Ag Today December 19, 2017

U.S. Businesses Find Welcome Surprises in Tax Bill

Last-minute changes to the tax-overhaul bill dropped key provisions that most worried companies while raising other costs slightly
 The final tax bill offers much of what large companies hoped to gain from the Republican overhaul: the billboard corporate rate was knocked down, cuts were accelerated and key credits were preserved.

“Overall, the business community is very pleased with the bill,” said Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “If someone would have said 11 months ago, by the end of the year we’d able to produce a bill and get it to the president’s desk that does these things, skepticism would have been sky high.”

Late modifications to reconcile conflicting House and Senate provisions—and lobbying by companies and industries—resolved some key uncertainties in the legislation, and offered a few surprises as well.

Among the provisions that made business leaders happiest was one that went missing in the final bill: the corporate alternative minimum tax. Its survival in the Senate billprovoked widespread consternation, as business groups worried that it would undercut a variety of tax incentives, including one fostering research and development.

Also welcome: the 21% corporate tax rate, despite being a percentage-point higher than either the House or Senate bill proposed. “That’s a home run, there’s no other way to look at it,” Mr. Bradley said.

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