04/12/2017 2:36PM

Dozen congressmen pen letter in support of tax changes

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Twelve congressmen have signed a letter sent to the Department of the Treasury supporting a change to the tax code that would be highly favorable to horseplayers, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which has lobbied for the change.

The signers included congressmen from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The letter was written by Reps. John Yarmuth (D.-Ky.) and Patrick Meehan (R.-Pa.), according to the NTRA.

A public-comment period on the changes ended in early April, and NTRA officials have expressed confidence that the changes will be formally enacted this year. However, widespread shortages of manpower in the federal government under the current White House administration and uncertainty over the federal budget have dampened expectations that the changes will be enacted this spring.

The changes would allow bettors to count the entire amount they bet into a single parimutuel pool when determining whether a payout triggers federal reporting and withholding requirements. That likely would substantially reduce the number of bets subject to automatic reporting and withholding and increase the money in circulation available for betting. The entire racing industry supports the changes.

The letter from the congressmen said the changes would bring tax regulations for parimutuel wagering “up to date,” hewing to the NTRA’s line that the changes are necessary due to the rapid growth in exotic wagering over the past 30 years. The current regulations were put in place in the mid-1970s.

“The proposal better reflects the current parimutuel wagering environment and will lead to increased compliance while reducing burdensome paperwork, creating an overall system that will be more accurate and equitable for taxpayers,” the letter said.