The U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing today on the long-term fate and philosophy on expiring tax provisions. According to the Joint Committee of Taxation, there are 60 tax provisions that expired in December 31, 2011 and another 41 that will expire at the end of this year. The size and magnitude of these provisions range from several billons of dollars a year to those that for budgetary purposes get an asterisk.
I am not going to list the various provisions as I have done that before. Provisions were enacted for various reasons over the years, some because they can provide a temporary boost to a certain activity or provide some kind of targeted tax relief to this or that taxpayer or provided some political sop to a well-connected group. Mostly they are enacted on a “temporary basis” because they have a budgetary impact and making them permanent has significant impact on the budgetary process.