As Congress Faces Deadline for Tax Reform, Advertisers Must Protect Ad Deduction

May 29, 2015

Earlier this year, we took note of the narrow window for tax reform in 2015 as set by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-1), who declared that either a tax rewrite can be completed by this summer or not at all. Now, with a marathon presidential campaign already under way and other pressing national issues taking center stage, experts agree that if a bill isn’t sketched out by Chairman Ryan’s deadline, any kind of comprehensive reform would have to wait for an entirely new Congress to commence in 2017.

At stake are the major changes necessary to overhaul our country’s current overly complex corporate-tax code. But we must also insist that these changes be improvements, and not further hindrances to economic growth.

ANA is supportive of a streamlined, revitalized corporate tax code that protects advertising as the ordinary and necessary business expense it has always been. We believe the corporate tax rate can be substantially lowered without penalizing or sacrificing the major benefits that the present treatment of advertising deductions provide the U.S. Proposals in Congress to alter this business expense deduction for advertisers by imposing a requirement that 50 percent of advertising be amortized over 5 or 10 years would have the exact opposite result tax reform intends – that is, it would without a doubt increase the cost of capital and impose a drag on job creation and the economy. According to a study by IHS, a highly regarded economic forecasting organization, advertising generates as many as 21.1 million jobs in the U.S. annually and multi-trillions of dollars in economic activity. Any change to the current tax deduction would severely adversely impact these numbers.  

We are building the kind of momentum necessary to ensure that advertising, both as an economic driver of sales and as a consumer resource, remains a valued component of corporate tax reform legislation. Through grassroots meetings with key senators and representatives in their home states and districts, ANA as a member of The Advertising Coalition (TAC) is working to show lawmakers that advertising needs to be protected in any new tax reform plan. TAC is comprised of media companies and national trade associations whose members are advertisers, advertising agencies, advertising clubs, broadcast networks, cable operators and program networks, and newspaper and magazine publishers. These companies and associations share a common objective — to protect advertising from initiatives by the federal government to tax or restrict the content of advertising. ANA strongly encourages our members to participate in these grassroots meetings when they take place. We can adequately protect the ad community only if our voices are heard loud and clear now.

As the deadline to reach consensus on tax reform rapidly approaches, advertisers must continue to actively work in favor of appropriate reform and achieve legislation that will ultimately lessen the regulatory burdens on business and encourage the kind of job growth the advertising industry has contributed to the U.S. economy.

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