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Feature Story

January 2018


Bill Keeps Tax Exclusion for Incentives

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The tax exclusion afforded incentives and corporate gifts in Section 274(j) of the IRS Code will be retained, thanks to the efforts and collaboration of incentive industry partners.

Steve Slagle, managing director of the Incentive Federation Inc., stated in a recent news release that "The incentive, recognition and corporate gifting industry is a fortunate recipient of the support of several elected officials who listened to and agreed with industry leaders that the tax exclusion afforded Section 274(j) Employee Achievement Awards of the IRS Code should remain law and not be repealed as was contemplated by the House of Representatives several weeks ago.

"Additionally," he stated, "clarifying language defining tangible property for purposes of instructing what constitutes a tax deductible award is an important bonus."

A summary of the language in the tax bill includes the following: "The Senate amendment adds a definition of 'tangible personal property' that may be considered a deductible employee achievement award. It provides that tangible personal property shall not include cash, cash equivalents, gift cards, gift coupons or gift certificates (other than arrangements conferring only the right to select and receive tangible personal property from a limited array of such items pre-selected or pre-approved by the employer), or vacations, meals, lodging, tickets to theater or sporting events, stocks, bonds, other securities, and other similar items. No inference is intended that this is a change from present law and guidance."

Special appreciation for retaining the exclusion for incentives was given to O.C. Tanner, a Utah-based recognition and performance improvement company, for its education and persuasion of key elected officials, including Sen. Orin Hatch (Utah), who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Hatch has been a strong and influential proponent of the provisions within 274(j), and became a proponent due largely to O.C. Tanner's relationship with the senator over many years.

In addition, the Incentive Federation has worked hard to continue monitoring the tax reform actions of Congress and to keep the IFI members and other companies in the industry informed. What's more, members were encouraged to write letters and make calls to elected officials. Senators and Representatives also were contacted directly. While the Federation helped to save 274(j) from repeal, the efforts of IFI member companies and industry leaders really helped to achieve success.