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March 14, 2019

Senators Jones, Toomey Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Spur Main Street Investments

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that ensures restaurants and retailers can take full advantage of a 2017 tax law provision meant to spur renovations and investment.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made significant changes to the federal tax code, including allowing businesses to immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to write off those expenses over 15 years. An inadvertent drafting error required restaurants, retailers, and other leaseholders to instead write those expenses off over a much longer period of 40 years, resulting in cost-prohibitive renovation projects and stalled investments. Senators Jones and Toomey’s new legislation – the Restoring Investments in Improvements Act – would ensure the full cost of store, office, or building improvements can be immediately expensed as was originally intended. The Joint Committee on Taxation has concluded that this legislation would have no impact on the federal budget deficit.

“Making sure our local small businesses can investment in themselves is critical for the economic success of Alabama’s communities. That’s why this bipartisan legislation is so important, to make sure the tax code works as intended, and restaurants, retailers, and other businesses can make the improvements they need to make their stores competitive, vibrant, and safe,” said Senator Jones.

“Fixing the retail glitch is imperative for our family owned, independent supermarket in order to reinvest, grow and plan for the future. In such a competitive marketplace as the supermarket industry, we need the certainty and ability to fully depreciate investments we make in the store. This drafting error impacts Main Street grocers, and the local economies that would benefit from the jobs created by such projects,” said Gerry D’Alessandro, third-generation grocer and owner/operator of five grocery stores located in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in Alabama.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.).

Background

When enacted, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removed tax barriers to many different types of business investments, allowing businesses to save money by deducting the cost of certain investments under a provision known as “100 percent bonus depreciation.”

However, due to a drafting error, the new tax law does not allow “qualified improvement property” (QIP) to take advantage of immediate expensing. Projects excluded from this new full and immediate expensing rule could include:

  • Improving the interior of a retail store;
  • Renovating the dining space in a restaurant;
  • Installing new signs for the business;
  • Upgrading lighting fixtures to more energy-efficient products; and
  • Modernizing common areas in office buildings.

Without the Restoring Investments in Improvements Act, these projects could be cost-prohibitive, and those already in progress may be stalled or ended altogether.

The list of organizations supporting this legislation includes:

  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Associated General Contractors
  • Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • National Association of Convenience Stores
  • National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • National Franchisee Association
  • National Grocers Association
  • National Restaurant Association
  • National Retail Federation
  • Petroleum Marketers Association of America
  • Real Estate Roundtable
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association

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