• Obama Administration Considers Using Executive Authority to Change Tax Policy
  • March 4, 2014
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP - Washington Office
  • With comprehensive tax reform stalling in Congress, some are suggesting the Administration may take tax matters into its own hands.

    On January 21, Heather Zichal, President Barack Obama’s former top energy and climate aide, said that the Obama administration is considering using existing executive authority to make changes to tax policies with respect to renewable energy development. A number of changes are currently considered, including a revenue ruling to allow real estate investment trusts (REITs) to invest in renewable energy. REITs, which are subject to special tax treatment, are designed to finance commercial properties. The Treasury Department is currently considering expanding their scope and allowing them to invest in certain types of renewable energy projects.

    The fact that the Obama administration is considering the use of executive authority to change tax policy may be a sign of things to come. Typically, tax law changes are in the bailiwick of Congress. However, given the perceived need for tax reform and the slow pace at which comprehensive tax reform is progressing (or any tax legislation, for that matter), the use of executive authority to effect changes in targeted areas of tax policy may become more prevalent.