Death and Ad Tax Deductions Remain Constant

Advertising Law

Businesses dodged a major blow when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2017, passed without restrictions on advertising deductions.

As initially proposed, the bill would have permitted advertisers to deduct only half of their advertising costs immediately, with the remainder spread out over five years. Historically, advertising has been treated the same as other regularly occurring business expenses.

Similar attempts have been made in the past to cap the ad deduction, but the industry pushed back against any change.

In support of the status quo, industry groups like the Association of National Advertisers pointed to a 2015 study by IHS Economics and Country Risk. According to the study, advertising contributed $3.4 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2014, or 19 percent of the nation’s total economic output. Advertising accounted for $5.8 trillion in overall consumer sales, a sum equal to 16 percent of all sales activity in the United States. In addition, advertising generates 20 million jobs annually and every direct advertising job supports another 34 jobs across all industries, the study found.

“We are very pleased that the tax reform package passed by Congress did not restrict the critical advertising deductions that businesses use to market their goods and services,” Dan Jaffe, group executive vice president of government relations for the ANA, said in a statement. “We commend Congress for its leadership in recognizing the key role advertising plays in our economy. ANA has long advocated for commonsense tax reform that lowers corporate rates and guarantees U.S. competitiveness on a global playing field.”

Why it matters: “The deductibility of advertising costs has been under serious attack for several years in Congress,” Jaffe said. “Preserving our tax treatment in the context of tax reform is a major victory for the entire marketing community.”



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