Senate GOP Tax Writers Clarify Intent on Certain Tax Reform Provisions

Senate GOP Tax Writers Clarify Intent on Certain Tax Reform Provisions

Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Republicans are clarifying congressional intent of certain tax reform provisions. In an August 16 letter, GOP Senate tax writers called on Treasury and the IRS to issue tax reform guidance consistent with the clarifications.

The letter, addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter, identifies three sections of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) needing clarification:

  • Section 13204 – qualified improvement property expensing;
  • Section 13302 – net operating losses (NOLs) deduction; and
  • Section 13307 – sexual misconduct settlement deduction.

Real Property Depreciation

Congressional intent for Section 13204 under the TCJA was to provide a 15-year modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) recovery period for qualified improvement property, the lawmakers wrote. Additionally, the letter states that the new law should also provide a 20-year alternative deprecation system (ADS) recovery period for qualified improvement property.


The TCJA contains a typographical error in Section 13302. The law should state that the NOL carryforward and carryback modifications are effective for NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the lawmakers noted. Currently, the legislative text states the effective date is for tax years ending after December 31, 2017.

Attorney’s Fees

Generally, section 13307 of the TCJA denies a deduction for attorney’s fees related to a settlement or payment stemming from a sexual harassment/abuse nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Congressional intent was that attorney’s fees would not be subject to the rule prohibiting the deduction, the letter states.

Technical Corrections

SFC Republicans intend to introduce a technical corrections bill addressing other needed clarifications of the TCJA, the letter notes. The intended technical corrections bill is not expected to be a part of Republican “Tax Reform 2.0” efforts.

“While this letter focuses on these three important provisions, we are continuing a thorough review…to identify other instances in which the language as enacted may require regulatory guidance or technical corrections to reflect the intent of the Congress. After this review, we intend to introduce technical corrections legislation to address any items identified in the on-going review.”

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