The Senate on Tuesday voted 96-3 to consider tax extenders legislation, which includes reinstatement of previous Section 179 depreciation levels and biofuel tax credits.
The legislation, also known as the EXPIRE act, was proposed and approved in the Senate Finance Committee in April. The House is considering a separate extenders package.
In sum, more than 50 provisions are included in the package that if approved would cost the government $84 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Ag interests have been watching the package closely for any updates on Section 179 expensing limitations and renewable fuel tax credits.
Under the Committee's proposed two-year extension of Section 179 levels, the maximum amount to expense would move from $25,000 back to $500,000 – as it was from 2010 to 2013 – and the phase-out threshold would be set at $2 million.
Farmers have in the past used Section 179 to update equipment and immediately expense it. Under the EXPIRE provision as passed out of Committee, the Section 179 update would also cover computer software.
Also up for discussion is the extension of the $1.01 per gallon production tax credit to cover cellulosic fuel produced through 2015 and the $1 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, the bill language says.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday said many Americans depend on the tax breaks. While Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden earlier said he agrees that the breaks are necessary to protect jobs and incomes, he has expressed preference for larger tax code overhaul.
When the Senate is expected to return a decision isn't immediately clear; it could take weeks to move through amendments, Reuters reported Tuesday.