Summary: S.1946 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate without amendment (08/05/2015)

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

Tax Relief Extension Act of 2015

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend expired and expiring tax provisions affecting individual and business taxpayers and the energy sector.

(Sec. 2) Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) Congress should pursue a process of comprehensive tax reform, (2) Congress should eliminate temporary provisions in the Internal Revenue Code by making permanent those provisions that merit permanency and by allowing others to expire, and (3) a major focus of the tax reform process should be fostering economic growth and lowering tax rates by broadening the tax base.


Subtitle A--Individual Tax Extenders

(Sec. 101) Extends through 2016 the tax deduction for the expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers. Expands such deduction to include expenses in connection with the professional development activities of an educator.

(Sec. 102) Extends through 2016 the exclusion from gross income of imputed income from the discharge of acquisition indebtedness for a principal residence.

(Sec. 103) Extends through 2016 the equalization of the tax exclusion for employer-paid mass transit and parking benefits. Expands such exclusion to include bike sharing programs.

(Sec. 104) Extends through 2016:

  • the tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums;
  • the tax deduction for state and local general sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes;
  • the tax deduction for contributions of property made for conservation purposes;
  • the deduction from gross income for qualified tuition and related expenses; and
  • tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts for charitable purposes.

Subtitle B--Business Tax Extenders

(Sec. 111) Extends through 2016 the tax credit for research expenditures. Allows a qualified small business (i.e., a corporation or partnership with gross receipts less than $5 million in a taxable year) to elect a credit against payroll tax liability, up to $250,000, in lieu of taking a research tax credit.

(Sec. 112) Extends through 2016 the low-income housing tax credit rate for newly constructed non-federally subsidized buildings. Allows through 2016 a 4% housing tax credit for non-federally subsidized existing buildings.

(Sec. 113) Amends the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 to extend through 2016 the exemption of the basic military housing allowance from the income test for programs financed by tax-exempt housing bonds.

(Sec. 114) Extends through 2016:

  • the Indian employment tax credit;
  • the tax credit for railroad track maintenance expenditures;
  • the tax credit for mine rescue team training expenditures; and
  • differential wage payments to employees who are active duty members of the Uniformed Services.

(Sec. 115) Increases the national limitation amount for the new markets tax credit through 2016. Extends through 2021 the period for carryover of unused limitation amounts.

(Sec. 119) Extends through 2016 the work opportunity tax credit. Allows a credit for the hiring of a qualified long-term unemployment recipient (unemployed for not less than 27 consecutive weeks).

(Sec. 120) Extends through 2016 the authority for issuing qualified zone academy bonds for the financing of public school facilities. Reduces the private business contribution requirement for such bonds from 10% to 5% of the proceeds of the bond issue.

(Sec. 121) Extends through 2016:

  • the classification, for depreciation purposes, of certain race horses as three-year property;
  • accelerated depreciation of qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements;
  • the classification, for depreciation purposes, of motorsports entertainment complexes as seven-year property;
  • accelerated depreciation of business property on Indian reservations;
  • the additional 50% depreciation allowance (bonus depreciation) for business assets and the election to accelerate the alternative minimum tax credit in lieu of bonus depreciation;
  • the deduction for charitable deductions of food inventory by taxpayers other than C corporations;
  • the increased expensing allowance for business assets, computer software, and qualified real property (i.e., leasehold improvement, restaurant property, and retail improvement property);
  • the election to expense mine safety equipment;
  • the expensing allowance for certain film and television productions and the cost of live theatrical productions;
  • the deduction for income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico;
  • tax rules relating to payments between controlled foreign corporations and dividends of regulated investment companies;
  • the subpart F income exemption for income derived in the active conduct of a banking, finance, or insurance business;
  • the tax rule exempting dividends, interest, rents, and royalties received or accrued from certain controlled foreign corporations by a related entity from treatment as foreign holding company income;
  • the 100% exclusion from gross income of gain from the sale of small business stock;
  • the basis adjustment rule for stock of an S corporation making charitable contributions of property;
  • the reduction to five years of the recognition period for the built-in gains of S corporations;
  • tax incentives for investment in empowerment zones;
  • the increased amount of distilled spirit excise taxes paid to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; and
  • the American Samoa economic development tax credit.

Subtitle C--Energy Tax Extenders

(Sec. 151) Extends through 2016 the tax credit for residential energy efficiency improvements. Modifies energy efficiency standards for windows, doors, skylights, roofing, water heaters, biomass stoves, and oil furnace or hot water boilers.

Extends through 2016:

  • the tax credit for new qualified fuel cell motor vehicles;
  • the tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property;
  • the tax credit for second generation biofuel production;
  • the tax credit for the production of electricity from Indian coal facilities placed in service before 2009;
  • the tax credit for the production of electricity from wind, biomass, geothermal energy, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities;
  • the tax credit for energy efficient new homes;
  • the special depreciation allowance for second generation biofuel plant property;
  • the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings;
  • tax deferral rules for sales or dispositions of qualified electric facilities; and
  • the excise tax credit for alternative fuels.

(Sec. 155) Modifies and extends through 2016 the income and excise tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel used as fuel.


(Sec. 201) Revises and extends through 2016 the tax credit for two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles.


(Sec. 301) Excludes from gross income, for income tax purposes, any amount received by a non-corporate taxpayer as a clean coal power grant, award, or allowance under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

(Sec. 302) Allows the consolidation of remuneration paid to a motion picture project worker by a motion picture project employer in a calendar year for employment tax purposes.

(Sec. 303) Equalizes the excise tax on liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas by establishing a rate of 18.3 cents per energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline for liquefied petroleum gas and 24.3 cents per energy equivalent of a gallon of diesel for liquefied natural gas.

(Sec. 304) Requires mortgage interest information returns to include: (1) the amount of the outstanding mortgage at the beginning of the calendar year, (2) the address of the property securing such mortgage, and (3) the date of the origination of the mortgage.


(Sec. 401) Prohibits the budgetary effects of this Act from being entered on any PAYGO scorecard.