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Corporate Tax Provisions

Get 'em while they last: these tax breaks are expiring soon

By Intuit Accountants Team

Nothing lasts forever - and the Internal Revenue Code is filled with examples. Increasingly, for budgetary and other reasons, Congress enacts tax provisions on a temporary basis. Sometimes these provisions are extended again and again, and eventually become a permanent part of the Code, but others are truly one-shot deals.

In any case, with all of this coming and going, it’s difficult for tax professionals, much less their clients, to keep track of precisely how long these temporary provisions are scheduled to last. Here is a quick rundown of some tax breaks that will soon be history.

Tax breaks expiring after 2021

Credit for nonbusiness energy property [Code Sec. 25C(g) (2)]. Individuals are allowed a nonrefundable credit for energy-saving improvements to a principal residence that are placed in service before Jan. 1, 2022, and that meet certain energy efficiency standards. The credit is equal to the sum of (1) 10% of amounts paid for energy-efficient building envelope components (insulation, exterior windows or door, or metal or asphalt roofs, for example) plus (2) specified dollar amounts paid for the purchase of residential energy property, such as $50 for an advanced main air-circulating fan, $150 for a qualified furnace or hot water boiler, and $300 for an electric heat pump water heater. The maximum credit is $500 ($200 for windows) less credits claimed in prior years.

Credit for qualified fuel cell motor vehicles [Code Sec. 30B(k)(1)]. Taxpayers who purchase a new qualified fuel cell motor vehicle in 2021 can claim a base credit ranging from $4,000 to $40,000 depending on the gross vehicle weight of the vehicle. If the vehicle is a passenger car or light truck, the credit is increased to reflect fuel efficiency. A qualified fuel cell vehicle is a vehicle that uses a fuel cell to power an electric drive system.

Credit for two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles [Code Sec. 30D(g)(3)(E)(ii)]. Taxpayers are allowed a credit for a qualified two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicle placed in service during 2021. The credit is equal to the lesser of 10% of the vehicle’s cost or $2,500.

Credit for health insurance costs of eligible individuals [Code Sec. 35(b)(1)(B)]. Certain individuals receiving assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, and eligible individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 receiving pensions from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation can claim refundable tax credits for up to 72.5% of amounts paid during 2021 for health coverage for the taxpayer and qualifying family members.

Treatment of premiums for certain qualified mortgage insurance as qualified residence interest [Code Sec. 163(h) (3)(E)(iv)(l)]. For 2021, homeowners who pay mortgage insurance in connection with acquisition debt on a qualified residence can treat the premiums as deductible mortgage interest, subject to a phaseout for higher-income taxpayers. For taxpayers other than married filing separately, the deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 or fraction that adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds $100,000. For married filing separately, the deduction is reduced by 10% for each $500 or fraction that AGI exceeds $50,000. Note, however, that the deduction for mortgage insurance is one of those on-again, off-again provisions that has been extended several times. Most recently, the deduction was scheduled to expire after 2020, but was extended through 2021 by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260).

Charitable contributions deductible by non-itemizers [Code Sec. 170(p)]. For tax years beginning in 2021 only, an individual who doesn’t itemize deductions can claim a charitable deduction from AGI of not more than $300 ($600 on a joint return) for cash contributions to a public charity. This is a modified version of a charitable contribution for non-itemizers that was deductible above the line in computing AGI.

Modification of limitation on charitable contributions. In response to COVID-19, Congress temporarily increased the itemized deduction limit for contributions to “50% charities” to 100% of the individual’s contribution base for contributions made in 2020 and 2021. After 2021, the deduction limit will reset to 60% through 2025