Summary: H.R.5970 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House without amendment (07/28/2006)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006 - Title I: Reform and Extension of Estate Tax After 2009 - (Sec. 101) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to restore the unified estate and gift tax exclusion after 2009 and phase in an increase in such exclusion from $3.75 million in 2010 to $5 million in 2015. Adjusts the $5 million exclusion amount for inflation after 2015.

Lowers the estate tax rate to equal the current long-term capital gains tax rate (i.e., 15% through 2010) for taxable estates up to $25 million. Phases in a reduction of the estate tax rate for taxable estates over $25 million from 40% in 2010 to 30% in 2015 and thereafter. Adjusts the $25 million threshold amount for inflation after 2015.

Repeals after 2009 the estate tax deduction for estate, inheritance, legacy, or succession taxes paid to states.

Provides that the general termination date of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) (i.e., December 31, 2010) shall not apply to estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax provisions of EGTRRA that are not amended by this Act.

Repeals provisions of EGTRRA relating to carryover basis of estate property to allow heirs to use a date-of-death fair market value for such property after 2009. Makes permanent the repeal of the estate tax deduction for family-owned business interests.

(Sec. 102) Allows a surviving spouse to claim any unused portion of a deceased spouse's estate or gift tax exclusion amount.

Title II: Extension and Expansion of Certain Tax Relief Provisions - Subtitle A: Extension and Modification of Certain Provisions - (Sec. 201) Extends through 2007: (1) the tax deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses; (2) the taxpayer election to deduct state and local general sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes; (3) the taxpayer election to include combat pay as earned income for purposes of the earned income tax credit; (4) the tax deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers; (5) the expensing of environmental remediation costs (includes cleanup of petroleum products); (6) certain tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia, including the first-time homebuyer tax credit; (7) the Indian employment tax credit and accelerated depreciation allowances for business property on Indian reservations; (8) parity rules for mental health benefits under group health benefit plans; (9) the tax deduction for corporate donations of computer technology and equipment for educational purposes. (10) the tax deduction for contributions to Archer medical savings accounts; (11) the suspension of the taxable income limitation on percentage depletion for oil and natural gas produced from marginal oil wells; and (12) the authority for certain undercover Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigations.

(Sec. 202) Extends through 2008 investment limitation amounts on the new markets tax credit. Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe regulations which ensure that non-metropolitan counties receive a proportional allocation of qualified equity investments under such credit.

(Sec. 204) Extends through 2007 the tax credit for increasing research activities. Increases the rate of the alternative incremental tax credit for research activities. Allows taxpayers to elect an alternative simplified tax credit for research expenses.

(Sec. 205) Modifies the work opportunity and welfare-to-work tax credits to: (1) consolidate such credits into one tax credit and extend the consolidated credit through 2007; (2) allow ex-felons to qualify for the consolidated credit without regard to family income; (3) increase the maximum age for eligibility of food stamp recipients under the credit from 25 to 40; (4) extend from 21 to 28 days the filing period for targeted group certifications; and (5) increase the tax credit for the employment of certain long-term family assistance recipients.

(Sec. 207) Extends through 2007 the authority to issue qualified zone academy bonds. Requires issuers of such bonds to reasonably expect to spend 95% of bond proceeds for qualified purposes (e.g., school repair, equipment, and teacher training) within five years of issuance.

(Sec. 213) Extends through 2007 accelerated depreciation for qualified leasehold improvements and restaurant property (15-year cost recovery period). Revises the definition of "qualified restaurant property" to allow accelerated depreciation for new restaurant properties placed in service before 2008.

(Sec. 214) Extends until January 1, 2008, the increased amount ($13.25 instead of $10.50) of excise tax on distilled spirits required to be paid back (covered) to the the Treasuries of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

(Sec. 219) Allows a tax credit through 2007 for economic development activities in American Samoa.

(Sec. 220) Revises the system of tax incentives for investment in New York Liberty Zone property to allow Zone governmental units a credit against payroll tax withholding obligations. Dedicates credit amounts to certain transportation infrastructure projects in or connecting with the New York Liberty Zone. Limits the total allocations of credits to Zone government units to $1.75 billion between 2007 and 2021.

(Sec. 221) Extends bonus depreciation allowances for Gulf Opportunity Zone nonresidential real or residential rental property placed in service before December 31, 2009.

(Sec. 223) Extends through 2007 IRS authority to share tax return information with other federal and state agencies to: (1) facilitate combined employment tax reporting; (2) investigate terrorist activities; and (3) facilitate the repayment of student loans contingent on income.

Subtitle B: Other Provisions - (Sec. 231) Extends through 2007 the tax deduction for income from domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.

(Sec. 232) Allows individual taxpayers a refundable tax credit for certain long-term alternative minimum tax credits existing prior to January 1, 2013. Limits such credit to the the greater of: (1) the lesser of $5,000 or the amount of the long-term unused minimum tax credit; or (2) 20% of the amount of such credit. Phases out such credit for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes exceeding certain levels.

(Sec. 233) Revises corporate reporting requirements for incentive stock options.

(Sec. 234) Allows a taxpayer election to expense (i.e., deduct expenses in current taxable year) 50% of the cost of any qualified advanced mine safety equipment property, including emergency communication technology, electronic identification and location devices, emergency oxygen-generating, self-rescue devices, and comprehensive atmospheric monitoring systems. Terminates such expensing allowance after 2008.

(Sec. 235) Allows a business-related tax credit for mine rescue team training costs. Terminates such credit after 2008.

(Sec. 236) Revises the reward program for individuals who provide information about tax law violations (whistleblowers). Allows rewards between 15 and 30% of amounts collected by the IRS where the amount in dispute exceeds $2 million. Allows a tax deduction for attorney fees relating to whistleblower awards. Allows whistleblowers to appeal the amount or denial of an award to the U.S. Tax Court

Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to: (1) establish a Whistleblower Office in the IRS; and (2) report to Congress annually on the whistleblower program.

(Sec. 237) Increases from $500 to $5,000 civil penalties for frivolous tax returns. Extends such penalties to other frivolous tax submissions, including frivolous requests for a hearing on tax liens, applications for installment payments, offers in compromise, and taxpayer assistance orders. Grants the Secretary of the Treasury authority to reduce such penalties to promote compliance with the tax laws.

(Sec. 238) Includes any meningoccal or human papillomavirus vaccine as a taxable vaccine for excise tax purposes.

(Sec. 239) Makes permanent: (1) the tax exemption of settlement funds for claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980; (2) provisions applying the active business requirement to all members of a corporation's affiliated group in reorganization; (3) volume limits for veterans' mortgage bonds in Alaska, Oregon, and Wisconsin; (4) the taxpayer election to treat self-created musical compositions as capital assets; (5) the decrease in tonnage requirements for qualifying vessels under the alternative tax on qualified shipping activities; and (6) the exemption of certain securities in the Texas Permanent University Fund from tax-exempt bond arbitrage rules.

(Sec. 245) Revises rules for the treatment of shipping activities in the Great Lakes Region to allow vessel operators in that region to qualify for the alternative tax for qualifying shipping activities.

(Sec. 246) Exempts veterans who finance residential purchases with mortgage revenue bonds prior to 2008 from the first-time homebuyer requirement.

(Sec. 247) Allows certain employees of the intelligence community to exclude from their gross income the gain from the sale of their principal residences without regard to otherwise applicable five-year residential use and holding requirements.

(Sec. 248) Eliminates phase-out provisions under the tax credit for producing fuel from nonconventional sources for coke and coke gas.

(Sec. 249) Extends special rollover rules for certain federal judicial officers who are required to sell property to comply with conflict-of-interest requirements.

(Sec. 250) Treats mortgage insurance premiums paid for a personal residence as tax deductible mortgage interest. Reduces such deduction for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes in excess of $100,000. Terminates such deduction after 2007.

(Sec. 251) Modifies the excise tax refund rules for kerosene used for certain tax-exempt aviation purposes.

(Sec. 252) Allows a taxpayer election to deduct 60% of the lesser of the taxpayer's qualified timber gain or the taxpayer's net capital gain in any taxable year. Allows non-itemizing taxpayers to claim such deduction. Terminates such deduction after 2007.

(Sec. 253) Allows a tax credit for investment in rural renaissance bonds used to finance certain projects for rural economic and infrastructure development, including projects for water or waste treatment, affordable housing, distance learning or telemedicine, and expansion of broadband technology. Imposes a national limitation of $200 million on the issuance of rural renaissance bonds.

(Sec. 254) Suspends until 2008 the disallowance of any tax deduction for the travel expenses of a spouse or dependent accompanying a taxpayer on business travel.

(Sec. 255) Makes technical corrections to the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 relating to subpart F income, and to the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 relating to interest suspension on tax deficiencies.

Title III: Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Amendments of 2006 - Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Amendments of 2006 - Subtitle A: Mining Control and Reclamation - (Sec. 311) Amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to set forth specific and general limitations on the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to make distributions from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund (AMR Fund) for FY2008-FY2022 and for FY2023 and thereafter. Requires amounts in the AMR Fund to be used exclusively for reclamation of mines and for health care costs of retired miners.

(Sec. 312) Reduces rates of reclamation fees payable by mine operators to the AMR Fund. Establishes a new schedule of reclamation fees for FY2008-FY2012 and for FY2013-FY2021. Revises formulae for allocation of reclamation fees to states.

Revises guidelines governing transfers of interest earned by the AMR Fund to: (1) the United Mine Workers of America Combined Benefit Fund (Combined Fund); (2) the United Mine Workers of America 1992 Benefit Plan; and (3) the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan established after July 20, 1992. Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to make payments to the Combined Fund in FY2008 and FY2009 to pay benefits for certain unassigned beneficiaries of such Fund. Eliminates the cap on transfers of interest to the Combined Fund.

(Sec. 313) Revises the statutory objections of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.

(Sec. 314) Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to utilize the services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (in lieu of the Soil Conservation Service) in carrying out rural land reclamation programs. Authorizes appropriations for rural land reclamation activities under this Act.

(Sec. 315) Removes the date qualification restricting the filing of liens for reclamation expenses against property owners not involved in mining operations necessitating reclamation (under current law, such prohibition only applies to those who owned the surface prior to May 2, 1977).

(Sec. 316) Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make reclamation program certifications on behalf of any state or Indian tribe.

(Sec. 317) Authorizes the Secretary to promulgate regulations to identify incentives for promoting the remining of land for reclamation purposes.

(Sec. 318) Eliminates the termination date (i.e., September 30, 2004) for provisions allowing the issuance of surface mining permits for applicants whose violations resulted from unanticipated events or conditions.

(Sec. 319) Authorizes Indian tribes to apply for approval to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations on reservation lands under their jurisdiction.

Subtitle B: Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act - (Sec. 321) Amends the Internal Revenue Code (with respect to the liability of assigned signatories to coal wage agreements) to: (1) prescribe guidelines under which certain related persons and successors in interest are relieved of liability if health or death benefits or unassigned beneficiaries' premiums are prepaid; and (2) modify guidelines governing federal transfers under mining laws and the board of trustees of the Combined Fund.

(Sec. 323) Revises the membership composition of the board of trustees of the Combined Fund. Imposes penalties on an assigned operator for failure to pay required health care premiums.

Title IV: Increase in Minimum Wage - (Sec. 401) Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage rate to: (1) $5.85 an hour on January 1, 2007; (2) $6.55 an hour on June 1, 2008; and (3) $7.25 an hour on June 1, 2009.

(Sec. 402) Provides that tip income may not be included in wages to meet minimum wage requirements if excluded from wages by an applicable collective bargaining agreement. Prohibits enforcement of state laws prohibiting the use of tip income to meet minimum wage requirements unless such laws are amended to permit payment of wage levels established by this Act.