Tax Policy Update

May 20, 2014

Pardon Our Dust

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Senate: Tax Extenders Package Falls Victim to Procedural Scuffle. Despite broad bipartisan support in the Senate for a two-year extension of more than 50 individual and business tax breaks known as extenders, the bill failed to rally enough votes to end debate and proceed to a vote on passage. In the days leading up to the failed cloture vote, Republican senators complained about the Democratic leadership’s refusal to allow amendments to be added and debated on the floor, including an amendment that would repeal the medical device tax. More than 150 amendments were filed on the bill. Senate leaders are expected to meet this week in hopes of hashing out a deal over amendments that could revive the extenders package, but we do not anticipate a solution before the Senate recesses for Memorial Day. As the focus in both houses of Congress increasingly turns to the upcoming midterm elections, extenders may well be pushed back until the lame-duck session in November and December.

Levin Bros. Introduce Anti-Inversion Bills. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and his brother Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) introduced identical bills, the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014, today aimed at making it more difficult for U.S. multinational corporations to move their tax domiciles abroad to lower-tax countries. The controversial strategy known as an inversion returned to the spotlight recently as U.S. drugmaker Pfizer announced it would move its tax home to the UK if it won its bid to acquire UK-based AstraZeneca. Those negotiations appear to have fizzled out, but the Levin brothers’ and other Democrats’ focus on deterring inversions has not. 


Treasury Department Promotes myRA. The Treasury Department last week celebrated “National Small Business Week” by encouraging small business owners to learn more about making the myRA retirement program available to their employees. Treasury has provided more details on its website on the working of the myRA program it will roll out later in 2014. President Obama originally announced the “starter” retirement savings program in his State of the Union speech in January. Click here to view “myRA: Top Questions & Answers.”


Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion Conspiracy. Swiss bank Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to criminal charges of aiding thousands of Americans in tax evasion schemes that spanned decades according to the Justice Department. U.S. prosecutors criminally charged Credit Suisse and two of its units, saying the bank helped clients deceive U.S. tax authorities by concealing assets in illegal, undeclared bank accounts. Credit Suisse will pay more than $2.5 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve and the New York State Department of Financial Services to settle the charges. It had already paid $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “This case shows that no financial institution, no matter its size or global reach, is above the law,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference.


The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, May 21, 2014, entitled “Women’s Retirement Security.” Witnesses will include:

  • Dr. Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President, Policy, Strategy and International Affairs AARP
  • Dr. Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management Harvard Kennedy School
  • Ms. Cindy Hounsell, President, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement
  • Ms. Rachel Greszler, Senior Policy Analyst, Economics and Entitlements
    The Heritage Foundation

The Senate will be in recess next week, and the House will be in session only for the latter part of next week.