House Members Support Status Quo Tax Status for Ads

A bipartisan contingent of more than a quarter of the membership of the House of Representatives have called on congressional leadership not to institute tax reforms that "threaten the impacts on jobs and the economy.

Specifically they don't want that reform to mean levying a tax on advertising. They called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Ill.) and minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to "maintain the current tax treatment of advertising as a fully and immediately deductible business expense." Some have proposed spreading out deductibility, but they said that would run counter to the goal of simplifying the tax code.

Reforming, including simplifying, the tax code is one of the Trump Administration's priorities, according to the Republican National Committee, which Wednesday asked supporters to rank those priorities.

“Any measure that would tax advertising--and therefore would make it more expensive–-cannot be justified as a matter of tax or economic policy," the Advertising Coalition said in publicizing the letter.  “Advertising has been accorded the same treatment as all other regularly occurring business expenses, such as employee wages, rent, utilities and office supplies, throughout the 114-year life of the tax code."

The National Association of Broadcasters, NCTA: The Internet & Television Association and others have banded together to push back on any attempt to limit or eliminate the deductibility of the full amount of ad expenses in the year they were incurred as part of broader-based tax reform. Not being allowed to deduct the expenses or having to spread the deductions over several years could discourage the spending that ad-supported media rely on.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.