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'Fiscal cliff' deal delivers $64 billion in tax breaks

The new law includes a package of giveaways that benefit interest groups and businesses. Critics call them earmarks in disguise.

January 10, 2013|Kathy M. Kristof | Personal Finance

Restaurants: An enhanced charitable deduction for contributing food allows restaurants to deduct twice the cost of the donated food on their tax returns. This provision, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will cost $314 million over the next two years, was originally aimed at encouraging restaurants to provide unused meals to food banks and shelters.

The tax break, which expired in 2011, was retroactively reactivated with a first-year cost of $218 million — about twice the normal one-year cost — indicating that those philanthropic restaurants never stopped donating, regardless of the deduction.

American Indians: It appears that Oklahoma was the big winner when it came to providing tax breaks to Native Americans and those that develop Native American lands. About two-thirds of the state qualifies for special depreciation deductions for locating or expanding a business on former Native American lands. In addition, those who hire a Native American employee can claim as much as $4,000 for each worker in additional tax credits. Total cost: $341 million.

business@latimes.com

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