Congress is set to vote by Friday on a tax bill that includes estate and personal capital gains rollbacks sought by banks.
President Clinton has said he would veto the plan to cut taxes by $792 billion over 10 years because, he argued, the money would be better spent on beefing up Social Security and Medicare. But the bill offers several benefits to banks, and industry officials hope these provisions will remain in any eventual compromise legislation.
House and Senate Republican leaders this week stitched together a plan that would phase out estate and gift taxes. Capital gains tax rates would be cut to 18% from 20% for higher-income people and to 8% from 10% for those with lower incomes.
Proposed increases in annual contributions to savings plans could spur more deposits and investments by bank customers. Caps would rise to $15,000, from $10,000, for 401(k)s; to $5,000, from $2,000, for individual retirement accounts; and to $2,000, from $500, for education IRAs.
The bill would also expand banks' eligibility to be S corporations, which are taxed only at the shareholder level. Interest gained from bank securities portfolios would be excluded from S corporation limits on passive income. Also, banks that are required by some states to issue special shares for directors would be exempted from S corporation prohibitions on multiple classes of stock.