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Beer wins, bikers lose in final Republican tax bill

121517 tax reform winners and losers JL photo
In this photo taken on Dec. 11, 2013, shoppers search for their favorite beers at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. Now, in Dec. 2017, the tax reform bill states that craft brewers, distillers, and wineries will get excise taxes on their products cut for two years. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Here are some of the notable winners and losers in the final version of the Republican tax overhaul unveiled Friday night:


Craft brewers and distillers: Craft brewers, distillers, and wineries got excise taxes on their products cut for two years. That policy, originally part of a bill written by Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, found its way into the Senate bill as part of an amendment, and is now part of the final bill.

Citrus growers: The bill includes tax incentives for citrus farmers with damaged trees, a policy sought by the Florida delegation.

Architects and engineers: Architects and engineers are excluded from the group of professional service business that won't be allowed to take advantage of the special 29.6 percent top tax rate for businesses that file through the individual side of the code.

Earlier versions of the bill excluded architectural and engineering firms. Doctors, lawyers, and others are still left out in the cold.

Sports team owners: The House bill eliminated the tax-exempt status of state or city bonds issued to finance the construction of pro sports stadiums. That provision didn’t make the cut in the final version.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce publicly pushed for two significant provisions to be taken out of the conference bill: The corporate alternative minimum tax, and a special tax that would apply to multinational companies that loaded up on debt in the U.S. as part of a maneuver to shift taxable income into lower-tax countries.

Both measures fell out of the final bill.

Graduate students: The House bill would have made graduate student tuition waivers taxable income, a provision that made many grad students fear they were facing a major tax hike. But the final bill undid that provision.

Investors: A provision in the Senate bill would have required investors to sell securities in the order they bought them, preventing them from harvesting tax losses and otherwise planning asset sales to minimize capital gains taxes. That fell out of the final bill.


Cyclists: The final bill would repeal a tax subsidy for employees to ride bicycles rather than drive or take transit.

Heirs, ranchers, and small businesses: The final bill followed the Senate bill in stopping short of repealing the estate tax. Instead, it temporarily doubles the size of bequests that are exempt from the bill through 2025.

Repealing the estate tax would have benefited wealthy heirs. It also was a change sought by ranchers and small business groups. Those groups will still benefit in a major way, but won't get the repeal they were promised by Republicans.

Big-time college coaches: Big-time college athletic departments would have a harder time affording multi-million salaries for coaches, thanks to two provisions that made it into the final bill.

One would disallow a special tax break for purchases of season tickets to watch college teams, effectively hiking taxes on a favored form of donations to universities. The other would implement a special 21 percent excise tax on nonprofit executives making over $1 million. The excise tax actually rose by one percentage point in the final version of the bill, to track with the final 21 percent corporate tax rate to ensure equal treatment between nonprofit executives and corporate executives.

Members of Congress: The final bill eliminates a deduction of up to $3,000 for D.C. living expenses of members of Congress.