Daily Tax Update - January 27, 2009

FINANCE COMMITTEE MARK-UP OF STIMULUS BILL CONTINUES:  The Senate Finance Committee is in the process of marking-up the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009.” Committee Chairman Max Baucus has introduced a revised Chairman's Mark. The Finance Committee mark is similar, but not identical, to the bill approved last week by the House Ways and Means Committee. During today's mark-up, the Committee added a one-year alternative minimum tax patch for 2009. A detailed summary of the provisions passed by the Committee will be in tomorrow's Daily Tax Update.

  • The modifications to the Chairman's Mark can be accessed here.
  • Meanwhile, the House began general debate on their economic stimulus package (H.R. 1) today. The House is expected to complete action on the bill tomorrow. Today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated that it was not likely that any tax amendments would be allowed to be offered to the House bill when it is open to amendment on the House floor. Hoyer said, “Tax bills are never brought to the floor by Republicans or Democrats with amendments, so we're not going to start a new precedent.”

GEITHNER SWORN IN AS TREASURY SECRETARY:  Last night, Timothy Geithner was sworn in as Treasury Secretary following his confirmation by the Senate in a 60-34 vote.

  • During his swearing in ceremony, Geithner said, “We are at a moment of maximum challenge for our economy and our country. Our agenda is to move quickly to help you do what the country asked you to do. To launch the programs that will bring economic recovery sooner, to make our economy more productive, to restore trust in our financial system with fundamental reform, to make our tax system better at rewarding work and investment, more fair and more simple. And to restore confidence in America's economic leadership around the world. I pledge all of my ability to help you meet that challenge and to restore to all Americans the promise of a better future.”
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said, “I congratulate Mr. Geithner on this vote of confirmation today. But there’s no honeymoon. Now the work begins on accounting for and repairing the finances of our country. As I said during his confirmation hearing, Tim Geithner has the right expertise and qualifications to lead the President’s economic team at this crucial moment, and I believe that in time, we will see the recovery that Americans are calling for today. The approval of Secretary Geithner is an important step in tackling the economic crisis head-on.”
  • Geithner’s remarks can be accessed here

TAX BILLS INTRODUCED JANUARY 26TH:
H.R.674: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a one-time increase in the amount excludable from the sale of a principal residence by taxpayers who have attained age 50.
Sponsor: Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.683: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with respect to the proper tax treatment of certain indebtedness discharged in 2009 or 2010, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.690: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to remove cell phones from listed property under section 280F.
Sponsor: Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (6)

H.R.691: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a credit against income tax for businesses furnishing broadband services to underserved and rural areas.
Sponsor: Rep Meek, Kendrick B. [FL-17] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.692: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from gross income compensation received by employees consisting of qualified distributions of employer stock.
Sponsor: Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (2)

S.316: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the reduction in the rate of tax on qualified timber gain of corporations, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Lincoln, Blanche L. [AR] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (8)

S.322: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to equalize the exclusion from gross income of parking and transportation fringe benefits and to provide for a common cost-of-living adjustment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (12)

S.329: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the nonbusiness energy property credit for property placed in service during 2008.
Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] (introduced 1/26/2009)      Cosponsors (None)

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.