To Extend or Not to Extend, That Is the Question

Despite efforts of Congressman Kevin Brady, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means, to extend over two dozen tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017, Congress seem no closer to a resolution. When NAEA’s GR team has asked Members of Congress and their staffs what’s the likely outcome, most have simply shrugged in frustration.

Over the years, NAEA has made the case that tax code complexity comes in many forms. One of the most insidious—and preventable—is uncertainty. Tax provisions that expire annually, and even worse allowed to lapse only to reinstate retroactively, confound any effort for tax planning and create needless complexity (they are also terrible policy, see this joint letter in opposition to extenders).

Once again, we find ourselves weeks from a new filing season with an uncertain tax code. Provisions like the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, the exclusion of discharge of qualified home indebtedness, and deductibility of qualified tuition expenses are decidedly middle-class tax benefits. Yet we are on January’s doorstep and enrolled agents are still unable to advise clients. Quoting the Bard of Avon, we say to Congress, “A pox on both your houses!”