Two weeks after the 2022 midterm elections, it’s becoming clearer where tax policy may be headed for the rest of the year and into 2023. In the short term, Congress must deal with tax extenders and expiring business tax provisions that may undermine the economy.
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Policymakers face a difficult balancing act this year in what is likely to be an unusual tax extenders season.
Tax extenders this year can be split into three rough groups: expiring parts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), expiring parts of various COVID-19 economic relief packages, and the Island of Misfit Extenders.
As the Biden administration turns toward infrastructure, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.) has suggested including reforms to the way the tax code subsidizes energy production in such a package, eliminating 44 “tax breaks” for various activities in the energy sector and replacing them with only three.
Tax extenders are no stranger to hitching a last-minute ride on year-end legislation. This year they made another last-minute appearance, finding a hold in their own division of the 5,593-page bill to fund the government through the fiscal year and provide additional coronavirus relief through March.
While a sweeping tax policy bill is unlikely in the near future, lawmakers may be able to come together on a smaller scale. Pairing better cost recovery on a permanent basis with support for vulnerable households as well as additional pandemic-related relief would help promote a more rapid return to growth and help businesses and households weather the ongoing crisis.
President Biden and Congress should concentrate on areas of common ground, finding incremental places to improve the tax code. A bipartisan bill recently introduced to help retirement savings is a good model for what incremental reform may look like.