IRS Issues Final Regs for Medical Device Tax as Industry Lobbies for Delay

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Final regulations for application of the medical device excise tax yielded no relief this week for imaging manufacturers. While officials at the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) are still working to repeal the 2.3% tax, they hope to at least convince lawmakers to delay implementation.

“Medical imaging and radiation therapy manufacturers do not have sufficient time to implement or adjust to these destructive regulations,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA via a statement issued on the Virginia-based organization’s Web site. “MITA strongly urges Congress to enact legislation immediately to delay implementation of the medical device tax. Ultimately, Congress should repeal this job-killing tax.”

The tax must be paid, effective January 1, 2013, by device makers on their gross sales. A Dec 5 report by Reuters confirms that the government hopes the tax will raise about $29 billion in revenue during the next decade.

Against the backdrop of urgent discussions concerning the so-called “ fiscal cliff,” advocates still hold out some hope of latching on to compromise legislation that could come at the end of 2012.

Other legislative remedies thus far have not come to fruition, and the prospects of stand-alone legislation are remote. “A repeal bill passed the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives in June,” reports Patrick Temple West in the Reuters report, “but it has not been voted on by the Democratic-controlled Senate.” The president has since stated that he would veto any such bill if it somehow made it to his desk.

Anti-tax commentaries have claimed the new burden would cost American jobs, and even lives, but administration officials such as treasury department spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui have gone on record as saying, “the excise tax is on the medical device manufacturers and importers (who) will now have access to 30 million new customers due to the health care law.”

For now, advocates at MITA continue to emphasize the tax’s harmful economic impact, as well as pointing out that the “lack of time to implement these final regulations is compounded by the new requirement that manufacturers make semimonthly tax payments starting January 29, 2013.” Read MITA's complete statement.