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7 Items In The GOP's Combined Tax Bill That Could Affect Real Estate

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Republican leaders in both the House and Senate reached a tentative agreement Wednesday, merging their proposed tax reform bills. It was a major milestone in President Donald Trump's push to overhaul the U.S. tax system.

GOP lawmakers are set to vote on the combined bill as early as next week, according to CNN. If approved by the full Congress, the new tax policy could have strong implications for the commercial real estate market, with several experts regarding the bill as highly favorable to the industry at large. Congressional leaders expect a vote before the chambers recess for Christmas.

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Below are seven items in the bill that could impact the industry, according to a report from Marcus & Millichap:

1. The Like-Kind Exchange Is Here To Stay

The like-kind 1031 exchange, which is a major industry tax break allowing companies to save millions by trading in old assets for something new, has been preserved. Neither the House nor the Senate versions of the bill made any changes to this break.

2. Business Interest Deduction Remains 

Despite fear over the mortgage interest deduction being changed, Republicans split the difference between the House's and Senate's bills, which called for setting the mortgage interest deduction at $500K and $1M, respectively. The cap will be $750K, but the standard deduction will be raised to $10K, eliminating the economic incentive for many to buy homes, Forbes reports.

3. Longer Holding Periods For Carried Interest Tax Breaks

The carried interest tax break, which Trump openly did not support during his campaign, has been retained. Under the merged bill, assets would have to be held for three years to treat earnings as capital gains. This was previously set at one year.

4. Pass-Through Income Tax Deduction To Increase 

The merged bill offers pass-through entities a 20% tax deduction if a business is set up as a partnership or entity with a tax burden that transfers to an individual. This is 3% lower than what the Senate had proposed, CNN reports.

5. Corporate Tax Rate Will Be Reduced

The House and Senate leaders agreed to reduce the maximum corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, after their mutual bills lowered it to 20%. If passed, the new rate will come into effect in 2018, according to CNN.

6. Individual Tax Rates Will Change

Under the current system, there are seven brackets in the tax code ranging from 10% to 39.6%. The Senate bill sought to retain seven brackets with the highest rate at 38.5% while the House bill looked to decrease it to four with the wealthiest individuals being taxed at 39.6%. The two have since reached a compromise setting the top rate at 37%, CNN reports.

7. Estate Tax Exemptions To Double 

The House version had proposed a repeal of estate tax by 2025 while the Senate version chose to retain it but with double the exemptions. The deal reached keeps the Senate's version. Currently, exemptions are $5.49M for individuals and $10.98M for couples. Under the new bill, this will rise to $11M for individuals and $22M for couples.

CORRECTION, DEC. 14, 11:00 A.M. ET:  A previous version of this story did not properly explain that the combined GOP tax bill will be voted on by all Republicans next week before heading to Congress. The story also incorrectly listed the business interest deduction outlined in the Senate-proposed bill. The story has been updated.