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No QIP Fix, Partial Shutdown as Democrats Take over the House

Posted on January 17, 2019

The new Congress in Washington, D.C., features plenty of new faces, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. But the new class will be dealing with some old problems as 2019 begins. 

Most of the government was funded before the start of the 2019 fiscal year, which began in October. Yet 25 percent of the federal government remains shut down after lawmakers and President Donald Trump couldn’t agree on a spending deal. Trump insists he wants $5 billion to fund a wall along the Mexican border, which Democrat lawmakers are refusing. The president says the shutdown could last for “months or even years.” 

Also, the lame duck Congress failed to address some technical mistakes it made when writing the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For example, when they were writing the bill, lawmakers wanted to allow real estate businesses to depreciate Qualified Improvement Property (usually expenditures associated with interior tenant improvements) over a time span of 15 years. Instead, because of a drafting error, the law as written imposes a 39-year depreciation schedule. 

NAIOP is part of a coalition encouraging the administration and lawmakers to fix that mistake. Congressional lawmakers in both parties acknowledge the mistake and want it fixed. Before the outgoing Congress wrapped up, former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady released a draft reform bill for discussion. The new chair of the committee, Richie Neal (D-MA), says he wants to hold hearings to discuss the tax law. But making any technical corrections will require passing a new law, and it isn’t clear when that might happen.

Taxes and Spending Issues in the Lame-duck Congress

Posted on December 11, 2018

Lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., this week to continue their post-election lame-duck session. It isn’t clear exactly what issues they will deal with, but taxes and spending are major concerns.

One key issue that NAIOP continues to focus on is the need to fix some clerical errors in the 2017 tax reform bill. NAIOP is part of a group of hundreds of organizations and businesses pressing for a technical corrections law. This would require a majority in the House and at least 60 votes in the Senate, so it would need to be bipartisan. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have indicated they understand the need for action on at least one issue: Qualified Improvement Property.

Lawmakers also face a December 7 deadline to fully fund the federal government. They passed, and President Donald Trump signed, a partial budget in September, just before the 2019 fiscal year began. Time is of the essence when it comes to completing the spending bill, as there are only about 12 legislative days available in the lame-duck session.

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Dueling Tax Proposals as Election Looms

Posted on November 7, 2018

President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers are promising to pass legislation to deliver further tax relief for the middle class.

“Business will not enter into it, and this will be on top of the tax reduction that the middle class has already gotten, and we’re putting in a resolution probably this week,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office last week.

Lawmakers are out of session until after Election Day, Nov. 6. Rep. Kevin Brady, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, said, “We will continue to work with the White House and Treasury over the coming weeks to develop an additional 10 percent tax cut focused specifically on middle-class families and workers, to be advanced as Republicans retain the House and Senate.” Brady also hinted Republicans may cut government spending if they retain the House.

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Lawmakers Try to Deliver QIP Fix

Posted on October 12, 2018

Lawmakers in both parties are beginning to understand the real-world consequences of a drafting error in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and are asking for a fix. Last week, a group of 12 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging action on the tax treatment of Qualified Improvement Property (QIP). A similar letter from 58 House Republicans was also delivered to Speaker Paul Ryan.

QIP is broadly defined as improvements to an interior portion of a commercial building. These include tenant improvements or an office build-out.

Kevin Brady, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has promised to introduce and advance a technical corrections bill in the lame duck session of Congress, following the November midterm elections. But with Republicans’ majority in the House in jeopardy, it remains unclear whether Democrats will be willing to help move the bill before the end of the year.

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Supreme Court: States May Collect Internet Sales Tax

Posted on July 2, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. that states may collect sales taxes from online retailers, even if those sellers do not have a physical location in the state. That reverses a decision the Court had made in 1992 in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.

NAIOP supports the collection of existing sales and use taxes from online retailers when these taxes are already owed to state and local governments, including backing legislative efforts in Congress that would specifically empower states to do so. Not collecting these taxes puts brick-and-mortar retailers at a disadvantage to out-of-state vendors whose purchasers can avoid taxes, as the Court pointed out in its decision.

“Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the decision. “These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause.”

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NAIOP NC Visits Raleigh

Posted on June 6, 2018

On May 30, 2018, the three chapters of NAIOP North Carolina, visited capitol hill to advocate.  A special thanks to Jason Moore (Charlotte Legislative Committee Chair) and Joe Padilla (REBIC) for helping coordinate visits with legislators to speak about the commercial real estate perspective.  While this is a short session (this means the time of the session is short, but also that new legislation cannot be introduced), it is of critical importance the state senators and representatives know who NAIOP is and what we represent. 

The key areas of discussion are around regulatory reform, economic development and tax reform.  To view the NAIOP NC 2018 Legislative Priorities, click here.  A special thanks goes to the following legislators that took their time to meet with us directly:

  • Chris Thomas
  • Jason Moore
  • George Lyles
  • Jim Gamble
  • Tim Robertson

   

RECAP: Tax Revaluation and Tax Reform

Posted on May 10, 2018

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, NAIOP Charlotte hosted a form for more than 90 people on the upcoming Mecklenburg Tax Revaluation and the impacts of Federal Tax Reform on Commercial Real Estate.  A special thanks to our speakers:  Bobbi Jo Lazarus, Elliott Davis, Ken Joyner and Christy Lantis, both from the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessors. 

The rates and structures of taxes are changing and impacting commercial real estate dramatically.  Each presenter encouraged commercial real estate firms to become educated on the opportunities and impacts for their properties and organizations.  Click below to view the PowerPoint presentations.

  • Tax Reform by Bobbi Jo Lazarus, Elliott Davis
  • Tax Revaluation by Ken Joyner, Mecklenburg County Tax Assessors Office (updated May 2018; data within may change over time as the revaluation is a work in progress)
Click here to view photos from the event.

Supreme Court Considers Changing Internet Sales Tax Policy

Posted on May 4, 2018

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of June in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al, a case that could change how sales taxes are collected on Internet purchases.

Two years ago, South Dakota passed a law that would require out-of-state companies to pay sales taxes if they sold more than $100,000 worth of goods or made 200 separate sales transactions in the state. The law was designed as a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which blocked states from collecting sales taxes from Internet retailers if those retailers don’t have a store, warehouse or sales staff physically present in the state.

NAIOP supports the collection of existing sales and use taxes from online retailers that are already owed to state and local governments. Not doing so puts brick-and-mortar retailers at a disadvantage to out-of-state vendors whose purchasers can avoid taxes.

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Crunching the Numbers on the 2018 Tax Law for CRE

Posted on March 13, 2018

A recent Advantage Series webinar helped members understand the implications of the new 2018 Tax Reform law, thanks to Crystal Christenson of the accounting firm Wipfli, LLC.

Catch a recap on the Market Share blog and listen to the archived webinar.

California Considering Change that Threatens CRE

Posted on March 5, 2018

Interest groups in California are collecting signatures in order to place an initiative on the November ballot that could change the way property taxes are calculated.

If passed, the move (known as “split roll”) would place a heavier property tax burden on commercial real estate and hinder economic growth. Any NAIOP member doing business in commercial real estate in California would be impacted by the ballot initiative.

Since the passage 40 years ago of Proposition 13, the tax rate on residential and commercial property has been treated the same way. Prop 13 controlled the growth of property tax rates by limiting annual increases of property assessments to no greater than 2 percent each year. NAIOP members participated in discussions during the California Business Properties Association winter board meeting last week on ways to preserve Proposition 13 and its economic benefits.

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Victory for CRE in Tax Reform

Posted on December 19, 2017

Last Friday, House and Senate negotiators came to an agreement on what is sure to be far-reaching reform of our existing tax code. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be voted on this week and is expected to pass and be signed by President Trump.

This legislation, when passed, represents an important victory for NAIOP members and the commercial real estate industry. For many years, the debate surrounding tax reform gave rise to ideas that would have caused long-term damage to our industry, including the elimination of 1031 like-kind exchanges, ending capital gains tax treatment for real estate carried interests, and not allowing deductibility for interest payments on the financing for real estate projects.

The active involvement of NAIOP members and NAIOP's legislative team in this important public policy debate helped shape the final product to ensure that commercial real estate remains a vibrant contributor to our nation's economy. This tax reform legislation will:

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A message from NAIOP’s Legislative Team

Posted on December 8, 2017

NAIOP's legislative team is committed to keeping you informed throughout this historic tax reform legislative process with progress updates and what the legislation means for the commercial real estate development industry.

The Senate has taken a significant step toward achieving comprehensive tax reform by passing its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This week, the House and Senate will meet in conference to iron out the differences between the two versions.

Both the Senate and House versions of the bill include matters important to our industry, including:

  • Maintaining Section 1031 like-kind exchanges for real estate.
  • Maintaining the deductibility of interest on debt for those involved in real property trades or businesses, including CRE development.
  • Preserving capital gains tax treatment of carried interest for real estate practitioners, but requiring that assets be held for three years or more. Senate amendments that would have eliminated capital gains treatment for carried interests completely were defeated.
  • Reducing corporate tax rates to 20 percent from the current 35 percent, not taking effect until 2019 in the Senate proposal.
  • Limiting state and local taxes deductions to property tax and capping it at $10,000; the original Senate proposal would have eliminated it completely.
  • Doubling the estate and gift tax exemption levels (with inflation adjustments) from the current $5.49 million for individuals or $10.98 million for married couples.  The Senate version would not completely repeal the estate tax; the House version phases it out entirely by 2024.

While the Senate amended its original version to bring it more in line with provisions included in the House bill, several important differences remain, including:  

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2018 REBIC Forum with the Honorable Mick Mulvaney

Posted on December 6, 2017

Join REBIC for an exclusive conversation with Mick Mulvaney (Director of the White House, Office of Management and Budget and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), who will discuss the President’s vision for federal Tax and Regulatory Reform, and how it will impact the Real Estate Industry.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
8:00-9:30am
Quail Hollow Club
3700 Gleneagles Rd, Charlotte

Cost is $25, breakfast will be served.

Click here to register.

Tax Reform Measures Taking Shape in Congress

Posted on November 16, 2017

Last Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee released draft tax reform legislation that they will move through committee later this week. The Senate bill was released after the House Ways and Means Committee passed its version of tax reform earlier that day.

The Senate draft differs in some aspects from the initial House version, which NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino detailed last week in terms of its impact on the commercial real estate industry. Overall, both bills continue taxing commercial real estate development and investment on an economic basis, recognizing the long-term, capital-intensive nature of the industry.

Importantly, both bills would preserve the use of 1031 exchanges and continue the deductibility of business interest expense for the commercial real estate industry. Both would also lower corporate tax rates to 20 percent. Under the Senate bill, however, the rate reduction would be delayed until 2019. Some other differences of note for commercial real estate include:

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Tax Reform's Effect on CRE

Posted on November 3, 2017

House leaders took a significant step forward with tax reform efforts on Thursday with the release of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R.1, which includes an expansive set of proposed changes to the corporate and individual tax system.

As promised in my previous messages to you on this topic, our legislative team and I are committed to keeping you informed on tax reform developments affecting the commercial real estate industry. In this proposal:

  • Section 1031 like-kind exchanges are preserved for real estate.
  • Current tax treatment of carried interest is preserved.
  • Deductibility of interest on debt is maintained for those involved in real property trades or businesses, including commercial real estate development.
  • Current eight individual tax brackets are condensed into four brackets: 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent. The top rate of 39.6 percent would apply to income levels of more than $500,000 for an individual and $1 million for couples.
  • Corporate tax rates are reduced from the current 35 percent to 20 percent.
  • Pass-through businesses (such as partnerships and limited liability companies) will pay a new, lower top rate of 25 percent on their business income, subject to certain restrictions.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is eliminated.
  • Estate tax threshold is doubled (from the current $11.2 million for married couples), and phased out entirely by 2024. The step-up in cost basis on assets is retained.
  • Deduction for state and local taxes limited only to property tax and capped at $10,000. (Currently, state and local income and sales taxes can also be deducted.).
  • The Historic Preservation Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit are discontinued, with transition periods provided. As legislation moves forward in the House and Senate, NAIOP will advocate for the continuation of these important incentives.

Starting next Monday, the House Ways & Means Committee will begin marking up the legislation. The president has expressed his desire to accelerate tax reform and sign a bill before the end of the year.

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Tax Reform Provisions Important to CRE

Posted on October 9, 2017

Below are some details on the recently released Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code, in which the Trump administration and congressional Republican leadership have outlined chief areas of agreement for tax reform legislation.

While House and Senate GOP leaders and members of President Trump's economic team left many details of the legislation for the tax-writing committees in both chambers to resolve, there are several agreed-upon major provisions of interest to CRE:

  • Reduction of the number of tax brackets from seven to three: 12, 25 and 35 percent, leaving open the possibility of an additional higher bracket for the highest-income taxpayers to ensure the share of taxes paid by the wealthy remain the same.
  • Reduction of corporate tax rates to a maximum of 20 percent, down from the current rate of 35 percent.
  • A top rate of 25 percent applied to the business income of small and family-owned businesses conducted as sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations (pass-through entities). The framework contemplates that the committees will adopt measures to prevent any recharacterization of personal income taxed at ordinary rates into business income taxed at the lower pass-through rate, done solely for purposes of avoiding taxation.
  • Immediate expensing for new investments in capital assets, not to include structures, but leaving open the possibility for increased expensing for small businesses and modernizing current depreciation schedules for assets not provided immediate expensing.
  • Partial limitation for deductibility of interest expenses for C corporations, asking the committees to consider the appropriate levels of deductibility for other types of businesses.
  • Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Repeal of the Estate Tax.

We believe that these provisions will spur stronger economic growth and job creation, benefitting our industry in the long term, but many questions remain unanswered.

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Budget First, Tax Reform Next

Posted on October 6, 2017

Lawmakers in the House and Senate say they’re determined to pass a sweeping tax reform bill this year. But first, for procedural reasons, both houses need to pass a Fiscal Year 2018 budget. FY 2018 began on October 1.

Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee released a draft budget that it says would balance within nine years. But committee members haven’t explained where they would find $5 trillion in spending cuts. That draft budget will be voted on by the full Budget Committee this week, then go to the floor of the Senate later this month. The House drafted a budget plan over the summer and plans to hold a vote on Thursday.

After the two chambers come to an agreement on budgetary spending levels, lawmakers would be able to turn to tax reform, which is a key priority for NAIOP. Throughout the year, NAIOP has met with lawmakers and Hill staffers to deliver the message that all federal spending and tax reform bills should protect the interests of the CRE industry.

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Time for a Tax Reform Online

Posted on October 2, 2017

After months of discussions behind closed doors, a group of six policymakers is scheduled to pull back the shades this week – perhaps as soon as Tuesday – and put out an outline for comprehensive tax reform. After the outline is released, “the tax-writing committees are going to take feedback and input, and then they’re going to go produce their bills in the weeks ahead,” House Speaker Paul Ryan says.

NAIOP’s legislative team has been working ahead of the process, meeting with lawmakers and their staff members throughout the year. NAIOP has emphasized that spending and tax reform bills should protect the interests of the CRE industry. That includes maintaining Section 1031 like-kind exchanges, protecting the deductibility of interest payments on financing and taxing real estate carried interest as capital gains instead of ordinary income.

Last week the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the importance of corporate tax reform. “Our current business tax system and the disparity between the U.S. corporate rate and our foreign competitors’ corporate rates has created a number of problems and distortions,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch said.

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Busy Time for Tax Reform Writers

Posted on September 25, 2017

Lawmakers are focusing their attention on tax reform this month. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing this week to collect testimony about business tax reform proposals. That follows a similar session last week to discuss individual reform.

For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan promises to release details of a tax reform plan by September 25. “The outline will represent a consensus between the two tax-writing committees in Congress, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, and the Trump administration,” Bloomberg reported.

President Donald Trump says the final tax measure should draw bipartisan support, and he’s met with leading Democrats including Sen. Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss taxes and other issues. “More and more, we’re trying to work things out together,” Trump said during a meeting with moderates from both parties.

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Tax Reform is Imminent: NAIOP Update

Posted on September 21, 2017

With 24/7 coverage of ongoing global events dominating the news cycle, it's easy to lose sight of what's happening with U.S. legislation critical to our industry.

Tax reform negotiations are imminent: House Speaker Paul Ryan has promised to release an outline of a tax reform plan the week of September 25, followed by negotiations between the House, Senate, and administration.

This is the first major tax reform in more than three decades, and the stakes for commercial real estate are high. We have been closely working with Congress to ensure legislative programs and incentives critical to our industry are carefully considered throughout the negotiation process, including:

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