Tax breaks worth billions set to expire unless Congress acts


Time is running out for Congress to extend more than 50 tax breaks worth nearly $85 billion, including popular ones for college expenses and energy-efficient appliances.

Democrats and Republicans have shown a willingness to extend the tax breaks — including some that expired in 2013. But the midterm elections largely have brought to a standstill votes on such major issues as taxes and immigration and even military action against the Islamic State.

Among the expiring breaks is a benefit enjoyed in the seven states that do not have an income tax. Taxpayers in those states have been allowed by Congress for years to deduct state and local sales tax instead. According to the Dallas Morning News, more than 2 million filers in Texas — one such state with no income tax — used the deduction in 2012, for an average benefit of $1,906.

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