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House Passes Infrastructure Bill, With a Few New Tax Provisions

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 8, 2021

The House of Representatives broke its impasse over and voted to approve the massive infrastructure bill, first proposed earlier this year, funding over $1 trillion in public works projects. It now goes to the White House, where President Joe Biden is certain to sign it into law, according to the New York Times. The 228-206 vote took place over the weekend, after the president pleaded with House progressives to drop their demand that the social spending and climate policy bill be passed at the same time. 

The bill contains a bevy of infrastructure provisions. It provides billions of dollars for new roads and bridges as well as the repair and maintenance of existing ones. It would also work toward modernizing public transit, such as upgrading existing lines, improving stations and buying new rail and bus fleets with zero emissions. There is also funding for broadband internet; renovations to airports, ports and waterways; developing a network of electric vehicle charging stations; improving water systems and power grids; cleaning superfund and brownfield sites; as well as a number of climate resilience projects. 

The bill is being funded in a number of different ways, much of it coming from unused pandemic aid funds. The Journal of Accountancy, for example, said that the government will be ending the Employee Retention Credit early and folding the unused finds into the infrastructure bill.

There will also be various tax provisions. They include:

* Requiring information reporting with respect to digital assets such as cryptocurrency, generally effective for returns and statements required to be filed or furnished after Dec.31, 2023 (estimated to raise approximately $28 billion over a 10-year period);

* Extending certain Superfund excise taxes through Dec. 31, 2031, and modifying the amount of tax applicable to certain chemicals, generally effective as of July 1, 2022 (estimated to raise approximately $14.45 billion over a 10-year period);

* Terminating the employee retention credit earlier than scheduled by making it applicable to wages paid before Oct. 1, 2021 (rather than  Jan. 1, 2022) (estimated to raise approximately $8.2 billion over a 10-year period);

* Modifying the Section 430(h)(2)(C)(iv) table of applicable minimum and maximum percentages with respect to certain pension plans (i.e., “pension smoothing”) (estimated to raise approximately $2.9 billion over a 10-year period).       

The bill would also extend various highway-related excise taxes, such as for fuel and heavy vehicles; extend the authority to spend out of the highway trust fund and the leaking underground storage trust fund; modify automatic extensions to certain deadlines in the event of federally declared disasters and "significant fires"; toll the time for filing a petition with the U.S. Tax Court in certain cases; and modify rules for postponing certain acts due to service in combat zones or contingency operations. 

It would also make it easier to qualify as an exempt bond facility, as now certain broadband projects and CO2 capture facilities now count, and it would provide a partial exemption to the private activity bond volume cap for such entities,  increasing the natural limit for qualified highway or surface freight transport facilities. It would also modify the Code Section 118 contribution-to-capital rules to apply to certain amounts received by regulated public utilities for water or sewerage disposal services. 

The more significant tax provisions are expected to come with the aforementioned climate and social safety net bill, which progressives had demanded be passed in concert with the infrastructure bill. While the party's left wing relented, it did so on the understanding that discussion and debate on the budget bill, also well in excess of a trillion dollars, begin soon. 

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