WASHINGTON — Banks, retailers, commuters and teachers will keep their temporary tax breaks for another year after Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a massive tax package affecting millions of businesses and individuals.

The last-minute bill would extend the expired tax breaks through the end of the year, enabling taxpayers to claim them on their 2014 tax returns. Beyond this year, their fate will once again be uncertain.

The package now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. It would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade, according to congressional estimates.

The 54 tax breaks benefit big corporations and small businesses, as well as struggling homeowners and people who live in states without a state income tax. More narrow provisions include tax breaks for filmmakers, racehorse owners and rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The Senate voted 76-16 to approve the package Tuesday evening as lawmakers rushed to finish their work before heading home for the holidays. The House passed the bill earlier this month.

Lawmakers from both political parties said they were disappointed they were unable to extend the tax breaks beyond this year. “This package of incentives – which applies only to 2014 – will last two more weeks before families and businesses will be thrown back into the dark about what taxes they owe,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “This tax bill doesn’t have the shelf life of a carton of eggs.”

Congress routinely extends the package of tax breaks every year or two.

Technically, the bill is a one-year, retroactive extension of the tax breaks, even though it only lasts through the end of the month. “This bill represents the worst habits in Washington,” said Sen Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “Politicians in a lame duck, end-of-the-year session, passing out goodies to well-connected industries instead of lowering tax rates for all Americans.”

The tax breaks include:

A tax credit for the production of wind, solar and other renewable energy. Cost: $6.4 billion.

 A tax credit for research and development, benefiting a wide range of industries, including manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and high-tech companies. Cost: $7.6 billion.

 An exemption that allows banks, insurance companies and other financial firms to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the U.S. The tax break is important to major multinational banks and financial firms. Cost: $5.1 billion.

 A provision that allows people who live in states without state income taxes to deduct local sales taxes on their federal returns. Nine states have no tax on wages: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. (New Hampshire and Tennessee tax interest and dividends.) Cost: $3.1 billion.

 A provision that allows restaurants and retail stores to more quickly write off the cost of improvements. Cost: $2.4 billion.

 A tax break that allows profitable companies to write off large capital expenditures immediately – rather than over time – giving some companies huge tax shelters. The tax break, known as bonus depreciation, benefits automakers, utilities and heavy equipment makers. Cost: $1.5 billion.

 A $250 deduction for teachers who use their own money to buy books and other classroom supplies. Cost: $214 million.

 

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