Ad Tax: Taxing What Generates Revenue

Some bad ideas never seem to die.  As reliable as Washington, DC cherry blossoms in the spring (but not nearly as welcome) are state lawmakers speculating about taxing advertising.  So far this year alone ad taxes have been discussed in Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.  They have even been talked about in Tucson, Arizona.  At this point, none are close to being put in place, thanks at least in part to the vocal opposition of AAF members.

It is understandable that when states need revenue many lawmakers look for new taxes.  What is less understandable is why so many look to tax an activity that generates economic activity; that generates sales; and that helps generate tax revenue.  That is what advertising does. Continue Reading →

Proposed Tax Reform Released

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., has finally released his public discussion draft for tax reform and the advertising industry is targeted for new revenues.

Under advertising provisions of the proposal “a taxpayer must capitalize and amortize 50 percent of its specified advertising expenses over a 10-year period, beginning with the midpoint of the tax year in which the expenses are paid or incurred.  The remaining 50 percent of a taxpayer’s specified advertising expenses may  continue to be deducted in the year paid or incurred (as under present law).”  The proposal provides an exemption from the capitalization requirements for taxpayers with advertising expenses of less than $1 million in a taxable year.

This proposal, if enacted, would have a devastating impact on the advertising and media businesses as well as the economy as a whole.  AAF will continue to educate lawmakers as to the value of keeping advertising as a fully deductible business expense in the current year, and urge them to oppose any changes to that status.  We urge all AAF members to contact their Representatives and tell them to oppose this provision of the tax reform plan.

Tax reform, and threats to advertising deductibility, will be a major topic of discussion at AAF’s Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill on March 11 and 12.  One of the featured speakers will be Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn., who sits on the Ways and Means Committee and will talk about the prospects for the tax reform package.

If you have not yet done so, I urge you to register today for Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill.  A hotel room block is available one block from the conference venue.

This is your opportunity to learn about tax reform and other issues confronting the advertising industry – and then tell your elected representatives where you stand.