As we ring in the New Year and say goodbye to 2013, we also say goodbye to several tax breaks Congress has allowed to expire at the end of the year.
In fact, a total of 55 tax breaks are scheduled to disappear on Tuesday at midnight.
Oddly enough, this isn’t even new. Indeed, U.S. lawmakers let tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.
But even if taxpayers filing returns in the spring won’t be hurt because the tax breaks were in effect for 2013, and taxpayers won’t be hit until 2015, trade groups and tax experts complain that Congress is making it impossible for businesses and individuals to plan for the future.
What if lawmakers don’t renew the tax break you depend on? Or what if they change it and you’re no longer eligible?
Some of the tax breaks are big, including billions in credits for companies that invest in research and development, generous exemptions for financial institutions doing business overseas, and several breaks that let businesses write off capital investments faster.
But others are more obscure, the benefits targeted to film producers, race track owners, rum manufactures and environmental groups.
Here are seven expiring tax breaks Americans probably won’t miss in 2014, courtesy the Washington Free Beacon:
7. Credits for energy-efficient appliances. Earlier estimates said this tax break would save the U.S. government roughly $700 million over ten years.
6. A tax credit for economic development in American Samoa. This credit was expected to net the government roughly $100 million.
5. A tax credit worth $200 million to Bacardi. The credit applied to a temporary increase on the limit of cover-over of rum excise tax revenues to both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
4. A credit that helped eligible individuals offset the cost of enrolling in health insurance.
3. A credit that saved Hollywood studios an estimated $200 million annually via specific expensing rules. Expect this one to be reinstated soon.
2. “Special rules for contributions of capital gain real property for conservation purposes, which enabled wealthy, guilt-ridden investors to use the revenue they get from Exxon to pay Greenpeace and its allies $300 million,” the Beacon reported.
1. Several credits that were being used to help encourage investment in Washington, D.C., which doesn’t seem to have a problem attracting billions of dollars from lobbyists and taxpayers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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