Sen. McCaskill Files Tax Bill Amendment to Eliminate Ad Tax Deduction

Nov. 13, 2017 – While it seemed like the elimination of the pharma advertising tax deduction was not on the tax bill table, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today filed an amendment to eliminate that tax deduction.

“Although we’re taking this seriously, a Senate Democrat filing an amendment to a Republican-controlled bill is perhaps not a worst-case scenario,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp in a memo to CHC members. “Still, the Republican margin in the Senate is thin, and this amendment is both an attempt to raise the profile of the issue and to test for possible Republican support,” he said.

The CHC, the 4As and The Advertising Coalition (TAC) have been lobbying hard against the oft-proposed reduction of the deductibility of all marketing costs for client expenses, because these entities believe that taking away the deductibility would harm the economy.

Neither the House nor Senate versions of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 contained a provision to reduce or eliminate this deduction; the McCaskill provision is problematic because it would “raise money to help pay for other popular deductions,” according to Kamp. When last “scored” by budget officials, the pharma-only change raised an estimated $10 billion over 10 years. To raise that amount, the change would need to apply to all pharma marketing, including detailing and provision of samples, he explained.

“Thanks to those of you who wrote to your member of Congress explaining why changing tax deductibility of marketing provision would harm jobs as well as medical education, communication and marketing,” Kamp told CHC leaders. “If appropriate, we will call for grassroots messages to your senators as soon as tomorrow.”