Framework for Evaluating Tax Extenders

Alex Brill | Statement before the House Committee on Ways and Means

As you carefully define in the document setting forth this hearing, “tax extenders” are a subset of the tax provisions extended by Title VII of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (Public Law No. 111-312), as well as a number of other tax provisions that have expired or will expire this year. Before elaborating on my views, let me lead with my conclusion:

  • Each tax extender provision must be considered individually, on its own merits, and against clearly defined objectives. Each and every tax extender must be shown to be appropriate against one or more of these objectives. Later in my testimony I suggest two criteria that could guide this decision-making process.
  • No tax policy should be intentionally temporary. Any tax extenders deemed appropriate should be made permanent and the rest should be allowed to expire.
  • A successful evaluation of tax extenders—keeping the good and eliminating the bad—may set a useful precedent for the bigger challenges of tackling other tax expenditures.

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