Tax Reform 2021 – Build Back Better: Status Update as of November 15, 2021

On Monday, November 15, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).  This bill is separate from the proposed Build Back Better legislation and is the first of two pieces of legislation that the President has been advocating. 

The IIJA delivers a $1.2 trillion dollar spending package targeting improvement to the nation’s infrastructure, including its highways, railroads, public transportation, airports, waterways and ports, drinking water systems, power grid and broadband.  This bill does have some tax-related provisions included. 

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act tax-related provisions

  • Terminating the employee retention credit earlier than scheduled.  Wages paid after September 30, 2021 are no longer eligible.  
  • Requiring information reporting with respect to digital assets such as cryptocurrency, generally effective for returns and statements required to be filed or furnished after December 31, 2023. 
  • Extending certain Superfund excise taxes through December 31, 2031 and modifying the amount of tax applicable to certain chemicals, generally effective as of July 1, 2022. 
  • Extending various highway-related excise taxes (including fuel taxes and heavy vehicle use taxes).

Regarding the status of the Build Back Better legislation, the House returns this week, and Democrats will be aiming to vote this week on the second larger piece of President Biden’s spending and tax agenda.  There may now be enough Democratic votes for the legislation to pass in the House, assuming a cost and revenue estimate from the Congressional Budget Office is scored largely in line with administration estimates stating the bill is fully paid for.

However, it is still expected that the Senate will have changes to the House Bill (H.R. 5376), which will further delay a vote in that chamber of Congress likely until after Thanksgiving.  Senate Democrats are still resolving differences over taxes, Medicare spending, paid family leave and immigration.  Intricate Senate procedural rules also impact the voting timeline.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter Sunday to Senate Democrats, “On a bill of this magnitude, this process takes time and patience.”  No timetable was given for a vote.  

The House will then need to agree to any Senate changes before a final bill can be sent to the White House for President Biden’s signature.  It looks more likely that it may be the middle to end of December before Americans know with any certainty what their 2021 and 2022 taxes will look like.  

 

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