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Financial Planning > Tax Planning > Tax Deductions

5 Obscure Tax Breaks Congress Just Approved

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Just in time for the holiday season, the House pulled together on Wednesday night to revive dozens of tax breaks for individuals and businesses. You can see all of them if you have the time and wherewithal to plow through the 123-page bill. Or you can just take our word for it that these are the five most noteworthy items in the very long list.

1. The tuna tax holiday in American Samoa

Despite its vague name, this one “benefits StarKist, which is the largest private employer in the South Pacific island chain, with nearly 2,000 workers there,” the New York Times reported.

2. Captain Morgan’s Friendship Money

Back in 1917, the U.S. started heavily taxing rum so that it could send the cash back to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to Politico. Why? So the islands could invest in more industry and improve their economy. Now it needs to be renewed with the rest of these “tax extenders” every year.

3. NASCAR’s high-speed hustle

The “NASCAR loophole” allows builders to write off the cost of the racetracks over seven years instead of the usual 39, decreasing the amount of overall taxes they pay to the IRS.

4. Horse Owners’ Hallelujah

This one allows racehorse buyers to write off  the expense of owning thoroughbreds. Congress was so generous with this one that it even surprised a racing official when it finally passed in 2013. “There’s a significant improvement between what was expected to happen and what actually happened,” Joe Bacigalupo of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association told Forbes.

5. Lights, Camera, Nontaxable Action!

House of Cards fans rejoice! Tax breaks are awarded to Hollywood studios if more than half of a film’s production takes places within the United States; even more deductions are awarded if filming takes place within a low-income area, the Washington Post reported. 

–Bloomberg News’ Richard Rubin contributed to this report.

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