Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: House to Vote on Tax Cuts 2.0, Senators Pushing for a Vote on IRS Donor Disclosure

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 11:00 am

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

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House to Vote on Tax Cuts 2.0

Yesterday, the House Rules Committee approved a set of measures that cleared the way for a package of three bills (H.R. 6760, which would make permanent the temporary individual and small business tax cuts that were passed at the end of 2017 and currently expire in 2025; H.R. 6757, which provides incentives for people to save money; and H.R. 6756, which aims to encourage business innovation), referred to “tax cuts 2.0,” to move ahead for a vote by the full chamber today.

This second round of tax cuts has been a key messaging point in the Republican campaign strategy around midterms. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) remains confident that these efforts will prove to be an effective strategy for getting members of his party reelected, stating, “Republicans running on a conservative agenda of people keeping more of what they earn and small businesses keeping more of what they earn permanently helps them in those reelections.”

If the legislation passes in the House today, it will advance to the Senate where it is expected to lay dormant until at least after the elections in November.

Senators Pushing for a Vote on IRS Donor Disclosure

Earlier this week, Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a resolution that would force a vote to overturn the recent guidance from the Department of Treasury that no longer requires nonprofit groups—except 501(c)(3)s—to file the Schedule B (which requires the disclosure of names and addresses of donors who contribute $5,000 or more in the filing year) of their Forms 990.

According to The Hill, “The senators introduced a resolution to overturn the guidance under the Congressional Review Act. They argued that undoing the guidance is necessary to prevent the erosion of transparency in politics. ‘We must crack down on the dark money flooding our political system, that’s why we are taking an aggressive approach and introducing this legislation to protect our democracy and hold special interests accountable with transparency,’ [Sen.] Tester, who is up for reelection this year in a state [President] Trump won, said in a statement. Under the IRS guidance, issued in July, certain tax-exempt groups no longer are required to disclose to the agency the names and addresses of significant donors on annual forms.”

The Congressional Review Act measure has little chance of being enacted. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Even if the narrowly Republican Senate votes to repeal the rule, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would still need to vote. Even if that happened, President Trump could veto the measure.” However, if Democrats are able to force a vote on the resolution in the next few weeks, it could be used to emphasize campaign finance as an issue in Sen. Tester’s midterm race.

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Rettig Swearing-In Expected for Next Week

According to Tax Notes, Chuck Rettig is scheduled to be sworn in as the new IRS commissioner next Monday, Oct. 1. The final details for his swearing-in ceremony have yet to be released, so this date is subject to change. Mr. Rettig was confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 13, by a vote of 64-33.

Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter, who has been the acting IRS commissioner for the past 11 months, is expected to return to his full-time position once Mr. Rettig steps into his new role.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

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States Acting Quickly in Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

The storm waters of Hurricane Florence have yet to recede and states are already taking steps to assist individuals, businesses, and charitable organizations affected by the major disruption in services. Several states, including New Jersey and Idaho, have announced tax filing extensions for taxpayers adversely affected by Hurricane Florence. Some individuals out of work in South Carolina because of the storm and flooding are eligible for disaster relief payments, according to an announcement this week from the state Department of Employment and Workforce. Those who could receive up to $326 per week include people who couldn’t get to their jobs because of flooding, self-employed individuals, small business owners who lost money because of the disaster, and those injured in the storm.

The state government in North Carolina is providing flexibility in Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services to provide access to health care and hot meals for individuals and families affected by the storm. The North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to meet in special session on Oct. 2 to consider disaster relief policies. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits and others are promoting adoption of a temporary state tax credit to facilitate contributions to charitable nonprofits and houses of worship providing hurricane relief. The state association of nonprofits has also posted an extensive list of state-specific hurricane-related resources, ranging from the NC 2-1-1 call line run by United Way to multiple community foundations, faith based organizations, and government services.

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