Unless you've been under a rock, you are well aware that tax reform bills have passed by the House and Senate in the past month. But the versions of the bill differ, so a joint conference has been assembled to hash out the differences, and then each chamber will vote on the revisions before it can make it's way to President Trump. (If you need a quick refresher from civics class, check out this website).
While tax reform did not include a provision to reduce tax exemptions on employee benefits as many had anticipated, the House version of the bill reduce eliminates the tax exemption for educational reimbursement. In short, the tuition that you pay on behalf of employees as a fringe benefit today, would represent taxable wages to the employee in the future if this is eliminated. SHRM opposes this elimination. As such, SHRM is asking members to reach out to their House members and voice your support for Section 127 educational assistance.
From the member advocacy team in DC:
We apologize in advance for the short notice and quick turnaround needed, but it would be very effective – and greatly appreciated - if each of you, as able, could reach back out to Rep. Mike Gallagher and ask him to support Section 127 by signing onto the attached “Dear Colleague” letter before end-of-week. His colleague in the House, Rep. Rodney Davis (IL), is asking his fellow House colleagues to join him on this letter, and will send the final letter to the select group of Members (conferees) who are working on the House/Senate compromise legislation and ask them to “preserve Section 127 and 117” (another tuition assistance provision related to higher-ed).
A quick personal call to the Member’s Washington, D.C. office may be your best bet, so I’ve also included the contact info for his Tax Legislative Assistant. Below is a draft script you can use, as helpful. I think the office has gotten a lot of call volume, so you may get the staffer’s voicemail. Feel free to use the script and follow up over email with a copy of the attached letter.
Good afternoon/morning. My name is ---- and I am a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). I wanted to connect with you on employer-provided education assistance, and ask you to to support Section 127 by signing onto a letter that your colleague, Representative Rodney Davis, is circulating. In the letter, Congressman Davis is asking that conferees of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, preserve Sections 127 and 117 of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 127 of the IRC, allows employees to accept tax-free qualified educational assistance from employers as a means to further their education and obtain skills to thrive in the workforce. Section 117(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), enables taxpayers to exclude qualified tuition reductions from income. If repealed, this would raise the barrier of entry to college for many individuals. I truly appreciate your time on this matter. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss, I can be reached at ---. I will also follow up with you via email. Thank you and have a nice day.