The evening of Friday, December 15, Conference Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released the negotiated tax reform bill, which both chambers are expected to vote on the week of December 18. The President will likely sign the legislation before Friday.
Thanks to the efforts of the AAO and its members, the AAO had several policy wins:
Higher Education and Student Borrower Benefits
Provisions in the House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Sections 1201 and 1204) would have eliminated:
- Tax benefits for orthodontists and orthodontic students (i.e., student loan interest deduction);
- Qualified tuition reductions / waivers; and
- Higher education tax credits such as the Lifetime Learning Credit).
Elimination of the above items was not included in the conference agreement. Therefore, those current benefits will remain unchanged. The AAO, having implemented an advocacy campaign on these issues, has experienced a great victory.
The AAO sent a letter to congressional conference leaders on these three issues and also initiated an advocacy campaign among its members to directly reach out to Members of Congress.
Healthcare: Medical Expense Deduction
The conference agreement adopts Sec. 11028 of the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which would lower the threshold for deducting medical expenses to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income for two years (2018 and 2019 taxable years), after which it would return to 10 percent.
Sec. 1308 of the House TCJA would have repealed the deduction. Retaining the deduction, and expanding it temporarily, will benefit families with extremely high medical expenses, including those who are also paying for orthodontic treatment.
AAO leaders believe that these successes show that the AAO’s voice is being heard in Washington. To those who helped with these advocacy efforts, thank you.