Regardless of who gets elected President or who controls Congress next year, or even the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, Congress and the Administration need to hear from the nation’s automobile dealers. Yesterday, this was the central theme emphasized by NADA policy and regulatory experts during NADA’s first all-virtual Washington Conference.
“The future of this industry is in your hands,” NADA President Peter Welch told members of the NADA's NextGen Program during the conference pre-session on Tuesday, September 15. “Congress needs to hear from you. Tell them how the pandemic has reshaped your business. Share what the auto industry needs to make a strong comeback and prepare for the road ahead.”
A New Form of Advocacy
The virtual conference kicked off for all attendees on September 21 with a discussion of top legislative and regulatory priorities, virtual Q&A sessions, and a primer on virtual advocacy strategies to help attendees—including NADA's most politically active members, national board members, and state association leadership—navigate Congressional meetings held entirely online.
One critical issue for dealers: Ensuring that loan expenses undertaken as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are tax deductible, according to NADA Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman Dennis Gaudet. In April, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice that forgiven PPP loan expenses may not be deducted from federal income taxes.
Gaudet explained that many dealers applied for PPP funds as an important and necessary method to retain employees and fund their payrolls. “NADA advocated for the liquidity, flexibility, and support to navigate the shutdown,” Gaudet noted. “NADA is working hard to make sure these expenses are fully tax deductible. We need to make sure this issue is corrected before we file our 2020 taxes.”
Not only should dealers urge their member of Congress to pass the corrective legislation known as the “Small Business Expense Protection Act” (S. 3612/H.R. 6821), dealers should also urge their legislators to engage the Administration to fix the issue without requiring legislation by withdrawing the IRS notice, explained NADA’s Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Ivette Rivera. “The IRS notice should be reversed, as it would unfairly raise taxes for small business dealers and is contrary to Congressional intent.”
While negotiations on the next round of coronavirus emergency relief legislation have stalled, NADA is working to ensure that businesses are protected from the threat of meritless COVID-19-related litigation when businesses comply with health and safety laws. “We need Congress to pass safeguards that balance employee and customer safeguards with protections for businesses,” said Rivera