Much of the tussle between the White House and Senate Republicans centered around cuts in individuals’ tax rates that date back as far as 2001 and due to expire Dec. 31.  

The individual-rates issue is important to the many design and construction firms that are set up as partnerships, subchapter S corporations and other “pass-through” entities, which are taxed at individual, not corporate rates. AIA and AGC have estimated that 80% of their member firms fall into the pass-through category.

Under an 11th-hour agreement hammered out mainly by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rates would rise to 39.6% from 35% for individuals with incomes over $400,000 and couples earning more than $450,000.

Republicans had wanted no tax hikes; President Obama had argued for increases for those with incomes over $250,000.

But under the legislation, those making more than $250,000 ($300,000 for couples) will see reductions in the level of itemized deductions and personal exemptions they can take.

The measure ends the practice of one-year “patches” to raise the threshold for the alternative minimum tax by putting in place an annual increase for inflation.

The bill also raises the rates on income from dividends and capital gains for individuals earning over $400,000 (or $450,000 for couples).

In addition, the measure extends unemployment insurance for one year, a provision that was an Obama administration priority.

Story updated on Jan. 2 to include comments from industry groups and Jan. 3 to include bill signing and correct debt limit.