Briefly Noted

Briefly noted - March 1999

March 01, 1999 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Lobbyists for coal interests are trying to persuade Congress to authorize approximately $1.5 billion in tax subsidies for new power plants that use clean coal technologies.  Only the first 6,000 megawatts of generating capacity would qualify.  The Department of Energy would choose among competing applicants...Treasury officials have tentatively offered the airlines a “safe harbor” that would let them expense the cost of periodic engine overhauls provided the cost is not more than 15% of the original cost of the engine.  The safe harbor might influence where lines are drawn in the utility industry when overhauling turbines...Tractebel has secured a 75% property tax abatement for seven years for a 350-mw gas-fired combined-cycle power plant that the company plans to build in Ennis, Texas just outside Dallas.  Developers of greenfield projects in the US usually try to negotiate concessions on property taxes before committing to a site ...The US Senate Finance Committee voted on March 4 to reduce the carryback period for unused foreign tax credits from two years to one.  The change would apply to foreign tax credits generated in tax years after 2001.  The House rejected the same change last year...Brazil is expected by March to renew the CPMF tax and increase the rate from 0.2% to 0.38%.  The tax applies to all financial transactions.  It expired in January...Hearings on rewriting US international tax rules will get under way in the Senate on March 11.  They are expected to last several months.  Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is at work on a “white paper” with its own proposals to be issued sometime this summer...American Landfill, Inc. failed in January to have a federal court set aside discriminatory taxes in Ohio on landfills that accept garbage from outside the local refuse district.  Federal courts are barred by the “Tax Injunction Act” from restraining collection of any state tax “where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy may be had in the courts of such State.”

Keith Martin