The highway bill is almost a done deal. The House may vote on the $305 billion measure today, and the White House has indicated that the President will sign it. Question is whether the Senate can act by Friday, or whether it will need another extension of a few days to finish. The bill sets spending at approximately $205 billion for highways and $48 billion for transit projects over the next five years, but relies on transfers from the general fund and the Federal Reserve banks to pay the bill. Still, it will be the first highway bill since 2005 with a shelf-life longer than two years.
But there may be a government shutdown. House Democrats rejected the GOP’s spending bill because of more than 30 “poison pill” riders, and will present their counter offer. The White House says “Congressional Republicans are whistling past the graveyard of a government shutdown.” Will anybody be crying on December 11?
Skipping health insurance next year is going to hurt a bit more. TPC’s Bob Williams explains how the Affordable Care Act penalty tax will jump next year. For those filing taxes for 2015, the penalty, or “shared responsibility payment” will be $325 per person, or 2 percent of countable income. For the 2016 tax year, the penalty goes to the larger of $695 per adult, or 2.5 percent of countable income. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch called for ACA repeal and its trillion-dollar tax hike yesterday.
The European Union is not “lovin’ it.” The EU reportedly will investigate McDonald’s tax deals in Luxembourg, starting as soon as today. The small nation may have broken state aid rules in its efforts to lure multinational McNugget maker. If it did, McDonald’s would have to pay millions of dollars in back taxes.
The IRS Criminal Investigation has released its fiscal 2015 report. Tax Notes shares the report (paywall). Agency chief Richard Weber notes that IRS-CI has only hired 45 agents in the past three years, and its staffing levels are at their lowest since the 1970s. The annual report features case summaries on investigations including tax-related identity theft, money laundering, public corruption, cybercrime and terrorist financing.
Just because you’re “able” doesn’t mean you “should.” The TaxVox Tax Hound returns with the Case of the Mislabeled ABLE Account. She wonders whether the new tax-advantaged savings plan for individuals with disabilities and their families will be of much use, given the program’s limitations.
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