Legislative update: Bill could affect “Chevron doctrine”

Legislative update: Bill could affect Chevron doctrine

The House Judiciary Committee on June 8, 2016, reported out H.R. 4768—a bill that would could affect the “Chevron doctrine.”

Related content

H.R. 4768 [PDF 26 KB] “Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016,” was passed by a vote of 12 to eight.  

  • In a statement at the markup, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), described the bill as “legislatively overturning the Chevron doctrine . . . .”    
  • The ranking member, Rep John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) in another statement, set forth several reasons why he believes the bill to be “harmful.”

A Judiciary Committee report is not available at this time.

KPMG observation

The “Chevron doctrine” relates to judicial deferral to an agency’s interpretation of statutory provisions. Overturning the Chevron doctrine could have a significant impact on the analysis of some tax issues in situations in which the language of the Code is unclear. 

Based on an initial, preliminary analysis of the statutory language of H.R. 4768, it is not clear: (1) whether the bill (if enacted) would have as broad of an impact as apparently was intended; and (2) to what extent it would affect the analysis of Treasury regulations. Further analysis of the bill’s potential impact on the analysis of tax issues would be needed if the bill were to move forward in the legislative process.

What’s next?

In order to become law, the bill would need to pass the House. In addition, the Senate would need to pass identical legislation.  Finally, the president would need to sign (not veto) the legislation if passed by the Congress.  

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