Congress is back in session this week for what promises to be a busy April for tax policy. Here is a quick overview of what’s happening.

Smith-Wyden Bill in Senate

The big-ticket item is the $80 billion Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. This bill easily passed the House back in January but has remained stalled in the Senate since.

That’s largely due to Republican tax writers’ objections over the structure of the child tax credit, among other items. As Politico reported this morning:

Key Senate Republicans, including the ranking member of the Finance Committee, Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, and the two tax writers running to be next GOP leader in the chamber, Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota, all continue to have issues with the Wyden-Smith bill, complicating its chances of getting passed.

Republicans have asked Finance Chair Ron Wyden to hold a markup but he has resisted such calls to date.  Leader Schumer, meanwhile, sent a note to his colleagues Friday outlining the Senate’s agenda and while he did mention the tax bill, it was only in the context of a longer list of issues that might be considered. Again from Politico:

There are also close to a dozen items listed in that “weeks and months ahead” bucket, and not all that much floor time left in 2024, in no small part because it’s a presidential election year — so it remains difficult to know just how much of a priority the tax bill will be for Schumer.

With time getting short – Tax Day is approaching and the business and Child Tax Credit provisions are retroactive to last year – it appears taking the bill directly to the Senate floor is the only viable option. Scheduling a markup at this late date is unlikely and Senate Republicans remain firm in their position despite the best efforts of the business community.

It’s not the normal path for a tax bill, but at this point in the calendar, it seems to be the only way forward.

Tax Policy Hearings

While the Smith-Wyden bill drama plays out in the Senate, several hearings are scheduled in the House that are worth flagging.  The general sense is that the conversation is beginning to turn to next year and the expiration of the TCJA’s individual and pass-through provisions.

  • House Small Business Committee on Tax Policy: Shifting the discussion to next year and the fiscal cliff, the House Small Business Committee convenes for a hearing Wednesday (April 10th) entitled, “Exploring the Adverse Effects of High Taxes and a Complex Tax Code.”  The witness list includes several small businesses and a professor from Purdue. Should be interesting.
  • Ways & Means on TCJA: The following day, the House Ways & Means Committee has a hearing to “highlight the benefits of GOP tax reform and discuss the path forward for tax policy ahead of 2025.” We’re looking forward to plenty of firsthand accounts about how the bill has helped Main Street employers and American families and will be watching closely.
  • House Small Business on CTA: Not strictly tax-related, the House Small Business Committee convenes again on April 30 to discuss FinCEN’s implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act. Given that the vast majority of entities affected by the CTA – over 30 million – are small businesses, the panel is the ideal venue to bring concerns over the new data collection regime to light.

Main Street Tax Day Briefing

Finally, the S Corporation Association is teaming up with NFIB to host a Tax Day briefing on the looming tax threat faced by Main Street businesses. Attendees will get a crash course on the importance of Section 199A and other key provisions, the sizeable role played by private businesses in supporting virtually every community across the country (spoiler alert: it’s big), and survey results on how voters feel about these and other topics.

So a busy month for Americans rushing to beat the April 15th tax filing deadline and lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well. As always, we will be out there working to make sure Main Street gets a fair shake.