The American Horse Council reports that the tax bill passed by the Senate on Friday, July 30, includes a provision that would shorten the holding period for horses from two years to one to realize capital gains treatment upon sale. The shortening of the holding period for horses was pushed by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jim Bunning (R-KY).

There is no similar provision in the House tax bill passed earlier, so differences will have to be reconciled by a conference committee including leaders from the House and Senate. Differences are expected to be worked out by mid-week and a final bill passed before Congress adjourns for the August recess this Saturday.

The House tax bill includes a 10% tax cut for all individual taxpayers; the Senate’s bill proposes to cut the lowest income tax rate one percent to 14%. Both would cost nearly $800 billion over ten years. President Clinton has threatened to veto any tax bill that would cost over $300 billion.

Gains from the sale of capital assets, including horses used for commercial purposes, qualify for the lower tax rate on capital gains, if held for the required period. Under the current tax code the holding period for capital gains tax treatment on the sale of horses is 24 months, while it is 12 months for all other assets. Passage of this legislation would rectify what the industry believes is the unfair treatment of horses under the Internal Revenue Code with respect to capital gains tax treatment by reducing the holding period from two years to one.

The AHC strongly supports the efforts of Senator McConnell and Senator Bunning to change the holding period for horses to the same as other capital assets. This change would bring fairness to the tax code and benefit an important national industry.