Coronavirus Relief Package Includes Tax Break for Racehorse Owners

ELMONT, NEW YORK - JUNE 18: A Racehorse and Exercise Rider trains in the fog on the main track during morning workouts prior to the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 18, 2020 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The coronavirus relief package making its way through Congress includes a tax break for owners of racehorses.

On Monday, both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to a broad $2.4 trillion spending deal, which includes more than $900 billion in relief for individuals and businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The deal comes after a months-long stalemate between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congressional Republicans over whether the spending plan should include bailouts for state and local governments, as well as liability protections for employers operating amid the pandemic.

Ultimately, neither the bailouts, favored by Democrats, nor the expanded liability protections, preferred by Republicans, made it into the final 5,593-page bill. Instead, the bipartisan compromise centers around $325 billion in small business relief, an extension of federal unemployment benefits, and $600 in direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000-per-year. Also included within the bill is more than $20 billion for vaccine distribution, as well as a combined $38 billion in food and rental assistance.

While the bill does provide essential relief for those impacted by the pandemic, several of its non-public-health-related inclusions have drawn scrutiny. One such inclusion tucked away within the 5,593-page bill is an extension of an existing tax break for owners of racehorses. The specific language included within the bill allows individuals to depreciate the value of racehorses that are two-years and younger over a three-year period, rather than seven years. The depreciation rule, which is set to expire at the beginning of next month, allows owners to recover the costs associated with purchasing thoroughbreds.

The tax break’s extension is not surprising given it’s been extended annually since 2017 when the initial depreciation benefit for racehorse owners was repealed as part of the Trump-era tax cuts.

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