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Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee passed along party lines, 24-16, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill will now move to the House floor for consideration early next week. Not to be upstaged, late last night, Senate Finance Chairman, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), released his 247-page tax proposal outline.
Through the work of SHRM and the SHRM-led Coalition to Protect Retirement, both bills did not contain provisions that would have capped or lowed the amount that employees can contribute to employer-provided defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. Additionally, the Senate bill did not propose to eliminate employer-provided education assistance (Section 127), as the House legislation does.
The House bill contained two policy provisions that SHRM has advocated on for several years – improving the guidance related to nondiscrimination testing for defined benefit pension plans and allowing employees additional time to pay back DC retirement plan loans should they be separated from employment unexpectedly.
Both bills seek to make changes to:
House bill provisions that will impact the workplace include:
Senate proposals that will impact the workplace:
At this point, both House and Senate versions of the tax bills do not include a repeal of the ACA individual and employer mandate penalties. It is possible that this provision may be included at a later date, as the Congressional Budget Office recently projected that repealing the health care law's individual mandate would save $338 billion between 2018 and 2027.
The House is expected to vote on H.R. 1 next week, while the Senate Finance Committee will begin marking up their proposal on Monday, November 13. The Senate markup is expected to span the week, with a floor vote in the full chamber the week after Thanksgiving. Because the House and Senate versions differ, they will need to be reconciled in a joint conference before a final agreement is reached and sent to the President. The Senate will also need to address other legislative priorities before the end of the year, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), appropriations and the debt ceiling.
We Need Your Help
SHRM is actively engaging House Members in an effort to advocate for the inclusion of employer-provided education assistance, and other issues, in the tax bill. SHRM is also working collectively with our partners on the Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance, the SHRM-led Coalition, to communicate the importance of preserving this provision as both chambers come to a consensus on a final bill.
SHRM is continuing to evaluate implications of both House and Senate tax proposals and will provide additional guidance as it become available.
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