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    Posted December 1, 2012 by
    k3vsDad
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    Surprise! Congress Has Passed 2 Tax Cut Extension Bills

     

    Most  of us have probably heard President Barack Obama pushing the US House  of Representatives to approve a bill that the US Senate passed earlier  this year to extend the Bush/Obama tax cuts. But did you know that the  House also passed a bill earlier this year to extend the Bush/Obama tax  cuts?

    One  would think that the normal course when there are competing bills on  the same issue that a conference committee would be formed to hammer out  the differences in the 2 bills and present a comprise bill to both  chambers for a vote. Not so this time around. In fact no one is talking  about the House bill, only the Sentate bill.

    The Senate bill was passed in July. The House bill was passed in August.

    But what are the differences?

    A look at the specifics of each bill:

    Tax Rates

    Senate: Extends the Bush tax cuts for middle-and low-income families,  while letting the top two income tax rates increase from 33 percent to  36 percent and from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. The 33 percent rate  would be applied to income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000  for married couples filing jointly. The top tax rate is applied to  incomes above about $390,000.

    House: Extends all the Bush tax rates through 2013, for wealthy, middle-income and low-income families.

    ___

    Investment Income

    Senate: Raises the top tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends from 15 percent to 20 percent.

    House: Keeps the top tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends at 15 percent.

    ___

    Payroll Tax

    Neither bill addressed the payroll tax cut, which reduced the Social  Security payroll tax paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent in  2011 and 2012. If the tax cut expires, a typical worker making $50,000  in wages would get a $1,000 tax increase next year.

    ___

    Estate Taxes

    Senate: Does not address the estate tax, allowing the top rate to  increase from 35 percent to 55 percent. Currently, the first $5.1  million of an estate is exempt from the federal estate tax; the  exemption rises to $10.2 million for married couples. If the tax cut  expires, the exemption would be reduced to $1 million for individuals  and $2 million for couples.

    House: Extends the top rate of 35 percent through 2013, with the larger exemption.

    ___

    Child Tax Credit

    Both bills extend the $1,000-per-child tax credit through 2013. If  Congress does not act, the tax credit is scheduled to revert to $500 per  child next year.

    Senate: Extends a 2009 provision that makes  the child tax credit available to more families that don't make enough  money to owe federal income taxes.

    ___

    Earned Income Tax Credit:

    Both bills extend a more generous credit first enacted under Bush. The  EITC provides tax credits to low-income families based on their income  and number of children. The credits are available as payments to many  families that don't make enough money to owe federal income taxes.

    Senate: Extends a 2009 provision that makes the credit more generous for families with three or more children.

    ___

    Education tax breaks

    Both bills extend more generous tax deductions for interest on student  loans and exemptions for employer-provided educational assistance.

    Senate: Extends a tax credit of up to $2,500 a year for college costs, first enacted in 2009.

    ___

    Alternative Minimum Tax

    Both bills spare millions of middle-income families from paying the  alternative minimum tax for 2012. The tax was first enacted in 1969 to  make sure higher-income taxpayers could not use tax breaks to avoid  paying any federal income tax. The income limits, however, were not  adjusted for inflation, so Congress routinely fixes the law to spare  middle-income families.

    Congress has yet to patch the law for  2012. So if lawmakers don't act, about 28 million middle-income families  will face unexpected tax increases averaging more $3,000 when they file  their 2012 tax returns next spring.

    http://startribune.com/politics/181669391.html

    Two  competing bills just setting there. Since there is a framework in place  to address at least part of the fiscal cliff, why doesn't Congress form  a conference committee and hash this out?

    From the Cornfield, it only makes sense to me to form the committee to pound out a compromise.

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