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Sen. Menendez Tries to Revive Minority Tax Certificate

Bill encourages large telecommunications companies to sell properties to smaller ones.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has introduced a bill to reinstate a version of the minority tax certificate, providing tax advantages to encourage sellers to sell their media properties to socially disadvantaged businesses (SDBs.)

Despite owning almost 1-in-5 businesses in the U.S., the proportion of radio stations minorities own is less than 1-in-12, according to Menendez. For television stations, that number falls to 1-in-33.

The bill encourages large companies to sell properties to smaller ones by providing $350 million in tax certificates for use over a six-year period to SDBs certified by the FCC. Eligible sellers can use the tax certificates to either defer part of their capital gains for three years or reduce the basis of any property already held or purchased within one year after the original transaction by the certificate amount.

Congress killed the previous minority tax certificate program in1995 following abuse allegations.