Tax proposals in Senate version of highway bill

Tax proposals in Senate version of highway bill

The Senate today held a procedural vote to begin consideration of a bill to fund and authorize highway and infrastructure spending.

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The Senate bill—Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act or “DRIVE Act’’—would, as currently drafted, extend authorization for spending from the highway trust fund and other related funds through 2021. Read text [PDF 1 MB] of the statutory language.

Tax provisions

The Senate bill contains tax and spending provisions to offset a portion of the cost of the highway and infrastructure expenditures.

In addition to extending through 2023 of a variety of highway-related taxes—such as the taxes imposed upon gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene, certain tires and heavy trucks and trailers—the Senate bill also contains tax enforcement provisions that are similar to those included in the highway funding bill passed by the House last week. 

However, the House version of the highway bill varies significantly from the Senate bill in a number of ways, including the fact that the House bill would authorize highway trust fund spending only through December 18, 2015.

Other provisions included the Senate bill are measures that would:

  • Create a “special compliance personnel program account” to fund the hiring and training of additional IRS collections personnel
  • Authorize the revocation or denial of passports to certain individuals without social security numbers or with delinquent tax debts in excess of $50,000
  • Require the Treasury Department to contract with qualified tax collection agencies for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax receivables
  • Provide for an annual adjustment of certain customs users fees for inflation, using a consumer price index calculation

What’s next?

The Senate has scheduled a series of procedural votes for Sunday, July 26. If these votes are passed and completed, the Senate is expected to vote next week on passage of its version of the highway bill and then send that version of the bill to the House for its consideration (given that, as noted above, the version of the highway bill passed last week by the House varies from the Senate version).

At this time, it is unclear how the House and Senate would reconcile the numerous differences between the House-passed highway funding bill and the version currently under consideration in the Senate before the current highway trust fund spending authorization expires on July 31, 2015.

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