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Retain, Reaffirm Tax Status, CUNA Says Before Reform Hearing
Friday, April 15, 2016 6:40 AM

As the U.S. House Ways and Means tax policy subcommittee convened Wednesday for its second hearing on tax reform proposals, the Credit Union National Association reached out to the committee to tout the numerous consumer benefits of the credit union tax status.

“The importance of having not-for-profit credit unions as vibrant and viable alternatives in the financial services marketplace is as significant today as it has ever been,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Credit unions provide accessible and affordable basic financial services to people of all means and encourage the equitable distribution of capital across all individuals, families, communities and small businesses."

“Credit unions infuse financial market competition with multiple and differentiated competitive business models," he added. "They help keep financial services accessible—and affordable—for all consumers, whether they are members of a credit union or not."

Nussle elaborated, calling on Congress to preserve the credit union tax status because:

  • The tax treatment for credit unions continues to serve the purpose for which it was conveyed;
  • The tax status represents good public policy, because it causes the creation of substantial benefits to the public, far in excess of its cost; and,
  • Taxing credit unions represents a tax increase on 105 million Americans—and would likely lead to the elimination of many, if not most, credit unions.

According to CUNA, the financial benefits that credit unions provide to both members and others amount to an estimated $11 billion in just 2015.

“If credit unions were taxed in 2015, the receipts would have accounted for only 0.05 percent of 2015 federal government spending—an amount that would have funded U.S. government operations for five hours,” Nussle wrote. “It makes no sense to wipe out the substantial benefit Americans receive from having a credit union option for five hours of government operation.”

The hearing itself featured presentations from Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Roger Williams (R-TX), as well as Thomas Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. None of those three proposals mentioned the credit union tax status.