Tax provisions in the Build Back Better act

November 19, 2021

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D., Journal of Accountancy

The House of Representatives on Friday morning passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, by a vote of 220–213. The bill encompasses a wide range of budget and spending provisions and has been the focus of protracted negotiations for the past several weeks. For more on the nontax provisions of the bill, see, "House Passes Build Back Better Act With Universal Paid Leave."

The vote on the bill was held after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for the bill. The CBO estimates the bill will cost almost $1.7 trillion and add $367 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years. Adding in $207 billion of nonscored revenue that is estimated to result from increased tax enforcement in the bill, the net total increase to the deficit would be $160 billion.

The bill contains a wide variety of tax provisions, designed to provide incentives to taxpayers and to raise revenue to pay for the spending in the bill. H.R. 5376 now goes to the Senate for consideration; its fate there cannot be predicted.

One nontax provision in the bill is the provision for four weeks of paid leave benefits for caregiving leave. These paid leave benefits would not be considered gross income to the recipient for tax purposes under a new Sec. 139J.

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