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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fong: Legislation Ready to Address Anticipated Impact of the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today that legislation to address the anticipated impact of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts has been submitted to Legislative Council. The proposed legislation will successfully address the issue of parity between the married filers filing a joint return and single filers.

“Given the uncertainty created by the inaction of Congress, getting this legislation ready to go is the right thing to do for our North Dakota taxpayers,” said Fong. “This bill will effectively ensure that our state’s taxpayers are not subject to additional state income taxes that would result if the Bush tax cuts expire.”

Currently, the standard deduction for married filers who file a joint return is twice that of the standard deduction for single filers, which creates parity between the two filing statuses. This provision, which eliminated some of the penalty associated with filing a married joint return, is set to expire unless Congress takes action to extend it. Should it expire, the standard deduction for married filers would once again penalize married filers who file a joint return.

“We need to be proactive, especially in light of our hard work during the last two legislative sessions to provide meaningful and substantive tax relief to our citizens,” said Fong. “This is not the time to sit back and allow North Dakotans to be taxed any more just because of the action, or inaction, of Congress.”

If Congress does not extend the standard deduction provision of the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts, there is a direct impact on taxpayers’ state income tax liabilities and on the state’s tax revenues. Married couples filing joint returns could see an increase in their state income tax of up to $94 per year. The overall fiscal impact to the state would be an increase of approximately $6.7 million per biennium in additional tax revenue.

Representative Mike Nathe of Bismarck is the prime sponsor of the bill. The bill is also sponsored by Senator Dwight Cook of Mandan, Senator David Hogue of Minot, and Representative Wes Belter of Cass County. The bill will be presented to the 2011 Legislative Assembly when it begins in January. Senator Dwight Cook and Representative Wes Belter serve as Chairmen of the Senate and House Finance and Taxation Committees.

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