Here's What Businesses Need to Know about the New Tax Law

Apr 26




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The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" introduced a plethora of tax incentives aimed at stimulating economic growth. This article delves into the specifics of these incentives, highlighting how they can benefit various businesses, and provides updated, detailed insights into the nuances of the new tax law.


Overview of the 2009 Economic Stimulus Act

The 2009 Economic Stimulus Act,Here's What Businesses Need to Know about the New Tax Law Articles officially known as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," was designed to jumpstart the U.S. economy during a period of financial uncertainty. Among its key features were several tax incentives intended to encourage investment and spending by businesses.

Extension of Bonus Depreciation

Initially introduced to accelerate capital expenditure recovery following the 2008 financial crisis, the bonus depreciation allows businesses to immediately deduct 50% of the cost of eligible depreciable property. This provision, which was set to expire, has been extended through 2009. According to the IRS, this move aims to stimulate business investment in new machinery and equipment (IRS).

Enhancement of Section 179 Deductions

Section 179 of the IRS tax code permits businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment or software. The 2009 Act not only continued this benefit but also increased the maximum deduction from $250,000 in 2008 to $500,000 in 2009, with a phase-out threshold rising from $800,000 to $2 million. This adjustment significantly aids small businesses in managing cash flow and encourages them to invest in new assets (U.S. Small Business Administration).

Expanded Carryback of Net Operating Losses

For small businesses, the Act extended the net operating loss (NOL) carryback period from two to five years for losses incurred in 2008. This change allows businesses with annual gross receipts of $15 million or less to apply current losses against taxes paid in prior years, providing critical cash flow during economic downturns.

Tax Credits for Hiring Targeted Groups

The Act expanded the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include unemployed veterans and disconnected youth, offering businesses a credit of 40% of the first $6,000 of wages paid to these new hires. This incentive not only supports businesses but also facilitates job creation for two groups that face significant barriers to employment.

Adjustments for AMT and R&D Credits

Businesses subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT) or those with research and development (R&D) credits saw an extension in the provision that allows them to claim 20% of their unused AMT or R&D credits against payroll taxes, provided they invest in qualified property.

Provisions for Cancellation of Debt Income

To aid businesses restructuring their debt, the Act permits the deferral of income recognition from canceled business debt for up to ten years if the debt is repurchased by the business in 2009 or 2010.

Incentives for Small Business Stock

Investors in certain small business stocks now benefit from an increased exclusion of gains from 50% to 75% if the stocks are held for more than five years and purchased between the enactment date and the end of 2010.

S Corporation Holding Period

For S corporations, the required holding period for assets subject to the built-in gains tax has been temporarily reduced from ten years to seven years, easing tax burdens during asset disposition.

Modifications to Estimated Tax Requirements

The Act reduces the required estimated tax payments for individuals with substantial small business income from 100% of their 2008 tax liability to 90% for the 2009 fiscal year. This provision applies to individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $500,000 and who derive more than 50% of their income from businesses employing fewer than 500 people.


The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" offers significant tax relief and incentives designed to stimulate economic activity by easing the financial burdens on businesses. By understanding and leveraging these provisions, businesses can not only improve their financial health but also contribute to broader economic recovery efforts.