The U.S. Senate passed a one-year “tax extenders” bill Dec. 16, retroactively renewing 55 previously expired tax credits and other key policies for the 2014 tax year. The 76-16 Senate vote echoes the overwhelming 378-46 House approval earlier in the month and sends the bill to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

Among the newly extended policies important to the construction industry are increased expensing levels under Section 179 and 50 percent “bonus depreciation,” both of which make investing in big-ticket items easier by allowing businesses to write off large portions of capital purchases on their taxes.

In addition, the bill extends the exclusion from capital gains tax of 100 percent of small business stock sold by an individual; the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring military veterans and other qualified individuals; several energy-efficiency and renewable energy tax credits; and all individual marginal tax rates. While the bill required these provisions to expire again at the end of 2014, it was necessary to avoid what would have been a $42 billion tax increase had Congress failed to act.

Following the November election, a bipartisan and bicameral deal emerged that would have renewed the extenders package for two years while permanently increasing Section 179 expensing levels. The White House immediately threatened a veto in reaction to the proposal, leading to the current one-year patch.