Congress nears deadline on tax extensions

Countdown is on for tax extenders legislation
By American Farm Bureau Federation,

Up against a self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (DMich.) is putting together a package of tax credit extensions he expects will quickly be passed by both the House and Senate. The easy part seems to be deciding what to put in the bill. Levin is basing much of his legislation on tax extender provisions included in two separate measures approved in the past six months by each of the chambers.

The hard part is finding a way to pay for it—as required by law—that will please everyone. Most of the tax credits expired at the end of 2009 and would be carried through to the end of this year, although longer extensions are possible.

Included in the previously passed legislation, and therefore likely to be put into Levin’s bill, is an extension of the $1 per gallon blenders tax credit for biodiesel and the small agri-biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon.

Since the biodiesel credit expired on Jan. 1, biodiesel production has nearly come to a halt, jeopardizing the nearly 23,000 green jobs the industry supports, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Levin’s bill will also likely extend the $1 per gallon production tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass, the five-year depreciation for farming business machinery and equipment, the enhanced charitable deduction for donated food and the enhanced tax deduction for donating a conservation easement. In addition, the approved bills included extensions of the additional standard deduction for

state and local real property taxes, the deduction of state and local sales taxes, the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses, and the railroad tax maintenance credit.

Levin and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are touting the measure as a jobs bill. Supporters of the legislation haven’t missed a beat in connecting their Continued from page 1 industries to employment.

For example, equipment manufacturers, who would benefit from an extension of the five-year depreciation for farm equipment, are pointing out that the U.S. agriculture equipment industry is responsible for nearly 250,000 U.S. jobs in all 50 states and provides major support to both rural and urban communities.

Another provision vying for inclusion in the package is agricultural disaster assistance, which was part of the Senate-passed bill only. It will be a difficult sell on legislation being deemed a jobs bill, particularly when ways to pay for additional spending are so scarce.

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