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WASHINGTON – Dec. 17, 2015 – The U.S. House and Senate have come to an agreement on a massive spending and tax bill – the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill – that will be voted on today. Passage is expected, and President Obama said he will sign it.
A number of provisions – and excluded amendments – touch on Florida real estate interests.
Florida families will permanently gain the ability to deduct sales taxes from their federal income taxes under the bill. The benefit applies only to states without an income tax and has applied in recent tax years. However, the temporary benefit becomes permanent when the new bill becomes law.
Several business tax breaks will be extended, including one for the purchase of small business equipment. The bill also extends a tax deduction for “bonus” depreciation of business property purchases, along with television and film production.
Green energy gets a boost from a tax break extension for energy from renewable sources – solar, wind and geothermal, for example – and biodiesel fuels and electric cars.
The bill creates new rules for the visa waiver program. Under the program, citizens of 38 countries can travel freely to the U.S. with only a passport; but after the new bill becomes law, citizens from these countries who have visited terrorist-identified countries such a Syria or Iraq in the past five years will be denied a visa waiver.
The EB-5 visa won’t be affected. In early versions of the omnibus bill, lawmakers considered changes to a visa program popular in some areas of Florida – the EB-5. Under the program, foreigners may obtain a U.S. green card if they invest $500,000 in projects that create American jobs. However, the FBI noted some problems with the program. In the end, though, a proposal to change the EB-5 visa was backed out of the bill.
The bill creates a new REIT provision. After passage, companies in most cases won’t be allowed to spin off property they own into a real estate investment trust (REIT).
More money goes to low-income housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) praised the bill, saying funds still remain “wholly inadequate to meet the housing needs of low-income Americans,” but “the bill does not raid the National Housing Trust Fund … This will allow HUD to implement the National Housing Trust Fund in 2016 with funds from a modest assessment on the annual volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
The bill prohibits disposition of taxpayer-owned stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for two years. That timeframe will give Congress more time to consider housing finance reform.
© 2015 Florida Realtors®
Source: Florida Realtors Feed