Budget Bill Passed, Renews Tax Extenders

After a brief shutdown overnight, the House voted to reopen the government by passing a $400 billion budget that increases spending caps, raises the debt ceiling, and provides disaster relief for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. President Trump signed it into law this morning.

In addition to keeping the lights on, the bill renewed roughly thirty tax provisions—the majority of which expired at the end of 2016. Below are three items that affect individuals:

  • Exclusion of discharged mortgage debt from gross income
  • Mortgage insurance premiums will be treated as mortgage interest for the purposes of the mortgage interest deduction
  • Above-the-line deduction for up to $4,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses

Various business tax provisions include credits for qualified railroad track maintenance expenses, the cost of training mine rescue team employees, and corporations in American Samoa, as well as a measure to extend the “cover over” payments to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for the excise tax on rum imports.

The energy sector also saw several credits extended:

  • 30% (up to $30,000) for each location with an alternative fuel refueling station—$1,000 if at a residence
  • Up to $2,000 for producers of new energy efficient homes
  • Continuation the renewable energy production credit, including closed- and open-loop biomass, geothermal, hydropower, and others.

Finally, taxpayers should be happy to hear that we avoided a shutdown-induced interruption of refund processing. But remember, refunds on returns claiming ACTC and EITC won’t start being issued until February 15, and that money likely won’t be available until the week of February 27.

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Ryan Norton
Whether designing superheroes, penciling caricatures, or just doodling, I always knew I was going to earn some sort of art degree while in college. That was my goal before I decided to trade Edgar Degas for Edgar Allan Poe during a Freshman English class. The BA in English soon morphed into a double-major in English and Philosophy, eventually becoming an MA in English. It only makes sense that I learned of a writing opportunity for a local marketing firm while teaching a first-year college English course. Before I knew it, I was writing and editing tax-related articles for Taxing Subjects, and this has been my home since 2014.