55 Tax Breaks Set to Expire by the End of the Year

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) Some tax breaks that have been around for years are set to expire quietly by the end of the year. One such tax provision dates back to 2002: the $250 above-the-line deduction for classroom expenses incurred by school teachers.

Other perennial tax breaks that are set to expire include the deduction for state and local sales taxes, the above-the-line deduction for tuition and related expenses, as well as the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

There is one tiny sliver of hope for taxpayers who may be losing a favorite deduction: in the past, Congress has chosen to retroactively extend expired tax provisions called "tax extenders" -- but so far there doesn't seem to be a move afoot by lawmakers to do so.

Other tax provisions facing expiration at the end of the year include:

  • Credit for two- or three-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles
  • Credit for health insurance costs of eligible individuals
  • Employer wage credit for activated military reservists
  • Discharge of indebtedness on principal residence excluded from gross income of individuals
  • Energy efficient commercial buildings deduction
  • Special expensing rules for certain film and television productions
  • Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes

A total of 55 tax provisions are listed by the Joint Committee on Taxation as expiring on December 31.

Congress may choose to address expiring tax provisions as part of tax reform legislation.

Molly F. Sherlock, a specialist in public finance and author of a tax provision report to Congress, says that President Barack Obama's FY2014 Budget identifies several expiring provisions that should be permanently extended (and in some cases substantially modified), including the research and experimentation (R&D) tax credit, enhanced expensing for small businesses, the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), the new markets tax credit (NMTC), the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC), the deduction for state and local sales taxes, the exclusion of discharge of principal residence indebtedness and the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet