WASHINGTON – Congress has been asked by the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and other business groups to act before 2010 ends to renew several tax benefits for businesses.

At the end of 2009, Congress let several key tax benefits expire. One item is the NRA-backed, 15-year tax depreciation schedule for restaurant spending on new construction and building improvements, retail improvements and leasehold improvements. If Congress doesn't retroactively extend the 15-year schedule, businesses must depreciate costs over 39.5 years in 2010 and beyond.

Bills to reauthorize the restaurant-depreciation schedule and other provisions have been pending without final action for months. Now Congress' only remaining chance to act is during the "lame-duck" session lawmakers will hold starting Nov. 15, after the elections.