Daily Tax Update - February 11, 2009

DEAL OR NO DEAL ON STIMULUS AGREEMENT?:  Although Senate conferees announced earlier today that they had reached an agreement with the House on a $790 billion economic stimulus plan, House Members are still being briefed on the details of the plan. A joint chamber conference committee was supposed to meet at 3 pm to formalize the agreement, but that session has been postponed. It was just announced that House Democrats will hold an emergency Caucus meeting at 5:30 pm to discuss the stimulus package. Democratic leaders wanted to examine the final agreement on the measure before moving into a joint chamber conference committee to formalize the details. No details on the specifics of the plan have been released yet.

  • At today’s Senate press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that negotiators had “bridged differences” between the $820 billion House version of the package and the $838 billion version passed by the Senate.  Reid said the compromise bill will create 3.5 million jobs and that tax cuts will compose more than one-third of the package. Reid added, “The bills were really quite similar, and I'm pleased to announce that we've been able to bridge those differences. Like any negotiation, this involved give and take, and if you don't mind my saying so, that's an understatement.”
  • During today’s Senate press conference, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said that the House would likely pass the bill Thursday with the Senate following Friday, unless Republicans use procedural objections.

MISCELLANEOUS GUIDANCE ISSUED TODAY:
Notice 2009-18 provides supplements to the actuarial tables prescribed under tax code Section 7520. The notice furnishes extensions to the existing tables for interest rates below 2.2 percent. The notice can be accessed here.  

TAX BILLS INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 10TH:
H.R.931: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow the work opportunity credit with respect to certain unemployed veterans.
Sponsor: Rep Nye, Glenn C., III [VA-2] (introduced 2/10/2009)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.945: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow additional expenses for purposes of determining the Hope Scholarship Credit, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] (introduced 2/10/2009)      Cosponsors (1)

H.R.953: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a deduction for travel expenses to medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs in connection with examinations or treatments relating to service-connected disabilities.
Sponsor: Rep Heller, Dean [NV-2] (introduced 2/10/2009)      Cosponsors (1)

H.R.971: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide commuter flexible spending arrangements.
Sponsor: Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] (introduced 2/10/2009)      Cosponsors (2)

S.405: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide that a deduction equal to fair market value shall be allowed for charitable contributions of literary, musical, artistic, or scholarly compositions created by the donor.
Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] (introduced 2/10/2009)      Cosponsors (12)

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.