Congress Enacts Hiring Incentives Act with Tax Provisions

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

Legislation

On March 18, the president signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2847). The bill contains several tax items, the biggest of which is a payroll tax credit for employers who hire workers who have been unemployed for at least 60 days and who are not replacement hires. For qualifying new employees hired after February 3, 2010, and before January 1, 2011, the employer can claim a credit equal to the employer’s share of Social Security taxes on wages paid in 2010. The bill also provides a credit of $1,000 for employers who retain such employees for at least 52 weeks.

The bill extends the increased Sec. 179 deduction through 2010. This amount had been increased to $250,000 for 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, P.L. 111-5.

The bill also allows issuers of qualified school construction, qualified zone academy, clean renewable energy, and qualified conservation bonds to elect to receive money from the federal government equal to the credit they would otherwise receive.

Included in the bill is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign entities to provide withholding agents with the name, address, and tax identification number of any U.S. individual who is an account holder or substantial owner of the foreign entity. A substantial owner is someone who owns more than 10% of the foreign corporation’s stock (by vote or value) or more than 10% of the profits or capital interest of a foreign partnership, or who is treated as a grantor or holds more than 10% of the beneficial interest in a foreign trust.

Withholding agents will be required to report this information to the Treasury Department. Certain foreign corporations, including publicly held corporations, are exempt from the reporting requirement. A withholding agent that makes a payment to a foreign entity that does not comply with these disclosure and reporting requirements will be required to withhold tax at a rate of 30%.

As a revenue offset, the bill further delays the worldwide interest allocation rules through 2020. The worldwide interest allocation election was first enacted in 2004, but its effective date has been delayed by legislation numerous times since then.

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