December 18, 2017
Congress has released the conference report of the reconciled House and Senate tax reform bill language. Below are important education issues being followed by the USCCB. All the final provisions reflect the positions advocated by USCCB. Other provisions of the tax reform bill still need to be changed. The Catholic Legislative Network's action alert reflects these new provisions. A final vote is expected by both chambers this week.
- Section 127 Exclusion for Education Assistance - Elimination of this exclusion would harm many K-12 schools, including Catholic schools, in hiring and retaining staff, as well as harm institutions that rely upon local businesses to assist lower-income students. THE FINAL BILL RETAINS THESE TAX BREAKS UP TO $5,250.
- 529 Savings Plans - Both chambers also extend the benefits of 529 plans to K-12 education. This is very a positive change. The House bill also extends the plan to the child in utero, and allows up to an additional $10,000 to be set aside for school expenses. THE FINAL BILL EXTENDS 529 SAVINGS PLANS TO K-12 EDUCATION ADOPTING THE SENATE AMENDMENT.
- Section 117 Qualified Tuition Reduction - Catholic elementary and secondary schools employ over 150,000 staff, and the exclusion for qualified tuition reductions is vital in retaining them. The overall budgetary impact is minimal, and the exclusion should be kept intact. THE FINAL BILL RETAINS THIS TAX DEDUCTION.
- Educator Expenses - The House and Senate legislation increase the above-the-line deduction for educator expenses from $250 to $500. An increase in this area is a positive change. THE FINAL BILL RETAINS THIS TAX DEDUCTION AT $250.