WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republicans made last-minute changes to their tax bill to secure enough votes to pass the sweeping legislation on Saturday and move on to negotiations this week on a final measure with Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The deals enabled leadership to get four wavering Republican senators on board with the legislation by addressing issues such as deductions for state and local property taxes and the tax treatment of so-called pass-through enterprises.
Republicans also agreed to changes to help pay for the deals, including higher tax rates on the repatriation of U.S. corporate profits held overseas.
Following are some of the changes:
STATE AND LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES: Senator Susan Collins got Senate Republican leaders to include a federal deduction for up to $10,000 in state and local property taxes in the legislation, which eliminates a similar deduction for state and local income and sales taxes.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, or JCT, estimates that the change will mean the loss of an additional $148 billion in federal revenue over the next decade, compared with a legislative proposal approved earlier by the Senate Budget Committee.
PASS-THROUGHS: Under pressure from Senators Ron Johnson and Steve Daines, Senate Republican leaders increased to 23 percent from 17.4 percent a deduction for the owners of pass-through enterprises including small businesses, S-corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships.
JCT estimated revenue loss versus earlier legislative proposal: $114 billion.
FULL EXPENSING: Senator Jeff Flake, who had been a holdout over deficit concerns, agreed to vote “yes” after Republican leaders did away with an abrupt end to the full business expensing of capital investments after five years. Instead, the bill phases out full expensing in 20 percent increments over four years, beginning in year six. Flake said Congress would not have been able to suddenly eliminate full expensing and that benefit would have been left to bleed red ink for years to come.
JCT revenue loss estimate versus earlier legislative proposal: $34 billion.
MEDICAL EXPENSES: Collins also added language to reduce the threshold for deducting unreimbursed medical expenses for two years to 7.5 percent of household income from 10 percent.
JCT estimated revenue loss versus earlier legislative proposal: $4.6 billion.
RETIREMENT SAVINGS: Collins persuaded Republican leaders to retain catch-up contributions to retirement accounts for church, charity, school and public employees.
No immediate JCT revenue impact estimate.
INDIVIDUAL ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX: Republicans rescinded an earlier provision to repeal the individual AMT but increased exemption amounts and phase-out thresholds to make the tax less onerous.
JCT estimated revenue gain versus earlier legislative proposal: $133 billion over a decade.
REPATRIATION: Senate Republicans increased tax rates on the repatriation of U.S. corporate profits held overseas to 14.5 percent for liquid assets and 7.5 percent for illiquid holdings, up from 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
JCT estimated revenue gain versus earlier legislative proposal: $113 billion.
CORPORATE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX: Republicans decided to retain this tax, after initially proposing its repeal.
JCT estimated revenue gain versus earlier legislative proposal: $40.3 billion.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Cooney