Daily Tax Update - July 22, 2009

PRESIDENT TO DELIVER PRIME-TIME SPEECH ON HEALTH CARE:  Tonight, President Obama will hold a press conference urging Congress to pass health care reform legislation. The legislation has come under attack from both Republicans and fiscally conservative Democrats over costs, policy issues, and the timeline for action. The August timeline sought by Obama appears to be slipping as opposition mounts to the proposal.

  • Earlier today, the President said, “We've been studying this ad infinitum. Starting in November after my election, a lot of members of Congress, including the chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus, started meeting and working through ideas. So we’ve actually been working on this for a good solid nine months now.”
  • Yesterday, in a comment that was overheard by a reporter, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said, “No one wants to tell the speaker [Nancy Pelosi] that she's moving too fast and they damn sure don’t want to tell the President.”
  • Today, Pelosi said, “I have no question that we have the votes on the floor of the House to pass this legislation.” The speaker also said that she still intends to hold a vote on the bill next week but left open the possibility of keeping the House in session past the scheduled adjournment at the end of July.
  • Negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee continue. Senate Budget Committee Chairman and Finance member Senator Kent Conrad said, “We’re operating under the rule, nothing is decided until everything is decided. So, even if you reach tentative conclusions on some things, that doesn’t mean they can’t be reopened.” Among the financing options being considered by the Finance Committee are taxing health insurance premiums and taxing some employer-sponsored health benefits.

SENS. LEVIN AND McCAIN INTRODUCE BILL TARGETING STOCK OPTION DEDUCTIONS:  Today, Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain introduced legislation designed to limit corporate tax deductions for employee stock options. Levin said, “Senator McCain and I are introducing today a bill to eliminate federal corporate tax breaks that give special tax treatment to corporations that pay their executives with stock options. It’s called the Ending Excessive Corporate Deductions for Stock Options Act [S. 1491].” Levin said, “The bill would eliminate this stock option double standard, end existing tax favors for stock options, and remove a federal tax policy that now helps fuel sky-high executive pay.”

  • Additional information can be accessed here

TAX BILLS INTRODUCED JULY 21st:
H.R.3271: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve commuting and transportation options.
Sponsor: Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] (introduced 7/21/2009)      Cosponsors (2)

S.1484: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to create Catastrophe Savings Accounts.
Sponsor: Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] (introduced 7/21/2009)      Cosponsors (1)

S.1486: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the creation of disaster protection funds by property and casualty insurance companies for the payment of policyholders' claims arising from future catastrophic events.
Sponsor: Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] (introduced 7/21/2009)      Cosponsors (1)

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.