Summary: H.R.4504 — 97th Congress (1981-1982)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4504. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (09/16/1981)

Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 1981 - Repeals the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. Reinstates prior law.

Title I: Individual Income Tax Provisions - Subtitle A - Tax Reductions - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to reduce individual and estate and trust income tax rates in 1982, with further reductions in 1983 and thereafter.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue regulations permitting workers to increase or decrease their withholding allowances. Reduces the highest marginal tax rate on all types of income from 70 to 68 percent in 1982 and to 67 percent in 1983 and thereafter.

Increases the zero bracket amount for each category of taxpayers. Increases the income levels at which a taxpayer is required to file an income tax return. Increases the personal exemption to $1,100.

Subtitle B - Increase in Earned Income Credit; Deduction for Two-Earner Married Couples; Etc. - Increases the rate of the earned income tax credit from ten to 11 percent of the first $5,000 of earnings beginning in 1982. Expands income eligibility requirements for such credit.

Allows married individuals filing a joint return an income tax deduction from gross income of ten percent of the lesser of $30,000 or the earned income of the lower income spouse, beginning in 1983. Specifies that deduction shall be five percent of such amount in 1982.

Increases the amount of the tax credit allowable for expenses for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment, beginning in 1982. Permits such credit for certain services provided outside the taxpayer's home.

Extends until January 1, 1983, the time during which a State legislator may qualify for the income tax deduction for living expenses while engaged in legislative business away from his home district. Limits such deduction to 110 percent of the daily amount allowable for Federal employees away from home but serving in the United States. Disallows such deduction for State legislators whose district residence is within 50 miles from the State capital.

Title II: Business Provisions - Subtitle A - Depreciation Reform - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to replace the current system of depreciation with a first-year income tax deduction equal to the basis of personal property used in a trade or business or held for the production of income (expense-method property) which is placed in service after 1980. Phases in such expensing method by limiting the income tax deduction to a specified percentage of the basis of such property each year through 1990. Permits the first $25,000 worth of qualified assets to be expensed in the year they are purchased or placed in service without regard to the phase-in period.

Excludes from eligibility for expensing: (1) property used predominantly outside of the United States; (2) certain property held by noncorporate lessors; (3) certain property not eligible for the investment tax credit; (4) certain public utility property; (5) property acquired at death; (6) certain livestock; (7) railroad tank cars; (8) oil pipelines; and (9) certain films.

Disqualifies expense-method property from eligibility for the investment tax credit after 1985.

Exempts accelerated depreciation on leased personal property from classification as an item of tax preference for purposes of computing the minimum tax.

Revises the treatment of property depreciated under the retirement-replacement-betterment method to allow a five-year amortization of the existing adjusted basis of such property. Repeals the retirement-replacement-betterment method of depreciation. Repeals the additional first-year depreciation allowance for small business.

Allows the depreciation of real property based on a useful life of 20 years. Permits the taxpayer to elect either the straight-line or declining balance method of depreciation for such property. Specifies that the declining balance method shall be at a rate of 200 percent of the straight-line depreciation rate for low-income housing and targeted area property and 150 percent for all other property.

Revises component depreciation rules to provide that the taxpayer must utilize the same recovery period and method of depreciation for a building and its structural components. Allows separate depreciation of substantial improvements made after the property has been in service for three years.

Excludes the following types of property from eligibility for accelerated depreciation: (1) property with a class life of 12 1/2 years or less; (2) mobile homes; and (3) property eligible for amortization.

Establishes a method of simplified cost recovery for long-life public utility property. Establishes the following two classes and recovery periods for such property: (1) Class 1 property which has a present class life of more than 18 but less than 25 years, 15 years recovery; and (2) Class 2 property which has a present class life of over 25 years, ten year recovery. Excludes from eligibility for accelerated depreciation public utility property for which the normalization method of accounting is not used and property eligible for amortization. Requires the taxpayer to establish a recovery account for each class of public utility recovery property.

Provides special rules for the depreciation of property not eligible for the expense-method of cost recovery. Sets forth guidelines for the determination of the useful life of such property.

Provides that, for purposes of computing the earnings and profits of a corporation in any taxable year, the useful life of expense-method property shall be the lower life limit of such property and the useful life of real property shall be 35 years.

Subtitle B - Corporate Rate Reductions for Small Businesses - Reduces corporate income tax rates for 1982 through 1984 and thereafter.

Subtitle C - Credit for Rehabilitation Expenditures - Increases the investment tax credit percentage for rehabilitation expenditures to 15 percent for 30-year buildings, 20 percent for 40-year buildings, and 25 percent for certified historic structures, effective in 1982. Qualifies for the investment tax credit certain rehabilitated buildings leased to tax-exempt organizations or to governmental units.

Subtitle D - Incentives for Research and Experimentation - Allows a nonrefundable income tax credit for 25 percent of the qualified research expenses incurred by a taxpayer in carrying on any trade or business to the extent that such expenses exceed the average amount of the taxpayer's expenses in a specified base period. Defines "qualified research expenses" as amounts paid or incurred for in-house and contract research. Allows such credit for basic research contracted out to colleges, universities, and tax-exempt scientific research institutes. Excludes from eligibility for such credit research conducted outside of the United States, research in the social sciences or humanities, exploration for ore or other minerals, and activities performed by the taxpayer for another person. Provides for a carryover and carry back of any unused credit. Terminates such credit after 1985.

Title III - Estate and Gift Tax Provisions - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to increase the unified credit against the estate tax from $47,000 to $104,800 by specified annual increments through 1985 for farms and closely held businesses. Repeals the limitations on the estate and gift tax marital deduction. Qualifies certain terminable interests for such deduction.

Redefines "qualified joint interest" for purposes of the 50 percent valuation of interest in property held by the decedent and the decedent's spouse.

Sets forth special rules for: (1) the estate taxation of certain property for which the marital deduction was previously allowed; (2) the tax treatment of disposition of certain life estates; and (3) recovery rights in the case of certain marital deduction property.

Title IV: Tax Reform - Subtitle A - Repeal of Percentage Depletion for Oil and Gas - Repeals the percentage depletion allowance for oil and gas, effective in 1982.

Subtitle B - Tax Straddles - Provides that any loss from the holding of one or more positions in certain securities shall be recognized, for income tax deduction purposes, only to the extent that it exceeds the unrealized gain (gain which would be recognized if the position has been sold at its fair market value) from the holding of one or more positions which: (1) were acquired before the disposition resulting in the loss; (2) were offsetting positions; and (3) were not part of an identified straddle as of the end of the taxable year. Defines "offsetting position" to mean that there is a substantial reduction of the taxpayer's risk of loss from holding any position with respect to securities which are actively traded because the taxpayer also holds one or more other positions with respect to such securities (commonly referred to as a "straddle").

Creates a rebuttable presumption that two or more positions are offsetting, for purposes of the definition of a straddle, if: (1) they are in the same personal property, although they may be in a substantially altered form; (2) they are in debt instruments of a similar maturity or certain other debt instruments; (3) they are sold or marketed as such; (4) the aggregate margin requirement for such positions is lower than the sum of the margin requirement for each such position; or (5) there are other factors, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to regulation, which indicate that such positions are offsetting.

Imposes a penalty upon a taxpayer who fails to report each position held with respect to which there is unrealized gain.

Disallows as a deduction, and makes chargeable to capital account, interest and carrying charges with respect to personal property which is part of a straddle.

Treats as sold at its fair market value any regulated futures contract held by the taxpayer at the close of the taxable year. Treats gain or loss with respect to such a contract as: (1) short-term capital gain or loss, to the extent of 50 percent of the gain or loss; and (2) long-term capital gain or loss, to the extent of 50 percent of the gain or loss. Exempts from the loss recognition provisions of this title any straddle consisting entirely of offsetting positions which are regulated futures contracts. Defines "regulated futures contracts" as contracts: (1) which require delivery of personal property; (2) with respect to which amounts deposited and withdrawn depend on a system of marking to market; and (3) which are traded on or subject to the rules of certain boards of trade. Exempts from the application of such rules any hedging transaction. Defines "hedging transaction" as any transaction: (1) which is entered into in the course of the trade or business primarily to reduce certain types of risk with respect to property or borrowing; (2) the gain or loss on which is treated as ordinary income or loss; and (3) which is clearly identified as such.

Limits the three-year carryback of losses from regulated futures contracts to an amount which: (1) does not exceed the lesser of the capital gain net income from regulated futures contracts or all of the capital gain net income; and (2) does not increase or produce a net loss.

Provides that obligations of the United States, a State or local government, or a U.S. possession issued on a discount basis and payable without interest in less than one year shall be treated as capital assets in determining tax consequences of gain or loss with respect to such obligations. Treates as ordinary income any gain realized from the sale or exchange of short-term government obligations which does not exceed an amount equal to the ratable share of the excess of the stated redemption price at maturity over the taxpayer's basis.

Excludes from capital gains tax treatment gains by a securities dealer from the sale or exchange of any security, unless the security was clearly identified in the dealer's records before the close of the day on which it was acquired as a security held for investment (currently, before the end of the date of acquisition).

Extends capital gains treatment to gains or losses attributable to the termination of a right or obligation with respect to personal property of a type which is actively traded and which is or would be a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.

Subtitle C - Treatment of Foreign Oil and Gas Income - Foreign Oil and Gas Tax Act of 1981 - Excludes from gross income any foreign oil and gas extraction income of a taxpayer. Disallows any tax credits or deductions attributable to such income or for the amount expended for oil and gas exploration outside of the United States.

Disallows the foreign tax credit for excess foreign oil related payments by domestic corporations.

Provides that the oil-and gas-related income of a foreign corporation controlled by a U.S. company shall be presently taxed (instead of deferred as under present law).

Subtitle D - Cash Management - Increases from 60 to 80 percent the amount in total tax liability which certain large corporations must pay in estimated taxes.

Title V: Financing of Railroad Retirement System - Increases the rate of the employer and employee railroad retirement taxes. Allows the Railroad Retirement Account to borrow funds from the Treasury if the balance of such Account is insufficient to pay annuity amounts due.