WASHINGTON – Legislation intended to help avert the coming “fiscal cliff” by repealing various “tax expenditures” identified by the “Simpson-Bowles” commission includes repeal of the credit union tax exemption in what appears to have been an error.
The bill was noticed in the Congressional Record on September 20th but only the number (H.R. 6474) and a very generic description was published, which is not unusual. The actual bill text was not made available until yesterday.
"When we became aware of the specific language in this legislation, we immediately sought a meeting with the author’s staff," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said yesterday.
"In the course of our discussions with Rep. Ross’s (R-FL) staff, they indicated emphatically that the inclusion of the credit union tax status was a drafting error—the credit union tax status was intended to be retained, not eliminated," Cheney emphasized.
Unfortunately, Cheney notes, the rules of the House do not permit withdrawal or modification of the bill at this time.
However, the congressman's staff assured CUNA changes to the bill would be made immediately if it sees any movement in the House. It is unlikely that the bill will get consideration given the short remaining legislative calendar. It would have to be re-introduced next year to be considered, and the congressman has assured CUNA it would be modified before re-introduction.
Cheney pointed out that Ross is a strong supporter of credit unions and noted that CUNA appreciates the quick clarification his staff has made on this issue.
"This episode is a reminder of the threat that the tax status is under in an environment where Congress is considering comprehensive tax reform. We have been and continue to monitor tax legislation closely, and, we will continue to work closely with policymakers to ensure that the credit union tax status is maintained," Cheney vowed.