
INSTALLMENT SALES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.5

0.6

1.1

2007

0.5

0.7

1.2

2008

0.5

0.7

1.2

2009

0.6

0.7

1.3

2010

0.6

0.8

1.4


Authorization

Sections 453 and 453A(b).


	Description

An installment sale is a sale of property in which at least one payment will 
be received in a tax year later than the year in which the sale took place.  
Some taxpayers are allowed to report some sales of this kind for tax purposes 
under a special method of accounting, called the installment method, in which 
the gross profit from the sale is prorated over the years during which the 
payments are received.

This conveys a tax advantage compared to being taxed in full in the year of 
the sale, because the taxes that are deferred to future years have a time value 
(the amount of interest they could earn).



Use of the installment method was once widespread, but it has been 
severely curtailed in recent years.  Under current law, it can be used only by 
persons who do not regularly deal in the property being sold (except for the 
sellers of farm property, timeshares, and residential building lots who may use 
the installment method but must pay interest on the deferred taxes).  The 
latest legislative change in 2004 was a provision of the American Jobs 
Creation Act denying the installment sale treatment to readily tradeable debt.

For sales by non-dealers, interest must be paid to the government on the 
deferred taxes attributable to the portion of the installment sales that arise 
during and remain outstanding at the end of the tax year of more than 
$5,000,000.  Transactions where the sales price is less than $150,000 do not 
count towards the $5,000,000 limit.  Interest payments offset the value of tax 
deferral, so this tax expenditure represents only the revenue loss from those 
transactions that give rise to interest-free deferrals.


	Impact

Installment sale treatment constitutes a departure from the normal rule that 
gain is recognized when the sale of property occurs.  The deferral of taxation 
permitted under the installment sale rules essentially furnishes the taxpayer an 
interest-free loan equal to the amount of tax on the gain that is deferred.

The benefits of deferral are currently restricted to those transactions by 
non-dealers in which the sales price is no more than $150,000 and to the first 
$5,000,000 of installment sales arising during the year, to sales of personal-
use property by individuals, and to sales of farm property.  (There are other 
restrictions on many types of transactions, such as in corporate 
reorganizations and sales of depreciable assets.)

Thus the primary benefit probably flows to sellers of farms, small 
businesses, and small real estate investments.


	Rationale

The rationale for permitting installment sale treatment of income from 
disposition of property is to match the time of payment of tax liability with the 
cash flow generated by the disposition.  It has usually been considered unfair, 
or at least impractical, to attempt to collect the tax when the cash flow is not 
available, and some form of installment sale reporting has been permitted 
since at least the Revenue Act of 1921.  It has frequently been a source of 
complexity and controversy, however, and has sometimes been used in tax 
shelter and tax avoidance schemes.



Installment sale accounting was greatly liberalized and simplified in the 
Installment Sales Revision Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-471).  It was significantly 
restricted by a complex method of removing some of its tax advantages in the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986, and it was repealed except for the limited uses in 
the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.  Further restrictions 
applicable to accrual method taxpayers were enacted in the Work Incentives 
Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170).  The 1999 Act prohibited most 
accrual basis taxpayers from using the installment method of accounting.  
Concern, however, in the small business community over these changes led to 
the passage, in December 2000,  of the Installment Tax Correction Act of 
2000 (P.L. 106-573).  The 2000 Act repealed the restrictions on the 
installment method of accounting imposed by the 1999 Act.  The repeal was 
made retroactive to the date of enactment of the 1999 change.


	Assessment

The installment sales rules have always been pulled between two opposing 
goals: taxes should not be avoidable by the way a deal is structured, but they 
should not be imposed when the money to pay them is not available.  
Allowing people to postpone taxes simply by taking a note instead of cash in 
a sale leaves obvious room for tax avoidance.

Trying to collect taxes from taxpayers who do not have the cash to pay is 
administratively difficult and strikes many as unfair.  After having tried many 
different ways of balancing these goals, lawmakers have settled on a 
compromise that denies the advantage of the method to taxpayers who would 
seldom have trouble raising the cash to pay their taxes (retailers, dealers in 
property, investors with large amounts of sales) and permits its use to small, 
non-dealer transactions (with "small" rather generously defined).

Present law results in modest revenue losses and probably has little effect 
on economic incentives.


	Selected Bibliography

Esenwein, Gregg.  Recent Tax Changes Affecting Installment Sales.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS20432.  
Washington, DC: January 2002.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Overview of the Issues 
Relating to the Modification of the Installment Sales Rules by the Ticket to 
Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, Report JCX-15-00, February 
2000.
-.  General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in the 106th Congress. 
 JCS-2-01.  April 2001.  p. 176.
U.S. Congress, House.  Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, 
Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3545.  100th Congress, 1st session, 
Report 100-495, pp.  926-931.
-.  Committee on Ways and Means.  Installment Sales Revision Act of 
1980, Report to Accompany H.R. 6883. 98th Congress, 2nd session, Report 
96-1042.


Internal Revenue Service.  Installment Sales. Publication 537, for use in 
preparing 2005 returns.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Comparison Of Certain 
Provisions Of H.R. 4520 As Passed By The House Of Representatives And As 
Amended By The Senate: Revenue Provisions, Report  JCX-64-04, September 
2004, p. 57.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

DEFERRAL OF GAIN ON LIKE-KIND EXCHANGES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.8

2.0

2.8

2007

0.8

2.1

2.9

2008

0.9

2.2

3.1

2009

0.8

2.4

3.2

2010

1.0

2.5

3.5


Authorization

Section 1031.


	Description

When business or investment property is exchanged for property of a "like-
kind," no gain or loss is recognized on the exchange and therefore no tax is 
paid at the time of the exchange on any appreciation.  This is in contrast to the 
general rule that any sale or exchange for money or property is a taxable 
event.

It is also an exception to the rules allowing tax-free exchanges when the 
property is "similar or related in service or use," the much stricter standard 
applied in other areas, such as replacing condemned property (section 1033).  
The latter is not considered a tax expenditure, but the postponed tax on 
appreciated property exchanged for "like-kind" property is.




	Impact

The like-kind exchange rules have been liberally interpreted by the courts 
to allow tax-free exchanges of property of the same general type but of very 
different quality and use.  All real estate, in particular, is considered "like-
kind," allowing a retiring farmer from the Midwest to swap farm land for a 
Florida apartment building or a right to pump water tax-free.

The provision is very popular with real estate interests, some of whom 
specialize in arranging property exchanges.  It is useful primarily to persons 
who wish to alter their real estate holdings without paying tax on their 
appreciated gain.  Stocks and financial instruments are not eligible for this 
provision, so it is not useful for rearranging financial portfolios.


	Rationale

A provision allowing tax-free exchanges of like-kind property was 
included in the first statutory tax rules for capital gains in the Revenue Act of 
1921 and has continued in some form until today.  Various restrictions over 
the years took many kinds of property and exchanges out of its scope, but the 
rules for real estate, in particular, were broadened over the years by court 
decisions.

In moves to reduce some of the more egregious uses of the rules, the 
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 set time limits on completing exchanges and 
the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 outlawed tax-free exchanges 
between related parties.  The general rationale for allowing tax-free 
exchanges is that the investment in the new property is merely a continuation 
of the investment in the old.

A tax-policy rationale for going beyond this, to allowing tax-free 
adjustments of investment holdings to more advantageous positions, does not 
seem to have been offered.  It may be that this was an accidental outgrowth of 
the original rule.

The most recent legislative change was a provision of the American Jobs 
Creation Act of 2004, as amended in Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, 
affecting the recognition of a gain on a principal residence acquired in a like-
kind exchange.  The exclusion for gain on the sale of a principal residence no 
longer applies if the principal residence was acquired in a like-kind exchange 
within the past five years.  In effect, this requires the taxpayer to hold the 
exchanged property for a full five years before it would qualify as a principal 
residence.



	Assessment

From an economic perspective, the failure to tax appreciation in property 
values as it occurs defers tax liability and thus offers a tax benefit.  (Likewise, 
the failure to deduct declines in value is a tax penalty.)  Continuing the 
"nonrecognition" of gain, and thus the tax deferral, for a longer period by an 
exchange of properties adds to the tax benefit.

This treatment does, however, both simplify transactions and make it less 
costly for businesses and investors to replace property.  Taxpayers gain 
further benefit from the loose definition of "like-kind" because they can also 
switch their property holdings to types they prefer without tax consequences.  
This might be justified as reducing the inevitable bias a tax on capital gains 
causes against selling property, but it is difficult to argue for restricting the 
relief primarily to those taxpayers engaged in sophisticated real estate 
transactions.


	Selected Bibliography

 Carnes, Gregory A., and Ted D. Englebrecht.  "Like-kind Exchanges - 
Recent Developments, Restrictions, and Planning Opportunities," CPA 
Journal.  January 1991, pp. 26-33.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  February 
2001, p. 423.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means.  Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1989.  Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3299, 
Report 101-386, November 21, 1989, pp. 613-614.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Study of the Overall State of 
the Federal Tax System and Recommendations for Simplification, Pursuant 
to Section 8022(3)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Volume II, JCS-
3-01, pp. 300-305, April 2001.
-, Description of Revenue Provisions to Be Considered in Connection With 
the Markup of the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 
1999, JCS-2-00, p. 494, March 2000.
-, Description of Possible Options to Increase Revenues Prepared for the 
Committee On Ways and Means.  JCS-17-87, June 25, 1987, pp. 240-241.
-, General Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction 
Act of 1984.  JCS-41-84, December 31, 1984, pp. 243-247.
Woodrum, William L., Jr.  "Structuring an Exchange of Property to Defer 
Recognition of Gain," Taxation for Accountants.  November 1986, pp. 
334-339.
Internal Revenue Service.  Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets. 
Publication 544, for use in preparing 2005 returns.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Comparison Of Certain 
Provisions Of H.R. 4520 As Passed By The House Of Representatives And As 
Amended By The Senate: Revenue Provisions, Report  JCX-64-04, September 
2004, p. 25.


Esenwein, Gregg A.  The Sale of a Principal Residence Acquired Through 
a Like-Kind Exchange.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report RS22113.  Washington DC: 2005.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

DEPRECIATION OF BUILDINGS OTHER
THAN RENTAL HOUSING IN EXCESS OF
ALTERNATIVE DEPRECIATION SYSTEM


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.4

0.4

0.8

2007

0.5

0.6

1.1

2008

0.7

0.8

1.5

2009

1.0

1.1

2.1

2010

1.3

1.4

2.7

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increases the cost from FY2007-FY2010 by 
$0.4, $0.5, $0.6, and $0.6 respectively.


Authorization

Section 167 and 168.


	Description

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct the costs of acquiring depreciable assets 
(assets that wear out or become obsolete over a period of years) as 
depreciation deductions. The tax code currently allows new buildings other 
than rental housing to be written off over 39 years, using a "straight line" 
method where equal amounts are deducted in each period.  There is also a 
prescribed 40 year write-off period for these buildings under the alternative 
minimum tax (also based on a straight-line method).   Improvements required 
for a new leasehold for a non-residential structure and certain restaurant 
improvements made at least three years after original construction may be 
depreciated over 15 years.  This provision applies through 2007.  



The tax expenditure measures the revenue loss from current depreciation 
deductions in excess of the deductions that would have been allowed under 
this longer 40-year period.  The current revenue effects also reflect different 
write-off methods and lives prior to the 1993 revisions, which set the 39-year 
life, since many buildings pre-dating that time are still being depreciated.

Prior to 1981, taxpayers were generally offered the choice of using the 
straight-line method or accelerated methods of depreciation, such as double-
declining balance and sum-of-years digits, in which greater amounts are 
deducted in the early years.  Non-residential buildings were restricted in 1969 
to 150-percent declining balance (used buildings were restricted to straight-
line).  The period of time over which deductions were taken varied with the 
taxpayer's circumstances.

Beginning in 1981, the tax law prescribed specific write-offs which 
amounted to accelerated depreciation over periods varying from 15 to 19 
years.  In 1986, all depreciation on nonresidential buildings was calculated on 
a straight-line basis over 31.5 years, and that period was increased to 39 years 
in 1993.

Example: Suppose a building with a basis of $10,000 was subject to 
depreciation over 39 years.  Depreciation allowances would be constant at 
1/39 x $10,000 = $257.  For a 40-year life the write-off would be $250 per 
year.  The tax expenditure in the first year would be measured as the 
difference between the tax savings of deducting $250, instead of $257, or $7.


	Impact

Because depreciation methods that are faster than straight-line allow for 
larger deductions in the early years of the asset's life and smaller depreciation 
deductions in the later years, and because shorter useful lives allow quicker 
recovery, accelerated depreciation results in a deferral of tax liability.

It is a tax expenditure to the extent it is faster than economic (i.e., actual) 
depreciation, and evidence indicates that the economic decline rate for non-
residential buildings is much slower than that reflected in tax depreciation 
methods.

The direct benefits of accelerated depreciation accrue to owners of 
buildings, and particularly to corporations.  The benefit is estimated as the tax 
saving resulting from the depreciation deductions in excess of straight-line 
depreciation.  Benefits to capital income tend to concentrate in the higher-
income classes (see discussion in the Introduction).



	Rationale

Prior to 1954, depreciation policy had developed through administrative 
practices and rulings.  The straight-line method was favored by IRS and 
generally used.  Tax lives were recommended for assets through "Bulletin F," 
but taxpayers were also able to use a facts and circumstances justification.

A ruling issued in 1946 authorized the use of the 150-percent declining 
balance method.  Authorization for it and other accelerated depreciation 
methods first appeared in legislation in 1954 when the double declining 
balance and other methods were enacted.  The discussion at that time focused 
primarily on whether the value of machinery and equipment declined faster in 
their earlier years.  However, when the accelerated methods were adopted, 
real property was included as well.

By the 1960s, most commentators agreed that accelerated depreciation 
resulted in excessive allowances for buildings.  The first restriction on 
depreciation was to curtail the benefits that arose from combining accelerated 
depreciation with lower capital gains taxes when the building was sold.

In 1964, 1969, and 1976 various provisions to "recapture" accelerated 
depreciation as ordinary income in varying amounts when a building was sold 
were enacted.  In 1969, depreciation for nonresidential structures was 
restricted to 150-percent declining balance methods (straight-line for used 
buildings).

In the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, buildings were assigned 
specific write-off periods that were roughly equivalent to 175-percent 
declining balance methods (200 percent for low-income housing) over a 15-
year period under the Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS).  These 
changes were intended as a general stimulus to investment.

Taxpayers could elect to use the straight-line method over 15 years, 35 
years, or 45 years. (The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 increased the 15-year 
life to 18 years; in 1985, it was increased to 19 years.)  The recapture provi-
sions would not apply if straight-line methods were originally chosen.  The 
acceleration of depreciation that results from using the shorter recovery period 
under ACRS was not subject to recapture as accelerated depreciation.

The current straight-line treatment was adopted as part of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986, which lowered tax rates and broadened the base of the income 
tax.  A 31.5-year life was adopted at that time; it was increased to 39 years by 
the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.



In 2002, certain qualified leasehold improvements in non-residential 
buildings were made eligible for a temporary bonus depreciation (expiring 
after 2004) allowing 30 percent of the cost to be deducted when incurred.  
The percentage was increased to 50 percent in 2003.

The provision allowing a 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold 
improvements and restaurant improvements was adopted in 2004 but 
suspended after 2005.  H.R. 6111 (December 2006) extended the provision 
through 2007.


Assessment

Evidence suggests that the rate of economic decline of rental structures is 
much slower than the rates allowed under current law, and this provision 
causes a lower effective tax rate on such investments than would otherwise be 
the case.  This treatment in turn tends to increase investment in nonresidential 
structures relative to other assets, although there is considerable debate about 
how responsive these investments are to tax subsidies.

At the same time, the more rapid depreciation roughly offsets the 
understatement of depreciation due to the use of historical cost basis 
depreciation, assuming inflation is at a rate of two percent or so. Moreover, 
many other assets are eligible for accelerated depreciation as well, and the 
allocation of capital depends on the relative treatment.

Much of the previous concern about the role of accelerated depreciation in 
encouraging tax shelters in commercial buildings has faded because the 
current depreciation provisions are less rapid than those previously in place 
and because there is a restriction on the deduction of passive losses.


	Selected Bibliography

Auerbach, Alan, and Kevin Hassett.  "Investment, Tax Policy, and the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986," Do Taxes Matter: The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 
1986, ed. Joel Slemrod.  Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1990, pp. 13-49.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  Public Policy and 
Capital Formation.  April 1981.
Brannon, Gerard M.  "The Effects of Tax Incentives for Business 
Investment: A Survey of the Economic Evidence," U.S. Congress, Joint 
Economic Committee, The Economics of Federal Subsidy Programs, Part 3: 
"Tax Subsidies."  July 15, 1972, pp. 245-268.
Brazell, David W. and James B. Mackie III.  "Depreciation Lives and 
Methods: Current Issues in the U.S. Capital Cost Recovery System," National 
Tax Journal, v. 53 (September 2000), pp. 531-562.


Break, George F.  "The Incidence and Economic Effects of Taxation," The 
Economics of Public Finance.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1974.
Burman, Leonard E., Thomas S. Neubig, and D. Gordon Wilson.  "The 
Use and Abuse of Rental Project Models," Compendium of Tax Research 
1987, Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 307-349.
Cummins, Jason G., Kevin Hassett and R. Glenn Hubbard.  "Have Tax 
Reforms Affected Investment?" in James M. Poterba, Tax Policy and The 
Economy, v. 9, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as 
Natural Experiments, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity no. 2, 1994, 
pp. 1-74.
Deloitte and Touche.  Analysis of the Economic Depreciation of Structure, 
Washington, DC: June 2000.
Feldstein, Martin.  "Adjusting Depreciation in an Inflationary Economy: 
Indexing Versus Acceleration," National Tax Journal, v. 34.  March 1981, 
pp. 29-43.
Follain, James R., Patric H. Hendershott, and David C. Ling, "Real Estate 
Markets Since 1980: What Role Have Tax Changes Played?" National Tax 
Journal, vol. 45, September 1992, pp. 253-266.
Fromm, Gary, ed.  Tax Incentives and Capital Spending.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1971.
Fullerton, Don, Robert Gillette, and James Mackie, "Investment Incentives 
Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of Tax Research 1987, 
Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 131-172.
Fullerton, Don, Yolanda K. Henderson, and James Mackie, "Investment 
Allocation and Growth Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of 
Tax Research 1987, Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 173-202. 
Gravelle, Jane G.  "Differential Taxation of Capital Income: Another Look 
at the Tax Reform Act of 1986,"  National Tax Journal, v. 63.  December 
1989, pp. 441-464.
-. Depreciation and the Tax Treatment of Real Estate. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30163.  Washington, 
DC: October 25, 2000.
-.  Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income, Chapter 6. Cambridge, 
MA: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  "Whither Tax Depreciation?"  National Tax Journal, vol. 54, 
September, 2001, pp. 513-526.
Harberger, Arnold.  "Tax Neutrality in Investment Incentives," The 
Economics of Taxation, eds. Henry J. Aaron and Michael J. Boskin.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1980.
Hulten, Charles, ed.  Depreciation, Inflation, and the Taxation of Income 
From Capital. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 1981.
Hulten, Charles R., and Frank C. Wykoff.  "Issues in Depreciation 
Measurement." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 10-23.


Jorgenson, Dale W.  "Empirical Studies of Depreciation." Economic 
Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 24-42.
Mackie, James.  "Capital Cost Recovery," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Nadiri, M. Ishaq, and Ingmar R. Prucha.  "Depreciation Rate Estimation of 
Physical and R&D Capital." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 43-
56. 
Taubman, Paul and Robert Rasche.  "Subsidies, Tax Law, and Real Estate 
Investment," U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee,  The Economics of 
Federal Subsidy Program," Part 3: "Tax Subsidies."  July 15, 1972, pp. 
343-369.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Real Estate Tax Shelter 
Subsidies and Direct Subsidy Alternatives.  May 1977.
-. Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986.  May 4, 1987, pp. 89-110.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Report to the Congress on Depreciation 
Recovery Periods and Methods.  Washington, DC: June 2000.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

DEPRECIATION ON EQUIPMENT IN EXCESS OF
ALTERNATIVE DEPRECIATION SYSTEM


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-2.2

  5.7

3.5

2007

  0.1

 11.0

 11.1

2008

 2.2

 17.7

19.9

2009

 4.3

23.4

27.7

2010

 6.1

27.7

33.8


Authorization

Section 167 and 168.


	Description

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct the cost of acquiring depreciable assets 
(assets that wear out or become obsolete over a period of years) as 
depreciation deductions.  How quickly the deductions are taken depends on 
the period of years over which recovery occurs and the method used.  
Straight-line methods allow equal deductions in each year; accelerated 
methods, such as declining balance methods, allow larger deductions in the 
earlier years.    



Equipment is currently divided into six categories to be depreciated over 3, 
5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years.  Double declining balance depreciation is allowed 
for all but the last two classes, which are restricted to 150 percent declining 
balance.  A double declining balance method allows twice the straight-line 
rate to be applied in each year to the remaining undepreciated balance; a 150-
percent declining balance rate allows 1.5 times the straight-line rate to be 
applied in each year to the remaining undepreciated balance.  At some point, 
the taxpayer can switch to straight-line-write off the remaining 
undepreciated cost in equal amounts over the remaining life.

The 1986 law also prescribed a depreciation system for the alternative 
minimum tax, which applies to a broader base.  The alternative depreciation 
system requires recovery over the midpoint of the Asset Depreciation Range, 
using straight-line depreciation.  The Asset Depreciation Range was the set of 
tax lives specified before 1981 and these lives are longer than the lives 
allowed under the regular tax system.

This tax expenditure measures the difference between regular tax 
depreciation and the alternative depreciation system.  The tax expenditure 
also reflects different write-off periods and lives for assets acquired prior to 
the 1986 provisions.  For most of these older assets, regular tax depreciation 
has been completed, so that the effects of these earlier vintages of equipment 
would be to enter them as a revenue gain rather than as a loss.

In the past, taxpayers were generally offered the choice of using the 
straight-line method or accelerated methods of depreciation such as double-
declining balance and sum-of-years digits, in which greater amounts are 
deducted in the early years.  Tax lives varied across different types of 
equipment under the Asset Depreciation Range System, which prescribed a 
range of tax lives.  Equipment was restricted to 150-percent declining balance 
by the 1981 Act, which shortened tax lives to five years.

Example: Consider a $10,000 piece of equipment that falls in the five-year 
class (with double declining balance depreciation) with an eight-year 
midpoint life.  In the first year, depreciation deductions would be 2/5 times 
$10,000, or $4,000.  In the second year, the basis of depreciation is reduced 
by the previous year's deduction to $6,000, and depreciation would be $2400 
(2/5 times $6,000).

Depreciation under the alternative system would be 1/8th in each year, or 
$1,250.  Thus, the tax expenditure in year one would be the difference 
between $4,000 and $1,250, multiplied by the tax rate.  The tax expenditure 
in year two would be the difference between $2,400 and $1,250 multiplied by 
the tax rate.

Fifty percent of investment in advanced mine safety equipment may be 
expensed from the date of enactment of H.R. 6111 (December2006 through 
20082006 


	Impact



Because depreciation methods that are faster than straight-line allow for 
larger depreciation deductions in the early years of the asset's life and smaller 
deductions in the later years, and because shorter useful lives allow quicker 
recovery, accelerated depreciation results in a deferral of tax liability.  It is a 
tax expenditure to the extent it is faster than economic (i.e., actual) 
depreciation, and evidence indicates that the economic decline rate for 
equipment is much slower than that reflected in tax depreciation methods.

The direct benefits of accelerated depreciation accrue to owners of assets 
and particularly to corporations.  The benefit is estimated as the tax saving 
resulting from the depreciation deductions in excess of straight-line 
depreciation under the alternative minimum tax.  Benefits to capital income 
tend to concentrate in the higher-income classes (see discussion in the 
Introduction).


	Rationale

Prior to 1954, depreciation policy had developed through administrative 
practices and rulings.  The straight-line method was favored by IRS and 
generally used.  Tax lives were recommended for assets through "Bulletin F," 
but taxpayers were also able to use a facts and circumstances justification.

A ruling issued in 1946 authorized the use of the 150-percent declining 
balance method.  Authorization for it and other accelerated depreciation 
methods first appeared in legislation in 1954 when the double-declining 
balance and other methods were enacted.  The discussion at that time focused 
primarily on whether the value of machinery and equipment declined faster in 
their earlier years.

In 1962, new tax lives for equipment assets were prescribed that were 
shorter than the lives existing at that time.  In 1971, the Asset Depreciation 
Range System was introduced by regulation and confirmed through 
legislation.   This system allowed taxpayers to use lives up to twenty percent 
shorter or longer than those prescribed by regulation.

In the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, equipment assets were 
assigned fixed write-off periods which corresponded to 150-percent declining 
balance over five years (certain assets were assigned three-year lives).  These 
changes were intended as a general stimulus to investment and to simplify the 
tax law by providing for a single write-off period.  The method was 
eventually to be phased into a 200-percent declining balance method, but the 
150-percent method was made permanent by the Tax Equity and Fiscal 
Responsibility Act of 1982.  The current treatment was adopted as part of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986, which lowered tax rates and broadened the base of 
the income tax.



A temporary provision allowed a write-off of 30% of the cost in the first 
year (for 36 months beginning September 10th, 2001), adopted in 2002 as an 
economic stimulus.  The percentage was increased to 50% in 2003 and 
expired in 2004.


Assessment

Evidence suggests that the rate of economic decline of equipment is much 
slower than the rates allowed under current law, and this provision causes a 
lower effective tax rate on such investments than would otherwise be the case. 
 The effect of these benefits on investment in equipment is uncertain, 
although more studies find equipment somewhat responsive to tax changes 
than they do structures.  Equipment did not, however, appear to be very 
responsive to the temporary expensing provisions adopted in 2003 and 
expanded in 2003.

The more rapid depreciation more than offsets the understatement of 
depreciation due to the use of historical cost basis depreciation, if inflation is 
at a rate of about two percent or so for most assets.  Under these 
circumstances the effective tax rate on equipment is below the statutory tax 
rate and the tax rates of most assets are relatively close to the statutory rate.  
Thus, equipment tends to be favored relative to other assets and the tax 
system causes a misallocation of capital.  

Some arguments are made that investment in equipment should be 
subsidized because it is more "high tech";  conventional economic theory 
suggests, however, that tax neutrality is more likely to ensure that investment 
is allocated to its most productive use.


	Selected Bibliography

Auerbach, Alan, and Kevin Hassett. "Investment, Tax Policy, and the Tax 
Reform Act of 1986," Do Taxes Matter: The Impact of the Tax Reform Act of 
1986, ed. Joel Slemrod.  Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1990, pp. 13-49.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  Public Policy and 
Capital Formation.  April 1981.
Brannon, Gerard M. "The Effects of Tax Incentives for Business 
Investment: A Survey of the Economic Evidence," U.S. Congress, Joint 
Economic Committee, The Economics of Federal Subsidy Programs, Part 3: 
"Tax Subsidies."  July 15, 1972, pp. 245-268.
Brazell, David W. and James B. Mackie III.  "Depreciation Lives and 
Methods: Current Issues in the U.S. Capital Cost Recovery System," National 
Tax Journal, v. 53 (September 2000), pp. 531-562.
Break, George F.  "The Incidence and Economic Effects of Taxation," The 
Economics of Public Finance.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1974.


Clark, Peter K.  Tax Incentives and Equipment Investment, Brookings 
Papers on Economic Activity no. 1, 1994, pp. 317-339.
Cohen, Darryl and Jason Cummins.  A Retrospective Evaluation of the 
Effects of Temporary Partial Expensing, Federal Reserve Board Staff 
Working Paper 2006-19, Washington, D.C., April, 2006. 
Cummins, Jason G., Kevin Hasset and R. Glenn Hubbard.  "Have Tax 
Reforms Affected Investment?" in James M. Poterba, Tax Policy and The 
Economy, v. 9, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as 
Natural Experiments, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 2, 1994, 
pp. 1-74.
Dunn, Wendy E., Mark E. Doms, Stephen D. Oliner, and Daniel E. 
Sichel.  "How Fast Do Personal Computers Depreciate? Concepts and 
New Estimates," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 
No. 10521, Cambridge, MA., May 2004.
Feldstein, Martin.  "Adjusting Depreciation in an Inflationary Economy: 
Indexing Versus Acceleration," National Tax Journal, v. 34.  March 1981, 
pp. 29-43.
Fullerton, Don, Robert Gillette, and James Mackie.  "Investment Incentives 
Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of Tax Research 1987, 
Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 131-172.
Fullerton, Don, Yolanda K. Henderson, and James Mackie. "Investment 
Allocation and Growth Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Compendium of 
Tax Research 1987, Office of Tax Analysis, Department of The Treasury.  
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987, pp. 173-202. 
Gravelle, Jane G.  "Differential Taxation of Capital Income: Another Look 
at the Tax Reform Act of 1986," National Tax Journal, v. 63.  December 
1989, pp. 441-464.
-. Depreciation and the Tax Treatment of Real Estate. Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30163.  Washington, 
DC: October 25, 2000.
-.  Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income, Chapters 3 and 5. 
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.
-.  "Whither Tax Depreciation?"  National Tax Journal, vol. 54, 
September, 2001, pp. 513-526.
Harberger, Arnold, "Tax Neutrality in Investment Incentives," The 
Economics of Taxation, eds. Henry J. Aaron and Michael J. Boskin.  
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1980,  pp. 299-313.
Hendershott, Patric and Sheng-Cheng Hu, "Investment in Producers' 
Durable Equipment," How Taxes Affect Economic Behavior, eds. Henry J. 
Aaron and Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 
1981, pp. 85-129.
Hulten, Charles, ed.  Depreciation, Inflation, and the Taxation of Income 
From Capital.   Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 1981.
Hulten, Charles R., and Frank C. Wykoff.  "Issues in Depreciation 
Measurement." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 10-23.


Jorgenson, Dale W.  "Empirical Studies of Depreciaton." Economic 
Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 24-42.
Mackie, James.  "Capital Cost Recovery," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Nadiri, M. Ishaq, and Ingmar R. Prucha.  "Depreciation Rate Estimation of 
Physical and R&D Capital." Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp. 43-
56.
Oliner, Stephen D.  "New Evidence on the Retirement and Depreciation of 
Machine Tools."  Economic Inquiry, v. 34, January 1996, pp.57-77. 
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986.  May 4, 1987, pp. 89-110.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Report to the Congress on Depreciation 
Recovery Periods and Methods.  Washington, DC: June 2000.








	Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	EXPENSING OF DEPRECIABLE
	BUSINESS PROPERTY


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

2.8

0.6

3.4

2007

2.6

0.6

3.2

2008

0.1

-0.1

0.0

2009

-0.8

-0.4

-1.2

2010

-0.4

-0.2

-0.6

These figures do not reflect the revenue effects of the changes in the 
section 179 expensing allowance made by the Tax Increase Prevention and 
Reconciliation Act of 2005, which increased the total revenue loss by $2.8 
billion in 2008, $4.5 billion in 2009, and $0.2 billion in 2010.


Authorization

Section 179.


Description



A business taxpayer (other than a trust or estate) may deduct (or expense) 
no less than $100,000 of the cost of qualifying depreciable property in the tax 
year when it is placed in service.  In 2006, the maximum expensing allowance 
for most firms able to claim it is $108,000.  (The allowance is higher for firms 
located in so-called Enterprise and Empowerment Zones, Renewal 
Communities, the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the portion of 
Manhattan directly affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.)  
Under current federal tax law, this treatment is available from May 2003 
through the end of 2009.  The alternative to expensing is to recover the cost 
over a longer period according to current depreciation schedules.  Beginning 
in 2010 and beyond, the maximum expensing allowance will drop to $25,000. 


For the most part, qualifying property is new and used machinery, 
equipment, and computer software purchased for use in a trade or business.  
Software is eligible for expensing only from 2003 through 2009.  

The amount that may be expensed is subject to two important limitations: a 
dollar limitation and an income limitation.  Under the former, the maximum 
expensing allowance is reduced, dollar for dollar, by the amount by which the 
total cost of qualifying property placed in service in a tax year from 2003 
through 2009 exceeds a threshold of not less than $400,000 (an amount that is 
also known as the phase-out threshold).  In 2006, this threshold is $430,000 
for most firms able to claim the allowance.  (The threshold is higher for firms 
located in Empowerment and Enterprise Zones, Renewal Communities, the 
areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the portion of Manhattan affected by 
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.)  Beginning in 2010 and beyond, 
the threshold will drop to $200,000.  As a result of the dollar limitation, none 
of the cost of qualifying property may be expensed once the total cost reaches 
$538,000 in 2006.  Under the income limitation, the expensing allowance 
may not exceed the taxable income a business taxpayer earns from the active 
conduct of the trade or business in which the qualifying property is used.  
Business taxpayers may not carry forward expensing allowances lost because 
of the dollar limitation, but they may carry forward those denied because of 
the income limitation.


	Impact

In the absence of section 179, the cost of depreciable business property 
would have to be recovered over longer periods.  Thus, the provision greatly 
accelerates the depreciation of relatively small purchases of qualified business 
assets.  This effect has important implications for the cash flow of firms, since 
the present value of the taxes owed on the stream of income earned by a 
depreciable asset decreases as the rate of depreciation rises.  In theory, 
expensing has the potential to stimulate increased business investment, as it is 
equivalent to taxing the income earned from eligible business assets at a 
marginal effective tax rate of zero.

The allowance offers another benefit to firms able to take advantage of it:  
it simplifies their tax accounting.

Because the allowance has a phase-out threshold, most of the firms that 
take advantage of it are relatively small in asset, employment, or revenue size. 



Benefits to capital income tend to concentrate in the higher income classes 
(see discussion in the Introduction).


	Rationale

The expensing allowance originated as a special first-year depreciation 
deduction that was enacted as part of the Small Business Tax Revision Act of 
1958.  The deduction was equal to 20 percent of the first $10,000 of spending 
($20,000 in the case of a joint return) on new and used business equipment 
and machinery with a tax life of six or more years.  It was intended to provide 
tax relief and an investment incentive for small firms, and to simplify their tax 
accounting. 

The deduction remained intact until the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 
1981 (ERTA) replaced it with a maximum expensing allowance of $5,000.  
ERTA also established a timetable for increasing the allowance to $10,000 by 
1986 and an investment tax credit.  Business taxpayers were not permitted to 
claim both the allowance and the credit for acquisitions of the same assets.  
As a result, relatively few firms took advantage of the allowance until the 
investment tax credit was repealed by the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  

A provision of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, postponed the scheduled 
increase in the maximum allowance to $10,000 from 1986 to 1990.  The 
allowance did reach $10,000 in 1990, as scheduled.

It remained at that amount until 1993, when President Clinton proposed a 
temporary investment credit for equipment for large firms and a permanent 
one for small firms.  The credits were not adopted, but the Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1993 increased the expensing allowance to $17,500, as 
of January 1, 1993.

With the enactment of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, the 
size of the allowance embarked on an accelerated upward path:  it rose to 
$18,000 in 1997, $18,500 in 1998, $19,000 in 1999, $20,000 in 2000, 
$24,000 in 2001 and 2002, and $25,000 in 2003 and thereafter.

The maximum allowance would still be $25,000, were it not for the 
enactment of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 
(JGTRRA).  The act made three important changes in the allowance. First, it 
raised the maximum amount that can be expensed to $100,000 and the phase-
out threshold to $400,000, for 2003 through 2005.  Second, JGTRRA 
indexed both amounts for inflation in 2004 and 2005.  Finally, it added 
purchases of off-the-shelf computer software for business use to the list of 
depreciable assets eligible for expensing in 2003 through 2005.



Under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, all the changes in the 
allowance made by JGTRRA are extended through 2007.

The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 extended 
these changes through 2009.


Assessment

The expensing allowance under section 179 has important implications for 
tax administration and economic efficiency.  With regard to the former, it 
simplifies tax accounting for firms able to take advantage of the allowance.  
With regard to the latter, the provision encourages increased investment by 
smaller firms in a way that might divert financial capital away from more 
productive uses.  Nonetheless, its overall influence on tax administration and 
the allocation of economic resources is limited because most large firms are 
unable to take advantage of the allowance.

Although some argue that investment in and by smaller firms should be 
fostered because they tend to create more jobs and generate more 
technological innovation than larger firms, evidence on this issue is mixed.  In 
addition, conventional economic analysis offers no support for investment tax 
subsidies targeted at such firms.  In theory, taxing the returns to all 
investments at the same rate does less harm to social welfare than does 
making the tax rate on those returns dependent on a firm's size.

Some question the efficacy of expensing as a policy tool for encouraging 
higher levels of business investment in plant and equipment.  A better 
approach, in the view of these skeptics, would be to enact permanent 
reductions in corporate and individual tax rates.

The economic effects of expensing may receive greater congressional 
consideration in coming months.  In November 2005, an advisory panel on 
federal tax reform created by President George W. Bush the previous January 
issued its final report.  After evaluating a number of reform proposals, the 
panel recommended two reform plans:  the "Simplified Income Tax Plan" and 
the Growth and Investment Tax Plan."  While plans would modify the current 
rules governing the tax treatment of depreciation, only the Growth and 
Investment Plan would allow all new investments by firms of all sizes to be 
expensed.


	Selected Bibliography

Armington, Catherine, and Marjorie Odle.  "Small Business--How Many 
Jobs?" The Brookings Review, v. 1, no. 2.  Winter 1982, pp. 14-17.


Cahlin, Richard A.  "Current Deduction Available for Many Costs That 
Are Capital in Nature," Taxation for Accountants, v. 29.  November 1982, pp. 
292-295.
Cash, Stephen L. and Thomas L. Dickens, "Depreciation After the 2003 
Tax Act - Part 1: Taxes," Strategic Finance, October 1, 2003, p. 17.
Cordes, Joseph J., "Expensing," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy, Joseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle, eds., 
Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press,1999, p. 114.
Gaffney, Dennis J., Maureen H. Smith-Gaffney, and Bonnie M. Moe, 
"JGTRRA Increases in Accelerated Capital Recovery Provisions Are 
Generally Taxpayer Friendly," Journal of Taxation, July, 2003, p. 20.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Small Business Tax Subsidy Proposals, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 93-316.  Washington, DC: 
March 15, 1994.
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Expensing Allowance:  Current Status, 
Legislative Proposals, and Economic Effects, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service, Report RL31852, Washington, DC: October 
3, 2006.
Holtz-Eakin, Doug.  "Should Small Business be Tax-Favored?"  National 
Tax Journal, v. 48, September 1995, pp. 447-462.
Neubig, Tom.  "Where's the Applause?  Why Most Corporations Prefer a 
Lower Rate."  Tax Notes, April 24, 2006.  pp. 483-486.
President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.  Simple, Fair, and 
Pro-Growth: Proposals to Fix America's Tax System.  Washington, DC: 
November 2005.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Finance hearing 104-69.  Small 
Business Tax Incentives.  Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing 
Office, June 7, 1995.










Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

AMORTIZATION OF BUSINESS START-UP COSTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.7

(1)

0.7

2007

0.7

(1)

0.7

2008

0.8

(1)

0.8

2009

0.8

(1)

0.8

2010

0.9

(1)

0.9

(1)Less than $50 million.


Authorization


Section 195.


Description

In general, business taxpayers are allowed to deduct all normal and 
reasonable expenses they incur in conducting their trade or business.  This 
rule implies that costs incurred before the start of a business should not be 
considered deductible because they were not incurred in connection with 
carrying on an active trade or business.  Instead, start-up costs should be 
capitalized and added to a taxpayer's basis in the business.  Yet under section 
195, a business taxpayer may deduct up to $5,000 in qualified start-up 
expenditures and amortize any remaining amount over 15 years.  In the 
absence of such an option, no deduction would be allowed for start-up 
expenditures.



Start-up expenditures must satisfy two requirements to qualify for this 
preferential treatment.  First, they must be related to one or more of the 
following activities:  looking into the creation or acquisition of an active trade 
or business; creating an active trade or business; or engaging in what the 
Internal Revenue Service sees as "a profit-seeking or income-producing 
activity" before an active trade or business commences.  Second, the 
expenditures must be tied to costs that would be deductible if they were paid 
or incurred in connection with an existing trade or business.  Excluded from 
qualifying start-up expenditures are interest payments on debt, tax payments, 
and spending on research and development that is deductible under section 
174.


	Impact

The election to deduct and amortize business start-up costs removes an 
impediment to the formation of new businesses by permitting the immediate 
deduction of expenses that otherwise could not be recovered until the owner 
sold his or her interest in the business.

Benefits to capital income tend to concentrate in the higher income classes 
(see discussion in the Introduction).


	Rationale

Before the enactment of section 195 in 1980, the question of whether an 
expense incurred in connection with starting a new trade or business was 
currently deductible or should be capitalized was a source of controversy and 
costly litigation between business taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service 
(IRS).  Business taxpayers had the option of treating certain organizational 
expenditures for the formation of a corporation or partnership as deferred 
expenses on an elective basis and amortizing them over a period of not less 
than 60 months (Code sections 248 and 709).

Section 195 first entered the federal tax code through the Miscellaneous 
Revenue Act of 1980.  The original provision allowed business taxpayers to 
amortize start-up expenditures over a period of not less than 60 months.  It 
defined start-up expenditures as any expense "paid or incurred in connection 
with investigating the creation or acquisition of an active trade or business, or 
creating an active trade or business."  In addition, the expense had to be one 
that would have been immediately deductible if it were paid or incurred in 
connection with the expansion of an existing trade or business.  Congress 
added section 195 to facilitate the creation of new businesses and reduce the 
likelihood of protracted legal disputes over the tax treatment of start-up 
expenditures.



Nevertheless, in spite of the changes enacted in 1980, numerous disputes 
continued to arise over whether certain business start-up costs should be 
expensed under section 162, capitalized under section 263, or amortized 
under section 195.  In an attempt to diminish the controversy and litigation 
surrounding the interpretation of section 195, Congress added a provision to 
the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 clarifying the definition of start-up 
expenditures.  Specifically, the provision required taxpayers to treat start-up 
expenditures as deferred expenses, which meant that they were to be 
capitalized unless a taxpayer elected to amortize them over a period of not 
less than 60 months.  It also broadened the definition of start-up expenditures 
to include any expenses incurred in connection with activities aimed at 
earning a profit or producing income before the day when the active conduct 
of a trade of business commenced; the expenses had to be incurred in 
anticipation of entering the trade or business.

No changes were made in section 195 until the enactment of the American 
Jobs Creation Act of 2004.  The act included a provision limiting the scope of 
the amortization of business start-up costs under prior law.  Specifically, the 
provision permitted business taxpayers to deduct up to $5,000 in eligible 
start-up costs in the tax year when their trade or business began.  This amount 
must be reduced (but not below zero) by the amount by which these costs 
exceed $50,000.  Any remaining amount must be amortized over 15 years, 
beginning with the month in which the active conduct of the trade or business 
commenced.  The definition of start-up costs was left unchanged.  In making 
these modifications to section 195, Congress seemed to have two aims.  One 
was to encourage the formation of new firms that do not require substantial 
start-up costs by allowing a large share of those costs to be deductible in the 
tax year when the firms begin to operate.  The second aim was to make the 
amortization period for start-up costs consistent with that for intangible assets 
under section 197, which was (and is) 15 years.


Assessment

In theory, business start-up costs should be written off over the life of the 
business on the grounds that they are a capital expense.  Such a view, 
however, does raise the thorny problem of determining the useful life of a 
business at its outset.

Section 195 has two distinct advantages.  First, it substantially lowers the 
likelihood of costly and drawn-out legal disputes involving business taxpayers 
and the IRS over the tax treatment of start-up costs.  Second, the provision 
does so at a relatively small revenue cost.




	Selected Bibliography

Davis, Jon E., "Amortization of Start-Up Costs," Tax Adviser, April 1999, 
p. 222.
Fiore, Nicholas J., "IRS Issues Guidance on Amortizable Start-Up Cost," 
Tax Adviser, July 1999, pp. 527-532.
Garris, Henry A., "Update and Review of Start-Up Expenditures," CPA 
Journal, March 1991, p. 60.
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Tax Benefits: Overview and Economic 
Analysis, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL32254, Washington, DC:  March 3, 2004.
Internal Revenue Service, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, 
publication 583, Washington, D.C.: March 2006.
Kalinka, Susan, "When Will Business Investigatory Expenditures Be 
Amortizable Start-Up Costs?," Taxes, September 1998, pp. 5-9.
Kline, Robin, "Disallowed Start-Up Expenses," Tax Adviser, October 
1998, pp. 666-667.
Paul, Michael S., "Elect to Amortize Nondeductible Start-Up Expenses," 
Taxation for Accountants, August 1995, pp. 68-73.
Persellin, Mark B. and Shawn E. Novak, "Start-Up Expenditures: 
Compliance and Planning Issues," Journal of Corporate Taxation, Summer 
1995, p. 141.
Schnee, Edward J., "Speed Up the Deduction of Business Expansion 
Costs," Practical Tax Strategies, July 1999, pp. 4-12.
Thornton, David A., "IRS Clarifies the Applicability of Section 195 to 
Business Acquisitions," Tax Adviser, September 1999, pp. 625-626.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means.  Miscellaneous 
Revenue Act of 1980.  Report 96-1278, pp. 9-13.
-, Senate Committee on Finance.  Jumpstart Our Business Strength (Jobs) 
Act.  Report 108-192, pp. 196-197.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 98th 
Congress, 2nd Session, December 31, 1984, pp. 295-297.
Wilcox, Gary B.  "Start-Up Cost Treatment Under Section 195: Tax 
Disparity in Disguise," Oklahoma Law Review, v. 36.  Spring 1983, pp. 
449-466.








Commerce and Housing Credit:
Other Business and Commerce

REDUCED RATES ON FIRST $10,000,000
OF CORPORATE TAXABLE INCOME


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

4.3

4.3

2007

-

4.3

4.3

2008

-

4.3

4.3

2009

-

4.3

4.3

2010

-

4.3

4.3


Authorization

Section 11.


Description

Corporations with less than $10 million in taxable income are taxed 
according to a complicated graduated rate structure.  Under the existing 
structure, the tax rate is 15 percent on the first $50,000 of income, 25 percent 
on the next $25,000, and an average of 34 percent thereafter.  To offset the 
benefit from the lower rates, a tax rate of 39 percent is imposed on corporate 
taxable income between $100,000 and $335,000.  As a result, the benefit of 
the lower rates vanishes for corporations with taxable income in excess of 
$335,000:  they pay a flat average rate of 34 percent.  The tax rate on taxable 
income between $335,000 and $10 million is 34 percent.  It rises to 35 
percent for taxable income from $10 million to $15 million.  When taxable 
income falls between $15 million and $18,333,333, the rate jumps to 38 
percent.  And a flat rate of 35 percent applies to taxable income above 
$18,333,333.  Thus, the benefit of the 34 percent rate is phased out when 
income reaches $18,333,333.


The graduated rates do not apply to the taxable income of personal-service 
corporations; instead, it is taxed at a flat rate of 35 percent.  In addition, there 
are restrictions on eligibility for the lower rates to prevent abuse by related 
corporations. 

The tax expenditure for section 11 lies in the difference between taxes paid 
and the taxes that would be owed if all corporate income were taxed at a flat 
35 percent rate.


	Impact

The reduced rates mainly affect smaller corporations.  This is because the 
graduated rate structure limits the benefits of the rates under 35 percent to 
corporations with taxable incomes below $335,000.  

The graduated rates encourage firms to use the corporate form of legal 
organization and allow some small corporations that might otherwise operate 
as passthrough entities (e.g., sole proprietorships or partnerships) to provide 
fringe benefits.  They also encourage the splitting of operations between sole 
proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations and regular C corporations.  
Most businesses are not incorporated; so only a small fraction of firms are 
affected by this provision.

This provision is likely to benefit higher-income individuals who are the 
primary owners of capital (see Introduction for a discussion).


Rationale

In the early years of the corporate income tax, exemptions from the tax 
were allowed in some years.  A graduated rate structure was first adopted in 
1936.  From 1950 to 1974, corporate income was subject to a "normal tax" 
and a surtax, and the first $25,000 of income was exempt from the surtax.  
The exemption was intended to provide tax relief for small businesses.

Not surprisingly, this dual structure led many large firms to reorganize their 
operations into numerous smaller corporations in order to avoid paying the 
surtax.  Some steps to remedy this loophole were taken in 1963.  But the most 
important correction came in 1969, when legislation was enacted that limited 
clusters of corporations controlled by the same interest to a single exemption.

In 1975, a graduated rate structure with three brackets was adopted.  In 
1984, a law was enacted which included a provision phasing out the 
exemption for taxable incomes between $1 million and $1.405 million.  The 
act also lowered the rates that applied to incomes up to $100,000.



The present graduated rate structure for corporate taxable income below 
$10 million came into being with the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. 
 More specifically, the act lowered the ceilings on the rates and accelerated 
the phase-out of the reduced rates so that their benefits gradually disappeared 
between $100,000 and $335,000.  In taking these steps, Congress was 
attempting to target the benefits of the graduated rate structure more precisely 
at smaller firms.  Motivated by a desire to reduce a large and growing budget 
deficit by raising revenue, Congress added the 35-percent corporate tax rate 
through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.


Assessment

A principal justification for the graduated rates is that they provide needed 
assistance to small businesses.  The rates do so by lowering their cost of 
capital for new investments and increasing their cash flow during periods 
when many of them struggle to survive.  But can the graduated rates be 
justified on economic grounds?

Unlike the graduated rates of the individual tax, the corporate graduated 
rate structure cannot be justified on the basis of a firm's ability to pay.  The 
reason is two-fold:   individuals and not corporations end up paying corporate 
taxes, and owners of small corporations are likely to be very well off.  In 
addition, graduated rates can serve as a means of reducing the tax burden of 
small business owners.  Such a reduction is possible when the individual 
income of owners of small corporations is taxed at a higher rate than the 
income of their corporations.  These considerations suggest that tax relief for 
small firms cannot be justified on the grounds of equity.

Can such tax relief be justified on the basis of economic efficiency?  Once 
again, the case seems weak or less than persuasive.  Although some argue that 
government policy should support investment in and by small firms because 
they tend to create more jobs and generate more technological innovations 
than larger firms, evidence on this issue is decidedly mixed.  Conventional 
economic analysis implies that maximum output is likely to be produced 
when the returns to all investments are taxed at the same rate.  A graduated 
rate structure discourages investments in and by firms subject to the higher 
marginal tax rates of the phase-out range.  Such an incentive effect can distort 
the allocation of economic resources by diverting the flow of financial capital 
from its most productive uses.  Graduated rates also give large corporations 
an incentive to operate for tax purposes as multiple smaller units, where 
economies of scale have less of an impact on the returns to investment.



Graduated rates do, however, make it possible for owners of businesses in 
the lower income brackets to operate as corporations.  Generally, business 
owners are free to operate their firms as a regular C corporation or some kind 
of passthrough entity (i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability 
company, or S corporation) for legal purposes.  Income earned by 
passthrough entities is attributed to the owners (whether or not it is 
distributed) and taxed at individual income tax rates.  Depending on the 
amount, it is possible for income earned by corporations to be taxed at lower 
rates than income earned by passthrough entities.  Differences between the 
two rates create opportunities for the sheltering of income in corporations.  
There may be some circumstances, however, where operating as a 
passthrough entity is not feasible.  For instance, corporate status may be 
indispensable if more than one class of stock or favorable tax treatment of 
employee fringe benefits is desired.


	Selected Bibliography

Armington, Catherine, and Marjorie Odle.  "Small Business--How Many 
Jobs?"  Brookings Review, v. 1, no. 2.  Winter 1982, pp. 14-17.
Brumbaugh, David.  Federal Business Taxation: The Current System, Its 
Effects, and Options for Reform.  Library of Congress, Congressional 
Research Service Report RL33171.  Washington, DC: September 21, 2006.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Small Business Tax Subsidy Proposals.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 93-316.  Washington, DC: 
March 15, 1994.
-.  "The Corporate Income Tax: Where Has It Been and Where Is It 
Going?."  National Tax Journal, vol. 57, December 2004.  pp. 903-923.
Guenther, Gary.  Small Business Tax Benefits: Overview and Economic 
Analysis.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL32254.  Washington, DC: March 3, 2004.
Pechman, Joseph A.  Federal Tax Policy.  Washington, DC: The 
Brookings Institution, 1987, pp. 302-305.
Plesko, George A.  "`Gimme Shelter?' Closely Held Corporations Since 
Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, v. 48.  September 1995, pp. 409-416.
Holtz-Eakin, Douglas.  "Should Small Business be Tax-Favored?"  
National Tax Journal, v. 48, September 1995, pp. 447-462.
Schnee, Edward J.  "Refining the Definition of a Personal Service 
Corporation."  Journal of Accountancy, vol. 202, no. 3,  September 1, 2006.  
p. 74
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Reducing the Deficit: 
Spending and Revenue Options,.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government 
Printing Office, March 1997, p. 337.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986, 99th Congress, 2nd session.  May 4, 1987: pp. 271-273.
-, Senate Committee on Finance hearing 104-69.  Small Business Tax 
Incentives.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 7, 1995.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, 
and Economic Growth, v. 2, General Explanation of the Treasury 
Department Proposals.  November, 1974, pp. 128-129.








	 Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	PERMANENT EXEMPTION
	FROM IMPUTED INTEREST RULES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.4

(1)

0.4

2007

0.4

(1)

0.4

2008

0.4

(1)

0.4

2009

0.4

(1)

0.4

2010

0.5

(1)

0.5

(1)less than $50 million


	Authorization

Sections 163(e), 483, 1274, and 1274A.


	Description

The failure to report interest as it accrues can allow the deferral of taxes.  
The tax code generally requires that debt instruments bear a market rate of 
interest at least equal to the average rate on outstanding Treasury securities of 
comparable maturity.  If an instrument does not, the Internal Revenue Service 
imputes a market rate to it.  The imputed interest must be included as income 
to the recipient and is deducted by the payer.



There are several exceptions to the general rules for imputing interest on 
debt instruments.  Debt associated with the sale of property when the total 
sales price is no more than $250,000, the sale of farms or small businesses by 
individuals when the sales price is no more than $1 million, and the sale of a 
personal residence, is not subject to the imputation rules at all.  Debt 
instruments for amounts not exceeding an inflation-adjusted maximum (about 
$4.6 million or $3.3 million, depending on the kind of the debt instrument), 
given in exchange for real property, may not have imputed to them an interest 
rate greater than 9 percent.

This tax expenditure is the revenue loss in the current year from the 
deferral of taxes caused by these exceptions.


	Impact

The exceptions to the imputed interest rules are generally directed at "seller 
take-back" financing, in which the seller of the property receives a debt 
instrument (note, mortgage) in return for the property.  This is a financing 
technique often used in selling personal residences or small businesses or 
farms, especially in periods of tight money and high interest rates, both to 
facilitate the sales and to provide the sellers with continuing income.

This financing mechanism can also be used, however, to shift taxable 
income between tax years and thus delay the payment of taxes.  When interest 
is fully taxable but the gain on the sale of the property is taxed at reduced 
capital gains rates, as in current law, taxes can be eliminated, not just 
deferred, by characterizing more of a transaction as gain and less as interest 
(that is, the sales price could be increased and the interest rate decreased).

With only restricted exceptions to the imputation rules, and other recent tax 
reforms, the provisions now cause only modest revenue losses and have 
relatively little economic impact.


	Rationale

Restrictions were placed on the debt instruments arising from seller-
financed transactions beginning with the Revenue Act of 1964, to assure that 
taxes were not reduced by manipulating the purchase price and stated interest 
charges. These restrictions still allowed considerable creativity on the part of 
taxpayers, however, leading ultimately to the much stricter and more 
comprehensive rules included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.

The 1984 rules were regarded as very detrimental to real estate sales and 
they were modified almost immediately (temporarily in 1985 [P.L. 98-612] 
and permanently in 1986 [P.L. 99-121]).  The exceptions to the imputed 
interest rules described above were introduced in 1984 and 1986 (P.L. 99-
121) to allow more flexibility in structuring sales of personal residences, 
small businesses, and farms by the owners, and to avoid the administrative 
problems that might arise in applying the rules to other smaller sales.


	Assessment

The imputed interest and related rules dealing with property-for-debt 
exchanges were important in restricting unwarranted tax benefits before the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986 eliminated the capital gains exclusion and 
lengthened the depreciable lives of buildings.

Under pre-1986 law, the seller of commercial property would prefer a 
higher sales price with a smaller interest rate on the associated debt, because 
the gain on the sale was taxed at lower capital gains tax rates.  The buyer 
would at least not object to, and might prefer, the same allocation because it 
increased the cost of property and the amount of depreciation deductions  
(i.e., the purchaser could deduct the principal, through depreciation 
deductions, as well as the interest).  It was possible to structure a sale so that 
both seller and purchaser had more income at the expense of the government.

Under current depreciation rules and low interest rates, this allocation is 
much less important.  In addition, the 9-percent cap on imputed interest for 
some real estate sales has no effect when market interest rates are below that 
figure.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description of the Tax 
Treatment of Imputed Interest on Deferred Payment Sales of Property,  JCS-
15-85.  May 17, 1985.
-.  General Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction 
Act of 1984, JCS-41-84.  December 31, 1984, pp.108-127.
Internal Revenue Service.  Installment Sales. Publication 537, for use in 
preparing 2005 returns, p. 9.











Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

EXPENSING OF MAGAZINE CIRCULATION EXPENDITURES

Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(2)

2007

(1)

(1)

(2)

2008

(1)

(1)

(2)

2009

(1)

(1)

(2)

2010

(1)

(1)

(2)

(1)Less than $50 million.
(2)Less than $100 million


Authorization

Section 173.


Description

In general, publishers of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals are 
allowed to deduct their expenditures to maintain, establish, or increase 
circulation in the year when the expenditures are made.

Current deductions of these expenditures are permitted even though 
expenditures to establish or increase circulation would otherwise be treated as 
capital expenditures under section 263.  Expenditures eligible for this 
preferential treatment do not include purchases of land and depreciable 
property or the expansion of circulation through the purchase of another 
publisher or its list of subscribers.



The tax expenditure in section 173 lies in the difference between the 
current deduction of costs and the present value of the depreciation 
deductions that would be taken if these costs were capitalized. 


	Impact

Publishers are permitted a current deduction for circulation costs, including 
some that otherwise should be treated as capital in nature.  Such preferential 
treatment speeds up the recovery of those costs, increasing cash flow and 
reducing the cost of capital for publishers.  Investment in maintaining and 
expanding circulation is a critical element of the competitive strategies for 
publishers of newspapers and magazines. The number of readers is an 
important source of revenue in and of itself, and the advertising rates 
publishers can charge typically are based on the volume of sales and 
readership.

Like many other business tax expenditures, the benefit tends to accrue to 
high-income individuals (see Introduction for a discussion).


Rationale

Section 173 was added to the federal tax code through the Revenue Act of 
1950.  In taking this step, Congress was hoping to eliminate some of the 
problems associated with distinguishing between expenditures to maintain 
circulation, which had been treated as currently deductible, and those to 
establish or develop new circulation, which had to be capitalized.  Numerous 
legal disputes between publishers and the Internal Revenue Service over the 
application and interpretation of such a distinction had arisen as far back as 
the late 1920s.

Section 173 remained unchanged until the passage of the Tax Equity and 
Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.  Among other things, the act made the 
expensing of circulation expenditures a preference item under the alternative 
minimum tax (AMT) for individuals and required affected individuals to 
amortize any such expenditures over 10 years.  Congress lowered the recovery 
period to three years in the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, where it now 
stands.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 further clarified the treatment of 
circulation expenditures under the individual AMT:  specifically, the act 
allowed taxpayers who recorded a loss on the disposition of property related 
to such expenditures (e.g., a newspaper) to claim as a deduction against the 
AMT all remaining circulation expenditures that have yet to be deducted for 
the purpose of the minimum tax.



Assessment

Although section 173 provides a significant tax benefit for publishers in 
that it allows them to expense the acquisition of an asset (i.e., lists of 
subscribers) that yield returns in future tax years, it simplifies tax compliance 
and accounting for them and tax administration for the IRS.  Without such 
treatment, it would be necessary for IRS or Congress to clarify how to 
distinguish between expenditures for establishing or expanding circulation 
and expenditures for maintaining circulation.


	Selected Bibliography

Commerce Clearing House.  "'50 Act Clarified Tax Treatment of 
Circulation Expenses of Publishers," Federal Tax Guide Reports, v. 48.  
September 9, 1966, p. 2.
Davidson, James H.  "A Publisher's Guide to Tax Reform - Part 2," Folio: 
The Magazine for Magazine Management, February 1987.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.  Summary 
of H.R. 8920, "The Revenue Act of 1950,"  as agreed to by the Conferees.  
September 1950, p. 12.
Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, Committee Print, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  December 31, 1984, p. 986
-, General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Committee Print, 
99th Congress, 2nd Session, May 4, 1987, p. 445.
Washburn, David.  "Newspapers Hope Online Readers Will Keep Them 
Profitable."  Copley News Service.  December 4, 2005.  Available at 
www.copleynews.com.







	


	Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	SPECIAL RULES FOR MAGAZINE,
	PAPERBACK BOOK, AND RECORD RETURNS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 458.


	Description

In general, if a buyer returns goods to the seller, the seller's income is 
reduced in the year in which the items are returned.  If the goods are returned 
after the tax year in which the goods were sold, the seller's income for the 
previous year is not affected.

An exception to the general rule has been granted to publishers and 
distributors of magazines, paperbacks, and records, who may elect to exclude 
from gross income for a tax year the income from the sale of goods that are 
returned after the close of the tax year.  The exclusion applies to magazines 
that are returned within two months and fifteen days after the close of the tax 
year, and to paperbacks and records that are returned within four months and 
fifteen days after the close of the tax year.


To be eligible for the special election, a publisher or distributor must be 
under a legal obligation, at the time of initial sale, to provide a refund or 
credit for unsold copies.


	Impact

Publishers and distributors of magazines, paperbacks, and records who 
make the special election are not taxed on income from goods that are 
returned after the close of the tax year.  The special election mainly benefits 
large publishers and distributors.


	Rationale

The purpose of the special election for publishers and distributors of 
magazines, paperbacks, and records is to avoid imposing a tax on accrued 
income when goods that are sold in one tax year are returned after the close of 
the year.

The special rule for publishers and distributors of magazines, paperbacks, 
and records was enacted by the Revenue Act of 1978.


	Assessment

For goods returned after the close of a tax year in which they were sold, the 
special  exception allows publishers and distributors to reduce income for the 
previous year.  Therefore, the special election is inconsistent with the general 
principles of accrual accounting.

The special tax treatment granted to publishers and distributors of 
magazines, paperbacks, and records is not available to producers and 
distributors of other goods.  On the other hand, publishers and distributors of 
magazines, paperbacks, and records often sell more copies to wholesalers and 
retailers than they expect will be sold to consumers.

One reason for the overstocking of inventory is that it is difficult to predict 
consumer demand for particular titles.  Overstocking is also used as a 
marketing strategy that relies on the conspicuous display of selected titles.  
Knowing that unsold copies can be returned, wholesalers and retailers are 
more likely to stock a larger number of titles and to carry more copies of 
individual titles.



For business purposes, publishers generally set up a reserve account in the 
amount of estimated returns.  Additions to the account reduce business 
income for the year in which the goods are sold.  For tax purposes, the special 
election for returns of magazines, paperbacks, and records is similar, but not 
identical, to the reserve account used for business purposes.


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Act of 1978, 95th Congress, 2nd session.  March 12, 1979, pp. 235-
41.
-,  Tax Reform Proposals: Accounting Issues, Committee Print, 99th 
Congress, 1st session.  September 13, 1985.
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.  "Certain 
Returned Magazines, Paperbacks or Records," Federal Register, v. 57, 
August 26, 1992, pp. 38595-38600.










	 Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	COMPLETED CONTRACT RULES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.3

0.3

2007

(1)

0.3

0.3

2008

(1)

0.4

0.4

2009

(1)

0.4

0.4

2010

(1)

0.5

0.5

(1)Less than $50 million


	Authorization

Section 460.


	Description

Some taxpayers with construction or manufacturing contracts extending for 
more than one tax year are allowed to report some or all of the profit on the 
contracts under special accounting rules rather than the normal rules of tax 
accounting.  Many such taxpayers use the "completed contract" method.

A taxpayer using the completed contract method of accounting reports 
income on a long-term contract only when the contract has been completed.  
All costs properly allocable to the contract are also deducted when the 
contract is completed and the income reported, but many indirect costs may 
be deducted in the year paid or incurred.  This mismatching of income and 
expenses allows a deferral of tax payments that creates a tax advantage in this 
type of reporting.



Most taxpayers with long-term contracts are not allowed to use the 
completed contract method and must capitalize indirect costs and deduct them 
only when the income from the contract is reported.  There are exceptions, 
however.  Home construction contracts may be reported according to the 
taxpayer's "normal" method of accounting and allow current deductions for 
costs that others are required to capitalize.  

Other real estate construction contracts may also be subject to these more 
liberal rules if they are of less than two years duration and the contractor's 
gross receipts for the past three years have averaged $10 million or less.  
Contracts entered into before March 1, 1986, if still ongoing, may be reported 
on a completed contract basis, but with full capitalization of costs.

Contracts entered into between February 28, 1986, and July 11, 1989, and 
residential construction contracts other than home construction may be 
reported in part on a completed contract basis, but may require full cost 
capitalization.  This tax expenditure is the revenue loss from deferring the tax 
on those contracts still allowed to be reported under the more liberal 
completed contract rules.


	Impact

Use of the completed contract rules allows the deferral of taxes through 
mismatching income and deductions because they allow some costs to be 
deducted from other income in the year incurred, even though the costs 
actually relate to the income that will not be reported until the contract's 
completion, and because economic income accrues to the contractor each year 
he works on the contract but is not taxed until the year the contract is 
completed. Tax deferral is the equivalent of an interest-free loan from the 
Government of the amount of the deferred taxes.  Because of the restrictions 
now placed on the use of the completed contract rules, most of the current tax 
expenditure relate to real estate construction, especially housing.


	Rationale

The completed contract method of accounting for long-term construction 
contracts has been permitted by Internal Revenue regulations since 1918, on 
the grounds that such contracts involved so many uncertainties that profit or 
loss was undeterminable until the contract was completed.



In regulations first proposed in 1972 and finally adopted in 1976, the 
Internal Revenue Service extended the method to certain manufacturing 
contracts (mostly defense contracts), at the same time tightening the rules as 
to which costs must be capitalized.  Perceived abuses, particularly by defense 
contractors, led the Congress to question the original rationale for the 
provision and eventually led to a series of ever more restrictive rules.  The 
Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-248) further 
tightened the rules for cost capitalization.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514) for the first time codified the 
rules for long-term contracts and also placed restrictions on the use of the 
completed contract method.  Under this Act, the completed contract method 
could be used for reporting only 60 percent of the gross income and 
capitalized costs of a contract, with the other 40 percent reported on the 
"percentage of completion" method, except that the completed contract 
method could continue to be used by contractors with average gross receipts 
of $10 million or less to account for real estate construction contracts of no 
more than two years duration.  It also required more costs to be capitalized, 
including interest.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (P.L. 100-203) reduced 
the share of a taxpayer's long-term contracts that could be reported on a 
completed contract basis from 60 percent to 30 percent.  The Technical and 
Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-647) further reduced the 
percentage from 30 to 10, (except for residential construction contracts, which 
could continue to use the 30 percent rule) and also provided the exception for 
home construction contracts.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-239) repealed 
the provision allowing 10 percent to be reported by other than the percentage 
of completion method, thus repealing the completed contract method, except 
as noted above.

The most recent legislative change was a provision of the American Jobs 
Creation Act of 2004, later amended in the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 
2005, permitting naval shipbuilders to use the completed contract method.


	Assessment

Use of the completed contract method of accounting for long-term 
contracts was once the standard for the construction industry.  Extension of 
the method to defense contractors, however, created a perception of wide-
spread abuse of a tax advantage.  The Secretary of the Treasury testified 
before the Senate Finance Committee in 1982 that "virtually all" defense and 
aerospace contractors used the method to "substantially reduce" the taxes they 
would otherwise owe.



The principal justification for the method had always been the uncertainty 
of the outcome of long-term contracts, an argument that lost a lot of its force 
when applied to contracts in which the Government bore most of the risk.  It 
was also noted that even large construction companies, who used the method 
for tax reporting, were seldom so uncertain of the outcome of their contracts 
that they used it for their own books; their financial statements were almost 
always presented on a strict accrual accounting basis comparable to other 
businesses. 

Since the use of the completed contract rules is now restricted to a very 
small segment of the construction industry, it produces only small revenue 
losses for the Government and probably has little economic impact in most 
areas.  One area where it is still permitted, however, is in the construction of 
single-family homes, where it adds some tax advantage to an already heavily 
tax-favored sector.


	Selected Bibliography

Knight, Ray A., and Lee G. Knight.  Recent Developments Concerning the 
Completed Contract Method of Accounting, The Tax Executive, v. 41,  Fall 
1988, pp. 73-86.
U.S. Congress, House of Representatives Committee on the Budget. 
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989.  September 1989, p. 1347.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.  JCS-38-
82, December 31, 1982, pp. 148-154.
-.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  JCS-10-87, May 
4, 1987, pp. 524-530.
-.  Tax Reform Proposals: Accounting Issues.  JCS-39-85, September 13, 
1985, pp. 45-49.
U.S. General Accounting Office,  Congress Should Further Restrict Use of 
the Completed Contract Method.  Report GAO/GGD-86-34, January 1986.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

CASH ACCOUNTING,
OTHER THAN AGRICULTURE


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.8

(1)

0.8

2007

0.8

(1)

0.8

2008

0.8

(1)

0.8

2009

0.9

(1)

0.9

2010

0.9

(1)

0.9

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 446 and 448.


	Description

Under the cash method of accounting, income is reported in the year in 
which it is received and deductions are taken in the year in which expenses 
are paid.  Under the accrual method of accounting, income is generally 
recognized when it is earned, whether or not it has actually been received.  
Deductions for expenses are generally allowed in the year in which the costs 
are actually incurred.  



All taxpayers (except some farmers) must use the accrual method of 
accounting for inventories and for some income and expenses that span tax 
years (e.g., depreciation and prepaid expenses).  Tax shelters, C corporations, 
partnerships that have C corporations as partners, and certain trusts must use 
the accrual method of accounting.  Individuals and many businesses may use 
the cash method of accounting, however.  The cash method may be used by 
small businesses, qualified personal service corporations, and certain farm 
and timber interests (discussed under "Agriculture" above).

A small business is a business with average annual gross receipts of $10 
million or less for the three preceding tax years.  Qualified personal service 
corporations are employee-owned service businesses in the fields of health, 
law, accounting, engineering, architecture, actuarial science, performing arts, 
or consulting.


	Impact

For tax purposes, most individuals and many businesses use the cash 
method of accounting because it is less burdensome than the accrual method 
of accounting.  The revenue losses mainly benefit the owners of smaller 
businesses and professional service corporations of all sizes.


	Rationale

Individuals and many businesses are allowed  to use the cash method of 
accounting because it generally requires less record-keeping than other 
methods of accounting.

According to the Revenue Act of 1916, a taxpayer may compute income 
for tax purposes using the same accounting method used to compute income 
for business purposes.  The Internal Revenue Code of 1954 allowed taxpayers 
to use a combination of accounting methods for tax purposes.  The Tax 
Reform Act of 1986 prohibited tax shelters, C corporations, partnerships that 
have C corporations as partners, and certain trusts from using the cash method 
of accounting.


	Assessment

The choice of accounting methods may affect the amount and timing of a 
taxpayer's Federal income tax payments.  Under the accrual method, income 
for a given period is more clearly matched with the expenses associated with 
producing that income.  Therefore, the accrual method more clearly reflects a 
taxpayer's net income for a given period.  For business purposes, the accrual 
method also provides a better indication of a firm's economic performance for 
a given period.



Under the cash method of accounting, taxpayers have greater control over 
the timing of receipts and payments.  By shifting income or deductions from 
one tax year to another, taxpayers can defer the payment of income taxes or 
take advantage of lower tax rates.  On the other hand, because of its relative 
simplicity, the cash method of accounting involves lower costs of compliance. 
 The cash method is also the method most familiar to the individuals and 
businesses to whom its use is largely confined.


	Selected Bibliography

Tinsey, Frederick C.  "Many Accounting Practices Will Have to be 
Changed as a Result of the Tax Reform Act," Taxation for Accountants, v. 
38.  January 1987, pp. 48-52.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Tax Reform Proposals:  
Accounting Issues, Committee Print, 99th Congress, 1st session. September 
13, 1985.
-. Technical Explanation of S.3152, The "Community Renewal and New 
Markets Act of 2000."  JCX-105-00, October 2000, p. 77.
-. Technical Explanation of the "Economic Security and Worker 
Assistance Act of 2002."  JCX-6-02, February 13, 2002,  p. 62.
-, General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in the 107th Congress.  
JCS-1-03, January 2003, pp. 240-242.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Announcement 2002-45.  Revenue 
Procedure 2002-14.  April 12, 2002.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Internal Revenue Service.  Accounting 
Periods and Methods.  Publication 538.  2004.










Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SMALL-ISSUE
QUALIFIED PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.3

0.1

0.4

2007

0.3

0.1

0.4

2008

0.3

0.1

0.4

2009

0.4

0.1

0.5

2010

0.4

0.1

0.5


Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 144, and 146.


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance business loans of 
$1 million or less for construction of private manufacturing facilities is tax 
exempt.  These small-issue industrial development bonds (IDBs) are 
classified as private-activity bonds rather than governmental bonds because a 
substantial portion of their benefits accrues to individuals or business rather 
than to the general public.  For more discussion of the distinction between 
governmental bonds and private-activity bonds, see the entry under General 
Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State 
and Local Debt.



The $1 million loan limit may be raised to $10 million ($20 million in 
certain economically distressed areas) if the aggregate amount of related 
capital expenditures (including those financed with tax-exempt bond 
proceeds) made over a six-year period is not expected to exceed $20 million.  
The bonds are subject to the State private-activity bond annual volume cap.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to offer loans to manufacturing businesses at 
reduced interest rates.

Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and business borrowers, and estimates of the distribution of tax-
exempt interest income by income class, see the "Impact" discussion under 
General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose 
State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

The first bonds for economic development were issued without any Federal 
restrictions.  State and local officials expected that reduced interest rates on 
business loans would increase investment and jobs in their communities.  The 
Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 imposed several targeting 
requirements, limiting the tax exempt bond issue to $1 million and the 
amount of capital spending on the project to $5 million over a six-year period. 
 The Revenue Act of 1978 increased the $5 million limit on capital 
expenditures to $10 million, and to $20 million for projects in certain 
economically distressed areas.  The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 
(P.L. 108-357) increased the related expenditures limit to $20 million for all 
qualified projects.

Several tax acts in the 1970s and early 1980s denied use of the bonds for 
specific types of business activities.  The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 
restricted use of the bonds to manufacturing facilities, and limited any one 
beneficiary's use to $40 million of outstanding bonds.  The annual volume of 
bonds issued by governmental units within a State first was capped in 1984, 
and then included by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 under the unified volume 
cap on private-activity bonds.  This cap is equal to the greater of $80 per 
capita or $246.6 million in 2006.  The cap has been adjusted for inflation 
since 2003.



Small-issue IDBs long had been an "expiring tax provision" with a sunset 
date.   IDBs first were scheduled to sunset on December 31, 1986 by the Tax 
Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.  Additional sunset dates have 
been adopted three times when Congress has decided to extend small-issue 
IDB eligibility for a temporary period. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation 
Act of 1993 made IDBs permanent.  The American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004 increased the total capital expenditure limitation from $10 million to 
$20 million for small-issue IDBs.  Congress, at the time, thought it was 
appropriate because the $10 million limit had not been changed for many 
years.


	Assessment

It is not clear that the Nation benefits from these bonds.  Any increase in 
investment, jobs, and tax base obtained by communities from their use of 
these bonds probably is offset by the loss of jobs and tax base elsewhere in 
the economy.  National benefit would have to come from valuing the 
relocation of jobs and tax base from one location to another, but the use of the 
bonds is not targeted to a subset of geographic areas that satisfy explicit 
Federal criteria such as income level or unemployment rate.  Any jurisdiction 
is eligible to utilize the bonds.

As one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity bonds, small-
issue IDBs have increased the financing costs of bonds issued for public 
capital.  With a greater supply of public bonds, the interest rate on bonds 
necessarily increases to lure investors.  In addition, expanding the availability 
of tax-exempt bonds also increases the assets available to individuals and 
corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


	Bibliography

Anderson, John E., and Robert W. Wassmer.  Bidding for Business: The 
Efficacy of Local Economic Development Incentives in a Metropolitan Area.  
Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2000, pp. 
1-24.
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
Stutzer, Michael J.  "The Statewide Economic Impact of Small-Issue 
Industrial Development Bonds," Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 
Quarterly Review, v. 9.  Spring 1985, pp. 2-13.
Temple, Judy.  "Limitations on State and Local Government Borrowing for 
Private Purposes." National Tax Journal, vol 46, March 1993, pp. 41-53.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Statement of Donald B. 
Marron before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Committee on 
Ways and Means U.S. House of Representatives.  "Economic Issues in the 
Use of Tax-Preferred Bond Financing," March 16, 2006.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  The Federal Role in State 
Industrial Development Programs, 1984.


-.  Small Issue Industrial Revenue Bonds, April 1981.
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and 
Background Related to State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee 
Print JCX-14-06, March 16, 2006.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.
-.  "Federal Tax Policy, IDBs and the Market for State and Local Bonds,"  
National Tax Association--Tax Institute of America Symposium: Agendas for 
Dealing with the Deficit, National Tax Journal, v. 37.  September 1984, pp. 
411-420.








Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce

EXCEPTION FROM NET OPERATING LOSS LIMITATIONS 
FOR CORPORATIONS IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.6

0.6

2007

-

0.6

0.6

2008

-

0.6

0.6

2009

-

0.6

0.6

2010

-

0.6

0.6


Authorization

Section 382(l)(5).


Description

In general, net operating losses of corporations may be carried back three 
years or carried forward fifteen years to offset taxable income in those years.  
If one corporation acquires another, the tax code has rules to determine 
whether the acquiring corporation inherits the tax attributes of the acquired 
corporation, including its net operating loss carryforwards, or whether the tax 
attributes of the acquired corporation disappear.



The acquiring corporation will inherit the tax attributes of the acquired 
corporation if the transaction qualifies as a tax-free reorganization.  To qualify 
as a reorganization, the acquired corporation must essentially (or largely) 
continue in operation but in a different form.  The owners of the acquired 
corporation must become owners of the acquiring corporation, and the 
business of the acquired corporation must be continued.  An example is a 
merger of one corporation into another by exchanging stock of the acquiring 
corporation for stock of the acquired corporation.

While net operating loss carryforwards from an acquired corporation may 
be used to offset taxable income of the acquiring corporation after a 
reorganization, limitations are imposed.  In general, the amount of income of 
the acquiring corporation that may be offset each year is determined by 
multiplying the value of the stock of the acquired corporation immediately 
before the ownership change by a specified long-term interest rate.

The purpose of the limitation is to prevent reorganized corporations from 
being able to absorb net operating loss carryforwards more rapidly than an 
approximation of the pace at which the acquired corporation would have 
absorbed them had it continued in existence.

If certain conditions are met, subsection 382(l)(5) provides an exception to 
the general limitation on net operating loss carryforwards for cases in which 
the acquired corporation was in bankruptcy proceedings at the time of the 
acquisition.  In this case (unless the corporation elects otherwise), the 
limitation on net operating loss carryforwards does not apply.  In some cases, 
however, certain adjustments are made to the amount of loss carryforwards of 
the acquired corporation that may be used by the successor corporation.


Impact

Section 382(l)(5) allows the use of pre-acquisition net operating loss 
carryforwards in circumstances in which they could not be used, in most 
cases, under the general rule.

The general rule determines the amount of the carryforwards which may be 
used to offset income based on the equity value of the acquired corporation at 
the time of acquisition.  But most corporations in bankruptcy have zero or 
negative equity value.  Hence, absent this exception, their successor 
corporations would be denied use of any of the carryovers.


Rationale

The rationale for the bankruptcy exception to the limitation on net 
operating loss carryovers is that the creditors of the acquired corporation who 
become shareholders in the bankruptcy reorganization may have, in effect, 
become the owners before the reorganization and borne some of the losses of 
the bankrupt corporation.  In this case, the effective owners of the acquired 
corporation become owners of the acquiring corporation even though an 
ownership change appears to have occurred.  Limitations are imposed to 
prevent abusive transactions.


Assessment

While the rationale for the provision is reasonable, the exception is not 
structured to be fully consistent with the rationale.  There is no test to 
determine what portion, if any, of the preacquisition net operating loss 
carryforwards was borne by creditors who became shareholders.


Selected Bibliography

Peaslee, James M., and Lisa A. Levy.  "Section 382 and Separate 
Tracking," Tax Notes.  September 28, 1992, pp. 1779-1790.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986.  100th Congress, 1st session, May 4, 1987, pp. 
288-327.
U.S. Senate, Committee on Finance.  The Subchapter C Revision Act of 
1985.  99th Congress, 1st session, May 1985.










Commerce and Housing
Other Business and Commerce

TAX CREDIT FOR EMPLOYER-PAID
FICA TAXES ON TIPS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.3

0.2

0.5

2007

0.4

0.2

0.6

2008

0.4

0.2

0.6

2009

0.4

0.2

0.6

2010

0.5

0.3

0.8


	Authorization

Section 45B.


	Description

All employee tip income is treated as employer-provided wages for 
purposes of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and the Federal 
Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).  For purposes of the minimum wage 
provisions, the reported tips are treated as employer-provided wages to the 
extent they do not exceed one-half of the minimum wage rate.



A general business tax credit (Section 38) is provided for food or beverage 
establishments in an amount equal to the employer's FICA tax obligation 
attributable to reported tips in excess of those treated as wages for purposes of 
satisfying the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  
Tips taken into account are those received from customers in connection with 
the providing, delivering, or serving of food or beverages for consumption if 
the tipping of employees delivering or serving food or beverages by 
customers is customary.  A deduction is not permitted for any amount taken 
into account in determining the credit.  Unused FICA credits may not be 
carried back to any taxable year which ended before the date of enactment.

The U.S. Supreme Court held on June 17, 2002, that the Internal Revenue 
Service (IRS) may use the aggregate estimation method to calculate a 
restaurant's FICA tax liability for unreported tip income.  The Supreme 
Courts' decision rested on whether the law authorized the IRS to base the 
FICA assessment upon its aggregate estimate of all tips paid to its employees, 
or whether the law required IRS to determine total tip income by determining 
each individual employee's tip income separately, then adding those 
determinations together.  The Supreme Court found that IRS could use an 
estimate as long as the method used was reasonable.


Impact

The provision lessens the cost to business firms that serve food and 
beverages for a portion of the employer's portion of their employee's Social 
Security taxes.  The tax credit operates to reduce tax liability, but not to less 
than zero because the credit is non-refundable as a general business credit.  
However, the credit may be carried back to tax years ending after August 10, 
1993 and forward for 15 years.

The direct beneficiaries of this provision are food and beverage operators.  
Some believe that prior law had the unintended effect of employers 
discouraging the reporting of all tip income by their employees so as to reduce 
the employer's Social Security tax payments.  To the extent that tip income is 
not reported, both income and Social Security tax revenues are reduced.  
Current law poses no additional tax burdens on food and beverage operators 
for complete reporting of tip income.  To the extent that tips are reported and 
Social Security taxes paid, employees may be eligible for larger payments 
from the Social Security system when they retire.


	Rationale

The credit for employer-paid FICA taxes on tips was first provided by the 
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 101-508).  The provision 
was not included in the House bill nor in the Senate's amendment.  The 
provision appeared and was included in the Conference Committee report 
without a rationale being offered.  Popular press reports indicated that the 
purpose was to soften the impact on the restaurant industry for the reduction 
of the deductible amount of business meals from 80 to 50 percent also 
included in that act.



A provision included in the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 
(P.L. 104-188) made modifications to the effective date and extended the 
provision to employees delivering food or beverages.  (Prior law provided the 
credit only for tips earned on the premises of an establishment.)  The 
legislative history of these changes indicates an intent to change the effective 
date and that the Treasury's interpretation was not consistent with the 
provision as adopted.  The Ways and Means committee report stated that it 
was appropriate "to apply the credit to all persons who provide food and 
beverages, whether for consumption on or off the premises."


Assessment

It is generally argued that tip income is earnings and should be treated the 
same as other forms of compensation.  Waiters and waitresses as well as 
delivery persons are not self-employed individuals and their tip income is part 
of their total compensation.  Thus, tips are seen as a surrogate wage that 
employers might have to pay in their absence.  It is argued that all employers 
should share equally in the costs of future benefits their employees will 
receive under the Social Security program.

Because Social Security taxes are determined with respect to the entire 
amount of earnings (including tip income), current law in effect provides a 
benefit only to food and beverage employers whose employees receive part of 
their compensation in the form of tips.  Even other businesses whose 
employees receive a portion of their compensation in the form of tip income 
(such as cab drivers, hairdressers, etc.) are barred from use of this tax credit.  
Thus, the provision violates the principle of horizontal equity.  Since all other 
employers pay Social Security taxes on the entire earnings of their employees, 
it may place them at a competitive disadvantage.  For example, a carry-out 
food concern where tipping is not usual pays the full costs of Social Security 
taxes while a sit-down diner does not.  In effect, a portion of the Social 
Security taxes paid by food and beverage employers reduces business income 
taxes.  To the extent business taxes are reduced, funds are taken from federal 
tax receipts to fund future Social Security benefits. Thus, taxpayers at large 
are paying a portion of the Social Security taxes of those firms using the 
employer tip tax credit.

The restaurant industry maintains that tip income is not a wage but a gift 
between their employees and the customers that they serve.  They also 
contend that if the tip income is seen as compensation, then they should be 
able to count all tip income in determining the minimum wage (current law 
allows only one-half the minimum wage to be counted from tip income).  The 
industry argues that having to report the tip income of their employees places 
large administrative costs upon their operations and has shifted the burdens of 
reporting and collection from the individual to the restaurant.






	Selected Bibliography

Allen, Robin Lee. "FICA Troubles are Back:  Operators Arm for Fight" 
Nation's Restaurant News, vol. 28, January 31, 1994, pp. 1, 52.
Bennett, Alison.  "IRS to Resume Employer-Only Tip Audits; Agency 
Expanding Tip Reporting Program," Daily Tax Report, Bureau of National 
Affairs, Inc., No. 82, April 27, 2000, pp. GG-1-GG-2.
Crowson, Christopher. "Service with a Chagrin: The Problem of Aggregate 
Estimates of Unreported Tips in the United States v. Fior D'Italia, Inc.," The 
Campbell Law Review, vol. 25, no. 93, Fall 2002, pp. 93-114.
Donovan, Jeremiah  S.  "Tax-Exempt Organizations and Claiming the Tip 
Credit," Tax Adviser, vol. 30, August 1999, pp. 552-553.
Erickson, Jennifer M. "Fior D'Italia: The "Taxing" Problem of Unreported 
Tip Income," Iowa Law Review, vol. 88, no. 655, March 2003, pp. 655-679.
Fesler, Dan R. and Larry Maples.  "Fior D'Italia: Supreme Court Approves 
Aggregate Method on Tips," Taxes, vol. 80, no. 11, November 2002, pp. 53-
59.
McInnes, John T. "Internal Revenue - IRS Aggregate Estimates of 
Unreported Employee Tip Income to Determine Employer FICA Liability 
Now Constitutional - United States v. Fior D'Italia, Inc.," Suffolk Journal of 
Trail and Appellate Advocacy, vol. 8, 2003, pp. 179-188.
Myers, Robert J.  "Social Security in the Pork Barrel:  The Restaurateurs 
Try To Raid the Treasury,"  Tax Notes, v 59, April 19, 1993.  p. 427-428.
Peckron, Harold S. "The Tip Police: Aftermath of the Fior D'Italia Rule," 
Catholic University Law Review, vol. 52, no. 1, Fall 2002, pp. 1-36.
Raby, Burgess J.W. and William L. Raby.  "The War on Unreported Cash 
Tips," Tax Notes, vol. 81, November 2, 1998, pp. 605-609.
Rosenthal, Ellin.  "IRS, Restaurateurs Clash Over FICA Credit on Tip 
Income," Tax Notes, vol. 63, April 4, 1994.  Pp. 16-17.
Sher, David Lupi.  "Forces are Mounting Against IRS's Tip Income 
Policies," Tax Notes, vol. 84, August 2, 1999, pp. 675-680.
Simpson, Glenn R.  "Special Delivery; Pizza Makers' Success On Tax 
Break Reveals a Slice of Political Life; Bet Before 1994 Elections Paid Off 
Big After GOP Took Control of Congress; Roots in Health-Care Debate,"  
Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1996, pp. A1, A7.
Suelzer, Ray.  "IRS Hopes to Get Employee TIP Reporting on `TRAC'," 
Taxes, vol. 73, August 1995, pp. 463-467.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  "Replace 
the Income Tax Credit with a Business Deduction for Employer FICA on 
Certain Tip Income."  Washington, DC: February 2001, p. 436.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  "Present Law and 
Background Relating to the Tax Treatment of Tip Income."  Washington, 
DC: July 13, 2004, pp. 1-7.
Wolf, Kelley.  "IRS May Collect Employment Taxes on Aggregated 
Amount of Unreported Tip Income," Taxes, vol. 78, June 2000, pp. 35-38.








Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

 PRODUCTION ACTIVITY DEDUCTION


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.9

2.7

3.6

2007

1.3

3.9

5.2

2008

1.8

5.5

7.3

2009

2.0

5.9

7.9

2010

2.6

7.4

10.0

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increased the cost by $0.1 billion in 
FY2007 and FY 2006.


Authorization

Section 199.


Description

Qualified production activities income is allowed a deduction from taxable 
income of 3% in 2005-2006, 6% in 2007-2009, and 9% thereafter.  The 
deduction cannot exceed total taxable income of the firm and is limited to 
50% of wages related to the qualified activity. 



Production property is property manufactured, produced, grown or 
extracted within the United States.  Eligible property also includes domestic 
film, energy, and construction, and engineering and architectural services.  
For the latter, the services must be produced in the United States for 
construction projects located in the United States.  The law specifically 
excludes the sale of food and beverages prepared at a retail establishment, 
transmission and distribution of electricity, gas, and water, and receipts from 
property leased, licensed, or rented to a related party.  The benefits are also 
allowed for Puerto Rico for 2007 and 2008.

There are rules that allow the allocation of the deduction to pass through 
entities and cooperatives.  The provision also allows the revocation without 
penalty of a prior election to treat timber cutting as the sale of a capital asset.  
The deduction is also allowed under the alternative minimum tax.  The tax 
expenditure is the tax savings due to the deduction.


Impact

This provision lowers the effective tax rate on the favored property, in most 
cases when fully phased in, from the top corporate tax rate of 35% to 31.85%. 
 The deduction is available to both corporations and unincorporated 
businesses, but primarily benefits corporations.  For the many proprietorships 
that have few or no employees, the benefit will be limited or absent because 
of the wage requirement unless the firm incorporates. 

In a letter dated September 22, 2004 to Mark Prator and Patrick Heck, 
responding to a query about the similar (although slightly different) Senate 
version of the provision, the Joint Tax Committee indicated that three quarters 
of the benefit would have gone to corporations, 12 percent would have gone 
to Subchapter S firms (smaller incorporated firms that elect to be treated as 
partnerships) and cooperatives, 9 percent would have gone to partnerships, 
and 4 percent to sole proprietorships.  Based on the revenue estimates ($3 
billion for 2006) and projected corporate tax receipts of $249 billion for that 
year, the implication is that around a third of corporate activity qualifies.    

The beneficial treatment given to income from these activities will 
encourage more investment in manufacturing and other production activities 
and less in sales and services.  It will also encourage more equity investment 
in the affected sectors. 


	Rationale

This provision was enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004 (P.L. 108-357), a bill that repealed the Extraterritorial Income provision 
that was found to be an unacceptable export subsidy by the World Trade 
Organization.  The stated purpose was to enhance the ability of firms to 
compete internationally and to create and preserve manufacturing jobs.

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2006 modified the provision by 
clarifying that wages for purposes of the deduction limit were those relating to 
domestic production activities.  H.R. 6111 (December 2006) added the 
benefit for Puerto Rico. 




Assessment

The provision should somewhat expand the sector qualifying for the 
benefit and contract other sectors. It will introduce some inefficiency into the 
economy by diverting investment into this area, although it will also primarily 
lower the burden on corporate equity investment which is more heavily taxed 
than other forms of investment and among qualifying firms reduce the 
incentive for debt finance.  This latter effect would product an efficiency gain. 


Economists in general do not expect that there is a need to use tax 
incentives to create jobs in the long run because job creation occurs naturally 
in the economy.  Nor can tax provisions permanently affect the balance of 
trade, since exchange rates would adjust.

There has been concern about the difficulty in administering a tax 
provision that provides special benefits for a particular economic activity.  
Firms will have an incentive to characterize their activities as eligible and to 
allocate as much profit as possible into the eligible categories.  A number of 
articles written by tax practitioners and letters written to the Treasury indicate 
that many issues of interpretation have arisen relating to the definition of 
qualified activity, treatment of related firms, and specific products such as 
computer software and films and recording.  Canada had adopted a similar 
provision several years ago and repealed it because of the administrative 
complications.


	Selected Bibliography

Deloitte Tax LLP. "Producing Results: An Analysis of the New Production 
Activities Deduction," Tax Notes, February 21, 2005, pp. 961-984.
Dilley, Steven C. and Fred Jacobs, "The Qualified Production Activities 
Deduction: Some Planning Tools," Tax Notes, July 4, 2005, pp. 87-98.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Comparison of Tax Incentives for Domestic 
Manufacturing in Current Legislative Proposals. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report RL32103,  Washington, DC: October 
1, 2004.
Jenks, Carl M. "Domestic Production Deduction: FAQs and a Few 
Answers," Tax Notes, August 28, 2006, pp. 751-757. 
Rojas, Warren.  "New Manufacturing Deduction Presents Many Open 
Questions." Tax Notes, October 18, 2004, pp. 279-280.
U.S. Congress, House, Conference Report on the American Jobs Creation 
Act, Report 108-77, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
2004.













Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce
	
DEDUCTION OF CERTAIN FILM AND TELEVISION 
PRODUCTION COSTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.1

0.1

2007

(1)

0.1

0.1

2008

(1)

0.1

0.1

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 181.


Description

The cost of producing films and television programs must be depreciated 
over a period of time using the income forecast method (which allows 
deductions based on the pattern of expected earnings).  This provision allows 
production costs for qualified film and television shows to be deducted when 
incurred.  Eligible productions are restricted to those with a cost of $15 
million or less ($20 million if produced in certain designated low income 
areas) and in which at least 75 percent of the compensation is for services 
performed in the United States.  The provision expires after 2008.  Only the 
first 44 episodes of a television series qualify, and sexually explicit 
productions are not eligible. 




Impact

Expensing provides a benefit because deductions can be taken earlier.  For 
example, at a seven percent interest rate, the value of taking a deduction 
currently is 40 percent greater than taking a deduction five years from now 
(1+.07)5.  The benefit is greatest per dollar of investment for those 
productions whose expected income is spread out over a long period of time 
and whose production period is lengthy.  This provision  encourages film and 
television producers to locate in the United States and counters the growth in 
so-called "runaway" production.  

The dollar ceiling targets the benefit to smaller productions.  The average 
cost of producing a movie for theatrical release in 2003 (by members of the 
Motion Picture Association of America) was $63.8 million, so that many of 
these movie productions would not qualify.  One study found that made-for-
television  movies and mini-series, in particular,  have experienced relocation 
abroad, and that most of this business has gone to Canada.  Many countries, 
including Canada, provide subsidies for production.


 	Rationale

This provision was enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004 (P.L. 108-357).  The purpose was to discourage the "runaway" 
production of film and television production to other countries, where tax and 
other incentives are often offered. 


Assessment

This provision will provide an incentive to remain in the United States, at 
least for firms that are  profitable enough to have tax liability.  The magnitude 
of the benefit depends on the average lag time from production to earning 
income.  If that lag is five years and the discount rate is seven percent, for 
example, the value of the deduction is increased by 40 percent, and with a 35-
percent tax rate, the reduction in cost would be about 14 percent.   If the 
average lag is only a year, the reduction is slightly over two percent.

In general, special subsidies to industries and activities tend to lead to 
inefficient allocation of resources.  Moreover, in the long run, providing 
subsidies to counter those provided by other countries will not necessarily 
improve circumstances, unless they induce both parties to reduce or eliminate 
their subsidies. At the same time, individuals who have specialized in film 
and television production are harmed when production shifts to other 
countries, and the disruption can be significant when caused through 
provision of large subsidies or tax incentives. 



Because tax subsidies cannot benefit firms that do not have tax liability, the 
scope of this provision may be narrower than would be the case with a direct 
subsidy.


	Selected Bibliography

Beer, Steen C. and Maria Miles, "Relief Effort," Filmmaker Magazine, 
Winter 2005, http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/winter2005/ 
line_items/relief_effort.php
Monitor Corporation, U.S. Runaway Film and Television Production Study 
Report, Prepared for the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America, 
Cambridge MA, 1999.
Moore, Schuyler M.  "Film-Related Provisions of the American Jobs 
Creation Act," Tax Notes, December 20, 2204, pp. 1667-1671.
Motion Picture Association of America.  Worldwide Market Research, U.S. 
Entertainment Industry: 2003 MPA Market Statistics, 2004.		
U.S. Congress, House, Conference Report on the American Jobs Creation 
Act, Report 108-77, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
2004.
U.S. Department of Commerce. The Migration of U.S. Film and Television 
Production: Impact of "Runaways" on Workers and Small Business in the 
U.S. Film Industry, January 18,2001.





























	





	Commerce and Housing:
	Other Business and Commerce

	TAX CREDIT FOR THE COST OF CARRYING TAX-PAID
	DISTILLED SPIRITS IN WHOLESALE INVENTORIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

--

(1)

(1)

2007

--

(1)

(1)

2008

--

(1)

(1)

2009

--

(1)

(1)

2010

--

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 5011.


	Description

This credit applies to domestically bottled distilled spirits purchased 
directly from the bottler (distilled spirits that are imported in bulk and then 
bottled domestically also qualify for the credit) .  The credit is calculated by 
multiplying the number of cases of bottled distilled spirits by the average tax 
financing cost per case for the most recent calender year ending before the 
beginning of the taxable year.  A case is 12, 80-proof 750-milliliter bottles.  
The average tax-financing cost per case is the amount of interest that would 
accrue at corporate overpayment rates during an assumed 60-day holding 
period on an assumed tax rate of $25.68 per case.




	Impact

The excise tax on distilled spirits is imposed when distilled spirits are 
removed from the plant where they are produced.  In the case of imported 
distilled spirits that are bottled, the excise tax is imposed when they are 
removed from a U.S. customs bonded warehouse.  For distilled spirits 
imported in bulk containers for bottling in the United States, the excise tax is 
imposed in the same way as for domestically produced distilled spirits, when 
the bottled distilled spirits are removed from the bottling plant.

The current federal excise tax rate on distilled spirits is $13.50 per proof 
gallon.

Assuming an interest rate in the range of 5 to 6 percent, the tax credit will 
save wholesalers approximately $0.25 a case or $0.02 per bottle of distilled 
spirit.   


	Rationale

The tax credit is intended to help equalize the differential costs associated 
with wholesaling domestically produced distilled spirits and imported distilled 
spirits.  Under current law, wholesalers are not required to pay the federal 
excise tax on bottled imported spirits until the spirits are removed from a 
bonded warehouse and sold to a retailer.  The federal tax on domestically 
produced distilled spirits, however, is passed forward as part of the purchase 
price when the distiller transfers the product to the wholesaler.  It is argued 
that this raises the cost of domestically distilled spirits to wholesalers relative 
to the cost of bottled imported spirits.  The credit is designed to compensate 
the wholesaler for the foregone interest that could have been earned on the 
funds that were used to pay the excise taxes on the domestically produced 
distilled spirits being held in inventory.


	Assessment

Under current law, tax credits are not allowed for the costs of carrying 
products in inventory on which an excise tax has been levied.  Normally, the 
excise tax that is included in the purchase price of an item is deductible as a 
cost when the item is sold. 

Allowing wholesalers a tax credit for the interest costs (or float) of holding 
excise tax-paid distilled confers a tax benefit to the wholesalers of distilled 
spirits that is not available to other businesses that also carry tax-paid 
products in inventory.  For instance, wholesalers of beer and wine also hold 
excise tax-paid products in their inventories and are engaged in similar 
income producing activities as wholesalers of distilled spirits, but beer and 
wine wholesalers are not eligible for this tax credit. 


In addition, given the relatively small size of the credit, the credit is 
unlikely to have much effect on price differentials between domestically 
produced distilled spirits and imported distilled spirits.  The credit is also 
unlikely to produce much tax savings for small wholesalers.  It is likely that 
most of the tax benefits of this credit will accrue to large volume wholesalers 
of distilled spirits. 


	Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Summary Description of the 
"Highway Reauthorization and Excise Tax Simplification Act of 2005," Title 
V of H.R. 3, as Passed by the Senate on May 17, 2005.  JCX-41-05, June 13, 
2005, pp. 9-10.
-, Committee of Conference.  Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act:  A Legacy for Users.  Report 109-203, July 28, 
2005, pp. 1132-1133.  










Commerce and Housing:
Other Business and Commerce
	
TAX BENEFITS RELATED TO 2005 HURRICANE DISASTER 
COSTS: EXPENSING OF CLEAN-UP COSTS, ADDITIONAL 
FIRST YEAR DEPRECIATION, CARRYBACK OF LOSSES; TAX 
CREDIT FOR EMPLOYEE RETENTION 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.1

0.1

2007

(1)

0.1

0.1

2008

(1)

0.1

0.1

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increased the cost by $0.2 billion in 
FY2009 and FY2010. 

Authorization

Section 1400N.


Description



Several provisions provide special allowances for deducting costs relating 
to businesses in the Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone), an area of the 
Hurricane Katrina official disaster area (which caused significant damage to 
the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans,  in August of 2005).  An employee 
retention tax credit is provided for areas affected by subsequent Hurricanes 
Wilma and Rita, affecting the Gulf Coast and Florida, as well as Katrina.  The 
GO Zone is also the core disaster area designated by the Federal Emergency 
Management Authority (FEMA) and covers the southern part of Louisiana 
and Mississippi, and southwestern counties in Alabama.

The cost of demolition of buildings and the removal of some debris is 
normally added to the basis of land which is not depreciable;  50% of the 
costs of this nature incurred in the GO Zone after August 28, 2005 and 
through 2007 may be deducted.   Taxpayers are also allowed to deduct 50% 
of the cost of investment in depreciable property (machinery, equipment, and 
buildings), with the remaining property depreciated under normal rules.  
Property qualifying must commence original use in the GO Zone (used 
property qualifies if not previously used in the GO Zone) and must be related 
to an active trade or business in the Zone.  Property must be placed in service 
after August 28, 2005, and before the end of 2007 for equipment and before 
the end of 2010 for buildings.  

Several provisions increase loss carryback allowances.  Generally firms 
with losses can carry back losses two years to offset against prior year income, 
and forward for 20 years.  Certain losses attributable to a disaster can be 
treated as if they occurred in the previous taxable year.  A three year 
carryback is provided for individual casualty losses and for farming 
businesses or small businesses in a disaster area.  Farming losses can be 
carried back five years.  For the GO Zone, casualty losses for public utilities, 
up to the amount of any net operating loss, may be carried back 10 years, and 
public utility casualty losses in general may be treated as if they occurred in 
the fifth previous year (effectively a five-year carryback position).  For all 
businesses, losses attributable to casualty, moving expense for employees, 
temporary housing for employees, depreciation and repairs, up to the current 
net operating loss can be carried back five years.

Employers are allowed a credit of 40% of up to $6,000 of qualified wages 
for employees retained in the Katrina, Rita, and Wilma zone areas, during the 
period a business is inoperable.    


Impact



The expensing, bonus depreciation, and carryback provisions allow 
taxpayers to obtain the tax benefit earlier than would otherwise be the case.  
For example, at a seven percent interest rate, the value of taking a deduction 
currently is 40 percent greater than taking a deduction five years from now 
(1+.07)5.  The benefit is greatest per dollar of cost or investment the more 
delayed the benefit.  For taxpayers who hold property for a long period of 
time, for example, the deduction for the clean-up costs will not occur until far 
in the future when the property is sold.  Bonus depreciation is more valuable 
for long-lived assets, such as buildings.  The loss carryback provisions are 
particularly important for local business in the disaster area where businesses 
are less likely to be currently profitable.  These provisions encourage 
employers to make investments and restore property in the disaster area, as 
well as providing financial relief for businesses with losses due to the 
Hurricane.  

The wage credit encourages and aids employers in keeping employees on 
the payroll who cannot perform their jobs because the business is not 
operating. 


 	Rationale

The wage retention credit was initially enacted in the Katrina Emergency 
Tax Relief Act of 2005, passed in September shortly after the Katrina 
disaster.  Most of the objective of this initial legislation was to provide tax 
relief for victims of the disaster.  The wage credit was limited to employers 
with fewer than 200 employees.  The Gulf  Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 
extended the wage credit to areas affected by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma, and 
eliminated the employee cap. This latter action, in December 2005, also 
provided the expensing, bonus depreciation, and carry-back provisions.  This 
act was more specifically directed at rebuilding the disaster area by providing 
targeted subsidies to business.  H.R. 6111 (December 2006) extended the 
placed in service date for buildings, originally through 2008, through 2010.


Assessment

These provisions will provide some incentive to clean up property and 
invest in the targeted area.  It will also afford relief for employers who retain 
workers as well as an incentive to do so.  The evidence based on previous 
studies of enterprise zone provisions targeted at poor areas does not indicate 
that tax incentives are very successful.  However, experience in a low-income 
area, usually of a city, may not provide sufficient evidence on the effects in a 
much larger geographic area composed of higher and lower income areas that 
is affected by a major disaster.  It is difficult to determine how effective these 
provisions are or may be. 

The extended loss provisions are likely to be important to providing any 
other tax subsidies since many firms are likely to be unprofitable in the short 
run.  Applying bonus depreciation to buildings yields a much larger cost 
reduction than for equipment, since depreciation for buildings occurs over 39 
years for commercial structures and 27.5 for residential structure.  
Depreciation for equipment is typically five to seven years.  The inclusion of 
buildings may be particularly important for New Orleans and to a disaster 
area where buildings were destroyed.



In general, special subsidies to industries and activities tend to lead to 
inefficient allocation of resources and the argument can be made that market 
forces should be relied upon to determine what rebuilding should take place.  
At the same time, one can make the case that all taxpayers should assist in 
recovery of an area affected by such a large scale disaster, as a part of national 
risk-spreading.  


	Selected Bibliography

Gravelle, Jane G. "Tax Incentives in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," 
Municipal Finance Journal, v. 26, Fall 2005, pp. 1-13.	
Gravelle, Jane, Tax Policy Options After Hurricane Katrina, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL33088, October 23, 
2006.
Internal Revenue Service, Information for Taxpayers Affected by 
Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita, Publication 4492, January 1, 2006.
Richardson, James A.  "Katrina/Rita: The Ultimate Test for Tax Policy?"  
National Tax Journal, v. 59, September 2006, pp.551-560.
Stoker, Robert P. and Michael J. Rich.   Lessons and Limits: Tax 
Incentives and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast After Katrina, Metropolitan Policy 
Program, Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, August 2006.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, Technical Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of H.R. 4400, The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, As 
Passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, JC88-05, 
Washington, DC, December 16, 2005. 










	
	Transportation

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT BONDS FOR HIGHWAY PROJECTS AND
RAIL-TRUCK TRANSFER FACILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 142, and 146.


	Description



The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A 
Legacy for Users, P.L. 109-59, enacted on August 10, 2005, created a new 
class of tax-exempt, qualified private activity bonds for the financing of 
qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities.  Qualified facilities 
include: (1) any surface transportation project which receives federal 
assistance under title 23; (2) any project for an international bridge or tunnel 
for which an international entity authorized under federal or State law is 
responsible and which receives federal assistance under title 23; and (3) any 
facility for the transfer of freight from truck to rail or rail to truck (including 
any temporary storage facilities directly related to such transfers) which 
receives federal assistance under title 23 or title 49.  The bonds used to 
finance these facilities are classified as private-activity bonds rather than 
governmental bonds because a substantial portion of the benefits generated by 
the project(s) accrue to individuals or business rather than to the government. 
 For more discussion of the distinction between governmental bonds and 
private-activity bonds, see the entry under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.

Bonds issued for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities are 
not subject to the federally imposed  annual State volume cap on private-
activity bonds.  The bonds are capped, however, by a national limitation of 
$15 billion to be allocated at the discretion of Secretary of Transportation.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low-
interest rates allow issuers to construct highway or surface freight transfer 
facilities at lower cost.  Some of the benefits of the tax exemption and federal 
subsidy also flow to bondholders.  For a discussion of the factors that 
determine the shares of benefits going to bondholders and users of the 
highway or surface freight transfer facilities, and estimates of the distribution 
of tax-exempt interest income by income class, see the "Impact" discussion 
under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public 
Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Before 1968, State and local governments were allowed to act as conduits 
for the issuance of tax-exempt bonds to finance privately owned and operated 
facilities.  The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 (RECA 1968), 
however, imposed tests that restricted the issuance of these bonds.  The Act 
provided a specific exception which allowed issuance for specific projects 
such as non-government-owned docks and  wharves.  Intermodal facilities are 
similar in function to docks and wharves, yet were not included in the original 
list of qualified facilities.  The addition of truck-to-rail and rail-to-truck 
intermodal projects to the list of qualified private activities in 2005 is 
intended enhance the efficiency of the nation's long distance freight transport 
infrastructure.  With more efficient intermodal facilities, proponents suggest 
that long distance truck traffic will shift from government financed interstate 
highways to privately owned long distance rail transport.



	Assessment

State and local governments tend to view these facilities as potential 
economic development tools.  The desirability of allowing these bonds to be 
eligible for tax-exempt status hinges on one's view of whether the users of 
such facilities should pay the full cost, or whether sufficient social benefits 
exist to justify federal taxpayer subsidy.  Economic theory suggests that to the 
extent these facilities provide social benefits that extend beyond the 
boundaries of the State or local government, the facilities might be 
underprovided due to the reluctance of State and local taxpayers to finance 
benefits for nonresidents.

Even if a case can be made for a federal subsidy arising from 
underinvesting at the State and local level, it is important to recognize the 
potential costs.  As one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity 
bonds, those issued for transfer facilities increase the financing cost of bonds 
issued for other public capital.  With a greater supply of public bonds, the 
interest rate on the bonds necessarily increases to lure investors.  In addition, 
expanding the availability of tax-exempt bonds increases the assets available 
to individuals and corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Frittelli, John.  Intermodal Connectors: A Method for Improving 
Transportation Efficiency?  Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RL31887.  May 3, 2003.
Frittelli, John.  Intermodal Rail Freight: A Role for Federal Funding?  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31834.  
August 18, 2004. 
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.
























Transportation
	
TAX CREDIT FOR
CERTAIN RAILROAD TRACK MAINTENANCE


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.1

0.1

2007

-

0.1

0.1

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.1

0.1

2010

-

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 45G.


Description

Qualified railroad track maintenance expenditures paid or incurred in a 
taxable year by eligible taxpayers are eligible for a 50-percent business tax 
credit. The credit is limited to $3,500 times the number of miles of railroad 
track owned or leased by an eligible taxpayer. Railroad track maintenance 
expenditures are amounts, which may be either repairs or capitalized costs, 
spent to maintain railroad track (including roadbed, bridges, and related track 
structures) owned or leased as of January 1, 2005, by a Class II or Class III 
railroad. Eligible taxpayers are smaller (Class II or Class III) railroads and any 
person who transports property using these rail facilities or furnishes property 
or services to such a person. 



The taxpayer's basis in railroad track is reduced by the amount of the credit 
allowed (so that any deduction of cost or depreciation is only on the cost net 
of the credit).   The credit cannot be carried back to years before 2005.  The 
credit covers expenditures from 2005-2007.

For 2005-2008 the amount eligible is the gross expenditures not taking into 
account reductions such as discounts or loan forgiveness.

Impact

This provision substantially lowers the cost of track maintenance for the 
qualifying short line (regional) railroads, with tax credits covering half the 
costs for those firms and individuals with sufficient tax liability.  According 
to the Federal Railroad Administration, as of the last survey in 1993, these 
railroads accounted for 25% of the nation's rail miles.  These regional 
railroads are particularly important in providing transportation of agricultural 
products.


 	Rationale

This provision was enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 
2004 (P.L. 108-357).  While no official rationale was provided in the bill, 
sponsors of earlier free-standing legislation and industry advocates indicated 
that the purpose was to encourage the rehabilitation, rather than the 
abandonment, of short line railroads, which were spun off in the deregulation 
of railroads in the early 1980s.  Advocates also indicated that this service is 
threatened by heavier 286,000-pound cars that must travel on these lines 
because of inter-connectivity.  They also suggested that preserving these local 
lines will reduce local truck traffic. These is also some indication that a tax 
credit was thought to be more likely to be achieved than grants.

The temporary provision relating to discounts was added by H.R. 6111 
(December 2006).


Assessment

The arguments stated by the industry advocates and sponsors of the 
legislation are also echoed in assessments by the Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA), which indicated the need for rehabilitation and 
improvement, especially to deal with heavier cars.  The FRA also suggested 
that these firms have particular difficulty with access to bank loans.  



In general, special subsidies to industries and activities tend to lead to 
inefficient investment allocation since in a competitive economy businesses 
should earn enough to maintain their capital.  Nevertheless it may be judged 
or considered desirable to subsidize rail transportation in order to reduce the 
congestion and pollution of highway traffic.  At the same time, a tax credit 
may be less suited to remedy the problem than a direct grant since firms 
without sufficient tax liability cannot use the credit.


	Selected Bibliography

Prater, Marvin, The Long Term Viability of Short Line and Regional 
Railroads.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Services, 
Washington, DC, July 1998.
U.S. Congress, House, Conference Report on the American Jobs Creation 
Act, Report 108-77, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 
2004.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration.  
Need for Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing.  Available  
http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/home.










Transportation

DEFERRAL OF TAX ON CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION
FUNDS OF SHIPPING COMPANIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.1

0.1

2007

-

0.1

0.1

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.1

0.1

2010

-

(1)

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 7518.


Description

U.S. operators of vessels in foreign, Great Lakes, or noncontiguous 
domestic trade, or in U.S. fisheries, may establish a capital construction fund 
(CCF) into which they may make certain deposits.  Such deposits are 
deductible from taxable income, and income tax on the earnings of the 
deposits in the CCF is deferred.

When tax-deferred deposits and their earnings are withdrawn from a CCF, 
no tax is paid if the withdrawal is used for qualifying purposes, such as to 
construct, acquire, lease, or pay off the indebtedness on a qualifying vessel.  
A qualifying vessel must be constructed or reconstructed in the United States, 
and any lease period must be at least five years.



The tax basis of the vessel (usually its cost to the owner), with respect to 
which the operator's depreciation deductions are computed, is reduced by the 
amount of such withdrawal.  Thus, over the life of the vessel tax depreciation 
will be reduced, and taxable income will be increased by the amount of such 
withdrawal, thereby reversing the effect of the deposit.  However, since gain 
on the sale of the vessel and income from the operation of the replacement 
vessel may be deposited into the CCF, the tax deferral may be extended.

Withdrawals for other purposes are taxed at the top tax rate.  This rule 
prevents firms from withdrawing funds in loss years and escaping tax entirely. 
 Funds cannot be left in the account for more than 25 years.


Impact

The allowance of tax deductions for deposits can, if funds are continually 
rolled over, amount to a complete forgiveness of tax.  Even when funds are 
eventually withdrawn and taxed, there is a substantial deferral of tax that 
leads to a very low effective tax burden.  The provision makes investment in 
U.S.-constructed ships and registry under the U.S. flag more attractive than it 
would otherwise be.  Despite these benefits, however, there is very little (in 
some years, no) U.S. participation in the worldwide market supplying large 
commercial vessels.

The incentive for construction is perhaps less than it would otherwise be, 
because firms engaged in international shipping have the benefits of deferral 
of tax through other provisions of the tax law, regardless of where the ship is 
constructed.  This provision is likely to benefit higher-income individuals 
who are the primary owners of capital (see Introduction for a discussion).


Rationale

The special tax treatment originated to ensure an adequate supply of 
shipping in the event of war.  Although tax subsidies of various types have 
been in existence since 1936, the coverage of the subsidies was expanded 
substantially by the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

Before the Tax Reform Act of 1976 it was unclear whether any investment 
tax credit was available for eligible vessels financed in whole or in part out of 
funds withdrawn from a CCF.  The 1976 Act specifically provided (as part of 
the Internal Revenue Code) that a minimum investment credit equal to 50 
percent of an amount withdrawn which was to purchase, construct, or 
reconstruct qualified vessels was available in 1976 and subsequent years.



The Tax Reform Act of 1986 incorporated the deferral provisions directly 
into the Internal Revenue Code.  It also extended benefits to leasing, provided 
for the minimum 25-year period in the fund, and required payment of the tax 
at the top rate.


Assessment

The failure to tax income from the services of shipping normally 
misallocates resources into less efficient uses, although it appears that the 
effects on U.S. large commercial shipbuilding are relatively small.

There are two possible arguments that could be advanced for maintaining 
this tax benefit.  The first is the national defense argument - that it is 
important to maintain a shipping and shipbuilding capability in time of war.  
This justification may be in doubt today, since U.S. firms control many 
vessels registered under a foreign flag and many U.S. allies control a 
substantial shipping fleet and have substantial ship-building capability that 
might be available to the U.S.

There is also an argument that subsidizing domestic ship-building and 
flagging offsets some other subsidies - both shipbuilding subsidies that are 
granted by other countries, and the deferral provisions of the U.S. tax code 
that encourage foreign flagging of U.S.-owned vessels.  Economic theory 
suggests, however, that efficiency is not necessarily enhanced by introducing 
further distortions to counteract existing ones.


Selected Bibliography

Jantscher, Gerald R.  Chapter VI- "Tax Subsidies to the Maritime 
Industries," Bread Upon The Waters: Federal Aids to the Maritime 
Industries.  Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1975.
Madigan, Richard E.  Taxation of the Shipping Industry. Centreville, MD: 
Cornell Maritime Press, 1982.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986, Committee Print, 99th Congress, 2nd session.  May 
4, 1987, pp. 174-176.
U.S. Department of Treasury.  Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and 
Economic Growth, Volume 2, General Explanation of the Treasury 
Department Proposals.  November, 1974, pp. 128-129.










Transportation

	EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYER-PAID
	TRANSPORTATION BENEFITS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

4.2

-

4.0

2007

4.3

-

4.2

2008

4.4

-

4.3

2009

4.5

-

4.4

2010

4.7

-

4.5


	Authorization

Section 132(f).


	Description

The value of transit passes provided directly by the employer can be 
excluded from employees' income, subject to a monthly limit.  This limit was 
set at $100 per month for 2001.  Each year the limit is adjusted for inflation, 
and the adjustment is rounded to the nearest $5.  In 2006, the limit was $105 
per month.  A similar exclusion applies to van pools.  The limit applies to the 
total of van pool costs and transit passes.

The value of employer-provided parking facilities can be excluded from 
employee's income, subject to a monthly limit.  This limit was set to $175 per 
month in 1998, and the limit is adjusted for inflation each year.  The limit was 
increased to $205 in 2006.

The employers may choose to provide these benefits in cash, subject to a 
compensation reduction arrangement.



	Impact

Exclusion from taxation of transportation fringe benefits provides a subsidy 
to employment in those businesses and industries in which such fringe 
benefits are common and feasible.  The subsidy provides benefits both to the 
employees (more are employed and they receive higher compensation) and to 
their employers (who have lower wage costs).  To the extent that this 
exemption induces employees to use mass transportation and to the extent that 
mass transportation reduces traffic congestion, this exemption lowers 
commuting costs.

The parking exclusion is more likely to benefit higher income individuals 
than the mass transit and van pool subsidies.  For those individuals receiving 
benefits, the savings rise with marginal tax rate.  The value of the benefit also 
depends on the location of the employer: the provision is targeted towards the 
taxpayers working in the urbanized areas or other places where transit is 
available or parking space is limited.


	Rationale

A statutory exclusion for the value of parking was introduced in 1984, 
along with exclusions for a number of other fringe benefits.  In many cases, 
these practices had been long established and generally had been treated by 
employers, employees, and the Internal Revenue Service as not giving rise to 
taxable income.

Employees clearly receive a benefit from the availability of free or 
discounted goods or services, but the benefit may not be as great as the full 
amount of the discount.  In enacting these provisions, Congress also wanted 
to establish limits on the use of tax-free fringe benefits.  Prior to enactment of 
the provisions, the Treasury Department had been under a congressionally 
imposed moratorium on issuance of regulations defining the treatment of 
these fringes.  There was a concern that without clear boundaries on use of 
these fringe benefits, new approaches could emerge that would further erode 
the tax base and increase inequities among employees in different businesses 
and industries.

The Comprehensive Energy Policy Act of 1992 placed a dollar ceiling on 
the exclusion of parking facilities and introduced the exclusions for mass 
transit facilities and van pools in order to encourage mass commuting, which 
would in turn reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

In 1998 the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century increased the 
benefits' limits to their current levels and modified their phase-in periods and 
inflation adjustment rules.  It also allowed employees to elect cash in lieu of 
transit benefits.



Assessment

The exclusion subsidizes employment in those businesses and industries in 
which transportation fringe benefits are feasible and commonly used.  
Because the exclusion applies to practices which are common and may be 
feasible only in some businesses and locations, it creates inequities in tax 
treatment among different employees and employers.  One problem with 
taxing directly supplied fringe benefits, such as free or reduced price parking, 
is the administrative difficulty in determining fair market value.

Subsidies for mass transit and van pools, and for parking when provided 
primarily for car pools, encourage use of mass transportation and may reduce 
congestion and pollution.  Reductions in commuting costs due to congestion 
benefit commuters generally.  If these subsidies induce commuters to use 
modes of transportation which impose fewer external costs on others, such as 
through traffic congestion, then economic efficiency is enhanced.  If these 
subsidies induce employees to make trips they otherwise would not make, the 
overall economic benefit depends on how the increase in personal gain 
compares to the external costs generated by such trips.


	Selected Bibliography

Hevener, Mary B.  "Energy Act Changes to Transportation Benefits, Travel 
Expenses, and Backup Withholding."  The Tax Executive, November-
December 1992, pp. 463-466.
Kies, Kenneth J.  "Analysis of the New Rules Governing the Taxation of 
Fringe Benefits," Tax Notes, v. 38.  September 3, 1984, pp. 981-988.
McKinney, James E.  "Certainty Provided as to the Treatment of Most 
Fringe Benefits by Deficit Reduction Act," Journal of Taxation.  September 
1984, pp. 134-137.
Sunley, Emil M., Jr.  "Employee Benefits and Transfer Payments," 
Comprehensive Income Taxation, ed. Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1977, pp. 90-92.
Turner, Robert W.  "Fringe Benefits," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy (2nd ed.), eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. 
Gravelle.  Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
U.S. Congress, House.  Comprehensive National Energy Policy Act, 
Report 102-474, 102d Congress, 2d Session, May 5, 1992.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  December 31, 1984, pp. 838-866.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Estimated Budget Effects of the 
Conference Agreement Relating to the Transportation Revenue and Trust 
Fund Provisions of H.R. 2400 (Title IX). JCX-43-98.  May 22, 1998.
-, Senate Committee on Finance.  Fringe Benefits, Hearings, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  July 26, 27, 30, 1984.


Internal Revenue Service.  Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits For 
Benefits Provided in 2006. Publication 15-B, revised December 2005.
-, Revenue Procedure 2003-85, December 8, 2003.
-, Final Regulation (T.D. 8933) on Qualified Transportation Fringe 
Benefits, January 11, 2001.
Hevener, Mary B.  "Energy Act Changes to Transportation Benefits, Travel 
Expenses, and Backup Withholding."  The Tax Executive, November-
December 1992, pp. 463-466.
Kies, Kenneth J.  "Analysis of the New Rules Governing the Taxation of 
Fringe Benefits," Tax Notes, v. 38.  September 3, 1984, pp. 981-988.
McKinney, James E.  "Certainty Provided as to the Treatment of Most 
Fringe Benefits by Deficit Reduction Act," Journal of Taxation.  September 
1984, pp. 134-137.
Sunley, Emil M., Jr.  "Employee Benefits and Transfer Payments," 
Comprehensive Income Taxation, ed. Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1977, pp. 90-92.
Turner, Robert.  "Fringe Benefits,"  in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and 
Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  
Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 1999.
U.S. Congress, House.  Comprehensive National Energy Policy Act, 
Report 102-474, 102d Congress, 2d Session, May 5, 1992.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the Revenue 
Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  December 31, 1984, pp. 838-866.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Estimated Budget Effects of the 
Conference Agreement Relating to the Transportation Revenue and Trust 
Fund Provisions of H.R. 2400 (Title IX). JCX-43-98.  May 22, 1998.
-, Senate Committee on Finance.  Fringe Benefits, Hearings, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  July 26, 27, 30, 1984.
Internal Revenue Service.  Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits For 
Benefits Provided in 2004. Publication 15-B, revised January 2004.
-, Revenue Procedure 2003-85, December 8, 2003.
-, Final Regulation (T.D. 8933) on Qualified Transportation Fringe 
Benefits, January 11, 2001.








Community and Regional Development

NEW YORK CITY LIBERTY ZONE TAX INCENTIVES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-0.1

0.4

0.3

2007

0.2

0.2

0.4

2008

0.1

0.1

0.2

2009

0.2

(1)

0.1

2010

0.1

-0.1

0.0

(1) Negative tax expenditure of less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 1400L.


	Description

The "Liberty Zone" (the Zone) is generally defined as the area in lower 
Manhattan in New York City that was directly affected by the September 11, 
2001 terrorist attacks.  Specifically, the Zone "...is the area located on or 
south of Canal Street, East Broadway (east of its intersection with Canal 
Street), or Grand Street (east of its intersection with East Broadway) in the 
Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York, New York."  The tax 
incentives include expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) 
for small employers in the Zone, accelerated depreciation for Zone 
businesses, increased private-purpose tax-exempt bond capacity for New 
York (Liberty bonds and special one-time advance refunding); and more 
favorable tax treatment of gains realized from the replacement of property in 
the Zone.  In 2004, P.L. 108-311 extended the Liberty bond program through 
January 1, 2010 and extended the additional advance refunding allowance for 
bonds financing property in the Zone through January 1, 2006.


	Impact

The tax benefits will likely reduce the tax burden on businesses in the 
Zone, and some of these benefits will be passed from the business owners in 
the Zone to their customers and investors.  The impact on the Zone itself will 
be positive as business investment shifts to liberty zone businesses, their 
workers, and customers.  The impact across metropolitan New York region 
will probably be less noticeable as most investment in the Zone is likely to be 
shifted from planned investment in neighboring areas.  Some investment in 
the Zone, however, may represent new investment.


	Rationale

The "New York City Liberty Zone Tax Incentives" were created by the 
"Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002" (P.L. 107-147).  After the 
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the livelihood of businesses and workers 
in lower Manhattan was severely tested.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New 
York (FRBNY) estimated the total cost of the September 11th attack to be 
between $33 billion and $36 billion through June 2002.  The same FRBNY 
study estimated that, as a result of the September 11 attacks,  the number of 
people working in New York City's private sector fell by 51,000 in October 
2001 and fell another 41,000 in the period between November 2001 and 
March 2002.  The Liberty Zone tax incentives are designed to address the 
relatively severe economic shock that affected the lower Manhattan region.  
Congressional leaders hope that these benefits will help lure investors into 
lower Manhattan as well as retain businesses and workers that may otherwise 
emigrate away from lower Manhattan.


	Assessment

The benefit of expanding the WOTC eases the tax burden on employers in 
the Zone who hire qualified new workers.  The effectiveness of WOTC, 
however, may be limited by the relative cost and complexity of administrative 
compliance.  For more on the WOTC, see the entry in this volume titled: 
"Work Opportunity Tax Credit."  The accelerated depreciation provision for 
Zone businesses will lower the cost of capital but only through deferral of the 
tax that would have been due under the normal depreciation schedule.  
Businesses that use the bonus depreciation will pay less taxes today, but the 
tax burden in the future will be slightly higher as depreciation expenses are 
smaller than they would have otherwise been (note the negative tax 
expenditure in 2009 and 2010).  The tax benefit, therefore, is the present 
value of the tax deferred.  The accelerated depreciation may induce some 
firms in the Zone to invest in new capital, however, the magnitude of the 
impact of the incentive is uncertain.  For more on accelerated depreciation for 
business property, see the entry in this volume titled: "Expensing of 
Depreciable Business Property."


Increased tax-exempt bond capacity for projects in New York City will 
lower the cost of capital for qualified projects.  The additional public 
infrastructure spending induced by the increased capacity will likely benefit 
businesses and workers in the Zone.  Many economists, however, would 
argue that the new public investment would replace new private investment.  
Nevertheless, the subsidy responds to the relatively unique characteristics of 
the disruption caused by the September 11 attacks.  For more on the subsidy 
for tax-exempt bonds, see the entry in this volume titled: "Exclusion of 
Interest on State and Local Small-Issue Industrial Development Bonds."  The 
favorable tax treatment of gains realized from the replacement of property in 
the Zone will benefit property owners that replace property damaged in the 
Liberty Zone.  Generally, only property owners can benefit from this 
provision because renters are not eligible.  For more on this provision, see the 
entry in this volume titled: "Deferral of Gain on Involuntary Conversions 
Resulting from Presidentially-Declared Disaster."

Generally, these geographic benefits induce investors to shift investment 
spending rather than generate new investment spending.  Thus, the localized 
tax incentives redistribute tax revenue and investment from all federal 
taxpayers to taxpayers in the Zone.  From a national perspective, the 
economic benefit of geographically based incentives is not clear.  However, 
taxpayers in the Zone are likely better off with the incentives.


	Selected Bibliography

Bram, Jason, "New York City's Economy Before and After September 
11," Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Current Issues in Economics and 
Finance, February 2003.
Bram, Jason, James Orr and Carol Rappaport.  "Measuring the Effects of 
the September 11 Attack on New York City."  Federal Reserve Bank of New 
York Economic Policy Review, November 2002.
Chernick, Howard, and Andrew F. Haughwout, "Tax Policy and the Fiscal 
Cost of Disasters: NY and 9/11," National Tax Journal, v. 59, September 
2006, pp.561-578.  
Glaeser, Edward L. and Jesse M. Shapiro.  "Cities and Warfare: The 
Impact of Terrorism on Urban Form."  NBER Working Paper Series 8696, 
National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2001.
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  November 10, 
2004.
New York City Independent Budget Office, "Despite Economic Upturn, 
City Still Faces Budget Shortfalls," Fiscal Outlook, Dec. 2003.
Thompson, William C., "NYC Outperforms the Nation in 1Q04 - First 
Time Since 4Q99,"Economic Notes, v. 12, no. 2, June 2004.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Technical Explanation of 
the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, (JCX 12-02), March 6, 
2002.


U.S. General Accounting Office, Tax Administration: Information is Not 
Available to Determine Whether $5 Billion in Liberty Zone Tax Benefits Will 
be Realized.  Report GAO-03-1102, October 2003.
Wildasin, David.  "Local Public Finance in the Aftermath of September 
11."  Journal of Urban Economics, v. 51 (March 2002), pp. 225-237.








Community and Regional Development

EMPOWERMENT ZONE TAX INCENTIVES,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TAX INCENTIVES,
AND INDIAN RESERVATION TAX INCENTIVES 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.3

0.7

1.0

2007

0.4

0.7

1.1

2008

0.4

0.5

0.9

2009

0.4

0.5

0.9

2010

0.2

0.3

0.5

Source: U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, Estimated Revenue 
Effects Of H.R. 4297, The "Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act Of 2005," 
As Reported By The Committee On Ways And Means, JCX-81-05, November 
18, 2005.  H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increased the cost for Fiscal Years 
2007-2009 by $0.6, $0.4, and $0.1, and reduced it by $0.1 in 
 FY2010.

	Authorization

Sections 38(b), 39(d),45A, 168(j), 280C(a), 1391-1397D, 1400-1400B.


	Description



Empowerment Zone (EZ) and Enterprise Community (EC) tax incentives 
were originally created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 
and expanded by the Taxpayer Relief Act  of 1997 (TRA).  The EZ/EC 
program was expanded again by the Community Renewal Act of 2000.  That 
act also harmonized the eligibility rules for EZs/ECs and created a new 
geography-based tax incentive program for so-called Renewal Communities 
(RC).   There are currently authorized 40 EZs (30 urban and 10 rural), 95 ECs 
(65 urban and 30 rural), and 40 RCs (28 urban and 12 rural).  The District of 
Columbia EZ was also authorized in the TRA and is afforded the same tax 
incentives as the other EZs.  The DC Enterprise Zone incentives were 
extended through December 31, 2005 by P.L. 108-311 and through 2007 by 
H.R. 6111 (December 2006).

Designated areas must satisfy eligibility criteria including poverty rates and 
population and geographic size limits; they will be eligible for benefits 
through December 31, 2009.

For empowerment zones, the tax incentives include a 20 percent employer 
wage credit for the first $15,000 of wages for zone residents who work in the 
zone, $35,000 in expensing of equipment in investment (in addition to the 
amount allowed generally) in qualified zone businesses, and expanded tax 
exempt financing for certain zone facilities, primarily qualified zone 
businesses.  

In addition, qualified public schools in enterprise communities and 
empowerment zones are allowed access to qualified zone academy bonds 
(QZABs).  QZABs are bonds designated for school modernization and 
renovation where the federal government offers annual tax credits to the 
bondholders in lieu of interest payments from the issuer.  The Federal 
Government is effectively paying the interest on the bonds for the state or 
local governments.  For more on QZABs, see the tax expenditure entry "Tax 
Credit for Holders of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds" under the Education, 
Training, Employment, and Social Services heading.

Businesses in RC are allowed a 15 percent wage credit on the first $10,000 
of wages for qualified workers and an additional $35,000 in capital 
equipment expensing.  These qualified businesses are also allowed partial 
deductibility of qualified buildings placed in service.  Renewal community 
tax benefits are available through December 31, 2009.

Enterprise communities receive only the tax exempt financing benefits.  
Tax exempt bonds for any one community cannot exceed $3 million and 
bonds for any one user cannot exceed $20 million for all zones or 
communities.  Businesses eligible for this financing are subject to limits that 
target businesses operating primarily within the zones or communities.   

Businesses on Indian reservations are eligible for accelerated depreciation 
and for a credit for 20 percent of the cost of the first $20,000 of wages (and 
health benefits) paid by the employer to tribal members and their spouses, in 
excess of eligible qualified wages and health insurance cost payments made in 
1993.  These benefits are available for wages paid, and for property placed in 
service before December 31, 2007.



In 1997 several tax incentives for the District of Columbia were adopted: a 
wage tax credit of $3,000 per employee for wages paid to a District resident, 
tax-exempt bond financing, and additional first-year expensing of equipment. 
 These apply to areas with poverty rates of 20 percent or more.  There is also a 
zero capital gains rate for business sales in areas with 10 percent poverty 
rates.  Those provisions were available through December 31, 2007.  (A 
credit for first-time home buyers adopted at that time is discussed under the 
Commerce and Housing heading.)


	Impact

Both businesses and employees within the designated areas may benefit 
from these provisions.  Wage credits given to employers can increase the 
wages of individuals if not constrained by the minimum wage, and these 
individuals tend to be lower income individuals.  If the minimum wage is 
binding (so that the wage does not change) the effects may show up in 
increased employment and/or in increased profits to businesses.  

Benefits for capital investments may be largely received by business 
owners initially, although the eventual effects may spread to other parts of the 
economy.  Eligible businesses are likely to be smaller businesses because they 
must operate within the designated area.


	Rationale

These geographically targeted tax provisions were adopted in 1993, 
although they had been under discussion for some time and had been included 
in proposed legislation in 1992.  Interest in these types of tax subsidies 
increased after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.  

The objective of the subsidies was to revitalize distressed areas through 
expanded business and employment opportunities, especially for residents of 
these areas, in order to alleviate social and economic problems, including 
those associated with drugs and crime.  Some of these provisions are 
temporary and have been extended, most recently in December 2006 by H.R. 
6111.


Assessment

The geographically targeted tax provisions should encourage increased 
employment and income of individuals living and working in the zones and 
increased incentives to businesses working in the zones.  The small 
magnitude of the program may be appropriate to allow time to assess how 
well such benefits are working;  current evidence does not provide clear 
guidelines.



If the main target of these provisions is an improvement in the economic 
status of individuals currently living in these geographic areas, it is not clear 
to what extent these tax subsidies will succeed in that objective.  None of the 
subsidies are given directly to workers; rather they are received by businesses. 
 Capital subsidies may not ultimately benefit workers; indeed, it is possible 
that they may encourage more capital intensive businesses and make workers 
worse off.  In addition, workers cannot benefit from higher wages resulting 
from an employer subsidy if the wage is determined by regulation (the 
minimum wage) and already artificially high.  Wage subsidies are more likely 
than capital subsidies to be effective in benefitting poor zone or community 
residents. 

 Another reservation about enterprise zones is that they may make 
surrounding communities, that may also be poor, worse off by attracting 
businesses away from them.  And, in general, questions have been raised 
about the target efficiency of provisions that target all beneficiaries in a poor 
area rather than poor beneficiaries in general.


	Selected Bibliography

Bondino, Daniele and Robert T. Greenbaum, "Decomposing the Impacts: 
Lessons from a Multistate Analysis of Enterprise Zone Programs," John 
Glenn Working Paper Series, The Ohio State University, Working Paper, 
June 2005. 
Cordes, Joseph J., and Nancy A. Gardner.  "Enterprise Zones and Property 
Values: What We Know (Or Maybe Don't)." National Tax Association 
Proceedings, 94th Annual Conference on Taxation.  Washington, DC: 
National Tax Association, 2002, pp. 279-287.
Couch, Jim F., and J. Douglas Barrett. "Alabama's Enterprise Zones:  
Designed to Aid the Needy?" Public Finance Review, v. 32, no. 1 (January 
2004), pp. 65-81.
-,  Keith E. Atkinson, and Lewis H. Smith, "The Impact of Enterprise 
Zones on Job Creation in Mississippi," Contemporary Economic Policy, v. 
23, April, 2005, pp. 255-260.
Fisher, Peter S., and Alan H. Peters.  "Tax and Spending Incentives and 
Enterprise Zones."  New England Economic Review (March-April 1997), pp. 
109-130.
Garrison, Larry R.  "Tax Incentives for Doing Business on Indian 
Reservations."  Taxes-The Magazine (May 2002), pp. 39-44.
Greenbaum, Robert.  "Siting it Right: Do States Target Economic Distress 
When Designating Enterprise Zones?"  Economic Development Quarterly 
(February 2004), pp. 67-80.
Greenbaum, Robert T. and John B. Engberg, "The Impact of State 
Enterprise Zones on Urban Manufacturing Establishments," Journal of Policy 
Analysis and Management, v. 23, spring 2004, pp. 315-339.
Hirasuna, Don and Joel Michel, "Enterprise Zones: A Review of the 
Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence, " Policy Brief, Minnesota House 
of Representatives Research Department, January 2005.


Papke, Leslie. "Enterprise Zones," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and 
Tax Policy, ed. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert W. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle 
(Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, 2005).
- . "What Do We Know About Enterprise Zones?"  In Tax Policy and the 
Economy V. 7, ed. James Poterba, National Bureau of Economic Research,  
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993.
Rogers, Cynthia and Jill L. Tao, "Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Targeted 
Economic Development Programs: Lessons from Florida," Economic 
Development Quarterly, v. 18, August 2004, pp. 269-285.
Stoker, Robert P. And Michael J. Rich.  "Lessons and Limits: Tax 
Incentives and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast After Katrina," The Brookings 
Institution, Survey Series, August 2006.
Sullivan, Martin A.  D.C.: A Capitalist City?  Arlington, VA: Tax 
Analysts, 1997.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs, 
Subcommittee on Economic Growth and Credit Formation.  The 
Administration's Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Proposal.  
Hearing, 103d Congress, 1st Session, May 27 and June 8, 1993.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description of Present Law Regarding 
Tax Incentives for Renewal Communities and Other Economically Distressed 
Areas.  (JCX-40-02), May 20, 2002.
-, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of Tax Legislation 
Enacted in 1997.  105th Congress, 1st Session.  Washington, DC: U.S. 
Government Printing Office, December 17, 1997.
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Empowerment Zone and 
Enterprise Community Program: Improvements  Occurred in Communities, 
but the Effect of the Program is Unclear, GAO-06-727, September 2006.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Interim Assessment 
of the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Community (EZ/EC) Program: A 
Progress Report and Appendices, November 2001.
Wilder, Margaret G. and Barry M. Rubin, "Rhetoric versus Reality: A 
Review of Studies on State Enterprise Zone Programs."  Journal of the 
American Planning Association, v. 62, Autumn, 1996, pp. 473-490.












Community and Regional Development

NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT AND
RENEWAL COMMUNITY TAX INCENTIVES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.6

0.4

1.0

2007

0.8

0.5

1.3

2008

0.9

0.6

1.5

2009

0.9

0.5

1.5

2010

0.7

0.5

1.2

H.R. 6111 (December 2006) increased the loss by $0.1 billion
in FY2008 and $0.2 billion in FY2009.

Authorization

Sections 45D, 1400F, 1400H, 1400I, and 1400J.


	Description

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) is designed to generate private 
sector equity investment to encourage private sector investment in 
low-moderate income rural and urban communities nationwide. T he NMTC 
is available for investors who invest in community development entities 
(CDEs).  The NMTC is a tax credit for investors equal to 5 percent of their 
initial investment in the calendar year they made the investment.  The credit 
rates remains at 5 percent for the next two years and is then increased to 6 
percent for each of four more years.  The maximum amount of annual 
investment eligible for the credit is $1.5 billion in 2002 and 2003; $2.0 billion 
in 2004 and 2005; and $3.5 billion in 2006 through 2008.



In contrast to the NMTC, Renewal Community (RC) tax incentives  target 
businesses directly.  The four RC tax incentives for businesses are (1) that 
gains from the sale of assets designated as RC business are taxed at 0 percent, 
(2) that a qualified RC business is eligible for a Federal tax credit worth 15 
percent of the first $10,000 of wages for each qualified employee hired by the 
RC business, (3) that each state can allocate up to $12 million for 
"commercial revitalization expenditures" for businesses in a RC, and (4) that 
RC businesses can claim up to $35,000 in section 179 expensing for qualified 
RC property.


	Impact

The NMTC is an investment credit.  Thus investors, who are likely in 
higher income brackets, are the direct beneficiaries.  Business owners are the 
direct beneficiaries of the RC tax incentives.  Business owners, like investors, 
are also likely to fall in higher income brackets.  Nevertheless, the tax 
incentives would likely encourage investment spending in economically 
distressed communities.  The additional investment would indirectly benefit 
the workers and residents of these communities.  A more direct means of 
providing assistance to individuals in distressed communities might entail 
direct aid to individuals.


	Rationale

The Renewal Community provisions and the NMTC were enacted by the 
Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-544).  The tax 
incentives in the RC legislation are designed to lower the cost of capital and 
labor for RC businesses relative to non-RC businesses.  Policymakers hope 
the incentives will encourage investment in RC businesses and help lower the 
cost of doing business in Renewal Communities.  The NMTC is designed to 
provide tax relief to investors in economically distressed communities through 
providing a more certain rate of return with fixed credit rates.   H.R. 6111 
(December 2006) extended the RC coverage through 2008 and required that 
non-metropolitan counties receive a proportional allocation.


 	Assessment



The NMTC program is still relatively new, so an evaluation of the 
program's effectiveness difficult.  The Community Development Financial 
Institutions Fund (the CDFI Fund), which operates the MNTC program, 
reports that as of December 31, 2004, New Markets Tax Credit allocatees had 
raised nearly $1.5 billion in private equity to invest in low income 
communities and invested $1.3 billion of that amount, with 99 percent of the 
funds going into severely distressed communities.  The CDFI also reports that 
the businesses receiving funds are projected to create 3,000 full-time 
equivalent jobs and are projected to develop or rehabilitate 13 million square 
feet of commercial real estate, while generating 33,000 construction jobs. 

The relative size of the credit program, however, may limit its influence on 
economic growth and development in distressed communities.  According to 
a 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) report, the $15 billion of potential 
new investment over seven years must be assessed against the fact that the 
potential target area includes approximately 35 percent of the U.S. population 
and 40 percent of the land area.  In addition, the fixed credit rate, 5 percent 
for the first three years and 6 percent for the four final years, may not be 
enough to compensate investors for the underlying risk of the principal 
investment.

The capital gain exclusion for RC businesses may shift investment into the 
RC.  Investors could invest more money in a RC business because the after-
tax return is higher that for than similar investments in non-RC businesses.  
The higher after-tax return will, in theory, encourage more investment in RC 
businesses, perhaps at the expense of businesses just outside the RC.  The 
employee tax credit for RC businesses may encourage hiring the workers that 
qualify under the program.  The Federal tax credit should lower the per unit 
labor costs of the RC business and may lead to either more workers being 
hired or more hours worked.  The relatively small size of the credit may limit 
the impact on overall employment in the Renewal Community.

RC businesses that realize a tax savings for rehabilitation expenses 
immediately, rather than over time, potentially encouraging more renovation.  
The RC businesses could decide to renovate because the immediate tax 
savings increases the after-tax rate of return on those expenditures.  In short, a 
tax savings today is worth more than an equal tax savings earned in the 
future.  The accelerated depreciation incentive is similar to the rehabilitation 
tax benefit.  The RC business realizes a tax saving because it can deduct the 
entire cost of the capital equipment (and receive the tax savings) immediately 
rather than in increments spread into the future.  The accelerated depreciation 
should lower the cost of capital and encourage more capital investment by RC 
businesses.


	Selected Bibliography

Armistead, P. Jefferson. "New Markets Tax Credits: Issues and 
Opportunities," prepared for the Pratt Institute Center for Community and 
Environmental Development, April 2005.
Cohen, Ann Burstein.  "Community Renewal Tax Relief's Act's Incentives 
for Investors-Form over Substance?," The Tax Adviser, v. 32, no. 6 (June 
2001), pp. 383-384. 
- . "Renewal Communities," The CPA Journal, March 2004, pp. 46-53.


Lambert, Thomas E.  And Paul A. Coomes.  "An Evaluation of the 
Effectiveness of Louisville's Enterprise Zone," Economic Development 
Quarterly, v. 15, no. 2, (May 2001), pp. 168-180.
Myerson, Deborah L. "Capitalizing on the New Markets Tax Credit," The 
Urban Land Institute Land Use Policy Forum Report, September 2003.
Rubin, Julia Sass and Gregory M. Stankiewicz . "The New Markets Tax 
Credit Program: A Midcourse Assessment," Federal Reserve Bank of San 
Francisco, vol. 1, iss. 1, 2005.
Stoker, Robert P. And Michael J. Rich.  "Lessons and Limits: Tax 
Incentives and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast After Katrina," The Brookings 
Institution, Survey Series, August 2006.
U.S. Congress, House Ways and Means Committee, Manager's Statement 
on Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000, statement to accompany 
H.R. 5662 as incorporated in H.R. 4577, Dec. 15, 2001.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description of Present Law 
Regarding Tax Incentives for Renewal Communities and Other Economically 
Distressed Areas, (JCX 40-02), May 20, 2002.
- .  Summary of Provisions Contained in the Community Renewal Tax 
Relief Act of 2000, (JCX 112-00), December 15, 2000.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Tax Incentive 
Guide for Businesses in Renewal Communities, Empowerment Zones, and 
Enterprise Communities, FY2002. 
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Community Development Financial 
Institutions Fund (CDFI), The Difference the CDFI Fund Makes, website, 
http://www.cdfifund.gov/impact_we_make/overview.asp, visited Oct. 20, 
2006.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  New Markets Tax Credit Program: 
Progress Made in Implementation, But Further Actions Needed to Monitor 
Compliance, GAO-04-326, January 30, 2004.
- .  New Markets Tax Credit: Status of Implementation and Issues Related 
to GAO's Mandated Reports, GAO-03-223R, December 6, 2002.








	Community and Regional Development

EXPENSING OF REDEVELOPMENT COSTS IN CERTAIN 
ENVIRONMENTALLY CONTAMINATED AREAS 
("BROWNFIELDS")


Estimated Revenue Loss (1)

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006







2007







2008







2009







2010







(1) In Senate Budget Committee's 2004 tax expenditure compendium, 
the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated the FY 2005 tax 
expenditure at $200 million ($100 for corporations; $100 million for 
individuals).  Before the one-year extension under the Tax Increase and Relief 
Act, that compendium reports an estimated tax expenditure for 2006 of less 
than $50 million for corporations and less than $50 million for individuals.  A 
two year extension of this provision in H.R. 6111 (December 2006) cost $557 
million in FY2007, and $123 million in FY2008, and is projected to increase 
revenue by $44 million in FY2009 and  $52 million in FY2010. 


Authorization

Section 198, 280B, and 468, 1221(1), 1245, 1392(b)(4), and 1393(a)(9).


	Description



Firms that undertake expenditures to control or abate hazardous substances 
in a qualified contaminated business property or site in certain targeted 
empowerment zones and enterprise communities are allowed to expense - 
deduct the costs against income in the year incurred - those expenditures 
that would otherwise be allocated to capital account.  Upon the disposition of 
the property, the deductions are subject to recapture as ordinary income.  
Eligible expenses must be incurred before January 1, 2007.  The deduction 
applies to both the regular and the alternative minimum tax.

A qualified contaminated site, or "brownfield," is generally defined as any 
property that 1) is held for use in a trade or business, and 2) on which there 
has been an actual or threatened release or disposal of certain hazardous 
substances as certified by the appropriate state environmental agency.  
Superfund sites - sites that are on the national priorities list under the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 
1980 - do not qualify as brownfields.  


	Impact

Immediate expensing provides a tax subsidy for capital invested by 
businesses, in this case for capital to be used for environmental cleanup and 
community development. Frequently, the costs of cleaning up contaminated 
land and water in abandoned industrial or commercial sites are a major barrier 
to redevelopment of that site and of the community in general. By expensing 
rather than capitalizing these costs, taxes on the income generated by the 
capital expenditures are effectively set to zero. This should provide a financial 
incentive to businesses and encourage them to invest in the cleanup and 
redevelopment of "brownfields"- abandoned old industrial sites and dumps, 
including properties owned by the federal and subnational government, that 
could and would be cleaned up and redeveloped except for the costs and 
complexities of the environmental contamination.  

The provision broadens target areas in distressed urban and rural 
communities that can attract the capital and enterprises needed to rebuild and 
redevelop polluted sites.  The tax subsidy is thus primarily viewed as an 
instrument of community development, to develop and revitalize urban and 
rural areas depressed due to environmental contamination.  According to the 
Environmental Protection Agency, there are thousands of such sites (30,000 
by some estimates) in the United States. 


      		  	Rationale



Section 198 was added by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-34).  
Its purpose is threefold:  1) As an economic development policy, its purpose 
is to encourage the redevelopment and revitalization of depressed 
communities and properties abandoned due to hazardous waste pollution; 2) 
as an environmental policy, expensing of environmental remediation costs 
provides a financial incentive to clean up contaminated waste sites; and 3) as 
tax policy, expensing of environmental remediation costs establishes clear and 
consistent rules, and reduces the uncertainty that existed prior to the law's 
enactment, regarding the appropriate tax treatment of such expenditures. 

The provision was originally to expire at the end of 2000, but was extended 
to the end of 2001 by the Tax Relief Extension Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170). It 
was extended again by the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (P.L. 
106-554). The provision expired again, this time on January 1, 2003, but was 
retroactively extended through December 31, 2005, by the Working Families 
Tax Relief Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-311).  The Tax Increase Prevention and 
Relief Act (P.L. 109-222) extended it through December 31, 2006.  It also 
expanded the list of hazardous substances to include any petroleum product.  
A provision to extend expensing of brownfield costs by either one or two 
years is part of so-called "extender" legislation, but these bills have not 
moved in Congress partly because of concerns over other controversial tax 
measures (such as estate tax cuts).  H.R. 6111 in December 2006 extended 
the provision through 2007.


	Assessment

Section 198 specifically treats environmental remediation expenditures, 
which would otherwise be capitalized, as deductible in the year incurred.  
Such expenditures are generally recognized to be capital costs, which, 
according to standard economic principles, should be recovered over the 
income producing life of the underlying asset.  As a capital subsidy, however, 
expensing is inefficient because it makes investment decisions based on tax 
considerations rather than inherent economic considerations.  
As a community development policy, the effectiveness of the tax subsidy 
has been questioned, as many view  the main disincentive to development of 
brownfield sites not the costs but rather the potential liability under current 
environmental regulation. That is to say the main barrier to development 
appears to be regulatory rather than financial. Barring such regulatory 
disincentives, the market system ordinarily creates its own incentives to 
develop depressed areas, as part of the normal economic cycle of growth, 
decay, and redevelopment. As an environmental policy, this type of capital 
subsidy is also questionable on efficiency grounds. Many economists believe 
that expensing is a costly and inefficient way to achieve environmental goals, 
and that the external costs resulting from environmental pollution are more 
efficiently addressed by either pollution or waste taxes or tradeable permits. 



	Selected Bibliography

Carroll, Deborah A., and Robert J. Eger III. "Brownfields, Crime, and Tax 
Increment Financing." American Review of Public Administration. December 
1, 2006. v. 36. pp. 455-477. 
Greenberg, Michael R., and Justin Hollander. "The Environmental 
Protection Agency's Brownfields Pilot Program."  American Journal of 
Public Health. February 2006. v. 96. pp. 277-282.
Jackson, Pamela J. Temporary Tax Provisions ("Extenders") Expired in 
2005. U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Report 
RS32367, August 4, 2006.
Longo, Alberto, and Anna Alberini. "What Are the Effects of 
Contamination Risks on Commercial and Industrial Properties? Evidence 
from Baltimore, Maryland." Journal of Environmental Planning and 
Management. September 2006. v.49. pp. 713-751. 
Northeast-Midwest Institute.  National Association of Local Government 
Environmental Professionals.  Unlocking Brownfields: Keys to Community 
Revitalization. October 2004.
Reisch, Mark.  Superfund and the Brownfields Issue. Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 97-731 ENR, Washington, DC, 1997.
-.  Brownfields in the 109th Congress. U.S. Library of Congress. 
Congressional Research Service. Report RS22502, September 8, 2006.
-. Environmental Cleanup and Development: Brownfield Tax Incentive 
Survey. U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. CRS 
Report RS 21599, August 21, 2003.
-. Brownfield Tax Incentive Extension. U.S. Library of Congress. 
Congressional Research Service. CRS Report RS 21599, October 17, 2006.
Segal, Mark A.  "Environmental Cleanup Expenditures: An Inquiry Into 
Their Proper Tax Treatment."  Oil & Gas Tax Quarterly, v. 42, 1994: 715-
729.
Shi, J. Stephen, and Susan H. Cooper.  "Tax Treatment of Environmental 
Costs."  Banking Law Journal v. 112, February. 1995, pp. 165-170.
Sims, Theodore S. "Environmental 'Remediation' Expenses and a Natural 
Interpretation of the Capitalization Requirement.  National Tax Journal, v. 
47, September 1994, pp. 703-718.
Sterner, Thomas. Policy Instruments for Environmental and Natural 
Resource Management.   Resources for the Future, Washington, 2003. 
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation.  Estimated Budget Effects of 
H.R. 5970, the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006 
("Etetra"), as Introduced in the House of Representatives on July 28, 2006.  
JCX-34-06 July 28, 2006 Washington.
U.S. Treasury Department.  Treasury News: Statement of Treasury 
Secretary Robert E. Rubin on a New Brownfields Tax Incentive. March 11, 
1996. Washington.                                                    
Weld, Leonard G., and Charles E. Price.  "Questions About the Deduction 
of Environmental Cleanup Costs After Revenue Ruling 94-38."  Taxes, v. 73, 
May 1995, pp. 227-233.








	Community and Regional Development

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT BONDS FOR PRIVATE AIRPORTS, DOCKS,
AND MASS-COMMUTING FACILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.7

0.3

1.0

2007

0.8

0.3

1.1

2008

0.8

0.3

1.1

2009

0.9

0.3

1.2

2010

0.9

0.4

1.3


	Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 142, and 146.


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance the construction of 
government-owned airports, docks, wharves, and mass-commuting facilities, 
such as bus depots and subway stations, is tax exempt.  These airport, dock, 
and wharf bonds are classified as private-activity bonds rather than 
governmental bonds because a substantial portion of their benefits accrues to 
individuals or business rather than to the general public.  For more discussion 
of the distinction between governmental bonds and private-activity bonds, see 
the entry under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on 
Public Purpose State and Local Debt.



Because private-activity mass commuting facility bonds are subject to the 
private-activity bond annual volume cap, they must compete for cap 
allocations with bond proposals for all other private activities subject to the 
volume cap.  The cap is equal to the greater of $80 per capita or $246.6 
million in 2006.  The cap has been adjusted for inflation since 2003.  Bonds 
issued for airports, docks, and wharves are not, however, subject to the annual 
Federally imposed State volume cap on private-activity bonds.  The cap is 
forgone because government ownership requirements restrict the ability of the 
State or local government to transfer the benefits of the tax exemption to a 
private operator of the facilities.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low-
interest rates enable issuers to provide the services of airport, dock, and wharf 
facilities at lower cost.  Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to 
bondholders.  For a discussion of the factors that determine the shares of 
benefits going to bondholders and users of the airport, dock, and wharf 
facilities, and estimates of the distribution of tax-exempt interest income by 
income class, see the "Impact" discussion under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Before 1968, State and local governments were allowed to issue tax-
exempt bonds to finance privately owned airports, docks, and wharves 
without restriction.  The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 
(RECA 1968) imposed tests that restricted the issuance of these bonds.  
However, the Act also provided a specific exception which allowed 
unrestricted issuance for airports, docks, and wharves, and mass commuting 
facilities.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 allowed bonds for non-government-
owned airports, docks, wharves, and mass-commuting facilities to be tax 
exempt, but required the bonds to be subject to a volume cap applied to 
several private activities.  The volume cap did not apply if the facilities were 
"governmentally owned."

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 allowed tax exemption only if the facilities 
satisfied government ownership requirements, but excluded the bonds for 
airports, wharves, and docks from the private-activity bond volume cap.  This 
Act also denied tax exemption for bonds used to finance related facilities such 
as hotels, retail facilities in excess of the size necessary to serve passengers 
and employees, and office facilities for nongovernment employees.



The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 extended tax exemption to mass-
commuting vehicles (bus, subway car, rail car, or similar equipment) that 
private owners leased to government-owned mass transit systems.  This 
provision allowed both the vehicle owner and the government transit system 
to benefit from the tax advantages of tax-exempt interest and accelerated 
depreciation allowances.  The vehicle exemption expired on December 31, 
1984.


	Assessment

State and local governments tend to view these facilities as economic 
development tools.  The desirability of allowing these bonds to be eligible for 
tax-exempt status hinges on one's view of whether the users of such facilities 
should pay the full cost, or whether sufficient social benefits exist to justify 
Federal taxpayer subsidy.  Economic theory suggests that to the extent these 
facilities provide social benefits that extend beyond the boundaries of the 
State or local government, the facilities might be underprovided due to the 
reluctance of State and local taxpayers to finance benefits for nonresidents.

Even if a case can be made for a Federal subsidy due to underinvestment at 
the State and local level, it is important to recognize the potential costs.  As 
one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity bonds, those issued for 
airports, docks, and wharves increase the financing cost of bonds issued for 
other public capital.  With a greater supply of public bonds, the interest rate 
on the bonds necessarily increases to lure investors.  In addition, expanding 
the availability of tax-exempt bonds increases the assets available to 
individuals and corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  March 10, 2006.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Statement of Donald B. 
Marron before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Committee on 
Ways and Means U.S. House of Representatives.  "Economic Issues in the 
Use of Tax-Preferred Bond Financing," March 16, 2006.
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and 
Background Related to State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee 
Print JCX-14-06, March 16, 2006.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.










Community and Regional Development

QUALIFIED GREEN BUILDING AND
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN PROJECT BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2007

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Section 103, 142(l), and 146(g).


	Description



Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance the construction of 
"green building and sustainable design projects," as designated by the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is tax exempt.  Green buildings are 
evaluated based on these criteria:  (1) site sustainability; (2) water efficiency; 
(3) energy use and atmosphere; (4) material and resource use; (5) indoor 
environmental quality; and (6) innovative design.  The program is designed as 
a "demonstration" program, and requires that at least one designated project 
shall be located in or within a 10-mile radius of an empowerment zone and at 
least one shall be located in a rural state.  These bonds are classified as 
private-activity bonds rather than governmental bonds because a substantial 
portion of their benefits accrues to individuals or business rather than to the 
general public.  For more discussion of the distinction between governmental 
bonds and private-activity bonds, see the entry under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.

Bonds issued for green building and sustainable design projects are not, 
however, subject to the state volume cap on private activity bonds.  This 
exclusion arguably reflects a belief that the bonds have a larger component of 
benefit to the general public than do many of the other private activities 
eligible for tax exemption.  The bonds are, however, subject to a an aggregate 
face amount of $2 billion and must be issued before October 1, 2009.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to finance green building projects at reduced 
interest rates.

Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of both the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and users of the green buildings and associated projects, and 
estimates of the distribution of tax-exempt interest income by income class, 
see the "Impact" discussion under General Purpose Public Assistance: 
Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Proponents of green bonds argue that the federal subsidy is necessary 
because private investors are unwilling to accept the risk and relatively low 
return associated with green building projects.  Proponents argue that the 
market has failed to produce green buildings because the benefits of these 
projects extend well beyond the actual building to the surrounding community 
and to the environment more generally.  The owner of the green building is 
not compensated for these external benefits, and it is unlikely, proponents 
argue, that a  private investor would agree to provide them without some type 
of government subsidy.  


	Assessment



The legislation (P.L. 108-357) that created these bonds was enacted on 
October 22, 2004, and  the success of the program is still uncertain.  Before 
the legislation was enacted, some developers reportedly were voluntarily 
adhering to green building standards to attract tenants.  If so, the market 
failure described earlier to justify the use of federal subsidy may be less 
compelling.  In addition, as one of many categories of tax-exempt private-
activity bonds, green bonds will likely increase the financing costs of bonds 
issued for other public capital stock and increase the supply of assets available 
to individuals and corporations to shelter their income from taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Ho, Cathy Lang.  "Eco-fraud: 'Green Buildings' Might Not be all They're 
Made Out to Be."  Architecture, v. 92, July 2003, pp. 31-32.
International City-County Management Association.  "Green Buildings."    
Public Management, v. 82, May 2000, p. 36.
Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  Washington, 
D.C.: June 9, 2006.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  Washington, D.C.: March 10, 2006.
Temple, Judy.  "Limitations on State and Local Government Borrowing for 
Private Purposes." National Tax Journal, v. 46, March 1993, pp. 41-53.
Weisbrod, Burton A.  The Nonprofit Economy.  Cambridge, Mass.: 
Harvard University Press, 1988.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activities.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.






	




	Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
	Education and Training
	
	EXCLUSION OF INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE
	DISCHARGE OF CERTAIN STUDENT LOAN DEBT
	AND NHSC EDUCATIONAL LOAN REPAYMENTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

-

(1)

2007

(1)

-

(1)

2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

(1) Less than $50 million.  


Authorization

Section 108(f); 20 U.S.C. 1087ee(a)(5); and 42 U.S.C. 254l-1(g)(3).


Description

In general, cancelled or forgiven debt, or debt that is repaid on the 
borrower's behalf is included as gross income for tax purposes.  
However, section 108(f) of the IRC provides that in certain instances, 
student loan cancellation and student loan repayment assistance may 
be excluded from taxation.  



Cancelled or forgiven student loan debt may be excluded from 
gross income under section 108(f) if the relevant student loan 
contains terms providing that some or all of the loan will be cancelled 
for work for a specified period of time, in certain professions, and for 
any of a broad class of employers; and if it was made by a qualified 
lender.  Qualified lenders are the government (federal, state, local, 
or an instrumentality, agency, or subdivision thereof); tax-exempt 
public benefit corporations that have assumed control of a state, 
county, or municipal hospital and whose employees are considered 
public employees under state law; and educational institutions if the 
loan is made under an agreement with an entity described above, or 
under a program of the institution designed to encourage students to 
serve in occupations or areas with unmet needs and under the 
direction of a governmental entity or a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) 
organization.  

There are three major federal student aid (FSA) loan programs: 
the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, the William D. 
Ford Direct Loan (DL) program, and the Federal Perkins Loan 
program.  Student loans made under each of these programs contain 
provisions that if borrowers work for specified periods of time in 
certain professions, for certain broad classes of employers, all or a 
portion of their debt will be cancelled or forgiven.  For example, 
under each of the three loan programs, teachers who meet certain 
criteria may have their loans cancelled.  Some non-federal loans also 
may meet the requirements of section 108(f).  

Loans are made by different types of lenders under each of the 
three FSA programs.  Under the FFEL program, loans are 
guaranteed by the federal government, but are made by a variety of 
lenders, including commercial banks, non-profit entities, and state 
entities.  Thus, many FFEL loans are ineligible to be excluded from 
taxation when forgiven because the lender does not meet the 
requirements of section 108(f).  Under the DL program, loans are 
made directly by the federal government and are thus eligible to be 
excluded from taxation when forgiven.  Under the Federal Perkins 
Loan program, loans are made by the public, non-profit, or for-profit 
postsecondary institutions that borrowers attend.  The statute 
authorizing the Federal Perkins Loan program specifies that any part 
of a Federal Perkins Loan cancelled for certain types of public 
service shall not be considered income for purposes of the IRC (20 
U.S.C. 1087ee(a)(5)).

Section 108(f) also excludes from income student loan repayment 
assistance provided under the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) 
Loan Repayment Program and state programs eligible to receive 
funds under the Public Health Service Act.  These two programs 
provide payment on a borrower's behalf for principal, interest, and 
related expenses of educational loans in return for the borrower's 
service in a health professional shortage area.  Government and 
commercial education loans are eligible to be repaid under the NHSC 
Loan Repayment Program.  


Impact



Section 108(f) permits individuals to exclude loan cancellation and 
payments under the NHSC and state loan repayment programs from their 
gross income.  The benefit provided to any individual taxpayer and the 
corresponding loss of revenue to the federal government depends on the 
taxpayer's marginal tax rate.  CBO estimates that approximately 75,000 
teachers will apply for loan forgiveness each year under the FFEL and DL 
programs - the two largest FSA loan programs.  Many of these applicants 
may be able to exclude their forgiven debt from gross income.  Additional 
borrowers may be eligible to exclude debt forgiven under other loan 
programs.  It is unclear, however, how many individuals go into certain 
professions because of available loan forgiveness programs, or how many 
decide to borrow from eligible lenders because of the section 108(f) provision 
which permits discharged student loan debt to be excluded from gross 
income.


 	Rationale

Whether to include the forgiveness of student loan debt or the repayment of 
debt through loan repayment assistance programs as part of gross income for 
purposes of taxation has been a policy issue for the past 50 years.  Following 
the Supreme Court's decision in Bingler v. Johnson (1969), the primary issue 
in determining whether loan forgiveness and loan repayment programs are 
taxable has been whether there exists a quid pro quo between the recipient 
and the lender.  Generally, if borrowers must perform service for the entity 
forgiving or repaying their loans, it is assumed that a quid pro quo exists and 
so the amount forgiven or repaid is treated as taxable income.  The policy 
issue is whether the service borrowers provide in return for the 
discharge of their loan is for the benefit of the grantor of debt 
forgiveness and thus should be considered akin to income, or if the 
service is for the benefit of the broader society and thus should 
potentially be excluded from income.  Following post-Bingler v. 
Johnson rulings by the IRS that had established the discharge of 
student loan indebtedness as taxable income, Congress has 
periodically amended the IRC to override these rulings and 
specifically exclude the discharge of broader categories of certain 
student loan debt from taxation.  As a result, the IRC currently 
provides tax treatment for qualified loan forgiveness and loan 
repayment programs that is similar to that of educational grants and 
scholarships, which are not taxable.  


Assessment



The value to an individual of excluding the discharge of student 
loan indebtedness from gross income depends on that individual's 
marginal tax rate in the tax year in which the benefit is realized.  
Since beneficiaries generally are required to be serving in public 
service jobs or in health professional shortage areas, in most cases 
such individuals will be in lower tax brackets than if they had taken 
higher paying jobs elsewhere.  Prior to the enactment of P.L. 108-
357, the NHSC loan repayment program provided recipients of loan 
repayment with an additional payment for tax liability equal to 39% 
of the loan repayment amount (42 U.S.C. 254l-1(g)(3)).  By 
excluding NHSC loan repayment from income, tax relief is now 
provided through foreign revenue as opposed to discretionary 
outlays.


	Selected Bibliography

Beck, Richard C.E., "Loan Repayment Assistance Programs for Public-
Interest Lawyers: Why Does Everyone Think They Are Taxable?" New York 
Law School Law Review, vol. 40, (1996): 251-310.
Bingler v. Johnson, 394 U.S. 741 (1969).
Boe, Caroleen C., "Cancelled Student Loans: For the Benefit of the 
Grantor?" Albany Law Review, vol. 39, (1974): 35-51.
Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, "H.R. 4525: Second Higher 
Education Extension Act of 2005," (Jan. 12, 2006).
Dauthtrey, Zoel, and Frank M. Messina, "Medical Student Loans: Making 
Repayments Tax Free," The CPA Journal, (Jan. 1999).
Internal Revenue Service, Revenue  Ruling 73-256, State Medical 
Education Loan Scholarship Program, 1973-1 CB 56, (Jan. 01, 1973)
McCallion, Gail, Student Loan Forgiveness Programs.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C., (July 14, 
2006).
Philipps, J. Timothy, and Timothy G. Hatfield, "Uncle Sam Gets the 
Goldmine - Students Get the Shaft: Federal Tax Treatment of Student Loan 
Indebtedness," Seton Hall Legislative Journal, vol. 15, (1991): 249-296.
Moloney v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, United States Tax Court, 
Summary Opinion 2006-53.
Oliver, Amy J., "Improving the Tax Code to Provide Meaningful and 
Effective Tax Incentives for Higher Education," University of Florida 
Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 12, (2000): 91-145.








	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Education and Training

	DEDUCTION FOR CLASSROOM EXPENSES OF
	ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATORS


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

 - 

-

2007

-

 - 

-

2008

-

 - 

-

2009

-

 - 

-

2010

-

 - 

-

*The tax credit was extended by H.R. 6111 (December 2006) for two 
years to 2006-2007 at a cost of $0.2 billion in each year.


	Authorization

Section 62.

	Description

An eligible employee of a public (including charter) and private elementary 
or secondary school may claim an above-the-line deduction for certain 
unreimbursed expenses.  An eligible educator is defined to be an individual 
who, with respect to any tax year, is an elementary or secondary school 
teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for a minimum of 
900 hours in a school year.  The expenses must be associated with the 
purchase of the following items for use by the educator in the classroom: 
books; supplies (other than nonathletic supplies for health or physical 
education courses); computer equipment, software, and services; other 
equipment; and supplementary materials.  The taxpayer may deduct up to 
$250 spent on these items.



The amount of deductible classroom expenses is not limited by the 
taxpayer's income.  Educators must reduce the total amount they expend on 
eligible items by any interest from an Education Savings Bond or distribution 
from a Qualified Tuition (Section 529) Program or Coverdell Education 
Savings Account that was excluded from income.  In other words, if 
educators or members of their tax filing units utilize earnings from these 
savings vehicles to pay tuition and other qualified educational expenses, only 
those classroom expenses that exceed the value of these income exclusions 
are deductible.


Impact

Educators, as an occupation, are actively involved in improving the human 
capital of the nation.  The availability of the classroom expense deduction 
may encourage educators who already are doing so to continue to use their 
own money to make purchases to enhance their students' educational 
experience, and potentially encourages other educators to start doing the 
same.  Alternatively, the deduction may be a windfall to educators.  As noted 
in the table below, more than 40% of the deductions are taken by tax filing 
units with adjusted gross incomes of at least $75,000.



Distribution by Income Class of Classroom Expense 
Deduction at 2003 Income Levels

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

1.3

$10 to $20 

4.0

$20 to $30 

6.3

$30 to $40

10.5

$40 to $50

10.1

$50 to $75

24.6

$75 to $100

22.0

$100 to $200

19.3

$200 and over

1.8

 	Source: IRS Statistics of Income.  This is not a distribution of the tax 
expenditures, but of the deduction; it is classified by adjusted gross income.  
Data are available for 2004 but are not reliable due to small sample size in the 
higher income cells.



	Rationale

Prior to the classroom deduction's enactment as part of the Job Creation 
and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, the only tax benefit available to 
educators for trade/business expenses was the permanent deduction at Section 
162 of the Code.  That deduction remains available to educators but in order 
to take it, the total of their miscellaneous itemized deductions must exceed 
2% of adjusted gross income.  An above-the-line deduction targeted at 
educators was considered socially desirable because teachers voluntarily 
augment school funds by purchasing items thought to enhance the quality of 
children's education.  The provision expired at the end of 2005 but was 
extended through 2007 by H.R. 6111 (December 2006).


Assessment

Taxpayers with teachers in their filing units who make trade/business 
purchases in excess of $250 or who have other miscellaneous itemized 
deductions may now have to compute tax liability twice - under Code 
Sections 62 and 162 - to determine which provides the greater savings.  
Taxpayers also must now consider how the educator expense deduction 
interacts with other tax provisions.  The temporary above-the-line deduction 
means, for example, that higher income families with eligible educators may 
not have to subject classroom expenditures of up to $250 to the 3% limit on 
itemized deductions.  (Higher income taxpayers must reduce total allowable 
itemized deductions by 3% of their income in excess of an inflation-adjusted 
threshold.)  By lowering adjusted gross income, the classroom expense 
deduction also allows taxpayers to claim more of those deductions subject to 
an income floor (e.g., medical expenses).

In addition to increasing complexity, the classroom expense deduction 
treats educators differently than  others whose business-related expenses are 
subject to the 2% floor on miscellaneous itemized deductions and the 3% 
limit on total itemized deductions.  Further, the above-the-line deduction is 
allowed against the alternate minimum tax while the Section 162 deduction is 
not.


	Selected Bibliography

Levine, Linda.  The Tax Deduction for Classroom Expenses of Elementary 
and Secondary School Teachers.  Congressional Research Service Report 
RS21682.    Washington, DC: updated August 30, 2006.
Joint Committee on Taxation.  Description of Revenue Provisions 
Contained in the President's Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Proposal.   Committee 
Print JCS-3-04. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, March 2006.











Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

TAX CREDITS FOR TUITION
FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

4.9

-

4.9

2007

5.2

-

5.2

2008

5.1

-

5.1

2009

5.0

-

5.0

2010

5.0

-

5.0


Authorization

Section 25A.

Description

A Hope Scholarship Credit can be claimed for each eligible student in a 
family (including the taxpayer, the spouse, or their dependents) for two 
taxable years for qualified expenses incurred while attending an eligible 
postsecondary education program, provided the student has not completed the 
first two years of undergraduate education.  An eligible student is one 
enrolled on at least a half-time basis for at least one academic period during 
the tax year in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or credential at an 
institution eligible to participate in U.S. Department of Education student aid 
programs; these include most accredited public, private, and proprietary 
postsecondary institutions.  The per student credit is equal to 100% of the first 
$1,100 of qualified tuition and fees and 50% of the next $1,100.  The 
maximum credit is indexed for inflation.  Tuition and fees financed with 
scholarships, Pell Grants, veterans' education assistance, and other income 
not included in gross income for tax purposes  (with the exception of gifts and 
inheritances) are not qualified expenses.


The Lifetime Learning Credit provides a 20% credit per return for the first 
$10,000 of qualified tuition and fees that taxpayers pay for themselves, their 
spouses, or their dependents.  The credit is available for any number of years 
for any level of postsecondary education at an eligible institution to acquire or 
improve an individual's job skills.

Both credits are phased out for single taxpayers with modified adjusted 
gross income between $45,000 and $55,000 ($90,000 and $110,000 for joint 
return taxpayers).  The income thresholds are indexed to inflation.  Neither 
credit is refundable.  Both cannot be claimed for the same student in the same 
tax year.  Taxpayers claiming a credit cannot concurrently take the temporary 
deduction for qualified higher education expenses.


Impact

The cost of investing in postsecondary education is reduced for those 
recipients whose marginal (i.e., last) investment dollar is affected by these 
credits.  Other things equal, these individuals will either increase the amount 
they invest or participate when they otherwise would not.  However, some of 
the federal revenue loss will be received by individuals whose investment 
decisions are not altered by the credits.

As shown in the table below, the ceilings limit the benefit available to 
higher income individuals.  The lack of refundability limits the benefit 
available to very low income individuals.



Distribution by Income Class of Education Tax 
Credits at 2004 Income Levels

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

0.3

$10 to $20 

9.5

$20 to $30 

16.1

$30 to $40

18.6

$40 to $50

13.1

$50 to $75

25.1

$75 to $100

16.5

$100 to $200

0.0

$200 and over

0.0

 	Source: IRS Statistics of Income.  This is not a distribution of the tax 
expenditures, but of the credits; it is classified by adjusted gross income.



Rationale

These credits were enacted in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, 
along with a number of other higher education tax benefits.  Their 
intent is to make postsecondary education more affordable for  
middle-income families and students who might not qualify for much 
need-based federal student aid.


Assessment

A federal subsidy of higher education has three potential economic 
justifications:  a capital market failure; external benefits; and nonneutral 
federal income tax treatment of physical and human capital. Subsidies that 
correct these problems are said to provide taxpayers with "social benefits."

Many students find themselves unable to finance their postsecondary 
education from earnings and personal or family savings.  Student mobility and 
a lack of property to pledge as loan collateral would require  commercial 
lenders to charge high interest rates on education loans in light of the high 
risk of default.  As a result, students often find themselves unable to afford 
loans from the financial sector.  This financial constraint bears more heavily 
on lower income groups than on higher income groups and accordingly, leads 
to inequality of opportunity to acquire a postsecondary education.  It also is an 
inefficient allocation of resources because these students, on average, might 
earn a higher rate of return on loans for education than the financial sector 
could earn on alternative loans.  

This "failure" of the capital markets is attributable to the legal restriction 
against pledging an individual's future labor supply as loan collateral, that is, 
against indentured servitude.  Since modern society rejects this practice, the 
federal government has strived to correct the market failure by providing a 
guarantee to absorb most of the financial sector's default risk associated with 
postsecondary loans to students.  This financial support is provided through 
the Federal Family Education Loan Program and the Direct Loan Program.  
(See the entry "Exclusion of Interest on State and Local Government Student 
Loan Bonds" for more information.)  The guarantee is an entitlement and 
equalizes the financing cost for some portion of most students' education 
investment.  When combined with Pell Grants for lower income students, it 
appears that at least some portion of the capital market failure has been 
corrected and inequality of opportunity has been diminished.



Some benefits from postsecondary education may accrue not to the 
individual being educated, but rather to the members of society at large.  As 
these external benefits are not valued by individuals considering educational 
purchases, they invest less than is optimal for society (even assuming no 
capital market imperfections).  External benefits are variously described as 
taking the form of increased productivity  and better citizenship (for example, 
greater likelihood of participating in elections).

Potential students induced to enroll in higher education by the Hope 
Scholarship and Lifetime Learning credits cause investment in education to 
increase.  The overall effectiveness of the tax credits depends upon whether 
the cost of the marginal investment dollar of those already investing in higher 
education is reduced, however.  It is clear from the structure of these tax 
credits that tuition and fee payments will exceed qualified tuition and fees for 
a large number of credit-eligible students, and as a result, they will not 
experience a price effect (e.g., the Hope credit will not reduce by 50% the last 
dollar these students invest in postsecondary education).  Although their 
investment decision is unaffected by the credits, these students can claim 
them (i.e., reap a "windfall gain") but federal taxpayers get no offsetting 
social benefits in the form of an increased quantity of investment.


Selected Bibliography

Burman, Leonard E. with Elaine Maag, Peter Orszag, Jeffrey 
Rohaly, and John O'Hare.  The Distributional Consequences of 
Federal Assistance for Higher Education: The Intersection of Tax and 
Spending Programs, The Urban Institute, Discussion Paper No. 26.  
Washington, DC: August 2005.
Dynarski, Susan.  Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle 
Class and Its Impact on College Attendance.  National Bureau of 
Economic Research, Working Paper 7756.  Cambridge, MA: June 
2000.
Hoblitzell, Barbara A. and Tiffany L. Smith.  Hope Works: Student 
Use of Education Tax Credits.  Indianapolis, IN:  Lumina Foundation 
for Education Inc., November 2001.
Jackson, Pamela J.  Higher Education Tax Credits: An Economic 
Analysis.  Congressional Research Service Report RL32507.  
Washington, DC: updated January 17, 2006.
Levine, Linda.  The Benefits of Education.  Congressional 
Research Service Report RL33238.   Washington, DC: December 
29, 2005.
Long, Bridget Terry.  The Impact of Federal Tax Credits for 
Higher Education Expenses.  National Bureau of Economic 
Research, Working Paper 9553.  Cambridge, MA: March 2003.
Stoll, Adam and Linda Levine.  Higher Education Tax Credits and 
Deduction: An Overview of the Benefits and Their Relationship to 
Traditional Student Aid.  Congressional Research Service Report 
RL31129.  Washington, DC: updated October 2, 2006.
Wolanin, Thomas R.  Rhetoric and Reality: Effects and 
Consequences of the HOPE Scholarship.  Washington, DC:  Institute for 
Higher Education Policy, Working Paper, April 2001.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  "Education Tax Credits," in Joseph J. Cordes with 
Robert D. Ebel and Jane G. Gravelle, Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy, Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2005.








Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

DEDUCTION FOR INTEREST ON STUDENT LOANS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.8

-

0.8

2007

0.9

-

0.9

2008

0.9

-

0.9

2009

0.9

-

0.9

2010

1.0

-

1.0


Authorization

Section 221.

Description

Taxpayers may deduct interest paid on qualified education loans in 
determining their adjusted gross income.  The deduction, which is limited to 
$2,500 annually, is not restricted to itemizers.  Taxpayers are not eligible for 
the deduction if they can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.  
Between 2002 and  2010, the deduction is not restricted to interest paid 
within the first 60 months during which interest payments are required and 
the phase-out income thresholds are indexed for inflation.  Allowable 
deductions are phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income 
between $50,000 and $65,000 on individual returns and between $105,000 
and $135,000 on joint returns.  A sunset provision in the Economic Growth 
and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 will cause the deduction to revert 
to its pre-2002 structure after December 31, 2010, absent further 
congressional action.



Qualified education loans are indebtedness incurred solely to pay qualified 
higher education expenses of taxpayers, their spouse, or their dependents who 
were at the time the debt was incurred students enrolled on at least a half-time 
basis in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or credential at an 
institution eligible to participate in U.S. Department of Education student aid 
programs; these include most accredited public, private, and proprietary 
postsecondary institutions.  Other eligible institutions are hospitals and health 
care facilities that conduct internship or residency programs leading to a 
certificate or degree.  Qualified higher education expenses generally equal the 
cost of attendance (e.g., tuition, fees, books, equipment, room and board, and 
transportation) minus scholarships and other education payments excluded 
from income taxes.  Refinancings are considered to be qualified loans, but 
loans from related parties are not.


Impact

The deduction benefits taxpayers according to their marginal tax 
rate (see Appendix A).  Most education debt is incurred by students, 
who generally have low tax rates immediately after they leave school 
and begin loan repayment.  However, some debt is incurred by 
parents who are in higher tax brackets.

The cap on the amount of debt that can be deducted annually 
limits the tax benefit's impact for those who have large loans.   The 
income ceilings limit the benefit's availability to higher income individuals, 
as shown in the table below.



Distribution by Income Class of Student Loan 
Deduction at 2004 Income Levels

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

4.1

$10 to $20 

7.2

$20 to $30 

11.7

$30 to $40

14.3

$40 to $50

13.6

$50 to $75

24.2

$75 to $100

24.9

$100 to $200

0.0

$200 and over

0.0

Source: Data obtained from IRS Statistics of Income. This is not a 
distribution of the tax expenditures, but of the deductions; it is classified by 
adjusted gross income.


Rationale

The interest deduction for qualified education loans was authorized by the 
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 as one of a number of benefits intended to make 
postsecondary education more affordable for middle-income families who are 
unlikely to qualify for much need-based federal student aid.  The interest 
deduction is seen as a way to help taxpayers repay education loan debt, which 
has risen substantially in recent years.


Assessment

The tax deduction can be justified both as a way of encouraging persons to 
undertake additional education and as a means of easing repayment burdens 
when graduates begin full-time employment.  Whether the deduction will 
affect enrollment decisions is unknown; it might only change the way families 
finance college costs.  The deduction may allow some graduates to accept 
public service jobs that pay low salaries, although their tax savings would not 
be large.   The deduction has been criticized for providing a subsidy to all 
borrowers (aside from those with higher income), even those with little debt, 
and for doing little to help borrowers who have large loans.  It is unlikely to 
reduce loan defaults, which generally are related to low income and 
unemployment.


Selected Bibliography

Burman, Leonard E. with Elaine Maag, Peter Orszag, Jeffrey 
Rohaly, and John O'Hare.  The Distributional Consequences of 
Federal Assistance for Higher Education: The Intersection of Tax and 
Spending Programs, The Urban Institute, Discussion Paper No. 26.  
Washington, DC: August 2005.
Choy, Susan P. and Xiaojie Li.  Debt Burden: A Comparison of 1992-
93 and 1999-2000 Bachelor's Degree Recipients a Year After Graduating.  
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 
NCES 2005-170.  Washington, DC: July 7, 2005.
Hanushek, Eric A. with Charles Ka Yui Leung and Kuzey Yilmaz.  
Borrowing Constraints, College Aid, and Intergenerational Mobility.  
National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 10711.  Cambridge, 
MA: August 2004.
Jackson, Pamela J.  An Overview of Tax Benefits for Higher Education 
Expenses.  Congressional Research Service Report RL32554.  Washington, 
DC: updated September 1, 2006.
Levine, Linda.  Education Tax Benefits: Are They Permanent or 
Temporary?  Congressional Research Service Report RS21870.  Washington, 
DC: updated August 28, 2006.
Project on Student Debt.  Addressing Student Loan Repayment Burdens.  
Washington, DC: February 2006.


State PIRGs' Higher Education Project.  Paying Back, Not Giving Back: 
Student Debt's Negative Impact on Public Service Career Opportunities.  
Washington, DC: April 2006.
Stoll, Adam.  Federal Student Loans: Terms and Conditions for 
Borrowers.  Congressional Research Service Report RL30655.  Washington, 
DC: updated January 26, 2006.








Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF EARNINGS OF
COVERDELL EDUCATIONAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.1

-

0.1

2007

0.1

-

0.1

2008

0.1

-

0.1

2009

0.2

-

0.2

2010

0.2

-

0.2


Authorization

Section 530.

Description

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), formerly known as 
"Education IRAs," are trusts or custodial accounts created solely for the 
purpose of paying qualified elementary, secondary, and postsecondary 
education expenses of designated beneficiaries.  The contribution limit was 
raised from $500 annually to $2,000 annually effective from 2002 through 
2010.  It is phased-out for single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross 
income between $95,000 and $110,000 ($190,000 and $220,000 for joint 
return taxpayers) annually during the 9-year period.  The income limits are 
not adjusted for inflation and will revert to $95,000 and $150,000, 
respectively, after December 31, 2010.  Corporations, tax-exempt 
organizations, or lower income individuals can contribute the maximum 
annual amount to accounts of children in families whose income falls in the 
phase-out range.



A contributor may fund multiple accounts for the same beneficiary, 
and a student may be the designated beneficiary of multiple accounts. 
 A 6% tax is imposed if total contributions exceed the annual per-beneficiary 
limit.  Funds withdrawn from one Coverdell ESA in a 12-month period and 
rolled over to another ESA on behalf of the same beneficiary or certain of 
their family members  are excluded from the annual contribution limit and are 
not taxable.

Contributions may be made until beneficiaries reach age 18, although they 
may continue beyond that age for special needs beneficiaries.  Similarly, with 
the exception of special needs beneficiaries, account balances typically must 
be totally distributed when beneficiaries attain age 30.  Contributions are not 
deductible, but account earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis.  Beginning in 
2002, a contribution may be made to an ESA in the same year that a 
contribution is made to a Qualified Tuition Program for the same beneficiary.

Distributions are excluded from gross income of the beneficiary if used for 
tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or 
attendance; contributions to Qualified Tuition Programs; special needs 
services; and room and board expenses for students enrolled on at least a half-
time basis at eligible institutions of higher education.  Distributions also are 
not taxed if they are used, from 2002 through 2010, toward the following 
expenses of beneficiaries pursuing elementary and secondary (K-12) 
education:  tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other equipment incurred in 
connection with enrollment or attendance; academic tutoring; special needs 
services; room and board, uniforms, transportation, and supplementary items 
or services required or provided by the school; and computer software, 
hardware, or services if used by the beneficiary and the beneficiary's family 
during any years the beneficiary is in school.

Eligible postsecondary institutions are those eligible to participate in U.S. 
Department of Education student aid programs; these include most accredited 
public, private, and proprietary postsecondary institutions.  From 2002 
through 2010, eligible institutions have been expanded to public and private 
K-12 schools, either secular or religiously affiliated; they include 
homeschools in some states.

Distributions are taxed to the beneficiary under section 72 annuity rules:  
thus, each distribution is treated as consisting of principal, which is not taxed, 
and earnings, some of which may be taxed depending on the amount of 
qualified education expenses.  Distributions included in gross income are 
subject to a 10% penalty tax, with some exceptions.  After 2001, beneficiaries 
can exclude from gross income distributions made in the same year that either 
the Hope Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit is claimed (although not for 
the same expenses).  This and other previously mentioned changes to the 
Coverdell ESA that went into effect in 2002 are set to expire after December 
31, 2010 absent further congressional action.


Impact

Both the exclusion from gross income of account earnings withdrawn to 
pay for qualified expenses and the deferral of taxes on accumulating earnings 
confers benefits to tax filing units according to their marginal tax rate (see 
Appendix A).  These benefits are most likely to accrue to higher income 
families that have the means to save on a regular basis.

Tax benefits from Coverdell ESAs might be offset by reductions in federal 
student aid, most of which is awarded to students based on their financial 
need.  Generally, students have need when their cost of attendance exceeds 
their expected family contribution (EFC).    For purposes of need-based 
federal student aid programs (other than Pell Grants), the Department of 
Education provided guidance in 2006 based upon  amendments to the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  
According to the Department's guidance, a Coverdell ESA shall not be 
considered an asset of the student in the EFC calculation; instead, it shall be 
considered an asset of the parent if the parent is the account owner.  The 
phrase "account owner" is not normally used in connection with Coverdell 
ESAs, however.  In addition, other information the Department provides to 
families applying for federal student aid suggests that students who are the 
beneficiaries of Coverdell ESAs consider them their assets.  This distinction 
is an important one because a maximum of 5.64% of the assets of parents are 
counted toward the EFC, while a fixed 35% of the assets of students are 
counted toward the EFC.


Rationale

Tax-favored saving for higher education expenses was authorized by the 
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 as one of a number of tax benefits for 
postsecondary education.  These benefits reflect congressional concern that 
families are having increasing difficulty paying for college.  They also reflect 
an intention to subsidize  middle-income families that otherwise do not 
qualify for much need-based federal student aid.  The Economic Growth and 
Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 expanded eligible expenses to those 
incurred in connection with enrollment in public and private K-12 schools.  It 
was intended, in part, to encourage families to exercise school choice (i.e., 
attend alternatives to the traditional public school).


Assessment



The tax exclusion could be justified both as a way of encouraging 
families to use their own resources for college expenses and as a 
means of easing their financing burdens.  Families that have the 
wherewithal to save are more likely to benefit.  Whether families will 
save additional sums might be doubted.  Tax benefits for Coverdell 
ESAs are not related to the student's cost of attendance or other 
family resources, as is most federal student aid for higher education.

Higher-income families also are more likely than lower-income 
families to establish accounts for their children's K-12 education 
expenses.  The amount of the tax benefit, particularly if the 
maximum contribution to an account is not made each year, is 
probably too small to affect a family's decision about whether to send 
their children to public or private school.


Selected Bibliography

Davis, Albert J.  "Choice Complexity in Tax Benefits for Higher 
Education," National Tax Journal, v. 55, no. 3 (September 2002).  pp. 509-
530.
Dynarksi, Susan M.  Who Benefits from the Education Savings 
Incentives?  Income, Educational Expectations, and the Value of the 
529 and Coverdell.  National Bureau of Economic Research, 
Working Paper 10470.  Cambridge, MA: May 2004.
Investment Company Institute.  Profile of Households Saving for 
College.  Washington, DC: Fall 2003.
Levine, Linda.  Education Tax Benefits: Are They Permanent or 
Temporary?  Congressional Research Service Report RS21870.  
Washington, DC: updated August 28, 2006.
Levine, Linda and Charmaine Mercer.  Tax-Favored Higher 
Education Savings Benefits and Their Relationship to Traditional 
Federal Student Aid.  Congressional Research Service Report 
RL32155.  Washington, DC: updated September 28, 2006.
Levine, Linda and David Smole.  Federal Tax Benefits for Families' 
K-12 Education Expenses in the Context of School Choice.  
Congressional Research Service Report RL31439.  Washington, DC: 
updated January 27, 2006.
Ma, Jennifer.  Education Savings Incentives and Household Saving: 
Evidence from the 2000 TIAA-CREF Survey of Participant Finances. 
 National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 9505.  
Cambridge, MA: February 2003.
Ma, Jennifer.  To Save or Not to Save: A Closer Look at Saving and 
Financial Aid.  TIAA-CREF Institute, Working Paper 18-120103.  
NY, NY: December 2003.
Ma, Jennifer and Douglas Fore.  "Saving for College with 529 
Plans and Other Options," Journal of Retirement Planning, 
September-October 2002.
Wolanin, Thomas R.  "How Do Student Financial Aid and Tax Policy Fit 
Together: Relating HEA Programs to Education Tax Breaks?" in  
Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.  Washington, DC: Institute for 
Higher Education Policy, March 2003.











Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST
ON EDUCATION SAVINGS BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

-

(1)

2007

(1)

-

(1)

2008

(1)

-

(1)

2009

(1)

-

(1)

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Less than $50 million.


Authorization

Section 135.


Description

Eligible taxpayers can exclude from their gross income all or part of the 
interest on U.S. Series EE or  Series I Savings Bonds when the bonds are 
used to pay qualified higher education expenses of the taxpayer or the 
taxpayer's spouse or dependents.  Series EE Bonds are accrued bonds which 
earn a variable interest rate equal to 90% of the average yield on 5-year 
Treasury securities for the preceding six months.  Series I Bonds are accrued 
bonds which earn a fixed rate of return plus a variable semi-annual inflation 
rate.  The bonds must have been issued after 1989 and be both purchased and 
owned by persons who are age 24 or over.  If the total amount of principal 
and interest on bonds redeemed during a year exceeds the amount of qualified 
education expenses, the amount of the interest exclusion is reduced 
proportionately.


Qualified higher education expenses generally are restricted to tuition and 
fees required for enrollment or attendance at eligible institutions.  Tuition and 
fees are not taken into account if they are paid with tax-exempt scholarships, 
veterans' education assistance, employer education assistance, and 
distributions from Qualified Tuition Programs or from Coverdell ESAs, or if 
a tax credit or deduction is claimed for them.  Expenditures for courses in 
sports, games, or hobbies are not considered unless they are part of a degree 
program.  Contributions to Qualified Tuition Programs or to Coverdell ESAs 
are considered qualified expenses if made with redeemed proceeds.  Eligible 
institutions are those eligible to participate in U.S. Department of Education 
student aid programs; these include most accredited public, private, and 
proprietary postsecondary institutions.

The interest exclusion is phased out for middle- and upper-income 
taxpayers.  The phase-out ranges are based on the taxpayer's modified 
adjusted gross income in the year in which the bond is applied toward 
qualified expenses.  The ranges are adjusted annually for inflation.  The 
phase-out range for a married couple filing jointly and for widow(er)s is 
$94,700 to $124,700.  (Married couples must file a joint return to take the 
exclusion.)  For all others, it was $63,100 to $78,100.


Impact

Education Saving Bonds provide lower- and middle-income families 
with a tax-favored way to save for higher education that is convenient 
and often familiar.  The benefits are greater for families who live in 
states and localities with high income taxes because the interest 
income from Series EE and Series I Bonds is exempt from state and 
local income taxes.


Rationale

The interest exclusion for Education Savings Bonds was created by 
the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988, making it 
among the earliest congressional efforts to assist family financing of 
postsecondary education.  It reflects a long-held congressional 
concern that families have difficulty paying for college, particularly 
with the cost of higher education often rising faster than prices in 
general.  If families would save more prior to their children's 
enrollment in college, they might find it easier to meet the cost 
without relying on student aid or borrowing.  Although the tax 
provision has been subject to a number of technical and coordinating 
amendments since its inception (e.g., to take into account more 
recently enacted education tax benefits), the basic requirements have 
remained the same. 



Assessment

The benefits of Education Savings Bonds depend on several 
factors, including how soon taxpayers begin to save, the return on 
alternative savings plans, a taxpayer's marginal income tax rate, and 
the burden of state and local income taxes.  For many taxpayers, the 
after-tax rate of return on Education Savings Bonds is approximately 
the same as the after-tax rate of return on other government 
securities with a similar term.  Like other U.S. government securities, 
the interest income from Series EE and Series I Savings Bonds is 
exempt from state and local income taxes.

The tax savings from the exclusion are greater for taxpayers in 
higher tax brackets.  These savings would be partially offset by the 
below-market yield of these savings bonds.  However, both Series EE 
and Series I Bonds are a safe way to save, and many taxpayers may 
find it easier to purchase and redeem them than other Treasury 
securities.

Since the interest exclusion for Education Savings Bonds can be 
limited when the bonds are redeemed, families intending to use them 
for college expenses must predict their income eligibility far in 
advance.  They must also anticipate the future costs of tuition and 
fees and whether their children might receive scholarships.  Further, 
unless students are tax dependents of their grandparents for example, 
the relatives cannot take the exclusion on bond interest used to pay 
the students' qualified expenses.  In these respects, the bonds may 
not be as attractive an investment as some other education savings 
vehicles.


Selected Bibliography

Davis, Albert J.  "Choice Complexity in Tax Benefits for Higher 
Education," National Tax Journal, v. 55, no. 3 (September 2002).  pp. 509-
530.
Hubbard, R. Glenn and Jonathan S. Skinner.  "Assessing the 
Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," The Journal of Economic 
Perspectives,  v. 10, no. 4 (Fall 1996).  pp. 73-90.
Investment Company Institute.  Profile of Households Saving for 
College.  Washington, DC: Fall 2003.
Levine, Linda and Charmaine Mercer.  Tax-Favored Higher 
Education Savings Benefits and Their Relationship to Traditional 
Federal Student Aid.  Congressional Research Service Report 
RL32155.  Washington, DC: updated September 28, 2006.
U.S. Treasury.  Bureau of the Public Debt.  Savings Bonds for 
Education.  Accessible at http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/sav/saveduca.htm












Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

DEDUCTION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION EXPENSES


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

-

-

2007

-

-

-

2008

-

-

-

2009

-

-

-

2010

-

-

-

*The tax credit is effective through December 31, 2007.  H.R. 6111 which 
extended the deduction through 2006 and 2007 cost $1.6 billion in FY 2007 
and $1.7 billion in FY2008.


Authorization

Section 222.

Description

Taxpayers may deduct qualified tuition and related expenses for 
postsecondary education from their adjusted gross income.  The deduction 
is "above-the-line," that is, it is not restricted to itemizers.  Taxpayers 
are eligible for the deduction if they pay qualified expenses for 
themselves, their spouses, or their dependents.  Individuals who may 
be claimed as dependents on another taxpayer's return, married 
persons filing separately, and nonresident aliens who do not elect to 
be treated as resident aliens cannot take the deduction.



The maximum deduction per return is $4,000 for taxpayers with 
modified adjusted gross income that does not exceed $80,000 
($160,000 on joint returns).  Taxpayers with incomes above 
$65,000 ($130,000 for joint returns) but not above $80,000 
($160,000 for joint returns) can deduct up to $2,000 in qualified 
expenses.  These income limits are not adjusted for inflation and 
there is no phase-out of the deduction based upon income.

The deduction may be taken for qualified tuition and related 
expenses in lieu of claiming the Hope Scholarship Credit or Lifetime 
Learning Credit for the same student.  Taxpayers cannot deduct 
qualified expenses under Section 222 if they deduct these expenses 
under any other provision in the Code (e.g., the itemized deduction 
for education that maintains or improves skills required in a 
taxpayer's current profession).

Before the deduction can be taken, qualified expenses must be 
reduced if financed with scholarships, Pell Grants, employer-provided 
educational assistance, veterans' educational assistance, and any 
other nontaxable income (other than gifts and inheritances).  
Qualified expenses also must be reduced if paid with tax-free interest 
from Education Savings Bonds, tax-free distributions from Coverdell 
Education Savings Accounts, and tax-free earnings withdrawn from 
Qualified Tuition Plans.

Qualified tuition and related expenses are tuition and fees required 
for enrollment or attendance in an institution eligible to participate in 
U.S. Department of Education student aid programs; these include 
most accredited public, private, and proprietary postsecondary 
institutions.  The deduction may be taken for any year of 
undergraduate or graduate enrollment.  It is available to part-time 
and full-time students, and the program need not lead to a degree, 
credential, or certificate.


Impact

The deduction benefits taxpayers according to their marginal tax rate (see 
Appendix A).  Students usually have relatively low tax rates, but they may be 
part of families in higher tax brackets.  As shown in the table below, most of 
the deductions are taken by higher income families.  The maximum amount of 
deductible expenses limits the tax benefit's impact on individuals attending 
schools with comparatively high tuition and fees.  Because the income limits 
are not adjusted for inflation, the deduction might be available to fewer 
taxpayers over time.



Distribution by Income Class of Education  
Deduction at 2004 Income Levels

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

17.3

$10 to $20 

8.3

$20 to $30 

6.4

$30 to $40

4.6

$40 to $50

7.4

$50 to $75

13.3

$75 to $100

16.2

$100 to $200

26.4

$200 and over

0.0

Source: Data obtained from IRS Statistics of Income. This is not a 
distribution of the tax expenditures, but of the deduction; it is classified by 
adjusted gross income.


Rationale

The temporary deduction, which was authorized by the Economic 
Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 for 2002 through 
2005, builds upon postsecondary tax benefits that were initiated by 
the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.  It is one additional means that 
Congress has chosen to help families who are unlikely to qualify for 
much need-based federal student aid pay for escalating college 
expenses.  H.R. 6111, passed in December 2006, extended the 
benefit through 2007.


Assessment

The deduction has been criticized for adding to the complexity 
faced by families trying to determine which higher education tax 
benefits they are eligible for and what combination is their optimal 
mix for financing postsecondary education.  Between 2002 and 
2005, for example, those taxpayers whose incomes fell below the 
credit's lower income cutoff could claim either a higher education 
tax credit or the deduction.  In addition, the deduction must be 
coordinated with tax-advantaged college savings vehicles (e.g., the 
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and Qualified Tuition Plans).



Selected Bibliography

Burman, Leonard E. with Elaine Maag, Peter Orszag, Jeffrey 
Rohaly, and John O'Hare.  The Distributional Consequences of 
Federal Assistance for Higher Education: The Intersection of Tax and 
Spending Programs, The Urban Institute, Discussion Paper No. 26.  
Washington, DC: August 2005.
Davis, Albert J.  "Choice Complexity in Tax Benefits for Higher 
Education," National Tax Journal, v. 55, no. 3 (September 2002).  pp. 509-
530.
Levine, Linda.  Education Tax Benefits: Are They Permanent or 
Temporary?  Congressional Research Service Report RS21870.  
Washington, DC: updated August 28, 2006.
Stoll, Adam and Linda Levine.  Higher Education Tax Credits and 
Deduction: An Overview of the Benefits and Their Relationship to 
Traditional Student Aid.  Congressional Research Service Report RL31129.  
Washington, DC: updated October 2, 2006.








Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF TAX ON EARNINGS
OF QUALIFIED TUITION PROGRAMS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.7

-

0.7

2007

0.8

-

0.8

2008

0.9

-

0.9

2009

1.0

-

1.0

2010

1.0

-

1.0


Authorization

Section 529.


Description

There are two types of Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs) that 
allow persons to pay in advance or save for college expenses for 
designated beneficiaries: prepaid tuition plans and college savings 
plans.  The former enable account owners to make payments on 
behalf of beneficiaries for a specified number of academic periods or 
course units at current prices, thus providing a hedge against tuition 
inflation.  The latter enable payments to be made on behalf of 
beneficiaries into a variety of investment vehicles offered by plan 
sponsors (e.g., age-based portfolios whose mix of stocks and bonds 
changes the closer the beneficiary's matriculation date or an option 
with a guaranteed rate of return); the balances in college savings 
accounts can be applied toward a panoply of qualified higher 
education expenses (e.g., tuition and fees, books, supplies, and room 
and board).



Initially, only states could sponsor QTPs.  Starting in 2002, one or 
more eligible institutions of higher education could establish prepaid 
tuition plans.  Eligible institutions are those eligible to participate in 
U.S. Department of Education student aid programs; these include 
most accredited public, private, and proprietary postsecondary 
institutions.  States remain the sole sponsors of tax-advantaged 
college savings plans.

To be qualified, a QTP must receive cash contributions, maintain 
separate accounting for each beneficiary, and not allow investments 
to be directed by contributors and beneficiaries.  (The last restriction 
has been loosened somewhat as account owners now can make 
tax-free transfers from one QTP to another for the same beneficiary 
once in any 12-month period).  A contributor may fund multiple 
accounts for the same beneficiary in different states, and an 
individual may be the designated beneficiary of multiple accounts.

The specifics of plans vary greatly from one state to another.  Plan 
sponsors may establish restrictions that are not mandated either by 
the Code or federal regulation.  There are no income caps on 
contributors, unlike the limits that generally apply to taxpayers who 
want to claim the other higher education benefits.  Similarly, there is 
no annual limit on contributions, unlike the case with the Coverdell 
ESA.

There is no federal income tax deduction for contributions to 
QTPs.  Payments to QTPs are considered completed gifts of present 
interest from the contributor to the beneficiary meaning that an 
individual could contribute up to $12,000 in 2006 (subject to 
indexation) as a tax-free gift per QTP beneficiary.  A special gifting 
provision allowed a QTP contributor to make an excludable gift of up 
to $60,000 in one year by treating the payment as if it were made 
over 5 years.  By making QTP contributions completed gifts, their 
value generally is removed from the contributor's taxable estate.

Earnings on contributions accumulate on a tax-deferred basis.  
Starting in 2002 for state-sponsored plans and in 2004 for programs 
of higher education institutions, earnings withdrawn to pay qualified 
expenses are free from federal income tax.  This change, as well as 
other QTP amendments included in the Economic Growth and Tax 
Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, were due to expire after 
December 31, 2010; however, Congress made the changes 
permanent in the Pension Protection Act of 2006.



Except in the case of the beneficiary's death, disability, or receipt 
of a scholarship, veterans educational assistance allowance or other 
nontaxable payment for educational purposes (excluding a gift or 
inheritance), a 10% tax penalty is assessed on the earnings portion of 
distributions that exceed or are not used toward qualified higher 
education expenses.  Nonqualified earnings withdrawals are taxable 
to the distributee as well.  An account owner can avoid paying 
income tax and a penalty on nonqualified distributions by 
transferring the account to a new beneficiary who is a family member 
of the old beneficiary.

Contributions can be made to a QTP and to a Coverdell ESA in the 
same year for the same beneficiary effective after 2001.  Also 
starting in 2002, the higher education tax credits can be claimed for 
tuition and fees in the same year that tax-free distributions are made 
from a QTP or a Coverdell ESA on behalf of the same beneficiary, 
provided that the distributions are not used toward the same expenses 
for which the credits/deduction are claimed.


Impact

The tax deferral and more recently enacted exclusion from income of 
account earnings used to pay qualified expenses benefits tax filing units 
according to their marginal tax rate (see Appendix A).  The tax benefits of 
QTPs are more likely to accrue to higher income families because they have 
higher tax rates and the means to save for college.

Tax benefits from QTPs might be offset by reductions in federal student 
aid, much of which is awarded to students based on their financial need.  
Generally, students have need when their cost of attendance exceeds their 
expected family contribution (EFC).  Until Congress amended the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, prepaid tuition 
plans reduced a student's financial need to a much greater extent than college 
savings plans.  Both types of QTPs now are treated the same: according to 
Department of Education guidance, the two shall be considered an asset of the 
parent  if the parent is the account owner.  Because the law states that QTPs 
shall not be considered an asset of the student, the Department's guidance 
suggests that student-owned QTPs should not be considered in the EFC 
calculation. 


Rationale

QTPs have been established in response to widespread concern 
about the rising cost of college.  The tax status of the first program, 
the Michigan Education Trust, was the subject of several federal 
court rulings that left major issues unresolved.  Congress eventually 
clarified most questions in enacting section 529 as part of the Small 
Business Job Protection Act of 1996.


Assessment

The tax benefit can be justified as easing the financial burden of 
college expenses for families and encouraging savings for college.  
The benefits are generally limited to higher income individuals, 
however. 


Families have preferred college savings plans over prepaid tuition 
plans because the former potentially offer higher returns and because 
college savings plans, until recently, received more favorable 
treatment under some federal student aid programs.  Despite the 
steep decline in stock prices early in the current decade and the 
increased awareness of the fees associated with plans sold by financial 
advisors in particular, college savings accounts remain the most 
popular type of 529 plan.  (Broker-sold college savings plans impose 
investment fees in addition to the administrative and other fees 
charged by plans sold directly by the states.)  While the changed 
treatment of prepaid tuition plans in the EFC calculation could entice 
more families to invest in them, they too have suffered from the poor 
performance of the stock market (in which the funds of prepaid plans 
typically are invested).  In addition, the continuing rapid rise in 
college costs has prompted some states to change the terms of their 
prepaid tuition plans or to stop accepting contributions.


Selected Bibliography

Clancy, Margaret and Michael Sherraden.  The Potential for Inclusion in 
529 Savings Plans: Report on a Survey of States.  Center for Social 
Development, Washington University.  St. Louis, MO: December 2003.
Crenshaw, Albert B.  "Prepaid Tuition A Future Flunk-Out?," Washington 
Post, Nov. 14, 2004.
Dynarksi, Susan M.  Who Benefits from the Education Savings 
Incentives?  Income, Educational Expectations, and the Value of the 
529 and Coverdell.  National Bureau of Economic Research, 
Working Paper 10470.  Cambridge, MA: May 2004.
Investment Company Institute.  Profile of Households Saving for 
College.  Washington, DC: Fall 2003.
Levine, Linda.  Saving for College Through Qualified Tuition 
(Section 529) Programs.  Congressional Research Service Report 
RL31214.  Washington, DC: updated September 25, 2006.
Levine, Linda and Charmaine Mercer.  Tax-Favored Higher 
Education Benefits and Their Relationship to Traditional Federal 
Student Aid.  Congressional Research Service Report RL32155.  
Washington, DC:  updated September 28, 2006.
Lumina Foundation for Education.  "When Saving Means Losing: 
Weighing the Benefits of College-savings Plans," New Agenda Series, 
July 2004.
Ma, Jennifer.  Education Savings Incentives and Household Saving: 
Evidence from the 2000 TIAA-CREF Survey of Participant Finances. 
 National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 9505.  
Cambridge, MA: February 2003.
Ma, Jennifer.  To Save or Not to Save: A Closer Look at Saving and 
Financial Aid.  TIAA-CREF Institute, Working Paper 18-120103.  
NY, NY: December 2003.








Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF SCHOLARSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP INCOME


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

1.5

-

1.5

2007

1.6

-

1.6

2008

1.7

-

1.7

2009

1.8

-

1.8

2010

1.9

-

1.9


Authorization

Section 117.


Description

Scholarships and fellowships include awards based upon financial 
need (e.g., Pell Grants) as well as those based upon scholastic 
achievement or promise (e.g., National Merit Scholarships).  In 
recent years, interest has arisen in utilizing scholarships to promote 
school choice at the elementary and secondary levels in lieu of 
relying upon publicly funded vouchers.

Scholarships and fellowships can be excluded from the gross 
income of students or their families provided:  (1) the students are 
pursuing degrees (or are enrolled in a primary or secondary school); 
and (2) the amounts are used for tuition and fees required for 
enrollment or for books, supplies, fees, and equipment required for 
courses at an eligible educational institution.  Eligible educational 
institutions maintain a regular teaching staff and curriculum and have 
a regularly enrolled student body attending classes where the school 
carries out its educational activities.  Amounts used for room, board, 
and incidental expenses are not excluded from gross income.


Generally, amounts representing payment for services - teaching, 
research, or other activities - are not excludable, regardless of when 
the service is performed or whether it is required of all degree 
candidates.  An exception to the rule went into effect for awards 
received after 2001 under the National Health Service Corps 
Scholarship Program and the Armed Forces Health Professions 
Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program.


Impact

The exclusion reduces the net cost of education for students who 
receive financial aid in the form of scholarships or fellowships.  The 
potential benefit is greatest for students at private schools, where 
higher tuition charges increase the amount of scholarship or 
fellowship assistance that might be excluded.  For students at public 
institutions with low tuition charges, the exclusion may apply only to 
a small portion of a scholarship or fellowship award since most ot the 
award may cover room and board and other costs.

The effect of the exclusion may be negligible for students with little 
additional income: they could otherwise use their standard deduction 
or personal exemption to offset scholarship or fellowship income 
(though their personal exemption would be zero if their parents could 
claim them as dependents).  On the other hand, the exclusion may 
result in a more substantial tax benefit for married postsecondary 
students who file joint returns with their employed spouses.


Rationale

Section 117 was enacted as part of the Internal Revenue Code of 
1954 in order to clarify the tax status of grants to students; 
previously, they could be excluded only if it could be established that 
they were gifts.  The statute has been amended a number of times.  
Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the exclusion was also 
available to individuals who were not candidates for a degree (though 
it was restricted to $300 a month with a lifetime limit of 36 months), 
and teaching and other service requirements did not bar use of the 
exclusion, provided all candidates had such obligations. 


Assessment

The exclusion of scholarship and fellowship income traditionally 
was justified on the grounds that the awards were analogous to gifts.  
With the development of grant programs based upon financial need, 
which today probably account for most awards, justification now rests 
upon the hardship that taxation would impose.



If the exclusion were abolished, awards could arguably be 
increased to cover students' additional tax liability, but the likely 
effect would be that fewer students would get assistance.  
Scholarships and fellowships are not the only educational subsidies 
that receive favorable tax treatment (e.g., government support of 
public colleges, which has the effect of lowering tuition, is not 
considered income to the students), and it might be inequitable to tax 
them without taxing the others.

The exclusion provides greater benefits to taxpayers with higher 
marginal tax rates.  While students themselves generally have low (or 
even zero) marginal rates, they often are members of families subject 
to higher rates.  Determining what ought to be the proper taxpaying 
unit for college students complicates assessment of the exclusion.


Selected Bibliography

Abramowicz, Kenneth F.  "Taxation of Scholarship Income," Tax Notes, v. 
60.  November 8, 1993, pp. 717-725.
Crane, Charlotte.  "Scholarships and the Federal Income Tax Base," 
Harvard Journal on Legislation, v. 28.  Winter 1991, pp. 63-113.
Dodge, Joseph M.  "Scholarships under the Income Tax," Tax Lawyer, v. 
46.  Spring, 1993, pp. 697-754.
Evans, Richard, et. al.  "Knapp v. Commissioner of Internal 
Revenue: Tuition Assistance or Scholarship, a Question of Taxation," 
 The Journal of College and University Law, v. 16.  Spring 1990, pp. 
699-712.
Hoeflich, Adam.  "The Taxation of Athletic Scholarships: A 
Problem of Consistency,." University of Illinois Law Review, 1991, 
pp. 581-617.
Kelly, Marci.  "Financing Higher Education: Federal Income-Tax 
Consequences," The Journal of College and University Law, v. 17.  
Winter 1991, pp. 307-328.
Levine, Linda and Bob Lyke.  Federal Taxation of Student Aid: An 
Overview.  Congressional Research Service Report 97-225.  Washington, 
DC.
Levine, Linda and David Smole.  Federal Tax Benefits for Families' K-12 
Education Expenses in the Context of School Choice.  Congressional 
Research Service Report RL31439.  Washington, DC.












	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Education and Training

	EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYER-PROVIDED
	EDUCATION ASSISTANCE BENEFITS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.8

 - 

0.8

2007

0.9

 - 

0.9

2008

0.9

 - 

0.9

2009

0.9

 - 

0.9

2010

0.9

 - 

0.9


	Authorization

Section 127.

	Description

An employee may exclude from gross income amounts paid by the 
employer for educational assistance (tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc.) 
pursuant to a written qualified educational assistance program.  The annual 
limit is $5,250.  Any excess is includable in the employee's gross income and 
is subject to both employment and income taxes.  Amounts that exceed the 
limit may be excludable if they meet the working condition fringe benefits 
provision of Code Section 132.

Courses do not have to be job related.  Those involving sports, games, or 
hobbies are covered only if they involve the employer's business, however.  
Courses can help employees meet minimum requirements for current work or 
prepare for a new career.  Graduate education undertaken after December 31, 
2001and before January 1, 2011 is covered.



The employer may make qualified assistance payments directly, by 
reimbursement to the employee, or may directly provide the education.  The 
plan may not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees.  One 
requirement is that no more than 5% of the total amount paid out during the 
year may be paid to or for employees who are shareholders or owners of at 
least 5% of the business.  The employer must maintain records and file a plan 
return.

Impact

The exclusion of these benefit payments encourages employers to offer 
educational assistance to employees.  Availability of the benefit varies across 
firms, depending upon such things as industry and occupation of employment 
as well as firm size.  Availability also varies within firms, depending upon the 
number of hours an employee works (i.e., full-time or part-time schedules) for 
example.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on the percent of 
employees in the private sector with access to employer-provided educational 
assistance.  In 2006, for example, almost one-half of employees had access to 
work-related educational assistance while only a little more than one-tenth 
had access to nonwork-related educational assistance.  In the case of work-
related educational assistance, a much larger share of white-collar workers (60 
percent) had access to this employee benefit compared to blue-collar and 
service workers (42 percent and 30 percent, respectively).  Similarly, many 
more full-time workers (56 percent) compared to part-time workers (26 
percent) had access to work-related educational assistance in 2006.

The exclusion allows certain employees, who otherwise might be unable to 
do so, to continue their education.  The value of the exclusion is dependent 
upon the amount of educational expenses furnished and the marginal tax rate.


	Rationale

Section 127 was added to the law by the passage of the Revenue Act of 
1978, effective through 1983.  Prior to enactment, the treatment of employer-
provided educational assistance was complex, with a case-by-case 
determination of whether the employee could deduct the assistance as job-
related education.



Since its inception, the provision was reauthorized ten times.  It first was 
extended from the end of 1983 through 1985 by the Education Assistance 
Programs.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 next  extended it through 1987, and 
raised the maximum excludable assistance from $5,000 to $5,250.  The 
Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 reauthorized the exclusion 
retroactively to January 1, 1989 and extended it through September 30, 1990. 
 The Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990 then extended it through December 
31, 1991, and the Tax Extension Act of 1991, through June 30, 1992.  The 
Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993 reauthorized the provision retroactively 
and through December 31, 1994; the Small Business Job Protection Act re-
enacted it to run from January 1, 1995 through May 31, 1997.  The Taxpayer 
Relief Act of 1997 subsequently extended the exclusion - but only for 
undergraduate education - with respect to courses beginning before June 1, 
2000.  The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 
extended the exclusion through December 31, 2001.  With passage of the 
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the exclusion 
was reauthorized to include graduate education undertaken through December 
31, 2010.   The act also extended the existing rules for employer provided 
education assistance benefits until January 1, 2011.  Congressional committee 
reports indicate that the latest extension was designed to lessen the 
complexity of the tax law and was intended to result in fewer disputes 
between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service.


Assessment

The availability of employer educational assistance encourages employer 
investment in human capital, which may be inadequate in a market economy 
because of spillover effects (i.e., the benefits of the investment extend beyond 
the individuals undertaking additional education and the employers for whom 
they work).  Because all employers do not provide educational assistance, 
however, taxpayers with similar incomes are not treated equally.


	Selected Bibliography

Black, Sandra and Lisa M. Lynch.  "Human-Capital Investments and 
Productivity," AEA Papers and Proceedings, v. 86 (May 1996), pp. 263-267.
Cappelli, Peter.  Why Do Employers Pay for College?.  National Bureau of 
Economic Research.  Working Paper 9225.  Cambridge, MA: September 
2002.
Levine, Linda.  The Benefits of Education.  Congressional Research 
Service Report RL33238.  Washington, DC: December 29, 2005.
Lyke, Bob and Linda Levine.  The Current Tax Status of Employer 
Education Assistance.  Congressional Research Service Report 97-243.  
Washington, DC: November 7, 2005.
Luscombe, Mark A.  "Employer Educational Assistance Programs: Can the 
Frustration of Lapses in Statutory Authority Be Avoided?" Taxes, v. 74 (April 
1996), pp. 266-268.
Phillips, Lawrence C. and Thomas R. Robinson.  "Financial Planning for 
Education Expenditures."  The CPA Journal, v. 72, no 4, (April 2002), pp. 
34-39.
Selingo, Jeffrey.  "Adult Education: The End of the Magic Carpet Ride?," 
Washington Post, November 9, 2003, p. W43.


U.S. General Accounting Office.  Tax Expenditures: Information on 
Employer-Provided Educational Assistance, GAO/GGD-97-28.  Washington, 
DC: December 1996.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYER-PROVIDED
TUITION REDUCTION 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.2

 - 

0.2

2007

0.2

 - 

0.2

2008

0.2

 - 

0.2

2009

0.2

 - 

0.2

2010

0.2

 - 

0.2


Authorization

Section 11(d).

	Description

Tuition reductions for employees of educational institutions may be 
excluded from federal income taxes, provided they do not represent payment 
for services.  The exclusion applies as well to tuition reductions for an 
employee's spouse and dependent children.  Tuition reductions can occur at 
schools other than where the employee works, provided they are granted by 
the school attended, and not paid for by the employing school.  Tuition 
reductions cannot discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees.


Impact



The exclusion of tuition reductions reduces the net cost of education for 
employees of educational institutions.  When teachers and other school 
employees take reduced-tuition courses, the exclusion provides a tax benefit 
not available to other taxpayers unless their courses are job-related or 
included under an employer education assistance plan (Section 127).  When 
their spouse or children take reduced-tuition courses, the exclusion provides a 
unique benefit unavailable to other taxpayers.


Rationale

 Language regarding tuition reductions was added by the Deficit Reduction 
Act of 1984 as part of legislation codifying and establishing boundaries for 
tax-free fringe benefits; similar provisions had existed in regulations since 
1956. 

Assessment

 Tuition reductions are provided by education institutions to employees as 
a fringe benefit, which may reduce costs of labor and turnover.  In addition, 
tuition reductions for graduate students providing research and teaching 
services for the educational institution also contribute to reducing the labor 
costs.  Both employees and graduate students may view the reduced tuition as 
a benefit of their employment that encourages education.


	Selected Bibliography

Lyke, Bob and Linda Levine.  The Current Tax Status of Employer 
Education Assistance.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service 
Report 97-243.  Washington, DC: February 4, 2002.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, General Explanation of the  
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, JCS-41-84, 
December 31, 1984.








Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

PARENTAL PERSONAL EXEMPTION
FOR STUDENTS AGE 19-23


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.5

-

1.1

2007

0.2

-

0.5

2008

0.2

-

0.3

2009

0.1

-

0.2

2010

(1)

-

(1)

(1)Positive tax expenditure of less than $50 million.


Authorization
Section 151.


Description

Taxpayers may claim dependency exemptions for children 19 through 23 
years of age who are full-time students at least 5 months during the year, even 
if the children have gross income in excess of the personal exemption amount 
($3,300 in 2006) and could not normally be claimed.  Other standard 
dependency tests must be met, including the taxpayer's provision of one-half 
of the dependents' support.  These dependents cannot claim personal 
exemptions on their own returns, however, and their standard deduction may 
be lower.  In 2006, with some exceptions, the standard deduction for students 
is equal to the greater of $800 (in any combination of earned or unearned 
income) or their earned income plus up to $250 of unearned income 
providing it does not exceed the standard deduction amount of  $5,150 for 
single taxpayers.  If the student's income is greater than these amounts in 
2006, he or she must file a tax return.


Impact

The student dependency exemption generally results in additional tax 
savings for families with college students.  Parents typically have higher 
income and higher marginal tax rates than their student children (who may 
not even be taxed); thus, the exemption is worth more if parents claim it.  
Parents lose some or all of the student dependency exemption if their adjusted 
gross income is greater than the inflation adjusted threshold for phasing out 
personal exemptions.  In 2006 the threshold amounts begin at: $225,750 for 
joint returns, $150,500 for single returns, or $188,150 for heads of household.


Rationale

With the codification in 1954, the Internal Revenue Code first allowed 
parents to claim dependency exemptions for their children regardless of the 
student's gross income, provided they were less than 19 years old or were 
full-time students for at least 5 months.  Under prior law, such exemptions 
could not be claimed for any child whose gross income exceeded $600 (the 
amount of the personal exemption at the time).  Committee reports for the 
legislation noted that the prior rule was a hardship for parents with children in 
school and an inducement for the children to stop working before their 
earnings reached that level.

Under the 1954 Code, dependents whose exemptions could be claimed by 
their parents could also claim personal exemptions on their own returns.  The 
Tax Reform Act of 1986 disallowed double exemptions, limiting claims just 
to the parents.  It did allow a partial standard deduction for students equal to 
the greater of $500 (earned and/or unearned income), or earned income up to 
the generally applicable standard deduction amount.  As a result, students 
with no earned income were able to shelter up to $500 in unearned income 
from taxation.  The $500 is indexed for inflation as is the amount of the 
standard deduction.

The Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 restricted the 
student dependency exemption to children under the age of 24.  Students who 
are older than 23 can be claimed as dependents only if their gross income is 
less than the personal exemption amount.



The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 raised students' standard deduction to the 
greater of $700 ($500 adjusted for inflation) or the total of earned income 
plus $250 in unearned income provided the total did not exceed the full 
standard deduction.  This change, effective beginning in 1998, enables 
students with earned income greater than $700 but less than the standard 
deduction amount  and with little unearned income to shelter their unearned 
income from taxation and to no longer file a separate tax return (unless they 
must do so to claim a refund of withheld tax).  The limit on unearned income 
is adjusted annually for inflation.

The Working Family Tax Relief Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-311) revised the 
definition of a child for tax purposes, beginning with tax year 2005.  
Specifically, the law replaced the definition of a dependent for the personal 
exemption with requirements (or tests) that define new categories of 
dependents.  Under this definition, a child is a qualifying child of the taxpayer 
if the child satisfies three tests: (1) the child has not yet attained a specified 
age; (2) the child has a specified relationship to the taxpayer; and (3) the child 
has the same principal place of abode as the taxpayer for more than half the 
taxable year. 


Assessment

The student dependency exemption was created before the development of 
broad-based federal student aid programs, and some of its effects might be 
questioned in light of their objectives.  The exemption principally benefits 
families with higher incomes, and the tax savings are not related to the cost of 
education.  In contrast, most federal student aid is awarded according to 
financial need formulas that reflect both available family resources and 
educational cost.

Nonetheless, the original rationale for the student dependency exemption 
remains valid.  If the exemption did not exist, as was the case before 1954, 
students who earned more than the personal exemption amount would cause 
their parents to lose a dependency exemption worth hundreds of dollars, 
depending on the latter's tax bracket.  Unless they would earn a lot more 
money, students who knew of this consequence might stop working at the 
point their earnings reached the personal exemption amount.


Selected Bibliography

Bittker, Boris I.  "Federal Income Taxation and the Family," 27 Stanford 
Law Review 1389, esp. pp. 1444-1456 (1975). 
Jackson, Pamela J.  Standard Deduction and Personal 
Dependency Amounts for Children 14 and Over or Students, Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS20072,  (Washington, 
DC, June 28, 2006).
Scott, Christine. Tax Benefits for Families: Changes in the 
Definition of a Child, Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RS22016, (Washington, DC, March 10, 2006).
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986 (H.R. 3838, 99th Congress; Public Law 99-514), 
(Washington, DC,  May 4, 1987), pp. 22-24.


U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Publication 501: 
Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, (Washington, DC: 
2005).









	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Education and Training

	EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND
	LOCAL GOVERNMENT STUDENT LOAN BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.3

0.1

0.4

2007

0.3

0.1

0.4

2008

0.3

0.1

0.4

2009

0.4

0.1

0.5

2010

0.4

0.1

0.5


	Authorization

Sections 103, 141, 144, and 146.


	Description

Since interest on student loan bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing 
to accept lower pre-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  The 
relatively low interest rate may increase the availability of student loans 
because States may be more willing to lend to more students.  The interest 
rate paid by the students is not any lower since the rate is set by Federal law.  
Student loan bonds  also create a secondary market for student loans that 
compares favorably with the private sector counterpart in the secondary 
market for such loans, the Student Loan Marketing Association.

These student loan bonds are subject to the private-activity bond annual 
volume cap, and must compete for cap allocations with bond proposals for all 
other private activities subject to the volume cap.



Student loan bonds are related to direct subsidy assistance provided by the 
Federal Family Education Loan Program that consists of Stafford loans 
("subsidized" and "unsubsidized") and "PLUS loans."

The Stafford Loan program

(1) provides a guarantee to commercial lenders against loan default;

(2) makes an interest-rate subsidy in the form of a Special Allowance 
Payment (SAP), which for commercial lenders (banks) fluctuates with the rate 
on 3-month commercial paper and makes up the difference between the 
interest rate the student pays and the interest that banks could earn on 
alternative investments; and

(3) for Stafford "subsidized" loans only, forgoes both accrual and payment 
of interest and principal while the student is in school and for six months after 
the student leaves school.

(4) for Stafford "unsubsidized" loans,  interest is paid while students are in 
school, so the Federal subsidy is less than on Stafford "subsidized" loans. 

PLUS loans are also guaranteed against default, but the maximum interest 
rates are higher, and interest is paid while students are in school.   The interest 
rates that borrowers pay under the Stafford and PLUS programs are set by law 
and are the same regardless of whether loan financing comes from taxable or 
tax-exempt sources.  Thus, tax-exempt borrowing does not provide lower 
interest rates for borrowers, but it does broaden access to loans by enabling 
State and local nonprofit authorities to make loans that may otherwise not be 
provided.


	Impact

Since interest on the student loan bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are 
willing to accept lower pre-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  The 
relatively low interest rate may increase the availability of students loans 
because States may be more willing to lend to more students.  However, the 
interest rate paid by the students is not any lower since the rate is set by 
Federal law.  Student loan bonds also create a secondary market for student 
loans that compares favorably with the private sector counterpart in the 
secondary market for students loans, the Student Loan Marketing Association.



Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  For a 
discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and student borrowers, and for estimates of the distribution of 
tax-exempt interest income by income class, see the "Impact" discussion 
under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public 
Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

Although the first student loan bonds were issued in the mid-1960s, few 
states used them in the next ten years.  The use of student loan bonds began 
growing rapidly in the late 1970s because of the combined effect of three 
pieces of legislation.

First, the Tax Reform Act of 1976 authorized nonprofit corporations 
established by State and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to 
acquire guaranteed student loans.  It exempted the special allowance payment 
from tax-code provisions prohibiting arbitrage profits (borrowing at low 
interest rates and investing the proceeds in assets (e.g., student loans) paying 
higher interest rates).  State authorities could use arbitrage earnings to make 
or purchase additional student loans or turn them over to the State 
government or a political subdivision.  This provided incentives for State and 
local governments to establish more student loan authorities.  State authorities 
could also offer discounting and other features private lenders could not 
because of the lower cost of tax-exempt debt financing.

Second, the Middle Income Student Assistance Act of 1978 made all 
students, regardless of family income, eligible for interest subsidies on their 
loans, expanding the demand for loans by students from higher-income 
families.

Third, legislation in late 1976 raised the ceiling on SAPs and tied them to 
quarterly changes in the 91-day Treasury bill rate.  The Higher Education 
Technical Amendments of 1979 removed the ceiling, making the program 
more attractive to commercial banks and other lenders, and increasing the 
supply of loans.

In 1980, when Congress became aware of the profitability of tax-exempt 
student loan bond programs, it passed remedial legislation that reduced by 
one-half the special allowance rate paid on loans originating from the 
proceeds of tax-exempt bonds.

Subsequently, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 mandated a 
Congressional Budget Office study of the arbitrage treatment of student loan 
bonds, and required that Treasury enact regulations if Congress failed to 
respond to the study's recommendations.



Regulations were issued in 1989, effective in 1990, that required Special 
Allowance Payments to be included in the calculation of arbitrage profits, and 
that restricted arbitrage profits to 2.0 percentage points in excess of the yield 
on the student loan bonds.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 allowed student 
loans to earn 18 months of arbitrage profits on unspent (not loaned) bond 
proceeds.  This special provision expired one-and-a-half years after adoption, 
and student loans are now subject to the same six-month restriction on 
arbitrage earnings as other private-activity bonds.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 also included student loan bonds under the 
unified volume cap on private-activity bonds.


	Assessment

The desirability of allowing these bonds to be eligible for tax-exempt status 
hinges on one's view of whether students should pay the full cost of their 
education, or whether sufficient social benefits exist to justify taxpayer 
subsidy.  Students present high credit risk due to their uncertain earning 
prospects, high mobility, and society's unwillingness to accept human capital 
as loan collateral (via indentured servitude or slavery).  This suggests there 
may be insufficient funds available for human, as opposed to physical, capital 
investments.

Even if a case can be made for subsidy due to underinvestment in human 
capital, it is not clear that tax-exempt financing is necessary to correct the 
market failure.  The presence of federally subsidized guaranteed and direct 
loans already addresses the problem.  In addition, it is important to recognize 
the potential costs.  As one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity 
bonds, bonds issued for student loans have increased the financing costs of 
bonds issued for public capital stock, and have increased the supply of assets 
available to individuals and corporations to shelter their income from 
taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  November 10, 
2004.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  October 22, 2004.
Neubig, Tom.  "The Needless Furor Over Tax-Exempt Student Loan 
Bonds," Tax Notes, April 2, 1984, pp. 93-96.
Oosterbeek, Hessel.  "Innovative Ways to Finance Education and Their 
Relation to Lifelong Learning,"  Education Economics, v. 6, no. 3, (Dec. 
1998), pp. 219-251.
Stoll, Adam.  Federal Family Education Loan Program and William D. 
Ford Direct Loan Program Student Loans:  Terms and Conditions for 
Borrowers.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL33673.  September 29, 2006.


U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Statement of Donald B. 
Marron before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Committee on 
Ways and Means U.S. House of Representatives.  "Economic Issues in the 
Use of Tax-Preferred Bond Financing," March 16, 2006.
-.  The Tax-Exempt Financing of Student Loans.  August 1986.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling 
Public Subsidy of Private Activity.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute 
Press, 1991.
-, and Barbara Miles.  "Substituting Direct Government Lending for 
Guaranteed Student Loans: How Budget Rules Distorted Economic Decision 
Making," National Tax Journal, v. 47, no. 4 (December 1994), pp. 773-787.










	Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
	Education and Training

EXCLUSION OF INTEREST ON STATE AND LOCAL
 GOVERNMENT BONDS FOR PRIVATE NONPROFIT
AND QUALIFIED PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

1.1

0.4

1.5

2007

1.2

0.5

1.7

2008

1.2

0.5

1.7

2009

1.3

0.5

1.8

2010

1.3

0.5

1.8


Authorization

Section 103, 141, 142(k), 145, 146, and 501(c)(3).


	Description

Interest income on State and local bonds used to finance the construction 
of nonprofit educational facilities (usually university and college facilities 
such as classrooms and dormitories) and qualified public educational facilities 
is tax exempt.  These nonprofit organization bonds are classified as private-
activity bonds rather than governmental bonds because a substantial portion 
of their benefits accrues to individuals or business rather than to the general 
public.  For more discussion of the distinction between governmental bonds 
and private-activity bonds, see the entry under General Purpose Public 
Assistance: Exclusion of Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.



Bonds issued for nonprofit educational facilities are not subject to the State 
volume cap on private activity bonds.  This exclusion probably reflects the 
belief that the nonprofit bonds have a larger component of benefit to the 
general public than do many of the other private activities eligible for tax 
exemption.  The bonds are subject to a $150 million cap on the amount of 
bonds any nonprofit institution can have outstanding.

Bonds issued for qualified public education facilities are subject to a 
separate state-by-state cap: the greater of $10 per capita or $5 million 
annually.


	Impact

Since interest on the bonds is tax exempt, purchasers are willing to accept 
lower before-tax rates of interest than on taxable securities.  These low 
interest rates enable issuers to finance educational facilities at reduced interest 
rates.  Some of the benefits of the tax exemption also flow to bondholders.  
For a discussion of the factors that determine the shares of benefits going to 
bondholders and users of the nonprofit educational facilities, and estimates of 
the distribution of tax-exempt interest income by income class, see the 
"Impact" discussion under General Purpose Public Assistance: Exclusion of 
Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt.


	Rationale

An early decision of the U.S. Supreme Court predating the enactment of 
the first Federal income tax, Dartmouth College v. Woodward (17 U.S. 518 
[1819]), confirmed the legality of government support for charitable 
organizations that provided services to the public.  The income tax adopted in 
1913, in conformance with this principle, exempted from taxation virtually 
the same organizations now included under Section 501(c)(3).  In addition to 
their tax- exempt status, these institutions were permitted to receive the 
benefits of tax-exempt bonds under The Revenue and Expenditure Control 
Act of 1968.  Almost all States have established public authorities to issue 
tax-exempt bonds for nonprofit educational facilities.

The interest exclusion for qualified public educational facilities was 
provided for in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 
2001 and is intended to extend tax preferences to public school facilities 
which are owned by private, for-profit corporations.  The school must have, 
however, a public-private agreement with the local education authority.  The 
private-activity bond status of these bonds subjects them to more severe 
restrictions in some areas, such as arbitrage rebate and advance refunding, 
than would apply if they were classified as traditional governmental school 
bonds.



	Assessment

Efforts have been made to reclassify nonprofit bonds as governmental 
bonds.  Central to this issue is the extent to which nonprofit organizations are 
fulfilling their public purpose rather than using their tax-exempt status to 
convert tax subsidies into subsidized goods and services for groups that might 
receive more critical scrutiny if their subsidy were provided through direct 
federal expenditure.

As one of many categories of tax-exempt private-activity bonds, nonprofit 
educational facilities and public education bonds have increased the financing 
costs of bonds issued for public capital stock and increased the supply of 
assets available to individuals and corporations to shelter their income from 
taxation.


	Selected Bibliography

Maguire, Steven.  Private Activity Bonds: An Introduction.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL31457.  November 10, 
2004.
-.  Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government 
Debt.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30638.  October 22, 2004.
U.S. Congress,  Joint Committee on Taxation, General Explanation of Tax 
Legislation Enacted in the 107th Congress, Joint Committee Print JCS-1-03, 
January 24, 2003.
Weisbrod, Burton A.  The Nonprofit Economy.  Cambridge, Mass.: 
Harvard University Press, 1988.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  "Nonprofit Organizations, Social Benefits, and Tax 
Policy," National Tax Journal.  September 1991, pp. 341-349.
-.  The Private Use of Tax-Exempt Bonds: Controlling Public Subsidy of 
Private Activities.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 1991.












	Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
	Education and Training

TAX CREDIT FOR HOLDERS OF
QUALIFIED ZONE ACADEMY BONDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

-

0.1

0.1

2007

-

0.1

0.1

2008

-

0.1

0.1

2009

-

0.1

0.1

2010

-

0.1

0.1


	Authorization

Section 1397E.


Description

Holders of qualified zone academy bonds (QZABs) can claim a credit 
equal to the dollar value of the bonds held multiplied by a credit rate 
determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.  The credit rate is equal to the 
percentage that will permit the bonds to be issued without discount and 
without interest cost to the issuer.  The maximum maturity of the bonds is that 
which will set the present value of the obligation to repay the principal equal 
to 50 percent of the face amount of the bond issue.  The discount rate for the 
calculation is the average annual interest rate on tax-exempt bonds issued in 
the preceding month having a term of at least 10 years.  The bonds must be 
purchased by a bank, insurance company, or a corporation in the business of 
lending money.



A qualified zone academy must be a public school below the college level. 
 It must be located in an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community, or 
have a student body whose eligibility rate for free or reduced-cost lunches is 
at least 35 percent.  Ninety-five percent of bond proceeds must be used within 
five years to renovate capital facilities, provide equipment, develop course 
materials, or train personnel.  The academy must operate a special academic 
program in cooperation with businesses, and private entities must contribute 
equipment, technical assistance, employee services, or other property worth at 
least 10 percent of bond proceeds.  The limit for new QZAB debt is $400 
million in each year of 1998 through  2007. 


Impact

The interest income on bonds issued by State and local governments 
usually is excluded from Federal income tax (see the entry "Exclusion of 
Interest on Public Purpose State and Local Debt").  Such bonds result in the 
Federal Government paying a portion (approximately 25 percent) of the 
issuer's interest costs.  QZABs are structured to have the entire interest cost 
of the State or local government paid by the Federal Government in the form 
of a tax credit to the bond holders.  QZABs are not tax-exempt bonds.

The cost has been capped at the value of federal tax credits generated by 
the $3.2 billion QZAB volume.  If the school districts in any state do not use 
their annual allotment, the unused capacity can be carried forward for up to 
two years.


Rationale

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 created QZABs.  Some low-income 
school districts were finding it difficult to pass bond referenda to finance new 
schools or to rehabilitate existing schools.  Increasing the size of the existing 
subsidy provided by tax-exempt bonds from partial to 100 percent Federal 
payment of interest costs was expected to make school investments less 
expensive and therefore more attractive to taxpayers in these poor districts.  
The tax provision is also intended to encourage public/private partnerships, 
and eligibility depends in part on a school district's ability to attract private 
contributions that have a present value equal to at least 10 percent of the value 
of the bond proceeds.  H.R. 6111 (December 2006) extended QZAB's for 
two years, introduced the five year spending horizon, and applied arbitrage 
rules.


Assessment



One way to think of this alternative subsidy is that financial institutions can 
be induced to purchase these bonds if they receive the same after-tax return 
from the credit that they would from the purchase of tax-exempt bonds.  The 
value of the credit is included in taxable income, but is used to reduce regular 
or alternative minimum tax liability.  Assuming the taxpayer is subject to the 
regular corporate income tax, the credit rate should equal the ratio of the 
purchaser's forgone market interest rate on tax-exempt bonds divided by one 
minus the corporate tax rate.  For example, if the tax-exempt interest rate is 6 
percent and the corporate tax rate is 35 percent, the credit rate would be equal 
to .06/(1-.35), or about 9.2 percent.  Thus, a financial institution purchasing a 
$1,000 zone academy bond would receive a $92 tax credit for each year it 
holds the bond.

With QZABs, the Federal Governments pays 100 percent of interest costs; 
tax-exempt bonds that are used for financing other public facilities finance 
only a portion of interest costs.   For example, if the taxable rate is 8 percent 
and the tax-exempt rate is 6 percent, the non-zone bond receives a subsidy 
equal to two percentage points of the total interest cost, the difference 
between 8 percent and 6 percent.  The zone academy bond receives a subsidy 
equal to all 8 percentage points of the interest cost.  Thus, this provision 
reduces the price of investing in schools compared to investing in other public 
services provided by a governmental unit, and other things equal should cause 
some reallocation of the units budget toward schools.  In addition, the entire 
subsidy (the cost to the Federal taxpayer) is received by the issuing 
government in the form of reduced interest costs, unlike tax-exempt bonds in 
which part of the Federal revenue loss is a windfall gain for some purchasers 
and does not act to reduce the issuing government's interest cost.


Selected Bibliography

Congressional Budget Office, Tax Credit Bonds and the Federal Cost 
Financing Public Expenditures, July 2004.
Davie, Bruce, "Tax Credit Bonds for Education: New Financial 
Instruments and New Prospects," Proceedings of the 91st Annual Conference 
on Taxation, National Tax Association.
Joint Committee on Taxation, General Explanation of Tax Legislation 
Enacted in 1997, Joint Committee Print JCS-23-97, December 17, 1997, 40-
41.
Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and Background Related to 
State and Local Government Bonds, Joint Committee Print JCX-14-06, 
March 16, 2006.
Maguire, Steven.  Tax Credit Bonds: A Brief Explanation.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS20606.  August 21, 
2006.
-.   Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government Debt.  
Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RL30638.  
March 10, 2006.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Education and Training

DEDUCTION FOR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

5.3

0.7

6.0

2007

5.9

0.7

6.2

2008

6.3

0.7

7.0

2009

6.8

0.8

7.6

2010

7.1

0.8

7.9


Authorization

Section 170 and 642(c).


	Description

Subject to certain limitations, charitable contributions may be deducted by 
individuals, corporations, and estates and trusts.  The contributions must be 
made to specific types of organizations, including scientific, literary, or 
educational organizations.

Individuals who itemize may deduct qualified contribution amounts of up 
to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) and up to 30 percent for 
gifts of capital gain property.  For contributions to nonoperating foundations 
and organizations, deductibility is limited to the lesser of 30 percent of the 
taxpayer's contribution base, or the excess of 50 percent of the contribution 
base for the tax year over the amount of contributions which qualified for the 
50-percent deduction ceiling (including carryovers from previous years).  
Gifts of capital gain property to these organizations are limited to 20 percent 
of AGI.


The maximum amount deductible by a corporation is 10 percent of its 
adjusted taxable income.  Adjusted taxable income is defined to mean taxable 
income with regard to the charitable contribution deduction, dividends-
received deduction, any net operating loss carryback, and any capital loss 
carryback.  Excess contributions may be carried forward for five years.  
Amounts carried forward are used on a first-in, first-out basis after the 
deduction for the current year's charitable gifts have been taken.  Typically, a 
deduction is allowed only in the year in which the contribution occurs.  
However, an accrual-basis corporation is allowed to claim a deduction in the 
year preceding payment if its board of directors authorizes a charitable gift 
during the year and payment is scheduled by the 15th day of the third month of 
the next tax year.

If a contribution is made in the form of property, the deduction depends on 
the type of taxpayer (i.e., individual, corporate, etc.), recipient, and purpose.  

As a result of the enactment of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, 
P.L. 108-357, donors of noncash charitable contributions face increased 
reporting requirements.  For charitable donations of property valued at $5,000 
or more, donors must obtain a qualified appraisal of the donated property.  
For donated property valued in excess of $500,000, the appraisal must be 
attached to the donor's tax return.  Deductions for donations of patents and 
other intellectual property are limited to the lesser of the taxpayer's basis in 
the donated property or the property's fair market value.  Taxpayers can claim 
additional deductions in years following the donation based on the income the 
donated property provides to the donee.  The 2004 act also mandated 
additional reporting requirements for charitable organizations receiving 
vehicle donations from individuals  claiming a tax deduction for the 
contribution, if it is valued in excess of $500.

Taxpayers are required to obtain written substantiation from a donee 
organization for contributions that exceed $250.  This substantiation must be 
received no later than the date the donor-taxpayer files the required income 
tax return.  Donee organizations are obligated to furnish the written 
acknowledgment when requested with sufficient information to substantiate 
the taxpayer's deductible contribution.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-280) included several 
provisions that temporarily expand charitable giving incentives.  The 
provisions, effective after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2008, 
include enhancements to laws governing non-cash gifts and tax-free 
distributions from individual retirement  plans for charitable purposes.  The 
2006 law also tightened rules governing charitable giving in certain areas, 
including gifts of taxidermy, contributions of clothing and household items, 
contributions of fractional interests in tangible personal property, and record-
keeping and substantiation requirements for certain charitable contributions.


Impact

The deduction for charitable contributions reduces the net cost of 
contributing.  In effect, the federal government provides the donor with a 
corresponding grant that increases in value with the donor's marginal tax 
bracket.  Those individuals who use the standard deduction or who pay no 
taxes receive no benefit from the provision.

A limitation applies to the itemized deductions of high-income taxpayers.  
Under this provision, in 2006, otherwise allowable deductions are reduced by 
3 percent of the amount by which a taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI) 
exceeds $150,500 (adjusted for inflation in future years).  The table below 
provides the distribution of all charitable contributions, not just those to 
educational organizations.


Distribution by Income Class of the Tax Expenditure 
for Charitable Contributions, 2005 

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
Distribution

Below $10 

0.0

$10 to $20 

0.1

$20 to $30 

0.5

$30 to $40

1.1

$40 to $50

2.0

$50 to $75

8.3

$75 to $100

 9.6

$100 to $200

28.7

$200 and over

49.7


Before the 2004 enactment, donors could deduct the fair market value of 
donations of intellectual property.  The new restrictions may result in fewer 
such donations to universities and other qualified institutions.  The need to 
account for any increased income attributable to the donation might involve 
more work for recipient institutions.  


	Rationale

This deduction was added by passage of the War Revenue Act of October 
3, 1917.  Senator Hollis, the sponsor, argued that high wartime tax rates 
would absorb the surplus funds of wealthy taxpayers, which were generally 
contributed to charitable organizations.



It was also argued that many colleges would lose students to the military 
and charitable gifts were needed by educational institutions.  Thus, the 
original rationale shows a concern for educational organizations.  The 
deduction was extended to estates and trusts in 1918 and to corporations in 
1935.

The provisions enacted in 2004 resulted from Internal Revenue Service 
and congressional concerns that taxpayers were claiming inflated charitable 
deductions, causing significant federal revenue loss.  In the case of patent and 
other intellectual property donations, the IRS expressed concern not only 
about overvaluation of property, but also whether consideration was received 
in return for the donation and whether only a partial interest, rather than full 
interest, of property was being transferred.  The 2006 enactments were, in 
part, a result of continued concerns from 2004.


Assessment

Most economists agree that education produces substantial "spillover" 
effects benefitting society in general.  Examples include a more efficient 
workforce, lower unemployment rates, lower welfare costs, and less crime.  
An educated electorate fosters a more responsive and effective government.  
Since these benefits accrue to society at large, they argue in favor of the 
government actively promoting education.

Further, proponents argue that the Federal government would be forced to 
assume some activities now provided by educational organizations if the 
deduction were eliminated.  However, public spending might not be available 
to make up all the difference.  Also, many believe that the best method of 
allocating general welfare resources is through a dual system of private 
philanthropic giving and governmental allocation.

Economists have generally held that the deductibility of charitable 
contributions provides an incentive effect which varies with the marginal tax 
rate of the giver.  There are a number of studies which find significant 
behavioral responses, although a study by Randolph suggests that such 
measured responses may largely reflect transitory timing effects.

Types of contributions may vary substantially among income classes.  For 
example, contributions to religious organizations are far more concentrated at 
the lower end of the income scale than contributions to educational 
institutions.  More highly valued contributions, like intellectual property and 
patents, tend to be made by corporations to educational institutions.



It has been estimated by the American Association of Fund-Raising 
Counsel Trust for Philanthropy, Inc. that giving to public and private colleges, 
universities, elementary schools, secondary schools, libraries, and to special 
scholarship funds, nonprofit trade schools, and other educational facilities 
amounted to $38.56 billion in calendar year 2005.

Opponents say that helping educational organizations may not be the best 
way to spend government money.  Opponents further claim that the present 
system allows wealthy taxpayers to indulge special interests (such as gifts to 
their alma mater).

To the extent that charitable giving is independent of tax considerations, 
federal revenues are lost without any corresponding increase in charitable 
gifts.  It is generally argued that the charitable contributions deduction is 
difficult to administer and adds complexity to the tax code.


	Selected Bibliography

Aprill, Ellen P.  "Churches, Politics, and the Charitable Contribution 
Deduction," Boston College Law Review, v. 42 (July 2001), pp. 843-873.
Arnone, Michael. "Congress Approves Lower Tax Benefits for Donations 
of Intellectual Property," Chronicle of Higher Education, v. 51, iss. 9, 
October 22, 2004, p. A36.
Broman, Amy J.  "Statutory Tax Rate Reform and Charitable 
Contributions: Evidence from a Recent Period of Reform," Journal of the 
American Taxation Association.  Fall 1989, pp. 7-21.
Giving USA 2006, The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2005, 
The Center on Philanthropy At Indiana University.  Indiana University-
Purdue University, Indianapolis:  2006.
Buckles, Johnny Rex. "The Case for the Taxpaying Good Samaritan: 
Deducting Earmarked Transfers to Charity Under Federal Income Tax Law, 
Theory and Policy," Fordham Law Review, v. 70 (March 2002), pp. 1243-
1339.
"Bush Signs Corporate Tax Legislation Restricting Donations of 
Intellectual Property," Higher Education and National Affairs, October 27, 
2004.
Crimm, Nina J.  "An Explanation of the Federal Income Tax Exemption 
for Charitable Organizations: A Theory of Risk Compensation," Florida Law 
Review, v. 50 (July 1998),  pp. 419-462.
Clotfelter, Charles T.  "The Impact of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving:  
A 1989 Perspective."  In Do Taxes Matter?  The Impact of the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986, edited by Joel Slemrod, Cambridge, Mass.:  MIT Press, 1990.
-.  "The Impact of Fundamental Tax Reform on Nonprofit Organizations." 
 In Economic Effects of Fundamental Tax Reform, Eds. Henry J. Aaron and 
William G. Fale.  Washington, DC:  Brookings Institution Press, 1996, pp. 
211-246.
Colombo, John D.  "The Marketing of Philanthropy and the Charitable 
Contributions Deduction:  Integrating Theories for the Deduction and Tax 
Exemption," Wake Forest Law Review, v. 36 (Fall 2001), pp. 657-703.


Feenberg, Daniel.  "Are Tax Price Models Really Identified: The Case of 
Charitable Giving," National Tax Journal, v. 40, (December 1987), pp. 629-
633.
Feldman, Naomi and James Hines, Jr. "Tax Credits and Charitable 
Contributions in Michigan," University of Michigan, Working Paper, October 
2003.
Fisher, Linda A.  "Donor-Advised Funds: The Alternative to Private 
Foundations," Cleveland Bar Journal, v. 72 (July/August 2001), pp. 16-17.
Gravelle, Jane. Economic Analysis of the Charitable Contribution 
Deduction for Nonitemizers, Library of Congress Congressional Research 
Service Report RL31108, April 29, 2005.
Green, Pamela and Robert McClelland. "Taxes and Charitable Giving," 
National Tax Journal, v. 54 (September 2001), pp. 433-450.
Hasselback, James R. and Rodney L. Clark.  "Colleges, Commerciality, 
and the Unrelated Business Income Tax."  Taxes, v. 74 (May 1996), pp. 335-
342.
Jones, Darryll K.  "When Charity Aids Tax Shelters," Florida Tax Review, 
v. 4 (2001), pp. 770-830.
Joulfaian, David and Mark Rider. "Errors-In-Variables and Estimated 
Income and Price Elasticities of Charitable Giving,"  National Tax Journal, v. 
57 (March 2004), pp. 25-43.
Kahn, Jefferey H.  "Personal Deductions: A Tax "Ideal" or Just Another 
"Deal"?," Law Review of Michigan State University, v. 2002 (Spring 2002), 
pp. 1-55.
Lankford, R. Hamilton and James H. Wyckoff.  "Modeling Charitable 
Giving Using a Box-Cox Standard Tobit Model," Review of Economics and 
Statistics, v. 73 (August 1991), pp. 460-470.
Omer, Thomas C. "Near Zero Taxable Income Reporting by Nonprofit 
Organizations," Journal of American Taxation Association, v. 25, Fall 2003, 
pp. 19-34.
Randolph, William C. "Charitable Deductions,"  in The Encyclopedia of 
Taxation and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. 
Gravelle.  Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
-.  "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable 
Contributions,"  Journal of Political Economy, v. 103, August 1995, pp. 709-
738.
Rose-Ackerman, Susan.  "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," 
Journal of Economic Literature, v. 34 (June 1996), pp. 701-728.
Stokeld, Fred, "ETI Repeal Bill Would Tighten Rules on Vehicle, Patent 
Donations," Tax Notes, October 18, 2004, pp. 293-294.
"Tax Exempt Educational Organization," Journal of Law and Education, 
v. 15.  Summer 1986, pp. 341-346.
Teitell, Conrad.  "Tax Primer on Charitable Giving," Trust & Estates, v. 
139, (June 2000), pp. 7-16.
Tiehen, Laura. "Tax Policy and Charitable Contributions of Money," 
National Tax Journal, v. 54 (December 2001), pp. 707-723.


Tobin, Philip T.  "Donor Advised Funds: A Value-Added Tool for 
Financial Advisors," Journal of Practical Estate Planning, v. 3 
(October/November 2001), pp. 26-35, 52.
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office.  Budget Options.  See 
Rev-12, Limit Deductions for Charitable Giving to the Amount Exceeding 2 
Percent of Adjusted Gross Income.  Washington, DC:  Government Printing 
Office (February 2005), p 281.
U.S. Congress, General Accounting Office.  Vehicle Donations: Benefits to 
Charities and Donors, but Limited Program Oversight, GAO Report GAO-
04-73, Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office.  November 2003, 
pp. 1-44.
- . Vehicle Donations: Taxpayer Considerations When Donating Vehicles 
to Charities, GAO Report GAO-03-608T, Washington, DC: U.S. General 
Accounting Office.  April 2003, pp. 1-15.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, Technical Explanation Of 
H.R. 4, The "Pension Protection Act Of 2006," as Passed by the House on 
July 28, 2006, and as Considered by the Senate on August 3, 2006, 
JCX-38-06, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, August 3, 
2006, pp. 1-386.
- , Senate Committee on Finance.  Staff Discussion Draft: Proposals for 
Reforms and Best Practices in the Area of Tax-Exempt Organizations, 
Washington, DC, June 22, 2004, pp. 1-19.
U.S. Department of Treasury.  "Charitable Giving Problems and Best 
Practices," testimony given by Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal 
Revenue, Internal Revenue Service, IR-2004-81, June 22, 2004, pp. 1-17.
Wittenbach, James L. and Ken Milani.  "Charting the Interacting 
Provisions of the Charitable Contributions Deductions for Individuals," 
Taxation of Exempts, v. 13 (July/August 2001), pp. 9-22.
-, "Charting the Provisions of the Charitable Contribution Deduction for 
Corporations," Taxation of Exempts, v. 13 (November/December 2001), pp. 
125-130.
Yetman, Michelle H. and Robert J. Yetman. "The Effect of Nonprofits' 
Taxable Activities on the Supply of Private Donations," National Tax 
Journal, v. 56, March 2003, pp. 243-258.
Zimmerman, Dennis.  "Nonprofit Organizations, Social Benefits, and Tax 
Policy," National Tax Journal, v. 44.   September 1991, pp. 341-349.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Employment

EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYEE MEALS AND LODGING
 (OTHER THAN MILITARY)


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.9

-

0.9

2007

0.9

-

0.9

2008

0.9

-

0.9

2009

1.0

-

1.0

2010

1.0

-

1.0



Authorization

Sections 119 and 132(e)(2).


Description

Employees do not include in income the fair market value of meals 
furnished by employers if the meals are furnished on the employer's business 
premises and for the convenience of the employer.

The fair market value of meals provided to an employee at a subsidized 
eating facility operated by the employer is also excluded from income, if the 
facility is located on or near the employer's business, and if revenue from the 
facility equals or exceeds operating costs. In the case of highly compensated 
employees, certain nondiscrimination requirements are met to obtain this 
second exclusion.



Section 119 also excludes from an employee's gross income the fair market 
value of lodging provided by the employer, if the lodging is furnished on 
business premises for the convenience of the employer, and if the employee is 
required to accept the lodging as a condition of employment.


Impact

Exclusion from taxation of meals and lodging furnished by an employer 
provides a subsidy to employment in those occupations or sectors in which 
such arrangements are common.  Live-in housekeepers or apartment resident 
managers, for instance, may frequently receive lodging and/or meals from 
their employers.  The subsidy provides benefits both to the employees (more 
are employed and they receive higher compensation) and to their employers 
(who receive the employees' services at lower cost).


Rationale

The convenience-of-the-employer exclusion now set forth in section 119 
generally has been reflected in income tax regulations since 1918, presumably 
in recognition of the fact that in some cases, the fair market value of 
employer-provided meals and lodging may be difficult to measure.

The specific statutory language in section 119 was adopted in the 1954 
Code to clarify the tax status of such benefits by more precisely defining the 
conditions under which meals and lodging would be treated as tax free.

In enacting the limited exclusion for certain employer-provided eating 
facilities in the 1984 Act, the Congress recognized that the benefits provided 
to a particular employee who eats regularly at such a facility might not qualify 
as a de minimis fringe benefit absent another specific statutory exclusion.  
The record-keeping difficulties involved in identifying which employees ate 
what meals on particular days, as well as the values and costs for each such 
meal, led the Congress to conclude that an exclusion should be provided for 
subsidized eating facilities as defined in section 132(e)(2).


Assessment

The exclusion subsidizes employment in those occupations or sectors in 
which the provision of meals and/or lodging is common.  Both the employees 
and their employers benefit from the tax exclusion.  Under normal market 
circumstances, more people are employed in these positions than would 
otherwise be the case and they receive higher compensation (after tax).  Their 
employers receive their services at lower cost.  Both sides of the transaction 
benefit because the loss is imposed on the U.S. Treasury in the form of lower 
tax collections.



Because the exclusion applies to practices common only in a few 
occupations or sectors, it introduces inequities in tax treatment among 
different employees and employers.

While some tax benefits are conferred specifically for the purpose of 
providing a subsidy, this one ostensibly was provided for administrative 
reasons (based on the difficulty in determining their fair market value), and 
the benefits to employers and employees are side effects.  Some observers 
challenge the argument that administrative problems are an adequate rationale 
for excluding employer-provided meals and lodging. They note that a value is 
placed on these services under some Federal and many State welfare 
programs.


Selected Bibliography

Katz, Avery, and Gregory Mankiw.  "How Should Fringe Benefits Be 
Taxed?"  National Tax Journal.  v. 38.  March 1985, pp. 37-46.
Kies, Kenneth J.  "Analysis of the New Rules Governing the Taxation of 
Fringe Benefits," Tax Notes.  September 3, 1984, pp. 981-988.
Layne, Jonathan Keith.  "Cash Meal Allowances Are Includible in Gross 
Income and Are Not Excludible Under I.R.C. Section 119 as That Section 
Permits an Exclusion Only for Meals Furnished in Kind," Emory Law 
Review.  Summer 1978, pp. 791-814.
Raby, Burgess J. W. and William L. Raby.  "'Will Work for Food!': Room 
Meals, and 'Convenience of the Employer,'" Tax Notes, Vol. 100, July 14, 
2003, pp. 203-205.
Sunley, Emil M., Jr.  "Employee Benefits and Transfer Payments," 
Comprehensive Income Taxation, ed. Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1977, pp. 90-92.
Turner, Robert.  "Fringe Benefits,"  in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and 
Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  
Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 
98th Congress, 2nd session.  December 31, 1984, pp. 858-859.











Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
Employment

EXCLUSION OF BENEFITS
PROVIDED UNDER CAFETERIA PLANS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

27.9

-

27.9

2007

30.6

-

30.6

2008

33.4

-

33.4

2009

36.6

-

36.6

2010

40.0

-

40.5


Authorization

Section 125.


Description

Cafeteria plans allow employees to choose among cash and certain 
nontaxable benefits (such as health care benefits) without paying taxes if they 
select the latter.  A general rule of tax accounting is that when taxpayers have 
the option of receiving both cash and nontaxable benefits they are taxed even 
if they select the benefits since they are deemed to be in constructive receipt 
of the cash (that is, since it is within their control to receive it).  Section 125 
of the Internal Revenue Code provides an express exception to this rule when 
certain nontaxable benefits are chosen under a cafeteria plan.  The tax 
expenditure measures the loss of revenue from not including the nontaxable 
benefits in taxable income when employees have this choice.  Cafeteria plan 
benefits are also not subject to employment taxes of either the employer or 
employee.



"Cash" includes not only cash payments but also employment benefits that 
are normally taxable, such as vacation pay.  Nontaxable benefits include any 
employment benefits that are excluded from gross income under a specific 
section of the Code, other than long-term care insurance, scholarships or 
fellowships, employer educational assistance, miscellaneous fringe benefits, 
and most forms of deferred compensation.  Nontaxable benefits typically 
included in cafeteria plans are accident and health insurance, dependent care 
assistance, group-term life insurance, and adoption assistance.  Employer 
contributions to health savings accounts are also an allowable nontaxable 
benefit.

Most flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are governed by cafeteria plan 
provisions, as are premium conversion arrangements under which employees 
pay their share of health insurance premiums on a pretax basis.  In both cases, 
employees are choosing between cash wages (through voluntary salary-
reduction agreements) and nontaxable benefits.

Cafeteria plans must be in writing.  The written plan must describe the 
available benefits, eligibility rules, procedures governing benefit elections 
(usually occurring during an annual open season), employer contributions, 
and other matters.  Under IRS regulations, midyear election changes generally 
are allowed only for employee status changes (e.g., the birth of a child) or 
benefit cost changes (e.g., child care fees increase), though midyear changes 
on the basis of cost are not allowed for health benefits.  

A highly compensated participant is taxed on all benefits if the cafeteria 
plan discriminates in favor of highly compensated individuals as to eligibility, 
benefits, or contributions.  A highly compensated individual includes an 
officer, a 5-percent shareholder, someone with high earnings, or a spouse or 
dependent of any of these individuals.  In addition, if more than 25 percent of 
the total tax-favored benefits are provided to key employees, these key 
employees will be taxed on all benefits.  A key employee is an individual who 
is an officer, a 5-percent owner, a 1-percent owner earning more than 
$150,000, or one of the top 10 employee-owners.  There are some exceptions 
to these rules, including cafeteria plans maintained under collective 
bargaining agreements.

Amounts in health care FSAs or Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) 
may be rolled over into Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) under legislation 
adopted at the end of 2006 (H.R. 6111).


Impact

Cafeteria plans allow employees to choose among a number of nontaxable 
employment benefits without incurring a tax liability simply because they 
could have received cash.  The principal effect is to encourage employers to 
give employees some choice in the benefits they receive. 


As with other tax exclusions, the tax benefits are greater for taxpayers with 
higher incomes.  Higher income taxpayers may be more likely to choose 
nontaxable benefits (particularly health care benefits) instead of cash, which 
would be taxable.  Lower income taxpayers may be more likely to choose 
cash, which they may value more highly and for which the tax rates would be 
comparatively low.

More employers reportedly are offering cafeteria plans, but employee 
access to them depends largely on firm size.  Consider health care flexible 
spending accounts (FSAs), one of the most common plan options, which the 
2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found were offered by 18 
percent of private-sector firms and were available to 48 percent of private-
sector employees.  According to this survey, 55 percent of larger firms (50 or 
more workers) offered health care FSAs but only 5 percent  of smaller firms 
did.  Similarly, 64 percent of workers in larger firms had access to health care 
FSAs, but only 8 percent did in smaller firms. 

Actual usage is considerably less.  According to a 2004 Mercer survey, 
20% of eligible employees in firms of 500 or more employees participated in 
a health care FSA, as did 36% of eligible employees in firms of 10 or more 
employees.  Reasons for low FSA participation include employee perceptions 
of complexity, concerns about end-of-year forfeitures, and limited employer 
encouragement.  For lower income employees, particularly those who do not 
use much health care, the tax savings may not be sufficient incentive to 
participate. 

FSAs were made available to federal government employees starting on 
July 1, 2003.  In 2005, approximately 163,000 federal employees (less than 
6% of the total) had an FSA.


Rationale

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), an 
employer contribution made before January 1, 1977 to a cafeteria plan in 
existence on June 27, 1974 was required to be included in an employee's 
gross income only to the extent the employee actually elected taxable 
benefits.  For plans not in existence on June 27, 1974, the employer con-
tribution was included in gross income to the extent the employee could have 
elected taxable benefits.

The Tax Reform Act of 1976 extended these rules to employer 
contributions made before January 1, 1978.  The Foreign Earned Income Act 
of 1978 made a further extension until the effective date of the Revenue Act 
of 1978 (i.e., through 1978 for calendar-year taxpayers).



In the Revenue Act of 1978, the current provision as outlined above was 
added to the Code to ensure that the tax exclusion was permanent, but no 
specific rationale was provided.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 limited permissible benefits and 
established additional reporting requirements.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 
imposed stricter nondiscrimination rules (regarding favoritism  towards highly 
compensated employees) on cafeteria and other employee benefit plans.  In 
1989, the latter rules were repealed by legislation to increase the public debt 
limit (P.L. 101-140).

By administrative rulings, federal government employees were allowed to 
start paying their health insurance premiums on a pretax basis in 2000 and to 
establish flexible spending accounts in 2003.

Also by administrative ruling, in 2005 the Internal Revenue Service 
allowed employees an additional 2 and � months to use remaining balances 
in their health care FSAs at the end of the year.  Previously, unused balances 
at the end of the year were forfeited to employers.


Assessment

Cafeteria plans often are more attractive to employees than fixed benefit 
packages since they can choose the benefits best suited to their individual 
circumstances.  Usually, choice extends to both the type of benefit (health 
care, child care, etc.) as well as the amount, at least within certain limits.  
Ability to fine-tune benefits increases the efficient use of resources and may 
help some employees better balance competing demands of family and work.  
As with other employment benefits, however, the favored tax treatment of 
cafeteria plans leads to different tax burdens for individuals with the same 
economic income.  One justification for this outcome might be that it is in the 
public interest for employers to provide social benefits to workers if otherwise 
they would enroll in public programs or go without coverage.  However, 
providing social benefits through employment puts burdens on employers, 
particularly those with a small number of workers, and may impede workers' 
willingness and ability to move among jobs.

Health care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) funded through salary 
reduction agreements allow employees to receive tax benefits for the first 
dollars of their unreimbursed medical expenditures; in contrast, other 
taxpayers get tax benefits only if they itemize deductions and their 
unreimbursed expenditures exceed 7 � percent of adjusted gross income.  It 
is possible that FSAs encourage additional consumption of health care, 
though many workers are reluctant to put large sums in their accounts since 
unused amounts cannot be carried over to later years.    



	Selected Bibliography

Cavanaugh, Maureen B.  On the Road to Incoherence: Congress, 
Economics, and Taxation.  UCLA Law Review, v. 49 (February, 2002). 
Lyke, Bob.  Tax Benefits for Health Insurance and Expenses: Overview of 
Current Law and Legislation.  Library of Congress.  CRS Report RL33505.  
Updated periodically.
Peterson, Chris L. and Bob Lyke.  Health Care Flexible Spending 
Accounts.  Library of Congress.  CRS Report RL32656.  Updated 
periodically.
Roberts, Gary E.  Municipal Government Benefits Practices and Personnel 
Outcomes: Results from a National Survey.  Public Personnel Management. 
v. 33 no. 1 (Spring, 2004).
Rubenstein, Sarah.  Buying Health Insurance, Cafeteria Style.  The Wall 
Street Journal Online (October 19, 2004).
Ryan, Chris and Cathy Wells.  FSA Rule Change a Mixed Bag for 
Participants, Administrators.  Benefits Law Journal.  vol. 18 no. 3 (Autumn, 
2005).
Simmons, John G.  Flexible Benefits for Small Employers.  Journal of 
Accountancy.  v. 191 no. 3 (March, 2001).
Turner, Robert.  Fringe Benefits.  The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax 
Policy.  2nd edition. Washington, the Urban Institute Press, 2005. 
U.S. Congress.  Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, 98th Congress, 2nd 
session, December 31, 1984, pp. 867-872.












Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Employment

EXCLUSION OF HOUSING ALLOWANCES
FOR MINISTERS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.5

-

0.5

2007

0.5

-

0.5

2008

0.5

-

0.5

2009

0.6

-

0.6

2010

0.6

-

0.6


	Authorization

Section 107.


	Description

Under an exclusion available for a "minister of the gospel," gross income 
does not include

(1) the fair rental value of a church-owned or church-rented home 
furnished as part of his or her compensation, or

(2) a cash housing/furnishing allowance paid as part of the minister's 
compensation.

The housing/furnishing allowance may provide funds for rental or 
purchase of a home, including down payment, mortgage payments, interest, 
taxes, repairs, furniture payments, garage costs, and utilities.



Ministers receiving cash housing allowances also may claim deductions on 
their individual income tax returns for mortgage interest and real estate taxes 
on their residences even though such expenditures were allocable, in whole or 
in part, to tax-free receipt of the cash housing allowance.  While excluded 
from income taxes, the fair rental value or cash housing/furnishing allowance 
is subject to Social Security payroll taxes.


Impact

As a result of the special exclusion provided for parsonage allowances, 
ministers receiving such housing allowances pay less tax than other taxpayers 
with the same or smaller economic incomes.  The tax benefit of the exclusion 
also provides a disproportionately greater benefit to relatively better-paid 
ministers, by virtue of the higher marginal tax rates applicable to their 
incomes.

Further, some ministers claim income tax deductions for housing costs 
allocable to the receipt of tax-free allowances.


	Rationale

The provision of tax-free housing allowances for ministers was first made a 
part of the Internal Revenue Code by passage of the Revenue Act of 1921 
(P.L. 98 of the 67th Congress), without any stated reason.  The original 
rationale may reflect the difficulty of placing a value on the provision of a 
church-provided rectory.  Since some churches provided rectories to their 
ministers as part of their compensation, while other churches provided a 
housing allowance, Congress may have wished to provide equal tax treatment 
to both groups.  Another suggested rationale is that originally the provision 
was provided in recognition of the clergy as an economically deprived group 
with low incomes.

The Internal Revenue Service reversed a 1962 ruling (Ruling 62-212) in 
1983 (Revenue Ruling 83-3) providing that, to the extent of the tax-free 
housing allowance, deductions for interest and property taxes may not be 
itemized as a tax deduction.  This change was based on the belief that it was 
unfair to allow tax-free income to be used to generate individual itemized 
deductions to shelter taxable income.

In the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514), Congress reversed the IRS 
ruling because the tax treatment had been long-standing, and some Members 
were concerned that the IRS might treat tax-free housing allowances provided 
to U.S. military personnel similarly.



The Internal Revenue Service's position (Revenue Ruling 71-280) is that 
the exclusion may not exceed the fair rental value of the home plus the cost of 
utilities.  The Tax Court held that amounts used to provide a home are 
excludable even if the amount received exceeds the fair market rental value of 
the home (Richard D. Warren, et ux. v. Commissioner; 114 T.C. No. 23 (May 
16, 2000)).  In that case, 100 percent of compensation was designated as a 
housing allowance ($77,663 in 1993, $76,309 in 1994, and $84,278 in 1995). 
 The court dismissed the IRS's argument that its position prevents unequal 
treatment between ministers for whom housing is provided and excluded and 
those ministers receiving a rental allowance.  That decision was appealed to 
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which directed parties to submit briefs on 
whether the court should address the constitutionality of the parsonage 
exclusion.

In order to forestall action by the Ninth Circuit by making the underlying 
issue in the Warren case moot, Congress clarified the parsonage housing tax 
allowance with passage of the Clergy Housing Allowance Clarification Act of 
2002 (P.L. 107-181).  In large part Congress adopted the more conservative 
IRS position such that the "allowance does not exceed the fair rental value of 
the home, including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage, plus the 
cost of utilities."  The Act says that it is intended to "minimize government 
intrusion into internal church operations and the relationship between a 
church and its clergy" and "recognize that clergy frequently are required to 
use their homes for purposes that would otherwise qualify for favorable tax 
treatment, but which may require more intrusive inquiries by the government 
into the relationship between clergy and their respective churches with respect 
to activities that are inherently religious."


Assessment

The tax-free parsonage allowances encourage some congregations to 
structure maximum amounts of tax-free housing allowances into their 
minister's pay and may thereby distort the compensation package.

The provision is inconsistent with economic principles of horizontal and 
vertical equity.  Since all taxpayers may not exclude amounts they pay for 
housing from taxable income, the provision violates horizontal equity 
principles.  For example, a clergyman teaching in an affiliated religious 
school may exclude the value of his housing allowance whereas a teacher in 
the same school may not.  This example shows how the tax law provides 
different tax treatment to two taxpayers whose economic incomes may be 
similar.

Ministers with higher incomes receive a greater tax subsidy than lower-
income ministers because of their higher marginal tax rates.  Vertical equity is 
a concept which requires that tax burdens be distributed fairly among people 
with different abilities to pay.  The disproportionate benefit of the tax 
exclusion to individuals with higher incomes reduces the progressivity of the 
tax system, which is viewed as a reduction in equity.


Ministers who have church-provided homes do not receive the same tax 
benefits as those who purchase their homes and also have the tax deductions 
for interest and property taxes available to them.  Code Section 265 disallows 
deductions for interest and expenses which relate to tax-exempt income 
except in the case of military housing allowances and the parsonage 
allowance.  As such, this result is inconsistent with the general tax policy 
principle of preventing double tax benefits.


	Selected Bibliography

Aprill, Ellen P.  "Parsonage and Tax Policy: Rethinking the Exclusion," 
Tax Notes, vol. 96, (Aug. 26, 2002), pp. 1243-1257.
Bader, Mary.  "Clergy Housing Allowances: IRS Loses Battle, Wins War," 
The Tax Adviser, vol. 36, (Feb, 2005), pp. 82-84.
Bednar, Phil. "After Warren: Revisiting Taxpayer Standing and the 
Constitutionality of Parsonage Allowances," Minnesota Law Review, vol. 87 
(June 2003), pp. 2101-2131.
Dwyer, Boyd Kimball.  "Redefining 'Minister of the Gospel' To Limit 
Establishment Clause Issues," Tax Notes, vol. 95, (June 17, 2002), pp. 1809-
1815.
Frazer, Douglas H. "The Clergy, the Constitution, and the Unbeatable 
Double Dip: The Strange Case of the Tax Code's Parsonage Allowance," The 
Exempt Organization Tax Review, vol. 43.  (February 2004), pp. 149-152.
Foster, Matthew W.  "The Parsonage Allowance Exclusion: Past, Present, 
and Future," Vanderbilt Law Review, vol. 44.  January 1991, pp. 149-178.
Harris, Christine.  "House Unanimously Clears Parsonage Exclusion Bill," 
Tax Notes, vol. 95 no. 4 (April 22, 2002), pp. 474-475.
Hiner, Ronald R. and Darlene Pulliam Smith. "The Constitutionality of the 
Parsonage Allowance," Journal of Accountancy, vol. 194. (Nov 2002), pp. 
92-93.
Koski, Timothy R.  "Divine Tax Opportunities for Members of the 
Clergy," Practical Tax Strategies, vol. 63 (October 1999), pp. 207-208, 241-
246.
Martin, Vernon M., Jr. and Sandra K. Miller.  "The Clergy's Unique Tax 
Issues," The Tax Adviser, vol. 29 (August 1998), pp. 557-561.
McNair, Frances E., Edward E. Milam, and Deborah L. Seifert "Tax 
Planning for Servants of God," Journal of Accountancy, vol. 198, (Oct. 2004) 
 pp. 65-69.
Newman, Joel S.  "On Section 107's Worst Feature:  The Teacher-
Preacher,"  Tax Notes, vol. 61.  December 20, 1993, pp. 1505-1508.
O'Neill, Thomas E.  "A Constitutional Challenge to Section 107 of the 
Internal Revenue Code," Notre Dame Lawyer, vol. 57.  June 1982, pp. 853-
867.
Raby, Burgess J.W. and William L. Raby.  "Some Thoughts on the 
Parsonage Exemption Imbroglio," Tax Notes, vol. 96, (Sept. 9, 2002), p. 
1497.


Rakowski, Eric.  "The Parsonage Exclusion: New Developments," Tax 
Notes, vol. 96, no. 3 (July 15, 2002), pp. 429-437.
Schloemer, Paul G. and Ryan Wilson, "Minister Housing Allowance 
Presents New Challenge," The CPA Journal. Vol. 75, (Dec. 2005), pp. 44-49.
Stokeld, Fred.  "No Surprises in Ninth Circuit's Decision in Parsonage 
Case," Tax Notes, vol. 96, (Sept. 2, 2002), pp. 1318-1319.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, H.R. 4170, 98th 
Congress, Public Law 98-369.  Washington, DC: U.S.  Government Printing 
Office, December 31, 1984, pp. 1168-1169.
-.  General Explanation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, H.R. 3838, 99th 
Congress, Public Law 99-514.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, May 4, 1987, pp. 53-54.
Zelinsky, Edward A.  "Dr. Warren, Section 107, and the Court-Appointed 
Amicus," Tax Notes, vol. 96, no. 8 (Aug. 26, 2002), pp. 1267-1272.











	
	



Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Employment

EXCLUSION OF MISCELLANEOUS FRINGE BENEFITS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

6.6

-

6.6

2007

6.8

-

6.8

2008

7.0

-

7.0

2009

7.2

-

7.2

2010

7.7

-

7.7



Authorization

Sections 132 and 117(D).


Description

Individuals do not include in income certain miscellaneous fringe benefits 
provided by employers, including services provided at no additional cost, 
employee discounts, working condition fringes, de minimis fringes, and 
certain tuition reductions.  Special rules apply with respect to certain parking 
facilities provided to employees and certain on-premises athletic facilities.

These benefits also may be provided to spouses and dependent children of 
employees, retired and disabled former employees, and widows and widowers 
of deceased employees. Certain nondiscrimination requirements apply to 
benefits provided to highly compensated employees.



Impact

Exclusion from taxation of miscellaneous fringe benefits provides a 
subsidy to employment in those businesses and industries in which such 
fringe benefits are common and feasible.  Employees of retail stores, for 
example, may receive discounts on purchases of store merchandise.  Such 
benefits may not be feasible in other industries--for example, for 
manufacturers of heavy equipment.

The subsidy provides benefits both to the employees (more are employed 
and they receive higher compensation) and to their employers (who have 
lower wage costs).


Rationale

This provision was enacted in 1984; the rules affecting transportation 
benefits were modified in 1992 and 1997.  The Congress recognized that in 
many industries employees receive either free or discount goods and services 
that the employer sells to the general public.  In many cases, these practices 
had been long established and generally had been treated by employers, 
employees, and the Internal Revenue Service as not giving rise to taxable 
income.

Employees clearly receive a benefit from the availability of free or 
discounted goods or services, but the benefit may not be as great as the full 
amount of the discount.  Employers may have valid business reasons, other 
than simply providing compensation, for encouraging employees to use the 
products they sell to the public.  For example, a retail clothing business may 
want its salespersons to wear its clothing rather than clothing sold by its 
competitors.  As with other fringe benefits, placing a value on the benefit in 
these cases is difficult.

In enacting these provisions, the Congress also wanted to establish limits 
on the use of tax-free fringe benefits.  Prior to enactment of the provisions, 
the Treasury Department had been under a congressionally imposed 
moratorium on issuance of regulations defining the treatment of these fringes. 
 There was a concern that without clear boundaries on use of these fringe 
benefits, new approaches could emerge that would further erode the tax base 
and increase inequities among employees in different businesses and 
industries.


Assessment



The exclusion subsidizes employment in those businesses and industries in 
which fringe benefits are feasible and commonly used.  Both the employees 
and their employers benefit from the tax exclusion.  Under normal market 
circumstances, more people are employed in these businesses and industries 
than they would otherwise be, and they receive higher compensation (after 
tax).  Their employers receive their services at lower cost.  Both sides of the 
transaction benefit because the loss is imposed on the U.S. Treasury in the 
form of lower tax collections.

Because the exclusion applies to practices which are common and may be 
feasible only in some businesses and industries, it creates inequities in tax 
treatment among different employees and employers.  For example, 
consumer-goods retail stores may be able to offer their employees discounts 
on a wide variety of goods ranging from clothing to hardware, while a 
manufacturer of aircraft engines cannot give its workers compensation in the 
form of tax-free discounts on its products.


Selected Bibliography

Kies, Kenneth J.  "Analysis of the New Rules Governing the Taxation of 
Fringe Benefits," Tax Notes, v. 38.  September 3, 1984, pp. 981-988.
McKinney, James E.  "Certainty Provided as to the Treatment of Most 
Fringe Benefits by Deficit Reduction Act," Journal of Taxation.  September 
1984, pp. 134-137.
Raby, Burgess J. W. and William L. Raby.  "Working Conditions Fringes: 
Fishing Trips to Telecommuting," Tax Notes, Vol. 101, October 27,2003, pp. 
503-507.
Sunley, Emil M., Jr.  "Employee Benefits and Transfer Payments," 
Comprehensive Income Taxation, ed. Joseph A. Pechman.  Washington, DC: 
The Brookings Institution, 1977, pp. 90-92.
Turner, Robert.  "Fringe Benefits,"  in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and 
Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle.  
Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  Committee Print, 
98th Congress, 2nd session.  December 31, 1984, pp. 838-866.
-, Senate Committee on Finance.  Fringe Benefits, Hearings, 98th 
Congress, 2nd session.  July 26, 27, 30, 1984.















Education, Training, Employment and Social Services:
	Employment

EXCLUSION OF EMPLOYEE AWARDS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2005

0.2

-

0.2

2006

0.2

-

0.2

2007

0.2

-

0.2

2008

0.2

-

0.2

2009

0.2

-

0.2



Authorization

Sections 74(c), 274(j).


Description

Generally, prizes and awards to employees that do not qualify as a de 
minimis fringe benefit under Section 132(e) are taxable to the employee.  
Section 74(c), however, provides an exclusion for certain awards of tangible 
personal property given to employees for length of service or for safety 
achievement. 



The amount of the exclusion (under subsection 74(c)) for the employee is 
the value of the property awarded, and is generally limited by the employer's 
deduction for the award (under Section 274(j)) - $400, or up to $1,600 for 
awards granted as part of qualified employee achievement award plans.  
Qualified employee achievement plans are established or written employer 
programs which do not discriminate in favor of highly compensated 
employees.  In addition, the average cost per recipient of all awards granted 
under all established plans for an employer cannot exceed $400.  

For employees of non-profit employers, the amount of the exclusion is the 
amount that would have been allowed if the employer were taxable (non-
profit organizations are generally not subject to federal income taxes) - $400, 
and up to $1,600 if the non-profit employer has a qualified employee 
achievement award plan.

Generally, the limitation on the exclusion for the employee is the cost to 
(and deduction for) the employer related to the award.  If however both the 
cost to the employer for the award and the fair market value of the award 
exceed the limitation, the employee must include the excess (fair market value 
minus the limitation) in gross income. 

Length of service awards which qualify for the exclusion (and the 
employer deduction of cost), cannot be awarded to an employee in the first 
five years of service, or to an employee who has received a length of service 
award (other than an award excluded as a de minimis fringe benefit under 
Section 132(e)) in that year or any of the prior four years of service.  Awards 
for safety achievement (other than an award excluded as a de minimis fringe 
benefit under Section 132(e)) which qualify for the exclusion (and the 
employer deduction of cost) cannot be awarded to a manager, administrator, 
clerical employee, or other professional employee.  In addition, awards for 
safety achievement cannot have been awarded, in that year, to more than 10% 
of employees. 

The amount of an eligible employee award which is excluded from gross 
income is also excluded under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act 
(FICA) for Social Security and Medicare taxes (Old Age, Survivors and 
Disability tax and Hospital tax).


Impact

Sections 74(c) and 274(j) exclude from gross income certain employee 
awards of tangible personal property for length of service and safety 
achievement that would otherwise be taxable.


Rationale

The exclusion for certain employee awards was adopted in the Tax Reform 
Act of 1986.  Prior to that Act, with exceptions that were complex and 
difficult to interpret, awards received by employees generally were taxable. 




Assessment

The exclusion recognizes a traditional business practice which may have 
social benefits.  The combination of the limitation on the exclusion as to 
eligibility for qualifying awards,  and the dollar amount of the exclusion not 
being increased since 1986, keep the exclusion from becoming a vehicle for 
significant tax avoidance.  However, the lack of an increase in the exclusion 
effectively reduces the tax-free portion of some awards.


Selected Bibliography

U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation.  General Explanation of the 
Tax Reform Act of 1986, 100th Congress, 1st session.  May 4, 1987, pp. 
30-38.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Employment

EXCLUSION OF INCOME EARNED BY
VOLUNTARY EMPLOYEES' BENEFICIARY ASSOCIATIONS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

3.3

-

3.3

2007

3.4

-

3.4

2008

3.5

-

3.5

2009

3.7

-

3.7

2010

3.8

-

3.8


Authorization

Sections 419, 419A, 501(a), 501(c)(9), 4976


Description

Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Associations (VEBAs) provide life 
insurance, medical, disability, accident, and other welfare benefits to 
employee members and their dependents and beneficiaries.  Most  VEBAs are 
organized as trusts to be legally separate from employers.  Provided certain 
requirements are met, the income earned by a VEBA is exempt from federal 
income taxes under Sections 501(a) and 501(c)(9).  If the requirements are 
not met however, the income is subject to the unrelated business income tax 
(UBIT).  With some exceptions, income earned by a VEBA used for 
prefunding retiree health benefits is subject to this tax.



Employer contributions to VEBAs are deductible within limits 
described below, while employee contributions are made with after-
tax dollars.  When distributed, VEBA benefits are taxable income to 
recipients unless there is a statutory exclusion explicitly pertaining to 
those kinds of benefits.  Thus, accident and health benefits are 
excludable under Sections 104 and 105, but severance and vacation 
pay benefits are taxable. 

VEBAs must meet a number of general requirements, including: 
(1) the organization must be an association of employees who share a 
common employment-related  bond; (2) membership in the 
association must be voluntary (or, if mandatory, under conditions 
described below); (3) the association must be controlled by its 
members, by an independent trustee (such as a bank), or by trustees 
or fiduciaries at least some of whom are designated by or on behalf of 
the members; (4) substantially all of the organization's operations 
must further the provision of life, sickness, accident, and other 
welfare benefits to employees and their dependents and beneficiaries; 
(5) none of the net earnings of the organization may accrue, other 
than by payment of benefits, directly or indirectly to any shareholder 
or private individual; (6) benefit plans (other than collectively-
bargained plans) must not discriminate in favor of highly 
compensated individuals; and (7) the organization must apply to the 
IRS for a determination of tax exempt status.

These general requirements have been refined and limited by both 
IRS and court decisions.  For example, employee members may have 
a common employer or affiliated employers, common coverage 
under a collective bargaining agreement, or membership in a labor 
union or a specified job classification.  In addition, members may be 
employees of several employers engaged in the same line of business 
in the same geographic area.  Not all members need be employees, 
but at least 90 percent of the membership one day each calendar 
quarter must be employees.  Membership may be required if 
contributions are not mandatory or if it is pursuant to a collective 
bargaining agreement or union membership.  Permissible benefits 
generally include those that safeguard or improve members' health 
or that protect against contingencies that interrupt or impair their 
earning power including vacation benefits, recreational activities, and 
child care.  Prohibited benefits include pension and annuities payable 
at retirement and deferred compensation unless it is payable due to 
an unanticipated event such as unemployment.

VEBA benefits may not discriminate in favor of the highly paid.  In 
addition, VEBAs used for prefunding of retiree medical or life 
insurance benefits are required to establish separate accounts for 
members who are key employees.



In general, employer deductions for VEBA contributions are 
limited to the sum of qualified direct costs and additions to qualified 
asset accounts, minus VEBA after-tax net income.  These account 
limits are specified in Internal Revenue Code Sections 419 and 
419A.  Qualified direct costs are the amounts employers could have 
deducted for employee benefits had they used cash basis accounting 
(essentially, benefits and account expenses actually paid during the 
year).  Qualified asset accounts include: (1) reserves set aside for 
claims incurred but unpaid at the end of the year for disability, 
medical, supplemental unemployment and severance pay, and life 
insurance benefits; (2) administrative costs for paying those claims; 
and (3) additional reserves for post-retirement medical and life 
insurance benefits and for non-retirement medical benefits of bona 
fide association plans.  The reserve for post-retirement benefits must 
be funded over the working lives of covered individuals on a level 
basis, using actuarial assumptions incorporating current, not 
projected, medical costs.  For post-retirement life insurance, 
amounts in excess of $50,000 per employee may not be taken into 
account in determining the reserve.  Special limits apply to certain 
benefits.   After-tax net income consists of net interest and investment 
earnings plus employee contributions, minus any unrelated income 
tax liability.  Employer contributions are deductible only if they 
would otherwise be deductible as a trade or business expense or as an 
expense related to the production of income.  In addition, employer 
contributions are deductible only in the year actually paid.

The prefunding limits just described do not apply to collectively 
bargained or employee pay-all plans (sometimes called 419A(f)(5) 
plans) or to multiple employer welfare plans (MEWAs) of ten or more 
employers in which no employer makes more than 10 percent of the 
contributions (sometimes called 419A(f)(6) plans).  The  latter plans 
(MEWAs) cannot have experienced rated contributions for single 
employers.

VEBAs are subject to the UBIT to the extent they are overfunded 
because contributions exceed account limits.  However, the UBIT 
does not apply on the following sources of income: (1) income that is 
either directly or indirectly attributable to assets held by a VEBA as 
of July 18, 1984 (the date of enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act 
of 1984); (2) income on collectively bargained or employee pay-all 
VEBAs; and (3) income on VEBAs for which substantially all 
contributions came from tax-exempt employers.  Tax rates applicable 
to trusts are used to calculate the UBIT for VEBAs organized as 
trusts.

Under Section 4976, any reversion of VEBA assets to the 
employer is subject to a 100% excise tax.


Impact



VEBAs have been used by employers for a variety of reasons 
including to segregate assets, earn tax free investment returns, 
reduce future contribution requirements by prefunding, create an 
offsetting asset for an employer liability and meet requirements of 
rate making bodies and regulatory agencies.  Funding a welfare 
benefit through a VEBA often offers tax advantages to the employer. 
 The magnitude of the tax advantage depends on the amount of 
benefits payable and the duration of the liability.  Thus, the tax 
advantage is greater for a VEBA that funds the disabled claim reserve 
for a Long Term Disability plan than for a VEBA that funds the 
Incurred but Not Paid claim reserve for a medical plan.  The greatest 
tax advantage accrues to an employer that uses a VEBA for 
prefunding of a retiree health care plan, especially if the prefunding 
is for a collectively bargained group of employees.

Unlike qualified defined benefit pension plans, employers are not 
legally required to prefund retiree health plans.  However, certain 
employers have found it advantageous to prefund retiree health 
benefits.  Utilities such as electric, gas, water, and telephone 
companies (prior to deregulation) were required by regulators to 
prefund retiree benefits in order to include the cost of the benefits in 
rates they charged to customers.  Similarly, companies that did 
business with the U.S. Department of Defense were required to 
prefund retiree benefits in order to include the cost of benefits as 
part of the contract charges.

Use of VEBAs for prefunding retiree health benefits gathered 
momentum after the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) 
required accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than 
pensions under Statement of Financial Accounting Standard 106 
(FAS 106).  This accounting standard, which was effective for 
employers' fiscal years beginning after December 15, 1992, required 
employers to calculate the net periodic postretirement health care 
cost on an accrual basis and recognize it as an expense in the 
employer's income statement.  If the employer had segregated assets 
dedicated to the payment of retiree health care benefits, the return 
on these assets reduced the net periodic postretirement health care 
cost.  With the release of FAS 106, employers were in search of the 
ideal funding vehicle that met all of the following conditions:  (1) the 
employer could make tax deductible contributions; (2) the rate of 
return on the funding vehicle compared favorably to alternate uses of 
employer funds; (3) adequate contributions could be made for 
funding  the plan obligations; and (4) assets were inaccessible to the 
employer for any purpose other than specified in the plan.  A 
collectively bargained VEBA was the one funding vehicle that met all 
of these criteria.  Although non-collectively bargained VEBAs had 
shortcomings, some employers used them nonetheless.  Investment 
strategies used to improve the after-tax rate of return for such 
VEBAs included buying life insurance within the VEBA trust so that 
the VEBA could benefit from the tax-free inside buildup of the 
insurance policy.



Because of the more advantageous tax treatment for collectively 
bargained VEBAs, employers used VEBAs for prefunding  retiree 
health benefits more frequently for  unionized employees than for 
non-union employees.  Investment income on the funds accumulated 
tax free and there were no limits on  contributions.  Some employers 
also established employee-pay-all VEBAs for prefunding employee 
out-of-pocket health care costs in retirement.  In this type of VEBA,  
employees make all of the contributions, with no contributions made 
by employers, and the investment income on the VEBA accumulates 
tax free.  Employees can withdraw funds after retirement from the 
VEBA to pay health care costs without paying taxes on the 
withdrawals.

Recently, there has been interest in the use of employee-pay-all 
VEBAs in order to provide medical benefits to retirees of bankrupt 
companies.  Retirees in bankrupt companies often lose some or all of 
their health care coverage.  By pooling the risk in a VEBA, retirees 
may find that the premiums are more attractive than otherwise 
available in the individual health insurance market.

The Survey of Employer Health Benefits conducted by the Kaiser 
Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust 
indicates that in 2006, 35 percent of large firms (200 or more 
employees) offered retiree health benefits compared with 9 percent 
of small firms (3 to199 employees).  Among large firms, firms with 
union employees were much more likely to offer retiree health 
benefits (50 percent) than firms without union employees (27 
percent).

Not all firms that offer retiree health benefits use a VEBA for 
prefunding them.  According to the 2005 Mercer National Survey of 
Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, 9 percent of employers with 500 
or more employees are currently using a VEBA for prefunding of 
retiree medical benefits and another 7 percent  are considering using 
a VEBA for this purpose.  The likelihood of funding retiree health 
benefits with a VEBA increases with the size of the employer.  While 
25 percent of employers with 20,000 or more employees are 
currently using a VEBA for prefunding of retiree health benefits, only 
5 percent of employers with 500 to 999 employees use a VEBA for 
this purpose.  Mercer also reports that the use of a VEBA for 
prefunding retiree health benefits is most common for employers in 
the communication, transportation and utility industries.

Unlike pensions, VEBA health benefits accrue uniformly across all 
income groups.  Retiree health benefits unlike pension benefits are 
not salary related.  In fact, the benefits of VEBAs are more likely to 
accrue in favor of the lower paid employees for two reasons.  First, 
VEBAs are used more often for unionized employees who are 
typically paid less than management employees.  And secondly, when 
VEBAs are used for non-union employees, employers typically 
exclude key employees from the VEBA in order to avoid 
cumbersome administrative requirements to maintain separate 
accounts within the VEBA.      


Rationale



VEBAs were originally granted tax-exempt status by the Revenue 
Act of 1928, which allowed  associations to provide payment of life, 
sickness, accident, or other benefits to their members and 
dependents provided: (1) no part of their net earnings accrued (other 
than through such payments) to the benefit of any private 
shareholder or individual; and (2) 85 percent or more of their 
income consisted of collections from members for the sole purpose of 
making benefit payments and paying expenses.  The House report 
noted that these associations were common and, without further 
explanation, that a specific exemption was desirable.  Presumably, 
VEBAs were seen as providing welfare benefits that served a public 
interest and normally were exempt from taxation.

The Revenue Act of 1942 allowed employers to contribute to the 
association without violating the 85-percent-of-income requirement.  
In the Tax Reform Act of 1969, Congress completely eliminated the 
85-percent requirement, allowing a tax exclusion for VEBAs that had 
more than 15 percent of their income from investments.  However, 
the legislation imposed the UBIT on VEBA income (as well as the 
income of similar organizations) to the extent it was not used for 
exempt functions.

While VEBAs cannot be used for deferred compensation, 
sometimes it has been difficult to distinguish such benefits.  
Particularly after 1969, VEBAs presented opportunities for 
businesses to claim tax deductions for contributions that would not be 
paid out in benefits until many years afterwards, with investment 
earnings building tax-free.  In many cases, the benefits were 
disproportionately available to corporate officers and higher-income 
employees.  After passage of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility 
Act of 1982 (TEFRA), there was increased marketing of plans 
providing readily available deferred benefits (for severance pay, for 
example) to owners of small businesses that appeared to circumvent 
restrictions the Act had placed on qualified pensions.

In response, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA) placed 
tight restrictions on employer contributions (Section 419 of the 
Code) and limitations on accounts (Section 419A).  In addition, 
tighter nondiscrimination rules were adopted with respect to highly 
compensated individuals.  These changes applied to welfare benefit 
funds generally, not just VEBAs.  The nondiscrimination rules were 
further modified by the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  The Tax Reform 
Act of 1986 also exempted collectively bargained  welfare benefit 
funds and employee pay-all plans from account limits, thereby 
exempting the investment income on such VEBA trusts from the 
UBIT.

DEFRA did not apply these restrictions to collectively bargained 
plans or the  multiple employer welfare plans (MEWAs) described 
above.  In practice, both exemptions allowed arrangements that the 
IRS and others criticized as tax shelters.  In 2003, the IRS stated its 
intention to issue regulations disallowing employer deductions for 
arrangements set up through sham labor negotiations (by October, 
2006 they had not yet been issued).  It also issued final regulations 
defining experienced-rating arrangements that preclude employer 
deductions for MEWAs.



The Pension Protection Act of 2006 authorized an additional 
reserve for non-retirement medical benefits of bona fide association 
plans. 


Assessment

Although there appears to be some abuse of VEBAs by small 
employers for estate planning purposes, VEBAs have usually been 
used in ways that further social goals.  When VEBAs are used for 
prefunding of retiree health benefits, they increase the likelihood of 
employees receiving such benefits.  Particularly in case of 
bankruptcy, the presence of a VEBA with accumulated assets for 
payment of retiree health benefits offers retirees a measure of 
protection.  Under current law, VEBAs offer an attractive way to 
prefund retiree health benefits for union employees, but not for non-
union employees.

When an employer provides retiree health benefits, retirees 
typically have significant out-of-pocket payments for premiums, 
deductibles, and copayments.  An employee-pay-all VEBA could be 
used to allow employees to accumulate funds during their working 
years for payment of out-of-pocket health care costs during 
retirement.  However, current law poses some problems in the use of 
an employee-pay-all VEBA for this purpose.  Amounts contributed by 
an active employee cannot be refunded to the employee or his family 
upon job termination or premature death. In addition, although 
investment income on funds in an employee-pay-all VEBA is not 
subject to the UBIT, if employee and employer contributions are 
commingled in the same VEBA, all investment income is subject to 
that tax.  As concerns mount about the future of retiree health 
benefits, Congress might reconsider some of these restrictions.

With the addition of prescription drug coverage to Medicare, it is 
possible that some employers that are currently providing retiree 
health benefits will eliminate or reduce prescription drug coverage.  
To the extent that these employers have been prefunding retiree 
health benefits through VEBAs, the new provision would reduce their 
deductions for such prefunding. 


	Selected Bibliography

Elswick, Jill.  VEBAs Gain Currency for Retiree Medical Benefits.  
Employee Benefit News. (June 1, 2003).
Geisel, Jerry.  Making Retiree Health Care Affordable.  Business 
Insurance.  v. 40 no. 4 (January 23, 2006).
Joint Committee on Taxation.  Welfare Benefit Plans.  General 
Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. 
JCS-41-84 (December, 1984), p. 774-806.
Kehoe, Danea M.  419A: A Legislative Odyssey.  Journal of Financial 
Service Professionals.  v. 56 no. 2 (March, 2002).


Koresko, John J. and Jennifer S. Martin: VEBAs, Welfare Plans, and 
Section 419(f)(6): Is the IRS Trying to Regulate or Spread Propaganda?  
Southwestern University Law Review, v. 32 (2003)
Macey, Scott J. and George F. O'Donnell: Retiree Health Benefits - The 
Divergent Paths. New York University Review of Employee Benefits and 
Executive Compensation (2003) 
Moran, Anne E.  VEBAs: Possibilities for Employee Benefit Funding.  
Employee Relations Law Journal. v. 29 no 1 (summer, 2003)
Ross, Allen F.  Are VEBAs Worth Another Look?  Journal of 
Accountancy.  v. 187 no. 5 (May, 1999).








	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Employment
	
	SPECIAL TAX PROVISIONS
	FOR EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP PLANS (ESOPs)


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.3

0.8

1.1

2007

0.3

0.9

1.2

2008

0.3

0.9

1.2

2009

0.3

1.0

1.3

2010

0.3

1.1

1.4


	Authorization

Sections 133, 401(a)(28), 404(a)(9), 404(k), 415(c)(6), 1042, 4975(e)(7), 
4978, 4979A


	Description

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is a defined-contribution plan 
that is required to invest primarily in the stock of the sponsoring employer.  
ESOPs are unique among employee benefit plans in their ability to borrow 
money to buy stock.  An ESOP that has borrowed money to buy stock is a 
leveraged ESOP.  An ESOP that acquires stock through direct employer 
contributions of cash or stock is a nonleveraged ESOP.

ESOPs are provided with various tax advantages.  Employer contributions 
to an ESOP may be deducted by the employer as a business expense.  
Contributions to a leveraged ESOP are subject to less restrictive limits than 
contributions to other qualified employee benefit plans. 



An employer may deduct dividends paid on stock held by an ESOP if the 
dividends are paid to plan participants, if the dividends are used to repay a 
loan that was used to buy the stock, or for dividends paid on stock in a 
retirement plan.  The deduction for dividends used to repay a loan is limited 
to dividends paid on stock acquired with that loan.  Employees are not taxed 
on employer contributions to an ESOP or the earnings on invested funds until 
they are distributed.

A stockholder in a closely held company may defer recognition of the gain 
from the sale of stock to an ESOP if, after the sale, the ESOP owns at least 30 
percent of the company's stock and the seller reinvests the proceeds from the 
sale of the stock in a U.S. company. 

To qualify for these tax advantages, an ESOP must meet the minimum 
requirements established in the Internal Revenue Code.  Many of these 
requirements are general requirements that apply to all qualified employee 
benefit plans.  Other requirements apply specifically to ESOPs.

In particular, ESOP participants must be allowed voting rights on stock 
allocated to their accounts.  In the case of publicly traded stock, full voting 
rights must be passed through to participants.  For stock in closely held 
companies, voting rights must be passed through on all major corporate 
issues.

Closely held companies must give employees the right to sell distributions 
of stock to the employer (a put option), at a share price determined by an 
independent appraiser.  An ESOP must allow participants who are 
approaching retirement to diversify the investment of funds in their accounts.


	Impact

The various ESOP tax incentives encourage employee ownership of stock 
through a qualified employee benefit plan and provide employers with a tax-
favored means of financing.  The deferral of recognition of the gain from the 
sale of stock to an ESOP encourages the owners of closely held companies to 
sell stock to the company's employees.  The deduction for dividends paid to 
ESOP participants encourages the current distribution of dividends.

Various incentives encourage the creation of leveraged ESOPs.  Compared 
to conventional debt financing, both the interest and principal on an ESOP 
loan are tax-deductible.  The deduction for dividends used to make payments 
on an ESOP loan and the unrestricted deduction for contributions to pay 
interest encourage employers to repay an ESOP loan more quickly.



According to an analysis of information returns filed with the Internal 
Revenue Service, most ESOPs are in private companies, and most ESOPs 
have fewer than 100 participants.  But most ESOP participants are employed 
by public companies and belong to plans with 100 or more participants.  
Likewise, most ESOP assets are held by plans in public companies and by 
plans with 100 or more participants.


	Rationale

The tax incentives for ESOPs are intended to broaden stock ownership, 
provide employees with a source of retirement income, and grant employers a 
tax-favored means of financing.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-406) 
allowed employers to form leveraged ESOPs.  The Tax Reduction Act of 
1975 established a tax-credit ESOP (called a TRASOP) that allowed 
employers an additional investment tax credit of one percentage point if they 
contributed an amount equal to the credit to an ESOP.

The Tax Reform Act of 1976 allowed employers an increased investment 
tax credit of one-half a percentage point if they contributed an equal amount 
to an ESOP and the additional contribution was matched by employee 
contributions.

The Revenue Act of 1978 required ESOPs in publicly traded corporations 
to provide participants with full voting rights, and required closely held 
companies to provide employees with voting rights on major corporate issues. 
 The Act required closely held companies to give workers a put option on 
distributions of stock.

The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-34) replaced the 
investment-based tax credit ESOP with a tax credit based on payroll (called a 
PAYSOP).  The  1981 Act also allowed employers to deduct contributions of 
up to 25 percent of compensation to pay the principal on an ESOP loan.  
Contributions used to pay interest on an ESOP loan were excluded from the 
25-percent limit.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-369) allowed corporations a 
deduction for dividends on stock held by an ESOP if the dividends were paid 
to participants.  The Act also allowed lenders to exclude from their income 50 
percent of the interest they received on loans to an ESOP.

The Act allowed a stockholder in a closely held company to defer 
recognition of the gain from the sale of stock to an ESOP if the ESOP held at 
least 30 percent of the company's stock and the owner reinvested the proceeds 
from the sale in a U.S. company.  The Act permitted an ESOP to assume a 
decedent's estate tax in return for employer stock of equal value.



The Tax Reform Act of 1986 repealed the tax credit ESOP.  The Act also 
extended the deduction for dividends to include dividends used to repay an 
ESOP loan.  The Act permitted an estate to exclude from taxation up to 50 
percent of the proceeds from the sale of stock to an ESOP.  The Act allowed 
persons approaching retirement to diversify the investment of assets in their 
accounts.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 limited the 50-percent 
interest exclusion to loans made to ESOPs that hold more than 50 percent of a 
company's stock.  The deduction for dividends used to repay an ESOP loan 
was restricted to dividends paid on shares acquired with that loan.  The Act 
repealed both estate tax provisions: the exclusion allowed an estate for the 
sale of stock to an ESOP and the provision allowing an ESOP to assume a 
decedent's estate tax.  The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 
eliminated the provision that allowed a 50% interest income exclusion for 
bank loans to ESOPs.  The Economic Growth and Recovery Tax Act of 2001 
allowed firms to deduct dividends on stock held in retirement plans.


	Assessment

One of the major objectives of ESOPs is to expand employee stock 
ownership.  These plans are believed to motivate employees by more closely 
aligned their financial interests with the financial interests of their employers. 
 The distribution of stock ownership in ESOP firms is broader than the 
distribution of stock ownership in the general population.
  
Some evidence suggests that among firms with ESOPs there is a greater 
increase in productivity if employees are involved in corporate decision-
making.  But employee ownership of stock is not a prerequisite for employee 
participation in decision-making.

ESOPs do not provide participants with the traditional rights of stock 
ownership.  Full vesting depends on a participant's length of service and 
distributions are generally deferred until a participant separates from service.  
To provide participants with the full rights of ownership would be consistent 
with the goal of broader stock ownership, but employees would be able to use 
employer contributions for reasons other than retirement.



The requirement that ESOPs invest primarily in the stock of the sponsoring 
employer is consistent with the goal of corporate financing, but it may not be 
consistent with the goal of providing employees with retirement income.  The 
cost of such a lack of diversification was demonstrated with the failure of 
Enron and other firms whose employees' retirement plans were heavily 
invested in company stock.  If a firm experiences financial difficulties, the 
value of its stock and its dividend payments will fall.  Because an ESOP is a 
defined-contribution plan, participants bear the burden of this risk.  The 
partial diversification requirement for employees approaching retirement was 
enacted in response to this issue.  

A leveraged ESOP allows an employer to raise capital to invest in new 
plant and equipment.  But evidence suggests that the majority of leveraged 
ESOPs involve a change in ownership of a company's stock, and not a net 
increase in investment.

Although the deduction for dividends used to repay an ESOP loan may 
encourage an employer to repay a loan more quickly, it may also encourage 
an employer to substitute dividends for other loan payments.

Because a leveraged ESOP allows an employer to place a large block of 
stock in friendly hands, leveraged ESOPs have been used to prevent hostile 
takeovers.  In these cases, the main objective is not to broaden employee stock 
ownership.

ESOPs have been used in combination with other employee benefit plans.  
A number of employers have adopted plans that combine an ESOP with a 
401(k) salary reduction plan.  Some employers have combined an ESOP with 
a 401(h) plan to fund retiree medical benefits.


	Selected Bibliography

Blasi, Joseph R.  Employee Ownership: Revolution or Ripoff? Cambridge, 
MA: Ballinger, 1988.
Blinder, Alan S., ed.  Paying for Productivity: A Look at the Evidence.  
Washington, DC:  The Brookings Institution, 1990.
Conte, Michael A., and Helen H. Lawrence.  "Trends in ESOPs," Trends 
in Pensions 1992, eds. John A. Turner and Daniel J. Beller.  Washington, 
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992, pp. 135-148.
Gamble, John E. "ESOPs: Financial Performance and Federal Tax 
Incentives," Journal of Labor Research, v. 19, Summer 1998, pp. 529-541.
Gravelle, Jane G.,  Employer Stock in Pension Plans: Economic and Tax 
Issues, Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL31551,Washongton, DC:  September 4, 2002.
-.  "The Enron Debate: Lessons for Tax Policy," Urban-Brookings Tax 
Policy Center Discussion Paper 6, Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 
February 2003.
Kruse, Douglas, Richard Freeman, Joseph Blasi, Robert Buchele, and 
Adria Scharf, "Motivating Employee-Owners in ESOP Firms: Human 
Resource Policies and Company Performance," in Employee Participation, 
Firm Performance and Survival, Advances in the Economic Analysis of 
Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, v. 8, Virginie Perotin and Andrew 
Robinson, eds., Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2004.


Mayer, Gerald.  Employee Stock Ownership Plans: Background and 
Policy Issues.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30038.  Washington, DC: January 20, 1999.
-.  "Employee Stock Ownership Plans," in The Encyclopedia of Taxation 
and Tax Policy, eds. Joseph J. Cordes, Robert O. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle. 
 Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2005.
Shorter, Gary W.  ESOPs and Corporate Productivity.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 91-557 E.  Washington, 
DC: July 12, 1991.
Snyder, Todd S.,  Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs): 
Legislative History.   Library of Congress, Congressional Research 
Service Report RS21526, Washington, DC: May 20, 2003.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Employee Stock Ownership Plans: 
Benefits and Costs of ESOP Tax Incentives for Broadening Stock Ownership, 
PEMD-87-8.  Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, December 29, 
1986.
-.  Employee Stock Ownership Plans: Little Evidence of Effects on 
Corporate Performance,  PEMD-88-1.  Washington, DC: General 
Accounting Office, October 29, 1987. 








	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Employment

	WORK OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

0.2

0.2

2007

(1)

0.1

0.1

2008

(1)

0.1

0.1

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

*The tax credit is effective through December 31, 2007; H.R. 
6111 (December 2006) increases the loss for FY2007 to FY2010 by 
$0.4, $0.3, $0.2, and $0.1 for the combined work opportunity and 
welfare to work credit.
(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 51 and 52.


	Description

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) (to be combined with the 
welfare to work credit in 2007) is available on a nonrefundable basis to for-
profit employers who hire individuals from the following groups:

(1) members of families receiving benefits under the Temporary Assistance 
for Needy Families (TANF) program for a total of any 9 months during the 
18-month period ending on the hiring date;



(2) qualified veterans who are members of families receiving benefits 
under the Food Stamp program for at least a 3-month period ending during 
the 15-month period ending on the hiring date;
(3) 18-24 year olds who are members of families receiving Food Stamp 
benefits for the 6-month period ending on the hiring date, or receiving 
benefits for at least 3 months of the 5-month period ending on the hiring date 
in the case of family members no longer eligible for assistance under section 
6(o) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977;
(4) high-risk youth (i.e., 18-24 year olds whose principal place of abode is 
in an empowerment zone, renewal community, or an enterprise community);
(5) summer youth (i.e., 16-17 year olds hired for any 90-day period 
between May 1 and September 15 whose principal place of abode is in an 
empowerment zone, renewal community, or an enterprise community);
(6) economically disadvantaged ex-felons with hiring dates within 1 year of 
the last date of conviction or release from prison;
(7) vocational rehabilitation referrals (i.e., individuals with physical or 
mental disabilities that result in substantial handicaps to employment who 
have been referred to employers by state vocational rehabilitation agencies or 
employment networks upon completion of or while receiving rehabilitative 
services under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or through a program carried 
out under chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code); and
(8) Supplemental Security Income recipients who have received benefits 
under Title XVI of the Social Security Act for any month ending within the 
60-day period ending on the hiring date.

During the first year in which a WOTC-eligible person is hired, the 
employer can claim an income tax credit of 40% of the first $6,000 earned if 
the worker is retained for at least 400 hours.  If the WOTC-eligible hire is 
retained for 120-399 hours, the subsidy rate is 25%.  For summer youth 
employees, the 25% or 40% subsidy rate is applied against the first $3,000 
earned.  No credit can be claimed unless the eligible employee remains on the 
employer's payroll for a minimum of 120 hours.

The maximum amount of the credit to the employer would be $1,500 or 
$2,400 per worker ($750 or $1,200 per summer-youth hire) for persons 
retained 120-399 hours or at least 400 hours, respectively.  The actual value 
could be less than these amounts, depending on the employer's tax bracket.  
An employer's usual deduction for wages must be reduced by the amount of 
the credit as well.  The credit also cannot exceed 90% of an employer's 
annual income tax liability, although the excess can be carried back 1 year or 
carried forward 20 years for workers hired on or after January 1, 1998.






	Impact

An employer completes a "pre-screening" notice by the date a job offer is 
made to an applicant thought to belong to the WOTC-eligible population.  
The IRS form must be mailed to the state's Employment Service (ES) agency 
within 21 days after the new hire starts working.  The ES then certifies 
whether the new hire belongs to one of the WOTC's eligible groups.

The ES issued 598,101 certifications to employers for FY2005.   In that 
year, 36% of all certifications were for members of the 18-24 year old Food 
Stamp group and 32% were for members of the TANF group.  Another 12% 
of certifications were issued to employers for hiring WOTC-eligible high-risk 
youth ; 7% for economically disadvantaged ex-felons; and 6% for eligible SSI 
recipients.  Certifications will exceed the number of credits claimed unless all 
WOTC-eligible hires remain on firms' payrolls for the minimum employment 
period (i.e., certifications reflect eligibility determinations rather than credits 
claimed).


	Rationale

The temporary credit was authorized by the Small Business Job Protection 
Act of 1996 effective through September 30, 1997.  It subsequently was 
extended several times, often after the provision had expired .  Most recently, 
it was extended (retroactive to its expiration date after having lapsed on 
January 1, 2004) through December 31, 2005 by the Working Families Tax 
Relief Act of 2004.

WOTC primarily is intended to help individuals, who have difficulty 
obtaining employment in both good and bad economic times, get jobs in the 
private sector.  The credit is designed to reduce the relative cost of hiring 
these low-skilled individuals by subsidizing their wages, and hence to 
increase employers' willingness to give them jobs despite their presumed low 
productivity.  In recent years, eligible groups temporarily have been added in 
response to disasters (i.e., New York Liberty Zone business employees after 
the 2001 terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina employees after the 2005 
hurricane).

A prior tax credit aimed at encouraging firms to hire hard-to-employ 
individuals, the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC), was effective from 1978 
through 1994.  The TJTC was subject to criticism, but Congress, after making 
some revisions, retained this approach to increasing employment of 
disadvantaged workers.  H.R. 6111(December (2006) extended the credit 
through 2006 t and combined it with the welfare to work credit for 2007.



	Assessment

Based upon a survey of employers in two states conducted by the General  
Accounting Office (GAO) in 2001, the agency speculated that employers 
were not displacing employees in order to replace them with individuals for 
whom they could claim the credit.  According to the GAO, the cost of 
recruiting, hiring, and training WOTC-eligible workers appears to be higher 
than the amount of the credit that employers could  claim.  As employees 
certified for the credit were not terminated any more frequently than others 
when their earnings reached about $6,000 (the credit-maximizing level), the 
GAO surmised that employers were not churning their workforces to 
maximize credit receipt.

Another limited analysis, released in 2001, yielded a fairly unfavorable 
assessment of the credit's performance.  Based on interviews with 16 firms in 
5 states that claimed the credit, researchers found that the WOTC had little or 
no influence on the employers' hiring decisions.

A third study looked specifically at the "take-up" rate among two WOTC-
eligible groups, namely, TANF recipients and food stamp youth.  It estimated 
that during the late 1990s relatively few newly employed members of either 
group had the credit claimed for them.


	Selected Bibliography

Hamersma, Sarah.  "The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: Participation Rates 
Among Eligible Workers."  National Tax Journal, vol. 56, no. 4 (December 
2003), pp. 725-738.
Hamersma, Sarah.  The Work Opportunity and Welfare-to-Work Tax 
Credits.  Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, No. 15.  Washington, DC: 
October 2005.
Howard, Christopher.  The Hidden Welfare State:  Tax Expenditures and 
Social Policy in the United States.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 
1997.
Levine, Linda.  The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the 
Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit.   Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30089.  Washington, DC: updated August 2, 2006.
-.  Targeted Jobs Tax Credit, 1978-1994, Congressional Research Service 
Report 95-981.  Washington, DC: September 19, 1995.
U.S. General Accounting Office.  Work Opportunity Credit: Employers Do 
Not Appear to Dismiss Employees to Increase Tax Credits, GAO-01-329.  
Washington, DC: March 2001.
Westat and Decision Information Resources, Inc.  Employers' Use and 
Assessment of the WOTC and Welfare-to-Work Tax Credits Program.  
Washington, DC: March 2001.








	Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
	Employment

	WELFARE-TO-WORK TAX CREDIT


Estimated Revenue Loss*

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2006

(1)

(1)

(1)

2008

(1)

(1)

(1)

2009

(1)

(1)

(1)

2010

(1)

(1)

(1)

*The tax credit is effective through December 31, 2007; H.R. 6111 
(December 2006) increases the loss for FY2007 to FY2010 by $0.4, $0.3, 
$0.2, and $0.1 for the combined work opportunity and welfare to work credit. 

(1)Less than $50 million.


	Authorization

Sections 51 and 52.


	Description



The Welfare to Work (WtW) Credit  is available on a nonrefundable basis 
to for-profit employers who hire long-term recipients of Temporary 
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.  For 2007 it is combined 
with the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).  The eligible group is 
defined as:  (1) members of families that have received TANF benefits for at 
least 18 consecutive months ending on the hiring date; (2) members of 
families that have received TANF benefits for any 18 months beginning after 
the credit's enactment  (August 5, 1997), if they are hired within 2 years after 
the date the 18-month total is reached; or (3) members of families that no 
longer are eligible for TANF assistance after August 5, 1997 because of any 
federal- or state-imposed time limit, if they are hired within 2 years after the 
date of benefit cessation.

During the first year in which credit-eligible persons are hired,  employers 
can claim an income tax credit of 35% of the first $10,000 earned.  During 
the second year of their employment,  employers can claim an income credit 
of 50% of the first $10,000 earned.  Earnings against which the subsidy rate 
can be applied include, in addition to gross wages, certain tax-exempt 
amounts received under accident and health plans as well as under 
educational or dependent assistance programs.  An eligible-hire must remain 
on an employer's payroll for a minimum of 400 hours or 180 days in order for 
the credit to be claimed.

The maximum amount of the credit to the employer would be $3,500 per 
worker in the first year of employment and $5,000 in the second year of 
employment.  The actual value could be less than these amounts depending 
on the employer's tax bracket.  An employer's usual deduction for wages 
must be reduced by the amount of the credit as well.  The credit also cannot 
exceed 90% of an employer's annual income tax liability, although the excess 
can be carried back 1 years or carried forward 20 years.  Employers cannot 
claim both the WOTC and WtW credit for the same individuals.

In 2007, the maximum credit will be $4,000 in the first year.

	Impact

An employer completes a "pre-screening notice" by the date a job offer is 
made to an applicant thought to belong to the credit-eligible population.  The 
IRS form must be mailed to the state's Employment Service (ES) agency 
within 21 days after the new hire starts working (28 days in 2007).  The ES 
then certifies whether the new hire is part of the eligible group.  The employer 
uses the certification of eligibility to claim the WtW credit.

According to the ES, the number of certifications issued to employers has 
varied greatly over time.  (Certifications will exceed the number of credits 
claimed unless all eligible-hires remain on firms' payrolls for the minimum 
employment period.  Thus, certifications reflect eligibility determinations 
rather than credits claimed.)  In its first full year of operation (FY1999), 
employers were issued 104,998 certifications.  After certifications rose to 
154,608 in FY2000, they declined steadily and markedly thereafter.  The 
2001 recession and subsequent slow recovery likely affected the figures 
during the early years of the decade, with 33,068 certifications issued in 
FY2003.  The low number of certifications in more recent years (e.g., 15,601 
in FY2004) likely reflects the expiration of the credit during much of the 
period.  In FY2005, ES agencies issued 32,817certifications to employers.




	Rationale

The WtW credit is one of the initiatives meant to help welfare recipients 
comply with the work requirements contained in welfare reform legislation 
(P.L. 104-193).  The credit is designed to lower the relative cost of hiring 
long-term family assistance beneficiaries by subsidizing their wages, and 
hence to increase private sector employers' willingness to hire them despite 
their presumed low productivity.

Earlier tax credits aimed at encouraging firms to hire welfare recipients 
were little used according to empirical studies.  Despite this and other 
criticisms,  Congress opted to retain this approach to job creation for long-
term family assistance recipients.

H.R. 6111 (December 2006), extended the credit through 2006.  That 
legislation also combined it with the Work Opportunity Credit e to Work 
credit for 2007.



	Assessment

Since its inception, no funds have been included in legislation to conduct 
an assessment of the WtW's effectiveness.  With a target group very similar 
to one of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit's eligible groups, its availability 
has increased the complexity of the Code.


	Selected Bibliography

Hamersma, Sarah.  The Work Opportunity and Welfare-to-Work Tax 
Credits.  Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, No. 15.  Washington, DC: 
October 2005.
Levine, Linda.  The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the 
Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit.   Congressional Research Service Report 
RL30089.  Washington, DC: updated August 2, 2006.
-.  Welfare Recipients and Employer Wage Subsidies, Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service Report 96-738E.  Washington, DC: 
September 3, 1996.
Westat and Decision Information Resources, Inc.  Employers' Use and 
Assessment of the WOTC and Welfare-to-Work Tax Credits Program.  
Washington, DC: March 2001.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Employment

DEFERRAL OF TAXATION ON  SPREAD ON ACQUISITION
OF STOCK UNDER INCENTIVE STOCK OPTION PLANS
AND EMPLOYEE STOCK PURCHASE PLANS


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

0.4

-

0.4

2007

0.4

-

0.4

2008

0.4

-

0.4

2009

0.2

-

0.2

2010

0.1

-

0.1


	Authorization

Sections 422-423.


	Description



Qualified (or "statutory") options include "incentive stock options," which 
are limited to $100,000 a year for any one employee, and "employee stock 
purchase plans," which are limited to $25,000 a year for any employee.  
Employee stock purchase plans must be offered to all full-time employees 
with at least two years of service; incentive stock options may be confined to 
officers and highly paid employees.  Qualified options are not taxed to the 
employee when granted or exercised (under the regular tax); tax is imposed 
only when the stock is sold.  If the stock is held one year from purchase and 
two years from the granting of the option, the gain is taxed as long-term 
capital gain.  The employer is not allowed a deduction for these options.  
However, if the stock is not held the required time, the employee is taxed at 
ordinary income tax rates and the employer is allowed a deduction.  The value 
of incentive stock options is included in minimum taxable income in the year 
of exercise. 


	Impact

Both types of qualified stock options receive some tax benefit under 
current law.  The employee recognizes no income (for regular tax purposes) 
when the options are granted or when they are exercised.  Taxes (under the 
regular tax) are not imposed until the stock purchased by the employee is 
sold.  If the stock is sold after it has been held for at least two years from the 
date the option was granted and one year from the date it was exercised, the 
difference between the market price of the stock when the option was 
exercised and the price for which it was sold is taxed at long-term capital 
gains rates.  If the option price was less than 100% of the fair market value of 
the stock when it was granted, the difference between the exercise price and 
the market price (the discount) is taxed as ordinary income (when the stock is 
sold).  Taxpayers with above average or high incomes are the primary 
beneficiaries of these tax advantages.


	Rationale

The Revenue Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-272) enacted special rules for qualified 
stock options, which excluded these options from income when they were 
granted or exercised and instead included the gains as income at the time of 
sale of the stock.  The Tax Reform Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-455) repealed these 
special provisions and thus subjected qualified stock options to the same rules 
as applied to nonqualified options.  Therefore, if an employee receives an 
option, which has a readily ascertainable fair market value at the time it is 
granted, this value (less the option price paid for the option, if any) 
constituted ordinary income to the employee at that time.  But, if the option 
did not have a readily ascertainable fair market value at the time it was 
granted, the value of the option did not constitute ordinary income to the 
employee at that time.  However, when the option was exercised, the spread 
between the option price and the value of the stock constituted ordinary 
income to the employee.  The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-
34) reinstituted special rules for qualified stock options with the justification 
that encouraging the management of a business to have a proprietary interest 
in its successful operation would provide an important incentive to expand 
and improve the profit position of the companies involved. 




	Assessment

Tax advantages for qualified stock options encourage companies to 
provide them to employees rather than other forms of compensation that are 
not tax favored.  Paying for the services of employees, officers, and directors 
by the use of stock options has several advantages for the companies.  Start-
up companies often use the method because it does not involve the immediate 
cash outlays that paying salaries involves; in effect, a stock option is a 
promise of a future payment, contingent on increases in the value of the 
company's stock.  It also makes the employees' pay dependent on the 
performance of the company's stock, giving them extra incentive to try to 
improve the company's (or at least the stock's) performance.  Ownership of 
company stock is thought by many to assure that the company's employees, 
officers, and directors share the interests of the company's stockholders.  
Lastly, receiving pay in the form of stock options serves as a form of forced 
savings, since the money cannot be spent until the restrictions expire.

Critics of the stock options, however, argue that there is no real evidence 
that the use of stock options instead of cash compensation improves corporate 
performance.  (Many of the leading users of stock options were among the 
companies suffering substantial recent stock losses.)  Furthermore, stock 
options are a risky form of pay, since the market value of the company's stock 
may decline rather than increase.  Some employees may not want to make the 
outlays required to buy the stock, especially if the stock is subject to 
restrictions and cannot be sold immediately.  And some simply may not want 
to invest their pay in their employer's stock. 


	Selected Bibliography

Bickley, James M.  Employee Stock Options: Tax Treatment and Tax 
Issues.  Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 
RL31458.  Washington, DC: updated September 1, 2006.
Gravelle, Jane G.  Taxes and Incentive Stock Options.  Library of 
Congress, Congressional Research Service Report RS20874.  Washington, 
DC: January 30, 2003.
Johnson, Shane A. and Yisong S. Tian.  "The Value and Incentive Effects 
of Nontraditional Executive Stock Option Plans."  Journal of Financial 
Economics, vol. 57 (2000), pp. 3-34.
Biggs, John H.  Testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. 
April 18, 2002.










Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services:
Social Services 

TAX CREDIT FOR CHILDREN UNDER AGE 17 


Estimated Revenue Loss

[In billions of dollars]

Fiscal year

Individuals

Corporations

Total

2006

46.0

-

46.0

2007

45.9

-

45.9

2008

46.1

-

46.1

2009

46.0

-

46.0

2010

46.0

-

46.0


	Authorization

Section 24.

	Description

Families with qualifying children are allowed a credit against their federal 
individual income tax of $1,000 per qualifying child. 

To qualify for the credit the child must be an individual for whom the 
taxpayer can claim a dependency exemption.  That means the child must be 
the son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter or an 
eligible foster child of the taxpayer.  The child must be under the age of 17 at 
the close of the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins.



The child tax credit is phased out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross 
incomes (AGIs) exceed certain thresholds.  For married taxpayers filing joint 
returns, the phaseout begins at AGI levels in excess of $110,000, for married 
couples filing separately the phaseout begins at AGI levels in excess of 
$55,000, and for single individuals filing as either heads of households or as 
singles the phaseout begins at AGI levels in excess of $75,000.  The child tax 
credit is phased out by $50 for each $1000 (or fraction thereof) by which the 
taxpayer's AGI exceeds the threshold amounts.  Neither the child tax credit 
amount nor the phaseout thresholds are indexed for inflation.

The child tax credit is refundable.  For families with less than three 
qualifying children, the maximum refundable credit cannot exceed 15% of a 
taxpayer's earned income in excess of a given income threshold.  For 2006, 
the income threshold is $11,300.  The threshold is indexed annually for 
inflation.  For families with three or more children, the maximum refundable 
credit is limited to the extent that the taxpayer's Social Security taxes and 
income taxes exceed the taxpayer's earned income tax credit or to the extent 
of 15% of their earned income in excess of income threshold.  In these cases, 
the taxpayer can use whichever method results in the largest refundable 
credit.

The child tax credit can be applied against both a taxpayer's regular 
income tax and his or her alternative minimum tax.


	Impact

The child tax credit will benefit all families with qualifying children whose 
incomes fall below the AGI phaseout ranges.



Distribution by Income Class of the 
Tax Credit for Children Under Age 
17, 2005

Income Class
(in thousands of $)

Percentage
of Amount

Below $10 

0.4

$10 to $20 

4.0

$20 to $30 

11.5

$30 to $40

13.9

$40 to $50

12.6

$50 to $75

23.7

$75 to $100

17.2

$100 to $200

16.5

$200 and over

0.0



	Rationale

The child tax credit was enacted as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 
1997.  Initially, for tax year 1998, families with qualifying children were 
allowed a credit against their federal income tax of $400 for each qualifying 
child.  For tax years after 1998, the credit increased to $500 for each 
qualifying child.  For families with three or more children, the credit was 
refundable.

Congress indicated that the tax structure at that time did not adequately 
reflect a family's reduced ability to pay as family size increased.  The decline 
in the real value of the personal exemption over time was cited as evidence of 
the tax system's failure to reflect a family's ability to pay.  Congress further 
believed that the child tax credit would reduce a family's tax liabilities, would 
better recognize the financial responsibilities of child rearing, and promote 
family values.

The amount and coverage of the child tax credit was substantially 
increased by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 
2001.  Proponents of this increase argued that a $500 child tax credit was 
inadequate.   It was argued that the credit needed to be increased in order to 
better reflect the reduce