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Simplifying Tax Laws Goal Of Hearings Lawmakers Will Consider Some 230 Proposals

Thu., July 6, 1995

A charitable deduction for non-itemizers, a child-care credit for overnight summer camp expenses and repeal of the gasguzzler tax on stretch limousines are among the 230 tax provisions House lawmakers will begin considering next week.

House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, scheduled three days of hearings to review the proposals, submitted this spring by Republican and Democratic committee members.

“The purpose of the hearing is to … consider various relatively minor ways to simplify and improve the current tax laws,” he said in a news release that described the proposals briefly without identifying the legislators making them.

Some are relatively minor modifications, such as allowing a deduction for purchases of commemorative coins from the U.S. Mint and exempting fixed-wing air ambulances from aviation excise taxes.

Others amount to bigger changes, such as establishing tax-sheltered savings accounts for education expenses and phasing out the excise tax on luxury automobiles, a separate proposal from repealing the gas-guzzler tax on limos.

Any suggestions adopted, together with spending cuts or tax increases to offset their cost, would be folded into budget and tax legislation this fall.

On the list were proposals to:

Allow taxpayers who take the standard deduction (and do not itemize) to get an additional deduction for charitable contributions and, for high-income taxpayers, removal of donations from the overall limit on deductions.

Repeal new rules requiring a written acknowledgment for all charitable contributions of $240 or more.

Limit business deductions for airline tickets to the normal touristclass fare.

Allow widows and widowers who marry to each claim the one-time capital gains exclusion for sale of their homes.

Exempt historic properties from the estate tax.

Increase the limit on home loans made under tax-exempt mortgage bond programs.

Permit tax-return checkoffs for deficit reduction and the U.S. Olympic Trust Fund.

Reduce taxes on trusts established for disabled people.

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