Beer News: Tax Bill Passed in U.S. Senate Includes Good News for Craft Brewers

The tax bill passed Friday night in the United States Senate may be subject to a deep partisan divide, but it does include tax relief for smaller craft brewers in the United States. The Senate passed an amended version of House Resolution 1, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a vote of 51-49, with all affirmative votes coming from the majority Republican Party, which holds 52 out of the 100 seats in the Senate (outgoing Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker joined the Democrats in opposition to the bill).

Included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), a piece of legislation that has been backed by industry trade and advocacy groups for years but has languished in the Congress. The CBMTRA will slash taxes by half on the first 60,000 barrels produced by brewers who make fewer than 2 million barrels a year. Other tax reductions are included on up to the first 6 million barrels produced by other brewers. Brewbound has more details, including quotes from the President of the United States and members of various trade groups.

Due to Senate amendments to the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now goes to a House/Senate reconciliation committee, where members of the two chambers will work to create a bill that can be passed by the entire Congress. The bill may also still be in danger should opponents of the bill effectively work to change the minds of some Senators or Congressmen. It should be noted that while the Republicans have roughly a 40-seat majority in the House of Representatives, they only control the Senate 52-48. Assuming no Democrats will support this bill, Republicans can only afford two "Nay" votes to pass this legislation (in the event of a 50-50 tie, Republican Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill). Constituent advocacy in the coming days may convince a few key swing Republican Senators to change their stance in backing this bill.