WASHINGTON — An unpopular tax filing requirement for businesses tucked into the new health care law would be repealed under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the House on Thursday.
The provision would require millions of businesses to file tax forms for every vendor that sells them more than $600 in goods each year, starting in 2012. The requirement is projected to raise nearly $25 billion over the next decade by ensuring that vendors pay their taxes. But lawmakers in both parties say it could create a paperwork nightmare for businesses and the Internal Revenue Service.
The filing requirement is so unpopular in Congress that it is unlikely to ever take effect. The House voted 314 to 112 Thursday to repeal the filing requirement, with 76 Democrats joining all Republicans in voting to pass the bill. The Senate passed a similar measure last month and attached it to an unrelated bill to help modernize the nation's air traffic control system.
However, many Democrats and Republicans — and the House and Senate — disagree on how to make up the potential revenue, so the debate could drag on for months.
"Frankly, it is an attempt to repeal a provision of the health care bill that never should have been there in the first place," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who sponsored the House repeal bill. "Let's not make it a political football now."
President Barack Obama's budget office released a statement saying the administration supports repealing the filing requirement — even though it was included in the health care law he championed — because it would "place an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses."
The administration, however, opposes both the Senate and House plans to make up the potential revenue.
The Senate bill would make up the lost revenue through unspecified spending cuts. The House bill would make up the lost revenue by changing another part of the health care law, requiring more families to repay tax credits designed to help them pay insurance premiums, if their incomes increase beyond certain levels.