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CCH Briefing Highlights Tax Provisions of Health Care Reform Proposals

(RIVERWOODS, ILL., July 23, 2009) – The proposals to reform health care now circulating on Capitol Hill are full of provisions that will change the tax laws, according to CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services (CCHGroup.com).

To read a CCH Special Tax Briefing on the various tax provisions being contemplated as part of health care reform, go to http://tax.cchgroup.com/legislation/.

Several congressional committees – the House Ways and Means, House Education and Labor and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees – have released different versions of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, H.R. 3200, with the Senate Finance Committee expected to release its version of the bill soon.

In general, individuals would be required to have health insurance and employers would be required to offer coverage that met certain minimum standards, with the tax system used as an enforcement and collection mechanism for individuals and employers that do not obtain or offer coverage on their own. Credits have been proposed to ease the financial burden on low-income individuals and small businesses.

One major revenue raiser to pay for the reform being considered in the House is a progressive surtax or “surcharge” on high-income individuals. The Senate is expected to propose an alternative to the surcharge.

In addition to the surcharge, other revenue raisers proposed include prohibiting the use of Flexible Spending Arrangements to pay for over-the-counter drugs, delaying the worldwide allocation of interest, codification of the economic substance doctrine and limiting the ability of foreign multinational firms to reduce U.S. tax liability through deductible payments to a tax treaty jurisdiction before repatriating earnings. In addition, a number of other possibilities have been discussed but not yet released in legislative language, f rom modifying or repealing the itemized deduction for medical expenses to imposing an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

“If health care reform is enacted in any form, it will almost certainly include many changes to the tax laws scattered throughout the Internal Revenue Code,” said Mark Luscombe, JD, LLM, CPA and CCH principal federal tax analyst.

“Health care reform is certain to impact every business in the country, whether it’s currently providing – or not providing – coverage to their employees,” said Stephen Huth, managing editor of the Spencer’s Benefits Reports research service produced by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. Huth is a regular contributor to the blog Health Reform Talk. He tracks the employer-provided health coverage business on a daily basis and regularly answers questions on health benefits issues.

For More Information

For additional timely and expert discussion of health reform, visit Health Reform Talk, a blog to help professionals decipher the many codes and puzzles of health care reform. The blog, at http://healthcare-legislation.blogspot.com/, covers a wide range of health reform issues and draws on the expertise of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business analysts. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business also publishes Health Care Reform Update NetNews , a free weekly newsletter delivered via e-mail. Click here to view an issue of the Health Care Reform Update NetNews.

About CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com) is a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. CCH is based in Riverwoods, Ill. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business is a leading provider of research products and software solutions in key specialty areas for legal and business professionals. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business is based in New York City and Riverwoods, Ill. Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.wolterskluwer.com.

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