As part of its wide scale campaign to tell Congress of the importance of tax certainty to restaurateurs, the National Restaurant Association today called on Congressional members to act swiftly on two tax provisions critical to the restaurant industry – the 15-year depreciation schedule for restaurant improvements/new construction and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. In a letter to all members, the Association called for the two provisions, which expired at the end of 2011, to be prospectively and retroactively extended through 2012 as part of the payroll-tax reduction measure currently under consideration.
“With 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and nearly 13 million workers nationwide, the restaurant industry plays a significant role in our nation’s economy,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “We are one of the nation’s largest private job-creators, representing nearly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. We are an industry of large and small businesses with a strong economic multiplier through the supply chain, including the construction industry and other business services. An engine of job creation in every district and state, seven in 10 restaurants are single-unit operators, putting people to work in every community.
“Current tax law presents taxpayers with a great deal of complexity and unpredictability. A comprehensive review of the tax system is necessary, and could result in certainty, simplicity and fairness, while encouraging economic growth and job creation. We are dedicated to working with Congress on that important task. But until such reform is ready, extension of certain provisions is essential to providing businesses the clarity needed to make investment and employment decisions.
“A provision of critical importance to the restaurant industry is the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and retail improvement property. Not only is 15 years is a much more accurate timeframe for recovering the cost of such investments, this provision is an important driver of economic activity. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, every dollar spent in the construction industry generates an additional $2.39 in spending in the rest of the economy and every $1 million spent in the construction industry creates more than 28 jobs in the overall economy.
“Another significant provision that expired at the end of 2011 is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a tax credit provided to employers who hire individuals from several targeted groups who face significant barriers to employment. WOTC encourages employers, including restaurant operators, to hire these workers, enabling these workers to move into self-sufficiency as they earn a steady income and become contributing taxpayers.
“At a time of continued economic uncertainty, these provisions provide much-needed clarity for our members about the tax code. Such clarity encourages investment, increases economic activity and helps create jobs.”
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.