By Madina Toure
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) praised the passage of tax breaks that she said will benefit individuals and small businesses in Queens, including a commuter tax credit for mass transit commuters and increasing expense limits for businesses for equipment costs. These were part of a $1.1 trillion spending package approved in Washington last week.
The tax measures, passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama Dec. 18, will make permanent several tax breaks that Congress has traditionally only renewed on a temporary basis.
“This package of tax breaks is a great holiday gift for residents and entrepreneurs in Queens and New York City, and I was proud to vote for it,” Meng said. “It will send critical tax relief to our region, helping not only with our wallets, but with jobs and the economy. Also, by making these tax breaks permanent, residents and small business owners in the borough will be better able to plan for the future. They will have certainty about the tax breaks for which they qualify.”
The commuter tax credit provides relief to mass transit commuters by increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars that can be used for bus and train transportation to work. The current $130 per month limit will be increased to $255 per month, the same amount that those who drive to work can use for parking fees.
Expensing limits were also increased for small businesses by enabling entrepreneurs to expense up to $500,000—up from $25,000—for equipment costs.
The measures also include a child tax credit, which allows a $1,000 tax credit per qualifying child; the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps low- and middle-income individuals who work; and the Teachers’ Tax Credit, which allows teachers to deduct up to $250 for money they personally spend on classroom expenses and professional development.
Other measures assisting small businesses are a research and development credit to assist startups and established businesses with research and development costs and a tax break that allows landlords, restaurants and retailers to recover the costs of renovations to commercial buildings over 15 years.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour