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senate Bill S. 2718

Should Union Dues Be Tax Deductible?

Argument in favor

Until the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (colloquially referred to as “the GOP tax bill”), union dues and unreimbursed job expenses were tax-deductible for itemized filers. This bill merely restores this part of the tax code to its previous state.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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10/25/2018
Seems like a legitimate business expense for those going to the trouble of itemizing their taxes to me.Just like professional associations dues. And for those of you slamming unions we’d be happy to take back your 8 hour days, weekends, holidays, child labor laws, overtime, etc and let you go it on your own. That’s not what this question was about. Perhaps some remedial reading is in order?
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Elizabeth 's Opinion
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10/25/2018
Unionization is vital to protect the rights of workers.
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Dave's Opinion
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10/25/2018
This bill would reinstate tax deductions for union dues and expenses and unreimbursed job expenses (such as uniforms) which existed in the previous tax code. Union member and non-union members use to be able to deduct cost, but companies lobbied to get this removed. Do you think corporations have your interest in mind?
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Argument opposed

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction which made smaller deductions like this less useful because itemizing became unnecessary for many taxpayers. Additionally, adding another deduction to the tax code means forgoing that money in future tax revenues.

Chickie's Opinion
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10/25/2018
Absolutely not. If dues are tax deductible for unions, then where are the deductions for other programs that collect dues but are not union dues? Where are the deductions for those that chose not to be in a union? Their work is as valuable as those in a union.
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Tooluser1's Opinion
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10/25/2018
Hell no! Unions should be illegal. Barely concealed mobsters and thugs.
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jayar's Opinion
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10/25/2018
Why should I have to support corrupt union bosses?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
    IntroducedApril 19th, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 2718?

This bill would reinstate tax deductions for union dues and expenses and unreimbursed job expenses (such as uniforms) which existed in the previous tax code, but were eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under this bill, most unreimbursed job expenses would continue to be deductible as miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A of individuals’ itemized tax returns. However, union dues and expenses would become elevated to an above-the-line deduction, allowing even taxpayers who do not itemize their tax returns to claim deductions for union dues.

Impact

Workers with unreimbursed job expenses; itemized tax filers; union members; and the Internal Revenue Service.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2718

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced this bill to bring back tax deductions for union dues, unreimbursed job expenses, and other miscellaneous job-related expenses, which were eliminated in the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“The GOP tax bill was a partisan giveaway to the super wealthy and corporations, leaving the American worker behind. Although it is now signed into law, I will continue to fight to reform their scheme into something that is focused on working Americans. Reinstating the deductions for union dues and unreimbursed job expenses is just the start of what we need to do for the millions of Americans who were left out of the GOP tax bill.”

This bill has the support of many prominent labor unions. The United Steelworkers (USW), AFL-CIO, NABTU, Teamsters, International Association of Machinists (IAM), Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Auto Workers (UAW), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Education Association (NEA), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) all support this bill.

This bill has five cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Of Note: Although lower than in the past, union membership remains sizable in the United States, with 10.7% of American wage and salary workers reporting themselves as members of unions in 2017, adding up to a total of 14.8 million people (up 262,000 from 2016). In total, 16.4 million wage and salary workers were represented by unions in 2017 (14.8 million union members and 1.6 million workers with no union affiliation, but whose jobs are covered by a union contract).

Unions provide workers with meaningful earnings benefits: among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,041 in 2017, while non-union members had median weekly earnings of $829.

Making union dues an above-the-line deduction, rather than claimable only when itemizing one’s return, may appreciably increase the number of union members who claim their dues on their tax returns. Considering that only 30% of taxpayers filed itemized deductions, it is likely that not all union members who were eligible to deduct their dues from their tax bill did so, owing to the onerous process of itemizing one’s taxes.

Converting union dues to an above-the-line deduction will allow all 14.8 million dues-paying union members in the U.S. to claim somewhere in the neighborhood of $432 - $610 a year in dues on their taxes (based on a Heritage Foundation study of average union dues across the United States from 2005-2013).


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock.com /  Mumemories)

AKA

Tax Fairness for Workers Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow workers an above-the-line deduction for union dues and expenses and to allow a miscellaneous itemized deduction for workers for all unreimbursed expenses incurred in the trade or business of being an employee.

    Seems like a legitimate business expense for those going to the trouble of itemizing their taxes to me.Just like professional associations dues. And for those of you slamming unions we’d be happy to take back your 8 hour days, weekends, holidays, child labor laws, overtime, etc and let you go it on your own. That’s not what this question was about. Perhaps some remedial reading is in order?
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    Absolutely not. If dues are tax deductible for unions, then where are the deductions for other programs that collect dues but are not union dues? Where are the deductions for those that chose not to be in a union? Their work is as valuable as those in a union.
    Like (57)
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    Unionization is vital to protect the rights of workers.
    Like (101)
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    This bill would reinstate tax deductions for union dues and expenses and unreimbursed job expenses (such as uniforms) which existed in the previous tax code. Union member and non-union members use to be able to deduct cost, but companies lobbied to get this removed. Do you think corporations have your interest in mind?
    Like (82)
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    Unions are vital to a thriving middle class. The unrealistic stereotype of a corrupt union boss is just that an unrealistic stereotype. Dues are a necessary expense required for the unions to do their work and should be tax deductible.
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    You could argue these are similar to professional fees or memberships which are already deductible in some cases.
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    Yeah, if the company claims “peasant insurance” on my life as a tax deduction, I think paying dues to fight company corruption should be tax deductible as well
    Like (30)
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    All sorts of dumb things are tax deductible, especially for businesses. These deductions for the middle class were eliminated in the same bill that gave more deductions to the rich. We should not have to pay for their extravagance.
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    Absolutely. If the rich are allowed all kinds of deductions, let the working person have something job-related to deduct from their taxes.
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    Hell no! Unions should be illegal. Barely concealed mobsters and thugs.
    Like (20)
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    Why should I have to support corrupt union bosses?
    Like (18)
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    Unions protect the worker. Being a member and protected by one is vital in our corporatist economy
    Like (17)
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    Labor unions should be optional and not mandatory anyhow (sociallistic ideaology). If you are voluntarily a union member by choice, the government should not allow you to use your union dues as a tax deduction. That was your choice to pay the ”membership fee” when you joined. Not the government’s. Bottom line, American taxpayers are not responsible for funding someone’s choice to be part of a communist & socialist labor union.
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    Yes, absolutely they should be. As it is in current right to work states employees can receive the benefits while refusing to pay dues which undermines the strenght of a union in it's ability to provide representation to it's members. NRA would not exist without paid dues from members. You cannot be part of AARP without paying dues. I myself am a retired union sheet metal worker. I receive a good pension that helps greatly. I owe many thanks to my union for these benefits. These comments about union bosses being corrupt is bogus. IYou need not look any further than our president to see what corruption truly looks like.
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    All employee related expenses are a cost of employment. Here’s what happens at Union Headquarters: (1) reps handle working conditions (employees individually cannot handle those conditions because management needs a uniform agreement; (2) contracts define employee considerations for safety, breaks, differential wages, overtime, vacations, healthcare providers and benefits, retirement contributions, education benefits, manuals, policies about a non discrimination and diversity, etc; and government oversight policies. Yes, union dues are an employee expense!
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    Absolutely they should be tax deductible. That’s the only group fighting for the rights of workers.
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    Yes. Let’s start reversing some of the idiocies of this administration.
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    Union Dues are voluntary and should not be tax deductible since it is a choice not a mandatory membership
    Like (15)
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    Yes! As should all employment expenses. They eat into the already reduced wages
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    Absolutely If you get paid overtime Thank a Union If you have off on holidays and weekends Thank a Union If your job has safety rules Thank a Union
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