Senate Explores Measures to Modernize the Tax Code

December is here already, but some policymakers in the U.S. are not ready to end the year with entrepreneurship-enabling legislation on the back burner. Taking an “across-all-industries” approach, the Start-up Jobs and Innovation Act introduced last month in the Senate aims to stimulate investment in research-intensive startups.

Its authors, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) explained that the bill is the result of an effort to modernize the U.S. tax code with tax incentives that reward investment in innovation among small and growing companies. The bill captures some of the measures in the independent Ernst and Young study, which estimates that specific tax reforms could increase investment in startups by $10.3 billion per year—creating 156,000 new jobs as a result.

The bill’s provisions include:

  • Double the amount of startup costs entrepreneurs can deduct in the first year to $10,000.
  • Permanently allow companies to deduct the first $500,000 in equipment purchases. Currently, businesses are only allowed to deduct a small portion of their costs in the first year, with the remaining amount deducted over the course of 15 years.
  • Permanently cut taxes for people who make long-term investments in American small businesses.
  • Give high-tech small businesses the ability to use the same tax provisions large firms have available for innovation.
  • Allow investors to recognize the tax losses and credits generated by the R&D startups they supported.
  • Ease tax compliance by allowing more companies to use the simpler "cash accounting" method.

“I started a chain of restaurants in Allentown in 1990 with two of my brothers… so I understand the unique struggles, uncertainties and risks involved in starting one’s own business,” said Sen. Toomey in the press conference announcing the bill last month.

Over the last few weeks since the Act was introduced, many have spoken out in support of it. The bio-technology industry, for example, has largely praised the new bill. 

“It can take over a decade and cost more than $1 billion to bring a single groundbreaking biotechnology treatment from laboratory bench to hospital bedside, and virtually the entire process is funded by private investment,” stated the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in a press release.

We will continue to offer analysis of the pros and cons of the legislation as well as its progress on Capitol Hill. Early-stage capital is among the top concern of startups, let alone capital for long-term prototypes.


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