Congress funds the federal government through mid-February. The House and Senate voted last night to temporarily fund the government through Feb. 18, averting a partial government shutdown at midnight tonight. The $1.65 trillion bill for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1 funds most government agencies at last year’s levels. The result: Many of President Biden’s proposed domestic spending increases will not take effect at least until the budget year is nearly half over. Congress has made little progress on the annual appropriations bills.
The debt limit. Talks between Senate leaders continue, as both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP leader Mitch McConnell appear to be looking for a way to avoid default. Senate leaders hope to vote on a debt bill next week. Absent action, the government is likely to breach the limit sometime later this month or early next year.
And about Build Back Better. Senate Democrats hope to start voting on the big social spending, climate, and tax bill next week with a goal of finishing by the Christmas break. But they continue to squabble over key issues, including relief from the state and local tax (SALT) cap.
San Francisco suspends its cannabis business tax. City supervisors this week suspended the tax through the end of 2022. Their aim: Curb illegal marijuana sales, since tax-free illegal weed is cheaper than legal cannabis sold by retailers.
IRS to allow electronic signatures on certain documents through October 2023. The agency will continue to permit e-signatures on certain tax forms through October 31, 2023. The decision extends a policy it began last April so filers wouldn’t need to visit tax practitioners’ offices during the pandemic. Most of the allowable forms are for business or for relatively unusual individual income tax situations. Of course, the IRS has allowed e-filing of the Form 1040 for years.
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