The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, legislation to prevent the United States from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, included several provisions of importance to HR professionals, including making permanent the tax code supporting employer-provided education assistance.

SHRM has advocated for 10 years in support of Section 127 of the U.S. tax code (which allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 a year in educational assistance at the undergraduate and graduate level regardless of whether the education is job related) and has co-chaired the Coalition to Preserve Employer-Provided Education Assistance, a broad-based group representing business, labor and education organizations dedicated to making Section 127 a permanent tax benefit.

Throughout 2012,  SHRM actively advocated on issues of significance to the HR profession. Most recently, SHRM took the lead for the employer community before Congress on such issues as employer-provided education assistance, employer-provided on-site childcare and employer-provided retirement plans. These all were included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress in rare New Year’s sessions and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 2. For an overview of other HR-related provisions included in the bill click HERE.

SHRM communicated directly with members of Congress and their staffs, brought hundreds of SHRM members to Capitol Hill to share their views and expertise with congressional offices, and generated thousands of letters to Congress on critical issues. In a late-year letter to Congress, Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Aitken urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would include provisions to support the HR profession and avoid plunging the country over the fiscal cliff. Click here to see the letter.

SHRM appreciates the many HR advocates for their support, time and assistance on the many public policy priorities that SHRM has discussed on Capitol Hill. The engagement in these issues not only has raised the visibility of HR on Capitol Hill but also has resulted in Congress coming to a consensus as it works toward building the economy. This win demonstrates that the HR voice is critical and has been heard.

See how House and Senate members of Congress voted on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R.8).

The SHRM Government Affairs Team will provide an analysis of the provisions included in the legislation in the next issue of the HR Issues Update e-Newsletter.