Next week on Capitol Hill: Tax bills and other hearings. The Senate is expected to begin its review of the Tax Relief for American Families Act, while the House may vote next week on the “SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act” that would double the federal $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions for married couples filing jointly. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Feb. 8 on artificial intelligence in health care. The House Ways & Means Committee will hold two hearings: the first on Feb. 6, on chronic drug shortages in the US, then on Feb. 7 its Trade Subcommittee will discuss advancing US interests at the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Meeting.
Washington state lawmakers consider tax incentives for commercial property conversions. The state has an abundance of empty office buildings and a housing shortage. Democratic state Sen. Yasmin Trudeau has proposal to allow cities to offer property tax breaks to developers who convert commercial property to residential housing. Supporters hope the plan could build up the housing supply and improve the local economy, but critics have questioned whether tax breaks to private developers will mitigate rising housing costs.
Property tax breaks in Nebraska are not welcomed by all. The state legislature’s Revenue Committee has been holding hearings on proposals to reduce property taxes, including freezing tax revenue at current levels. School districts, counties, natural resource districts, and other local governing entities have warned that property tax relief could cause reductions in public services and difficulty hiring or retaining staff. Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, who heads the committee, disputed the idea that school districts would “go broke” under the proposals.
Are local Colorado governments using tax dollars to generate tax dollars? Colorado law states that a government entity in the state cannot spend more than $50 to support a ballot measure once that proposal is on the ballot. But there’s no limit to that spending before a measure makes the ballot. One advocacy group complained that Jefferson County is using tax dollars to pay a political consulting firm $340,000 to lobby for ballot measures raising local taxes. The county’s spokesperson said the consulting firm advising them on possible options for addressing a looming budget shortfall. “Depending on what we learn from the community, the county could choose not to put forth any ballot initiative and proceed with making cuts to the 2025 budget.”
IRS: Take care when choosing a tax preparer. It offered the reminder yesterday, along with a Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications to help individuals find a tax professional that meets high standards. Taxpayers should be wary of unscrupulous preparers who may refuse to sign a tax return or lack a Preparer Tax Identification Number.
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