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Legislative update: JCT “Bluebook” on tax legislation in 115th Congress

JCT “Bluebook” on tax legislation in 115th Congress

The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released a report—the “Bluebook”—explaining tax legislation enacted by the 115th Congress (except for Pub. L. No. 115-97, the tax law that is often referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” or TCJA).

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Read the JCT report: General Explanation of Certain Tax Legislation Enacted in the 115th Congress: JCS-2-19

Previously, the JCT released a Bluebook describing the TCJA provisions. Read TaxNewsFlash

Accordingly, the new Bluebook describes all tax legislation enacted in the 115th Congress, except for the TCJA.

The JCT release explains that unlike a committee report or a conference report (typically published at the time legislation is reported out of committee or conference) a Bluebook is not contemporaneous legislative history, but is intended to provide information about a tax legislative change and the related tax law that was in effect before the legislative change.  Some Bluebooks (but not this one) include sections entitled “Reasons for Change,” but the Bluebooks are not intended to reflect the JCT’s independent assessment of the rationale for tax legislation, or to answer all questions that have been asked about particular provisions, or to reflect the JCT understanding of the manner in which particular provisions are to be administered.  Instead, the Bluebooks reflect the JCT’s best understanding—developed in consultation with the staffs of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance—of the intent of members of Congress in enacting legislation.

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