WASHINGTON (4/9/13)--The House Ways and Means Committee has asked the Credit Union National Association and other stakeholders to brief the panel's financial services tax reform working group on the public policy reasons backing the credit union federal tax exemption.
"Credit unions have a good story to tell and we look forward to sharing it again with the tax policymakers," said CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan Monday.
Donovan reiterated that no legislator CUNA has spoken with has suggested that credit union taxation is on the table as a tax reform or spending issue. However, he added, none have suggested that CUNA should be anything but vigilant on this key issue as tax reform talks move forward and all sorts of ideas are thrown into the discussions.
"We do know an educated Congress, and public, are the best ways to preserve credit unions' tax exemption. We continue with that process on both fronts," Donovan said, adding, for instance, that CUNA lobbyists and President/CEO Bill Cheney met last month with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee's financial services tax reform working group.
"Credit unions are exempt from federal income tax because they are not-for-profit financial cooperatives with a mission of providing access to credit and promoting thrift to their members," Donovan said, adding that consumers benefit to the tune of $8 billion annually in terms of lower rates on loans, lower fees on services, and higher returns on deposits.
Non-members benefit as well because credit union competition helps keep bank savings rates higher and loan prices lower, he reminded.
Preserving the credit union tax status remains CUNA's top legislative priority, and CUNA has emphasized that credit unions must work collaboratively to communicate the importance of that status to their members.
CUNA's has designed a members-only toolkit to help credit unions connect with their members and educate the public about credit unions. The tax toolkit webpage features free materials in the form of radio ads, print ads, newsletter articles, state-level updates, materials to use in advocacy efforts with federal and state lawmakers, and much more.
CUNA research has shown that when credit union members understand the value of membership, they will work with credit unions to defend their tax status.
For more on CUNA's tax toolkit, use the resource link.