WASHINGTON (5/8/13)--"Credit unions' tax exempt status is not going away, not on my watch," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a recent message to Montana credit unions.
"Over the years, folks in D.C. have tried to cut your tax exempt status, and I've gone to the mat to fight back," he added.
"I was thrilled to hear Sen. Baucus clearly reiterate his support for our unique tax treatment. He understands the value that credit unions provide to their members far exceeds the amount of tax that might be generated," Montana Credit Union Network President/CEO Tracie Kenyon said.
As chair of the Senate's powerful tax-policy committee and leader of the Joint Committee on Taxation, Baucus is one of the most influential legislators currently working on a tax code revamp.
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney also expressed gratitude to Baucus for his statements and his ongoing support of credit unions. However, due to "general uncertainty on Capitol Hill," Cheney urged credit unions not to take anything for granted.
"Credit unions must be vigilant to protect their tax status. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that our members and supporters, nationwide, understand the value that credit unions bring to their memberships and consumers at large and how the tax exemption plays a critical role for not-for-profit credit unions," he said. Cheney encouraged credit unions to use CUNA's Tax Advocacy Toolkit for information and tools to help their advocacy and educational efforts.
As part of the tax code revamp efforts, the joint committee received a 550-plus page report on tax policy reform on Monday. (Use the resource link for the May 7 News Now story: Ways and Means Releases Working Group Tax Reform Report.)
The report, which was developed by 11 separate working groups, mentions the credit union tax exemption, as expected. However, the report does not indicate that the working groups received any comments urging the repeal of the credit union tax exemption.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to meet privately on Wednesday to discuss the tax reform report, and discussions are scheduled to continue next week. Later this summer, the committee is expected to consider legislation to completely overhaul the corporate and individual tax codes, with full House consideration prior to the August recess.
Baucus's Senate Finance Committee has been meeting privately each week to discuss a series of options papers developed by committee staff, and a tax policy report similar to the one provided to the Joint Committee on Taxation could be released later this spring.
CUNA has met with many members of the House and Senate committees to advocate the retention of the credit union tax status.
Baucus, who said he is proud to be among the one-in-three of Montanans that are credit union members, made his pro-credit union remarks in a brief video that played at the MCUN's 76th annual meeting and convention held April 17-19 in Great Falls.
Montana's credit unions are critical to job growth and "provide a rock solid foundation for our business and our families to prosper," Baucus added.