Legislative update: Congress passes conference agreement on highway bill

Congress passes conference agreement on highway bill

Congress today passed the conference agreement for H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act”—a bill to extend authorization for spending from the highway trust fund and other related funds through September 30, 2020. The House passed the legislation by a vote 359-65. Later in the evening, the Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 83-16.

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The current spending authorization for the affected highway and related trust funds expires tomorrow (December 4). The Senate is expected to vote on the conference agreement later today. If the Senate passes the agreement, the president is expected to sign it into law.  

 

NOTE: The president signed the legislation on December 4, 2015.

Tax provisions

The conference agreement would extend through September 30, 2022, a variety of highway-related taxes such as the taxes imposed upon gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene, and certain tires.  It also would extend the heavy vehicle use tax through September 30, 2023. It also contains a number of tax enforcement provisions very similar to those included in various versions of highway spending bills passed by the House and Senate earlier this year.   

Provisions in the conference agreement include:

  • Creation of a “Special Compliance Personnel Program Account” within Treasury to fund the hiring and training of additional IRS collections personnel
  • Requirement for the Treasury Department to contract with qualified tax collection agencies for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax receivables
  • Authorization for the revocation or denial of passports to certain individuals without social security numbers or with “seriously delinquent” tax debts in excess of $50,000
  • Repeal of a change enacted earlier this year to the automatic extension of the due date for filing Form 5500, “Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan” (effective for returns for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015)
  • Annual adjustment of certain customs users fees for inflation using a consumer price index calculation (the first adjustment will occur on April 1, 2016)

Documents

Read text of the conference agreement [PDF 2.76 MB]

 

Read an estimate of the revenue effects of tax provisions in the conference agreement, as prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)

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