Sorting through costly tax breaks and CEO fiscal cliff recommendations
Last-minute Hurricane Sandy tips

Who's lobbying Capitol Hill on taxes?

When Congress returns after the election, you can be sure that lobbyists also will be there to welcome them back to Capitol Hill.

In the tax area alone so far this year, 1,627 lobbyists have filed the required federal paperwork noting that they contacted Representatives and/or Senators about pending or possible tax legislation.

That's down from the high of 1,891 registered tax lobbyists in 2010, according to data, but it's still an impressive number, earning it this week's By the Numbers honor.

1627 tax lobbyists as of October 2012

Almost 5,000 reports listed tax issues, ranging from the general topic of corporate tax reform to the more specific research and development tax credit and issues related to the medical device tax.

There also are the contacts with Congress on what most of us find arcane, such as "identify and secure support for a production tax credit for biobased chemical producers" and "support allocation of certain distilled spirits taxes under Section 7652 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended, and federal support of conservation and historic preservation initiatives in Puerto Rico."

National Cannabis Industry Association lobbying report thumbnailIf you want to peruse the lobbying report filings, you can learn things such as the National Cannabis Industry Association contacted members of the House and Senate in connection with H.R. 1985 and other matters related to Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code.

H.R. 1985 is Rep. Pete Stark's (D-Calif.) bill to create a tax deduction for expenses incurred in the trade or business of selling medical marijuana to patients authorized under state law to use the plant as a treatment for an illness.

Of course, there's the little problem with the sale of marijuana being illegal at the federal level, so the cannabis group had to talk about that, too, with Congress.

That discussion centered on Section 280E of the tax code, which specifically denies a deduction or credit for any expense in a business consisting of trafficking in illegal drugs "prohibited by Federal law or the law of any State in which such trade or business is conducted."

And with Hurricane Sandy threatening to do major damage to the northeast, lobbyists who argue for equitable tax treatment of golf courses that are damaged in natural disasters are probably updating their talking points right now.

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