The American Optometric Association is working to ensure that optometry is heard as final changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are being considered.
The AOA announced in a press release that through its advocacy team, AOA-PAC and AOA Federal Keyperson program, the group has secured “beefed-up” Sect. 179 expensing and fairer treatment for optometry students.
AOA board member Ron Benner, OD, met with Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to discuss the need for tax relief for small business optometry practices, and soon after Daines secured and the Senate voted for a provision that provides such relief.
The bill would lower taxes on “pass-through” filers by allowing a 23% deduction for certain businesses, according to the release.
The House bill would prohibit those providing professional services (eg, lawyers, doctors) from using the deduction, but the Senate bill would allow it for doctors and others with taxable incomes under $500,000 (married) and $250,000 (single).
“With any eye on voting on a final bill before the end of the year, House and Senate negotiators will soon begin working to meld the two versions of tax reform legislation/address differences,” a representative from the AOA told Primary Care Optometry News.
AOA volunteers and staff will continue working to ensure that the Senate pass-through section and other AOA-backed provisions are included in any final bill, the AOA said.
“If the expanded pass-through provision is upheld through the final stages of consideration this week, as most observers expect, many optometry practices across the country will stand to benefit, especially by making full use of the lead time for planning that the legislation allows,” Benner told PCON in an interview.
“It is critical to stay engaged and join together to advocate for our patients and profession,” he continued. “We were only able to achieve in-the-moment victories because of the strong, ongoing work of the AOA and our members. While this is a significant development, it will take the involvement of all AOA members – whether though the AOA Federal Keyperson program or as an AOA-PAC investor – to see this victory through to being included in the final bill that becomes law.” – by Abigail Sutton