Congress Passes Permanent Tax Provisions

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By Cindy Freking CPA

[Tax Manager ]

Late on December 15th, a bipartisan agreement was reached on tax extenders—i.e., the 50 or so temporary tax provisions that are routinely extended by Congress on a one- or two-year basis—and numerous other tax provisions in the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015” (the Act). This agreement makes permanent many of the individual and business extenders and contains provisions on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), IRS administration and the Tax Courts and miscellaneous other provisions.

Below are some provisions that have been made permanent:


  • The Act makes permanent the $500,000 expensing limitation and $2 million phase out amounts under Code Section 179
  • For property placed in service after Dec 31, 2015, the Act provides that air conditioning and heating units are now eligible for expensing
  • Assets for which the De Minimis election applies are not counted in determining the Code Section 179 expensing election or the ceiling
  • 15 Year Write off for Qualified Leasehold , Retail Improvements & Restaurant Property


  • American Opportunity Credit
  • Enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Above the line Educator Expenses
  • Exclusion for Employer Provided Mass Transit & Parking
  • State and Local Sales deduction
  • Liberalized rules for Qualified Conservation Contributions
  • Nontaxable IRA transfers to eligible charities


  • Research & Development credit & offset now available against taxes in addition to income taxes
  • Reduction in S-Corporation recognition period for Built in Gains Tax
  • Exclusion of 100% Gain on certain small business stock
  • Enhanced deduction for Food Inventory
  • Differential Wage Payment Credit (active duty employees)


The above provides a brief overview of the Act. There are various provisions that have been extended through 2016 and 2019 and other miscellaneous provisions. If you need additional information or have questions, please contact your CPA.





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2 Responses


    Our elected leaders did some re-gifting during 2015. They restored tax cuts that had been allowed to expire and made them retroactive for 2015. Kiplinger’s reported, “In an important twist to the habitual year-end gamesmanship, however, this time Congress actually made many of [the tax cuts] permanent and even improved a few.”

    The tax law changes help people who:

    • Commute to work: During 2016, employees who drive can pay for parking with up to $255 of pre-tax salary, and people who rely on mass transit to get to work can spend the same amount of pre-tax salary on transportation.

    • Have children in college: The American Opportunity College Credit, a $2,500 tax credit for families with qualifying college students, was made permanent, although the credit phases out at higher income levels.

    • Live in states with no or low income tax: The choice about whether to deduct state income tax or state sales tax paid during the year on a federal tax return was renewed. It expired at the end of 2014, and now applies retroactively to 2015.

    • Want to make charitable contributions using required minimum distributions (RMDs): Once again, IRA owners who are age 70½ or older can donate up to $100,000 of their traditional IRAs directly to charity, tax-free, using all or part of their RMDs. It’s now a permanent tax break.

    • Own businesses: The $500,000 “expensing” cap was restored for 2015, and will be permanent going forward. Bonus depreciation also was extended.

    These are just a few of the tax cuts Congress passed.

    Arthur Chalekian GEPC
    [Financial Consultant]


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