President Joe Biden on November 15th signed into law the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The legislation passed the Senate in August before it languished in the House for roughly three months prior to that chamber approving it ten days ago.
The legislation is mostly a spending bill aimed at funding roads, bridges, and other infrastructure pursuits, but there are also tax-related provisions, which include:
- Revival of Superfund Taxes: Prior to 1996, a tax of 9.7 cents per barrel of crude oil, and equivalent taxes on certain chemicals, was collected on their sale to fund the cleanup of Superfund sites. A Superfund site is a contaminated area that is cleaned up by the EPA. These sites include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining sites. The legislation restores the superfund tax with respect to most chemicals that were previously subject to the tax, but not with respect to crude oil.
- Cryptocurrency Reporting: The legislation extends existing reporting requirements (IRS Form 1099-B) to cover digital assets including cryptocurrency effective for digital assets acquired on or after January 1, 2023. It expands the definition of a broker, for reporting purposes, to include “any person who (for consideration) is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person.”
- Modification to the Employee Retention Tax Credit: The legislation sunsets the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) after September 30, 2021, instead of December 31, 2021, as originally written. It is not clear how the government will address a retroactive expiration of a tax provision. Eligible start-up companies can still claim the employee retention credit for the fourth quarter; however, their fourth quarter credit is capped at $50,000.
- Extended Tax Filing Deadlines in Fire Management Assistance Areas: The legislation extends the IRS tax filing deadlines in Fire Management Assistance areas after significant fires.
The text of the legislation is here.
Democratic leaders in Washington originally linked enactment of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to the budget reconciliation tax and spending bill also becoming law. That link has been broken.
The budget reconciliation bill has yet to pass either chamber, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seeks to vote on the legislation this week. It is unclear if this vote will occur.
Focus turns to Reconciliation Bill:
The legislation contains tax increases on individuals and corporations, and Democratic lawmakers are the only members of Congress expected to support its passage. However, the bill has been the source for several, intraparty controversies.
In fact, the bill is so contentious that the Democratic party is divided in their support for it. One faction thinks the bill spends and taxes too much, and opposes it, while another group thinks it doesn’t go far enough but still supports it. This split is problematic since it will take nearly all of them to pass the legislation from Congress.
One of the latest controversies is whether House Democrats should know the full cost of the bill before voting on it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress’s bookkeeper, is charged with determining the bill’s cost, and that calculation could be completed by the end of the week.
A House vote on the legislation could occur as soon as this weekend.
Assuming the House passes the infrastructure bill, it will need approval from the Senate. This could be a time-consuming process.
The Senate is expected to modify the legislation that is passed by the House. Both chambers must agree on the exact same bill for it to become law. Getting bicameral agreement on the legislation is expected to take weeks, or longer, to complete.
As previously stated, only Democrats are expected to support passage of the budget reconciliation bill, and the party has very slim majorities in both chambers.
In the House, Democrats have a three-seat majority. This means if four House Democrats oppose the bill it fails.
In the Senate, there is a 50-50 split between Democratic and Republican members. This means that if one Democrat opposes the bill it will fail.
Passage will also require the support from Vice President Kamala Harris. Assuming that all Senate Democrats support the legislation and all Senate Republicans oppose it, the Vice President will be the tie-breaking vote that secures its passage.
The latest summary of the budget reconciliation bill is here.