WASHINGTON (3/11/13)-A front-page, tax-reform story in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post did not break any new ground or pose any specific threats to credit unions, but what it did do, said the Credit Union National Association's top legislative affairs officer, is underscore that the looming tax battle has to remain the number one action target for CUNA, the state credit union leagues and credit unions.
The article, 'Lobbyists Gird For Looming Tax Battle,' noted, "momentum has quietly been building toward a once-in-a-generation push to overhaul federal taxes, an effort that would likely affect nearly every family and business."
It continued, every industry, "(f)rom corporate chiefs and hedge fund lobbyists to Montana ranchers and Broadway producers," are trooping up to Capitol Hill to press their agenda.
CUNA's John Magill, executive vice president of government affairs, said that CUNA's work to educate lawmakers and the public about the public policy value of the credit union tax status is a top priority.
"Absolutely everything in the tax code could fall under the microscope of those policy makers charged with developing tax reform. No legislator CUNA has spoken with has suggested that the credit union tax status is currently on the table as a tax reform or spending issue.
"However," Magill emphasized, "we know that an educated Congress, and an educated public, are the credit union movement's best tools to work to keep it that way."
He encouraged credit unions to continue their conversations with lawmakers and to engage their members as well by using a Tax Status Advocacy Toolkit provided by CUNA and the leagues.
"CUNA's research shows that when members understand the value of membership, they will stand with us to defend the exemption. We have to work together to communicate the value proposition of credit union membership to them." (See the resource link.)
Under the Federal Credit Union Act, federal and state-chartered credit unions are exempt from federal income tax because they are cooperatives operated for and by their members, and because credit union shares are essentially members' deposits. The tax status has been re-affirmed periodically by the U.S. Congress and is supported by many lawmakers. Under the act, credit unions have a statutory mission to promote thrift and provide credit for provident purposes to their members.
Credit unions pass on their tax savings to their taxpaying members/owners in the form of dividends or their fee structure and rates on savings and loans--a value that adds up to $5.8 billion annually.
The tax article also appeared on the washingtonpost.com. Use the resource link.