Trump to Sign Spending Bill

The measure lifts the tobacco buying age to 21 and extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

December 20, 2019

WASHINGTON—President Trump is expected today to sign two spending bills totaling nearly $1.4 trillion to fund the government through September 30, 2020. Among the issues relevant to convenience and fuel retailers, the legislation raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, extends the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit and extends by one year the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

The Senate passed the bills Thursday, following House approval Tuesday.

The tobacco 21 provision directs the Department of Health and Human Services to promulgate a final rule within 180 days of enactment. Once published, the rule must go into effect within 90 days. The enforcement and penalty mechanisms in the Tobacco Control Act remain the same.

The spending package retroactively extends the biodiesel blenders' tax credit, at $1 per gallon, from 2018 through 2022. In addition, the tax package includes an extender for the expired oil spill liability tax, which will take effect January 1 but won’t be retroactive.

The legislation extends the WOTC by one year, which NACS supports. The WOTC is a program designed to encourage employers to hire people who have difficulty finding work. Eligible workers include various classes of veterans and those on different public assistance programs. Many convenience retailers use the WOTC credit to help them provide employment for individuals who struggle to find jobs. This gives applicants the “foot in the door” they may need to get the job they need with a c-store company.

In addition, the legislation repeals two taxes on health insurance plans which originated in the Affordable Care Act. The legislation repeals the Health Insurance Tax, starting in 2021, and repeals the so-called Cadillac tax on certain high cost employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Both had the potential to drive up the costs of health insurance for many small business providers.