Tax Breaks That Weren't Extended By the 2010 Tax Relief Act Probably Are Gone for Good

By passing the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Relief Act), the outgoing Congress gave a new lease on life to many tax breaks that would have disappeared after either 2009 or 2010. However, it left many tax provisions on the cutting room floor, with only a remote possibility that the incoming Congress will resuscitate them.
Here's a roundup of key provisions that were not extended by the 2010 Tax Relief Act and either expired for good at the end of 2009 or will expire at the end of this year:
Deferral and ratable inclusion for certain debt discharge income. At the taxpayer's election, debt discharge income from the reacquisition of a discounted applicable debt instrument by the taxpayer or a related party after 2008 and before 2011 may be deferred for up to five years, and then included in income ratably over five years.
Exclusion for volunteer emergency medical responders. For tax years beginning before 2011, qualified State or local tax benefits (e.g., deduction or rebate of State or local income) and any qualified payment (provided by a State or political subdivision on account of the performance of services as a member of a qualified volunteer emergency response organization) is excluded from the gross income of members of qualified volunteer emergency response organizations. These amounts also aren't subject to social security, unemployment tax, or withholding.
Health insurance deduction when computing estimated tax. For a taxpayer's first tax year beginning after Dec. 31, 2009, the income tax deduction allowed to self-employeds for the cost of health insurance for themselves, their spouses, dependents, and children who haven't attained age 27 as of the end of the tax year was also allowed in calculating net earnings from self-employment for purposes of the self-employment tax.
Qualified motor vehicle taxes. For purchases on or after Feb. 17, 2009 and before Jan. 1, 2010, an itemized deduction was allowed for qualified motor vehicle taxes. The deduction also was available to those claiming the standard deduction.
Real property tax deduction for nonitemizers. For tax years beginning in 2008 or 2009, taxpayers could take an additional standard deduction amount for state and local real property taxes, up to a maximum of $500 ($1,000 for marrieds filing jointly).
Partial exclusion for unemployment benefits. An up-to-$2,400 exclusion for unemployment compensation benefits applied only for 2009.
Specialized state and local bond provisions. None of these provisions were extended by the 2010 Tax Relief Act: 
     - State and local governments, at their option, may issue Build America Bonds (BABs) as taxable governmental bonds with Federal subsidies for a portion of their borrowing costs. These bonds must be issued before Jan. 1, 2011.
     - Two types of "Recovery Zone Bonds" may be issued, including a type of BABs known as "Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds" and a type of traditional tax-exempt bonds known as "Recovery Zone Facility Bonds." These bonds also must be issued before Jan. 1, 2011.
     - Tax-exempt interest on private activity bonds issued after Dec. 31, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2011, isn't an item of tax preference for purposes of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and isn't included in the corporate adjusted current earnings (ACE) adjustment.
Specialized catch-up contributions. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2009, an individual may no longer deduct catch-up contributions of up to $3,000 each year to his IRA if he participated in a 401(k) plan of an employer (or controlling corporation) that was a debtor in bankruptcy proceedings and an indictment or conviction resulted from transactions related to the bankruptcy.
Alternative motor vehicle credit. These elements of the alternative motor vehicle credit won't be available for post-2010 purchases: the advance lean burn technology motor vehicle credit, the new qualified hybrid motor vehicle credit, and the new qualified alternative fuel motor vehicle credit.