House Passes Appropriations Bill Encouraging Modernization of Pari-Mutuel Tax Rules

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill Thursday evening that includes report language detailing Committee on Appropriations instructions for the U.S. Treasury to “expedite final consideration of the guidance which would modernize the rules governing pari-mutuel wagering.”

The bill (HR 5485) provides $21.7 billion in annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other related agencies. A companion bill in the Senate containing identical “Guidelines for Pari-mutuel Winnings” has been passed out of committee and now awaits passage by the full Senate.

Language in the House Appropriations Committee Report reads:

Guidelines for Pari-mutuel Winnings.—The Committee appreciates the Department of the Treasury’s proposed rule (REG– 132253–11) published on March 4, 2015, along with the associated public hearing held on June 17, 2015. The Committee encourages the Treasury to expedite final consideration of the guidance which would modernize the rules governing pari-mutuel wagering. 

“The House

[has] passed a bill that prioritizes funding where it will be best used, and makes policy reforms that improve efficiency and accountability and rein in executive overreach,” House Appropriations Chairman and U.S. Representative Hal Rogers (KY) said.

Recent actions by the House and Senate are the latest in a concerted, industry-wide effort to modernize regulations relating to pari-mutuel winnings. Updates proposed by the NTRA would clarify regulations by redefining the “amount of the wager” to include all of a bettor’s investment into a single pari-mutuel pool, and not simply the base amount of the winning combination. The effort has received support from Members of Congress as well as all segments of the horse racing industry, including customers, who last year submitted nearly 12,000 comments to the Treasury and IRS in support of the proposed change.

“Modernization of tax regulations relating to pari-mutuel winnings is a top priority of the NTRA in Washington,” NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said. “We appreciate the fact that the House recognizes the need to modernize pari-mutuel tax regulations that are outdated and burdensome. It is time for the Treasury to act.”

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