At the eleventh hour, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (Act) was passed into law by Congress late in 2015.

Echoing a near-identical situation occurring the year before, the controversial ‘tax extenders’ were extended yet again in what has been described as a ‘massive package of tax breaks’ which are to cost around U.S. $680b over ten years.

However, the Act not only extends a number of tax provisions, but it also makes permanent some big-ticket items for business including the research and development tax credit, and the Section 179 depreciation deduction for small businesses.

Anti-poverty provisions including tax credits available for low-income earners with children – the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit were made permanent also, being non-negotiable items which were required to be included by congressional Democrats and the White House in the package.

The majority of the new tax provisions contained in the Act, for example, the extension of the deduction available for certain types of expenditure relating to qualified film, television and live theatre productions do not affect the majority of taxpayers.

Two of the provisions, however, relate to IRS employees and use of personal email for official business, and their duty to ensure that they are familiar with, and act in accordance with certain taxpayer rights.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 was enacted after a hiatus following the tax extenders bill, which was formed in July 2015.