Unless you’re truly a connoisseur of the Code, it might surprise you to learn that as of December 31, 2014, 56 provisions of that infernal book were written with a finite lifespan. These 56 sections — collectively referred to as the “extenders” would routinely expire, only to be — you guessed it — “extended” by Congress.
When Congress was at least pretending to do its job effectively, these provisions would be extended on a proactive basis, meaning that if they were set to expire on, say, December 31, 2011, Congress would extend them for 2012 prior to their expiration date. In recent years, however, it has become the norm for Congress to allow the provisions to expire, only to later retroactively breathe life back into them. For example, if the sections expired on December 31, 2013, Congress would allow them to expire and remain expired for the bulk of the year, only to extend the provisions in the waning days of 2014, retroactively effective back to January 1, 2014.
Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.