WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) today delivered the following opening statement at today’s Subcommittee Member Day Hearing on Tax Legislation.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Member proposals for improvements to the current U.S. tax system. We are honored to have a number of our esteemed colleagues join us today to present legislation that they have all invested a great deal of time and energy to develop. As Chairman Brady mentioned, it is encouraging that so many of our fellow Members of the House of Representatives have come here today to make a record of their priorities for making improvements to our current Tax Code.
“Members of the Subcommittee, followed by our full slate of Member witness panels, will have three minutes to discuss their current tax legislation priorities. Keeping in mind the large number of Members testifying today, I encourage Members to be efficient with their testimony and focus on why these bills are important to them. I would also like to remind Members of their ability to submit written testimony in support of their legislation.
“Thank you again to all of our witnesses for taking time from your busy schedules to be with us today. We look forward to hearing from Committee Members and other Member witnesses about your proposals.
“Before I recognize my fellow Subcommittee members, I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few pieces of legislation that I see as addressing critical areas of need in our current tax system.
“I would like to begin by talking about H.R. 4297, a bill I introduced that provides much needed protections for U.S. companies impacted by the Country-by-Country Reporting measures that were instigated by the OECD’s BEPS Project.
“During our Tax Policy Subcommittee hearing on the BEPS Project in December, our witnesses impressed upon us the need for companies to be able to file Country-by-Country Reports with the IRS for this year, to ensure the confidentiality of the information that ultimately will be reported to foreign countries. They also shed light on the significant competitive risks to American companies of being required to provide Master File Reporting as contemplated by the BEPS Project.
“We have expressed these concerns to Robert Stack, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs, stressing the need for Treasury to act to protect American company interests in the confidentiality of their tax return information.
“I welcome the comments from Treasury in recent weeks indicating that they recognize the need for the IRS to accept Country-by-Country Reports for 2016. We will continue to monitor developments in this are to ensure American companies are protected.
“H.R. 4297 also provides a statutory framework to protect American companies against countries that may abuse Master File reporting requirements and fail to safeguard the confidentiality of taxpayer information. And it requires an annual report to Congress on reported abuses of these disclosures by foreign countries, to ensure that such improper treatment of American job creators is taken seriously.
“Another important piece of legislation before the Committee this Congress is HR 2911, the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, which I introduced last year along with my friend Mr. Thompson.
“HR 2911 is bipartisan legislation that will restore flexibility, choice, and certainty to small employers and their workers who use Health Reimbursement Arrangements.
“This legislation is necessary in the wake of confusing Treasury guidance that has subjected many employers to significant tax penalties that they may not even know exist.
“I would also like to briefly mention HR 3161, a bill I introduced last year that would permanently reform the tax treatment of timber.
“Finally, I would like to mention my good friend Mr. Kelly’s bill, HR 3846, the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act, which I have co-sponsored. This bill would reform and enhance the rehabilitation or “historic” tax credit.”