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|Federal Legislative Priorities|
BOMA International advocates on behalf of the commercial real estate industry on Capitol Hill, in states across the country and in federal agencies. BOMA furthers the industry’s legislative and regulatory agendas by actively working with lawmakers and government officials to advance issues most important to its members, including the three listed below:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, greatly increased the protection and advancement of the rights of Americans with disabilities. Because of this landmark law, accessibility has dramatically improved in buildings around the country over the past three decades. Unfortunately, some attorneys are undermining the spirit of the ADA by subverting the intent of the law to make a profit without improving accessibility. These attorneys file lawsuits over technical, easily correctable accessibility violations and pressure business owners into paying large settlements consisting principally of attorney’s fees. They are more interested in quick financial settlements than removing any ADA barriers.
Fixing Qualified Improvement Property
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 combined the definitions of leasehold, restaurant and retail improvement property into “qualified improvement property” (QIP), but the language granting those property types a permanent 15-year depreciation period, as intended by Congress, were accidentally left out of the final bill. This resulted in two problems. First, the depreciation for interior improvements has reverted to 39 years, up from 15 years. Second, the tax bill also allowed for temporary 100% depreciation (until 2022) of property with a class life of 20 years or less, but this error prevents QIP from being fully expensed.
Click here to download BOMA International Qualified Improvement Policy position.
The Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction, commonly referred to as 179D, offers building owners a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for next-level energy-efficient improvements made to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; the building envelope, including windows; and lighting upgrades that exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (currently version 2007) by 50 percent. Buildings must be independently certified to receive this deduction. The tax deduction helps real estate owners who might not otherwise have the necessary capital make the decision to design, retrofit and operate energy-efficient structures. Despite sweeping changes to the tax code in 2017, 179D remains the only federal incentive for commercial buildings to become energy efficient. Since its inception in 2005, 179D has been extended various times, most recently retroactively for 2017. The provision is now expired.
Click here to download BOMA International's position on this issue.