Daily Tax Update - April 15, 2005

FINANCE COMMITTEE TO MARK-UP TAX COURT MODERNIZATION BILL:
On April 19, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a mark-up of the "United States Tax Court Modernization Act" (S. 661). The bill amends various Tax Court rules of procedure and jurisdiction.

  • The Joint Committee on Taxation has released a description of the bill which can be accessed here.  

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE SCHEDULES HEARING ON TAX-EXEMPT SECTOR:
On April 20, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled, "An Overview of the Tax-Exempt Sector."  According to the Committee, the hearing will "examine the legal history of the tax-exempt sector; its size, scope and impact on the economy; the need for congressional oversight; IRS oversight of the sector; and what the IRS is doing to improve compliance with the law."

  • In announcing the hearing, Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) stated, "This continues the series of hearings we held last year examining the tax-exempt sector.  Congress needs a better understanding of how vast and diverse this sector is today.  Tax-exemption is an important benefit and the Congress has a responsibility to oversee and assure the American taxpayer that the tax-exempt sector is living up to its legal responsibilities."

TAX BILLS INTRODUCED APRIL 14:

  • H.R. 1634 sponsored by Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) would expand workplace health incentives by equalizing the tax consequences of employee athletic facility use.
  • H.R. 1635 sponsored by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) would allow employers a credit against income tax for hiring military service personnel who served in a combat zone or a hazardous duty area. 
  • H.R. 1650 sponsored by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) would allow tax credits to holders of stem cell research bonds.
  • H.R. 1663 sponsored by Rep. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL) would permanently extend the 15-year recovery period for the depreciation of certain leasehold improvements.
  • S. 785 sponsored by Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) would modify the small refiner exception to the oil depletion deduction.
  • S. 787 sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) would equalize the exclusion from gross income of parking and transportation fringe benefits and provide for a common cost-of-living adjustment.
  • S. 804 sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) would allow certain coins to be acquired by individual retirement accounts and other individually directed pension plan accounts.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE - CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE:
As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP - TAX PRACTICE
Steptoe & Johnson LLP has one of the largest and most diverse law firm tax practices in the country. The practice covers the entire spectrum of federal taxation, including representation of businesses before the Congress, Treasury and the national office of the IRS; transactional planning for domestic and multinational corporations; complex audit and controversy work for corporations and other business interests contesting IRS adjustments; litigation before the Tax Court, Court of Federal Claims, district courts, courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. The firm's tax practice also encompasses all aspects of employee benefits (ERISA), executive compensation, tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving.  Steptoe has an extensive state and local tax practice, representing an array of business clients on complex sales and use tax, corporate income tax and property tax matters, both advising those clients and handling audits, administrative appeals, and litigation for them.  Read  more information on Steptoe's tax practice