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Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:40 AM

Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end

http://www.adn.com/2013/12/30/3252458/congress-letting-55-tax-breaks.html



FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty _ once again _ for millions of individuals and businesses. The annual practice of letting these tax breaks expire is a symptom a divided, dysfunctional Congress that struggles to pass routine legislation, said Lewis, a senior Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Its not fair, its very hard, its very difficult for a business person, a company, to plan, not just for the short term but to do long-term planning, Lewis said. Its shameful.

Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
Associated Press
December 30, 2013 Updated 38 minutes ago

WASHINGTON In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty once again for millions of individuals and businesses.

Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.

No harm, no foul, right? After all, taxpayers filing returns in the spring won't be hurt because the tax breaks were in effect for 2013. Taxpayers won't be hit until 2015, when they file tax returns for next year.

Not so far. Trade groups and tax experts complain that Congress is making it impossible for businesses and individuals to plan for the future. What if lawmakers don't renew the tax break you depend on? Or what if they change it and you're no longer eligible?

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