The End of the Carried Interest Loophole?

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Good news! The carried interest loophole, one of the most egregious gifts to billionaire private equity and hedge fund managers around, might finally be on the chopping block:

Right now, the percentage of a fund’s proceeds that investors pay to the manager — called the “carried interest” — gets taxed as if it’s capital gains (at a 15 percent rate, instead of 35 percent), even though the manager doesn’t have any money at risk. It’s as if we treated movie proceeds given to a film’s lead actor as investment income.

….Congress has a bunch of very popular business tax credits that it would like to extend, but the extensions need to be paid for, so the carried interest break is looking more likely to disappear. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said this week that there’s “a growing sense of inevitability” about the tax hike occurring, despite heavy lobbying from the financial services industry. Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag agreed yesterday, predicting that “you’re going to see a change in the taxation of carried interest pass the Senate within the next few weeks.”

It would be nice to see the carried interest loophole finally meet its maker. It’s a small victory, but an important one.

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