On December 18, the Senate passed — and the President signed into law — the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), which the House had passed on December 17. The act extends certain tax relief provisions that expired at the end of 2014. In many cases, it makes the breaks permanent.

These provisions can produce significant savings for taxpayers, but you may need to act soon (by December 31, 2015) to take advantage of them on your 2015 tax return. Here’s a brief summary of the extended breaks that may be most likely to benefit you or your business.

Individual tax breaks

  • Deduction for state and local sales tax in lieu of state and local income tax (extended permanently)
  • Tuition and fees deduction (extended through 2016)
  • Ability of taxpayers age 70½ or older to make a direct tax-free rollover from an IRA to charity (extended permanently)
  • Home debt forgiveness exclusion (extended through 2016)
  • ·Small business stock gains exclusion (extended permanently)

Business tax breaks

  • Bonus depreciation (extended through 2019)
  • Enhanced Section 179 expensing (extended permanently)
  • Accelerated depreciation for qualified leasehold-improvement, restaurant and retail-improvement property (extended permanently)
  • Transit benefit parity (extended permanently)
  • The research credit (extended permanently)
  • The Work Opportunity credit (extended through 2019)

Act soon

As noted, you may need to act soon (by December 31) to benefit from these breaks on your 2015 tax return. And keep in mind that many breaks with more limited applicability have also been extended; it’s possible some of them could also benefit you. Finally, many breaks are subject to a variety of rules and limitations.

© 2015

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