IRS Urges Congress To Take Prompt Action On Tax Extenders

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John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is urging Congress to promptly make a decision on whether or not to renew dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Koskinen emphasizes that action must be taken ‘as early as possible when Congress returns [from recess] and no later than the end of November’ in order to avoid problematic delays to the 2015 tax filing season.

In April, the Senate Finance Committee passed the EXPIRE Act, a tax extenders package that would renew over 50 expired provisions, including the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power and wind developers' option to choose a 30% investment tax credit in lieu of the PTC. However, the full Senate stalled the legislation in May amid partisan feuding and have yet to revisit the bill.

Koskinen warns that such inaction is causing concern at his agency. "The IRS is currently facing a great deal of uncertainty related to the expired provisions, which raises serious operational and compliance risks," he writes.

‘This uncertainty, if it persists into December or later, could force the IRS to postpone the opening of the 2015 filing season and delay the processing of tax refunds for millions of taxpayers,’ adds Koskinen. If Congress waits until 2015 to make a decision and passes retroactive changes, he says the problems could be even worse.

In a statement following Koskinen's letter, Wyden, who recently called Congress's failure to revive the EXPIRE Act "unacceptable," again demands swift action.

"It has been over six months since the Finance Committee passed the EXPIRE Act with strong bipartisan support," says Wyden. "As the 2015 filing season begins to loom large, it is more urgent than ever that Congress moves in a decisive and bipartisan way to renew expired tax provisions that will give taxpayers the certainty they need to plan their finances."

"As the economy begins to show signs of strength, uncertainty from the federal tax code is the last thing American businesses and families need as they look to grow and invest," he continues. "Congress needs to act swiftly on these important tax provisions so it can get to work on a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code and lift the fog of uncertainty from taxpayers."

Notably, there have been some signs of encouragement for the wind industry lately, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowing in September to bring the EXPIRE Act to a vote by year's end and U.S. Representatives introducing a similar tax extenders bill in September.

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