I have posted a brief analysis of these five bills on the FEDERAL TAX UPDATE Page at my website.
But there are a lot of tax issues that Congress has chosen not to deal with until next year -
· Hopefully Congress will take up the repeal of the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax, as called for in Rangel’s mis-named “mother of all tax reforms” bill. If not it will need to pass another temporary fix – and not wait until the last minute to do so!
· The extension of popular tax breaks which expired on December 31, 2007, such as the above-the-line deductions for educator expenses and tuition and fees and the option to deduct state and local sales tax instead of state and local income tax, was not included in the 2007 AMT fix bill.
· The extension of the residential energy credits, which also expired on December 31, 2007, was not included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, one of the five bills passed before Congress left for the year.
· The Senate passed a bill to extend and expand military tax relief which differed from the House version, and a conference committee must deal with this in 2008.
· A farm bill will also need to go to conference committee in 2008.
· The House passed a patent reform bill that would ban patents on tax strategies, but the Senate has not acted yet.
· Congress has discussed requiring brokers to report cost basis information along with gross proceeds from the sale of securities on the Form 1099-B, and requiring credit card processing companies to report merchant credit card payments, both measures to help deal with the tax gap, but has taken no action in 2007.
· Several tax-related bills are currently pending, including one to crack down on Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and another to regulate “unenrolled” tax return preparers (such as myself).
There will either be a lot of Congressional action on the tax front in 2008, or, as it is an election year, lots of inaction.