Repeal of the “Small Partnership” Exception: A Devious and Highly Suspicious Congressional Move

Date
2016-03-07
Authors
Harl, Neil
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In what must rank as the most outrageous move by Congress in modern times, the Senate and House of Representatives passed and the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 20151 which, understandably, focused on budget matters, but allowed those with no sense of (or respect for) the original purpose of the “small partnership” exception2 to add a major piece of tax legislation in a budget bill killing that tax provision after 2017.3 The provision in question, the “small partnership” exception was conceived by a group of Senators and Representatives who feared that the “get tough” legislation about to be passed in 1982, in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982,4 would impose a heavy burden on small businesses including most farms and ranches. That move, to reduce the complexity of filing income tax returns for which 90 percent or more of the small businesses would likely be eligible, received its death notice in the 2015 Budget bill with no hearings, no prior notice that the provision was being considered for amendment or repeal and with no good reason (in fact no reason whatsoever) for taking the action.

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