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From Health Reform WK-EDGE, January 4, 2019

Brady introduces revised tax, IRS reform package

By Wolters Kluwer CCH Editorial Staff

The House’s top Republican tax writer has introduced a revised tax and IRS oversight package. The "tweaked" 253-page package addresses retirement savings, disaster relief, IRS reform, tax law corrections, and the delay and repeal of certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) taxes, among other things.

"This package delivers bipartisan relief from some of [the ACA’s] most egregious taxes including ones that stifle innovation, reduce jobs, and increase the cost of families’ health insurance," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in a November 10 statement. "The package also includes bipartisan negotiated reforms to redesign the IRS for the first time in two decades, and helps workers save more and earlier for retirement and for their children’s education."

Tax extenders out. The new package comes on the heels of Republican leadership pulling the original bill from a floor vote last month. The previously 297-page package was reportedly pulled for a lack of GOP support.

Notably, the revised measure no longer includes tax extenders for over 20 expired tax breaks. However, it is expected on Capitol Hill that tax extenders will instead be attached to a year-end government funding bill. Generally, tax extenders are traditionally a fairly routine and bipartisan lame-duck legislative initiative.

ACA provisions in. Although the measure contains some bipartisan provisions, such as retirement savings and IRS reform, the ACA-adds appear to be targeted at gaining more GOP support. The new package includes the following health care-related tax provisions:

  • extend the moratorium on the medical device excise tax from 2020 to 2025;
  • further delay the implementation of the excise "Cadillac" tax on costly employer-sponsored health plans from 2022 to 2023;
  • further extend the suspension of the annual fee on health insurance providers from 2020 to 2023; and
  • repeal the excise tax on indoor tanning services.

While delaying and repealing ACA-related taxes seems a largely partisan move, Brady told reporters on November 10 that delaying certain ACA taxes has received bipartisan support in the past.

Looking ahead. The revised package is expected to easily clear the House. However, congressional tax staffers have expressed doubt that the Senate will have time to take up a separate tax bill during the lame-duck session while Congress works to iron out a government spending bill. Additionally, nine Democratic votes in the Senate will be needed for congressional approval, only adding to the package’s anticipated uphill climb.

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