Draft Infrastructure Bill and "Qualified Broadband Expenses"

The House Ways and Means committee draft of the infrastructure bill is out, and it contains a number of provisions at the intersection of tax and technology. One such provision, the Credit for Operation and Maintenance Costs of Government-owned Broadband, provides for credits to governmental entities that incur costs for “qualified broadband expenses,” which are amounts paid or incurred for the provision of broadband services to qualified households. Qualified households being those low-income households (as defined under Section 45D(e)) that did not have access to said services prior to the start of the taxable year.

This reliance on Section 45D effectively ties the broadband program on to the New Market Tax Credits program. One potential issue here is that there have been several high profile examples of “low-income” tracts actually being anything but — the Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago comes to mind. Attention will need to be paid to the program moving forward to ensure it remains in line with its legislative purpose.