America’s long-term care profession is facing a dire financial crisis. With many nursing homes already being forced to close their doors for a multitude of reasons, there is now additional financial pressure on the horizon for providers following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year.
Most signs indicate the economy has improved under the new tax law. Unfortunately, long-term care providers aren’t sharing in the benefits. More than 15,000 nursing homes and nearly 29,000 assisted living communities across the country provide care to millions of people, many in smaller, rural communities. Every year, millions of people depend on local long-term care providers for vital health care services they need and deserve.
The economy is getting stronger. So what’s the problem?
Nursing homes and assisted living communities have long-relied on deducting loan interest payments before paying taxes. This interest deduction is vital because our businesses are capital-intensive. A nursing home can’t exist without a significant real estate investment. Every business owner knows that large capital investments require financing, which generates large interest payments.
The new tax law limits interest deductions for all but certain types of businesses, including so-called “real property trades or businesses.” The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living asked the Internal Revenue Service for clarity on whether businesses that own the real estate associated with long-term care providers can continue to deduct all their interest. In December 2018, the IRS issued a proposed rule that was clear: long-term care providers are prohibited from taking the interest deduction.
The proposed rule is devastating for long-term care providers. Unlike other industries, long-term care providers cannot offset this new tax burden by taking advantage of other benefits provided by recent changes in federal tax law. For example, most providers cannot take advantage of recent reductions in the corporate tax rate or the new deduction for pass-throughs.
Continue reading on Bloomberg Tax.