WASHINGTON (4/15/08)--New tax breaks for small business included in the recently enacted economic stimulus package could provide opportunities for credit unions interested in promoting member business lending, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The law raises the amount small businesses can deduct for new equipment to encourage such expenditures. It also liberalizes depreciation rules. The purpose of the legislation is to give a boost to the nation’s ailing economy. The statute is known formally as the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 (H.R. 5140), and was signed into law on February 13 (P.L 110-185). The sections of the new law dealing with small business tax concessions are described in “Section 179 expensing,” and in a second provision, entitled “bonus depreciation.” The first section is an enhancement of current tax rules dealing with the deductibility of purchased equipment by small business firms. It rose to $250,000 from $128,000, the value of equipment that can be “expensed.” The phase-out window for the expensing tax break begins at equipment costing $800,000--up from $510,000. Equipment priced at $1,050,000 and over is ineligible. The second tax concession for small business is a liberalized “bonus depreciation,” where 50% of an investment, with an expected lifespan of less than 20 years, can be deducted in 2008--provided it is placed in service this year. Congress included the small business investment incentives in this much debated economic rescue package because of belief this sector has been crucial in rejuvenating the nation’s economy during past crises. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) urges credit unions to check out the new law for new lending opportunities, but stresses that credit unions should consult first with tax advisors.