Washington Watch - December 4, 2014


Washington Watch - December 4, 2014

Tax Bill Passes House

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the U.S. House passed a retroactive tax bill extending almost 50 tax breaks through 2014, allowing large and small businesses to take advantage of various deductions in the 2014 tax year. One of the biggest extender is for those individuals living in a state without an income tax to continue to be able to deduct state and local taxes on their federal returns.

Other tax benefits extended in the bill, include:

  • A deduction for higher education tuition and fees for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $80,000 or less.

  • Employer-provided commuter transit and parking benefits.

  • Tax deductions that elementary and secondary school teachers take for school supplies they purchase.

  • A measure that exempts people whose mortgage debts were cancelled from paying income taxes on up to $2 million of the forgiven debt.

  • A tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

  • A measure that allows people who live in states without an income tax to deduct state sales taxes they've paid.

  • A tax deduction for individual retirement account distributions that are given to charity.

Open Enrollment - Five Tips from the NASE

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, the health care exchange marketplace opened for 2015 health care enrollment.

Before you sign online to shop for health care coverage for 2015 the National Association for the Self-Employed offers these five helpful tips:

1. Do a full assessment of your current health care needs. Being able to assess what is important to you and your family will make it easier to sift through the plan option in the exchange. For example, do you anticipate any “big” medical expenses (birth of a child, surgery, etc.)? What is your current prescription drug needs? Do you require specialists for a known health ailment?

2. Have your 2013 tax filing information ready and available. Your 2013 tax filings will be important for you to have available in order to gauge what, if any, health care subsidies you may be available to take advantage of in 2015.

3. Make a full list of your current doctors in front of you. You’ll want to ensure that your doctors are considered “in network” for any of the potential plans you are considering selecting.

4. For those already enrolled previously in the exchange, do you need to increase or decrease your coverage? Having the right health care plan that best fits your individual needs is essential. Paying for an oversized plan that provides many bells and whistles you haven’t utilized in the past – and will be unlikely to utilize in the future – may be a good place to start in order to help cut costs around your health care budget next year.

5. Establish a realistic business budget that includes calculating health care costs. Any good business owner knows to prepare a budget that helps provide planning and stability down the road. As you prepare for the beginning of Saturday’s open enrollment period, have an idea of what your budget is for health care costs in 2015 and what’s a realistic amount for you to spend on coverage for you and/or your family.

Open enrollment is from November 15th through February 15th. Want more information, visit the NASE’s health care portal, and learn more about open enrollment.

New Chairman for Small Business Committees in Senate and House

Both Senate and House Small Business Committees will have new leadership at the top. In the Senate, Senator Risch (R-ID) will vacate the chairmanship in favor of Senator Vitter (R-LA) and in the House, Chairman Graves (R-MI) will be replaced by Rep. Chabot (R-OH).

Legislative focus on both committees will certainly remain on health care implementation and tax reform.

Washington Watch Online

Visit NASE Advocacy to view archived editions of Washington Watch. While you’re there, read the latest updates from the Washington, D.C. office, write your Congressperson, and find out how you can join the fight for micro-business.

Courtesy of NASE.org