Congress returns from its August recess this week after a month of campaigning and faces a laundry list of issues to tackle, including extending dozens of expired tax breaks and approving legislation to avoid a government shutdown after Sept. 30. But Capitol Hill observers contend that any significant tax legislation will be bumped to the lame-duck session after the elections or more likely punted to early 2013, given how little time the lawmakers have. The House has scheduled 13 working days before the November election and 16 days post-election until they adjourn for the December recess. The Senate schedule closely mirrors the one for the House. The extenders are just one component of the so-called fiscal cliff, when the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year and the more than $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts are slated to go into effect in January 2013. If Congress fails to act, the economy could nose dive into a deep recession, the Congressional Budget Office warned recently.