Legislative Activity

House to Continue Push for International Tax Reform

As part of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) continued commitment to moving forward with international tax reform – at least to some extent – this Congress, on Wednesday, February 24, the Committee will hold a hearing to discuss international tax reform. The hearing is likely to focus on why international tax reform is so desperately needed, with less of a focus on what can be done in the short-term to address systemic problems (i.e., inversions).

Relatedly, House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI) plans to introduce a bill this week that would specifically target earnings stripping, rather than target inversions broadly as has been the approach to date. He will likely tie this bill and discussion thereof into this week’s hearing. Note, however, that as continues to be the case, the majority does not want to focus on inversion-specific bills; instead, they will continue to move forward with their push for international tax reform.

With regard to the timing of such reforms, while nothing has been set in stone, it is likely that the Chairman will release draft language of an international tax reform bill in the first half of the year, in an attempt to allow lawmakers sufficient time to work through any issues and potentially hold a vote prior to the end of the 114th Congress. Still, given the outstanding issues that still need to be addressed this year – especially given the recent divide over filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court – the possibility of actually seeing such reforms enacted this year seem unlikely.

On the Senate side, there has been little movement on international tax reform – at least publicly. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) remains focused on his proposal to end double corporate taxation. As of now, details on the bill remain scarce, as the bill is still being refined and has not yet put in final legislative language. It is possible that more details, including final language, could be released in March.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled “Global Tax Environment in 2016 and Implications for International Tax Reform.”

Regulatory Activity

IRS to Hold Meeting on Regulations Relating to Special Enrollment Examination User Fees for Enrolled Agents

On Thursday, February 25, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will hold a meeting related to proposed amendments to the regulation relating to the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952. The proposed regulation affects individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination.