The IRS has reminded taxpayers that a special tax provision will permit more individuals to easily deduct donations of up to $600 to qualifying charities on their 2021 federal income tax return. Gener...
The IRS will launch a new feature on November 1, 2021, allowing any family receiving monthly Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments to update their income using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP). T...
The IRS has updated its frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) on 2020 Unemployment Compensation Exclusion. These updated FAQs are: (1) Question 2, Topic D: Amended Return (Form 1040-X); (2) Questions 8...
In October and November of 2021, the IRS is sending informational-only CP256V Notices to self-employed individuals and household employers that chose to defer paying certain Social Security taxes unde...
The IRS has provided FAQs regarding Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFR Funds). The FAQs detail the tax consequences for individual recipients and the reporting requirements for th...
The IRS has released frequently asked questions (FAQs) detailing reporting directions for certain passthrough entities and taxpayers partnership interests reporting held in connection with the perfo...
The IRS has updated how users sign in and verify their identity for certain IRS online services with a mobile-friendly platform. The platform relies on trusted third parties and provides an improved u...
A taxpayer was properly subject to Arkansas sales and use tax as the taxpayer was not entitled to farm machinery and equipment exemption because he failed to show the purchased equipment was used excl...
Effective July 1, 2021 the city of Sardis will repeal its tourism tax. The Sardis tourism tax is levied at the rate of 3% on the gross proceeds derived from sales of prepared foods at restaurants and ...
Effective October 1, 2021, a customer must follow a specific procedure to, in limited instances, file a claim for refund of erroneously paid sales or use tax directly with the Tennessee Department of ...
The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the House of Representatives in a late night vote on November 5 by a 228-206 vote with 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to get the bill across the finish line after 6 Democrats voted the bill down.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the House of Representatives in a late night vote on November 5 by a 228-206 vote with 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to get the bill across the finish line after 6 Democrats voted the bill down. President Biden signed the infrastructure bill into law on November 15 after Congress came back from a week-long recess.
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ( P.L. No. 117-58), includes a few tax provisions mixed in with the spending on to repair and rebuild the nation’s bridges, climate issues and other items. It passed the Senate with a 69-30 vote in August.
Cryptocurrency Reporting And Other Tax Provisions
Among the tax provisions in the bill is an expansion of the reporting requirements available to cryptocurrency, which is one of the revenue generators to help offset the new spending in the bill. It is believed that a significant amount of cryptocurrency gains escape taxation due to underreporting.
The bill also includes a few other tax changes meant to spur private infrastructure investment, raise revenue, and expand the scope and applicability of disaster declarations, in addition to typical extension of highway funding provisions. These other changes include
- An extension of highway taxes to 2028 and highway trust fund expenditure authority to 2026;
- Inclusion of qualified broadband projects and carbon dioxide capture facilities among the other types of projects for which private activity bonds can be issued;
- A return of the exception for water and sewage disposal utilities from the rule requiring a corporation to recognize contributions in aid of construction (removed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017);
- A return of Superfund excise taxes on certain chemicals, last effective in the mid-1990s;
- Termination of the employee retention credit for employers closed due to COVID-19 after September 30, 2021; and
- Changes to the extension of tax deadlines due to declared disasters and service in a combat area, as well as expansion of extension authority to taxpayers impacted by wildfires.
The IRS has released the annual inflation adjustments for 2022 for the income tax rate tables, plus more than 56 other tax provisions.
The IRS has released the annual inflation adjustments for 2022 for the income tax rate tables, plus more than 56 other tax provisions. The IRS makes these cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) each year to reflect inflation.
2022 Income Tax Brackets
For 2022, the highest income tax bracket of 37 percent applies when taxable income hits:
- $647,850 for married individuals filing jointly and surviving spouses,
- $539,900 for single individuals and heads of households,
- $323,925 for married individuals filing separately, and
- $13,450 for estates and trusts.
2022 Standard Deduction
The standard deduction for 2022 is:
- $25,900 for married individuals filing jointly and surviving spouses,
- $19,400 for heads of households, and
- $12,950 for single individuals and married individuals filing separately.
The standard deduction for a dependent is limited to the greater of:
- $1,150 or
- the sum of $400, plus the dependent’s earned income.
Individuals who are blind or at least 65 years old get an additional standard deduction of:
- $1,400 for married taxpayers and surviving spouses, or
- $1,750 for other taxpayers.
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Exemption for 2022
The AMT exemption for 2022 is:
- $118,100 for married individuals filing jointly and surviving spouses,
- $75,900 for single individuals and heads of households,
- $59,050 for married individuals filing separately, and
- $26,500 for estates and trusts.
The exemption amounts phase out in 2022 when AMTI exceeds:
- $1,079,800 for married individuals filing jointly and surviving spouses,
- $539,900 for single individuals, heads of households, and married individuals filing separately, and
- $88,300 for estates and trusts.
Expensing Code Sec. 179 Property in 2022
For tax years beginning in 2022, taxpayers can expense up to $1,080,000 in section 179 property. However, this dollar limit is reduced when the cost of section 179 property placed in service during the year exceeds $2,700,000.
Estate and Gift Tax Adjustments for 2022
The following inflation adjustments apply to federal estate and gift taxes in 2022:
- the gift tax exclusion is $16,000 per donee, or $164,000 for gifts to spouses who are not U.S. citizens;
- the federal estate tax exclusion is $12,060,000; and
- the maximum reduction for real property under the special valuation method is $1,230,000.
2022 Inflation Adjustments for Other Tax Items
The maximum foreign earned income exclusion amount in 2022 is $112,000.
The IRS also provided inflation-adjusted amounts for the:
- adoption credit,
- lifetime learning credit,
- earned income credit,
- excludable interest on U.S. savings bonds used for education,
- various penalties, and
- many other provisions.
Effective Date of 2022 Adjustments
These inflation adjustments generally apply to tax years beginning in 2022, so they affect most returns that will be filed in 2023. However, some specified figures apply to transactions or events in calendar year 2022.
The 2022 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that affect pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions have been released by the IRS.
The 2022 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that affect pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions have been released by the IRS. In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2022 because the increase in the cost-of-living index due to inflation met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, other limitations will remain unchanged.
The 2022 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) were released for:
- pension plan dollar limitations, and
- other retirement-related provisions.
Highlights of Changes for 2022
The contribution limit has increased from $19,500 to $20,500 for employees who take part in:
- most 457 plans, and
- the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan.
The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over in the plans above remains $6,500.
The annual limit on contributions to an IRA remains unchanged at $6,000. The $1,000 IRA catch-up contribution amount is not subject to inflation adjustments.
The income ranges increased for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to:
- Roth IRAs, and
- to claim the Saver's Credit.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. The deduction phases out if the taxpayer or their spouse takes part in a retirement plan at work. The phase out depends on the taxpayer's filing status and income.
- Single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $68,000 and $78,000, increased from between $66,000 and $76,000.
- Joint filers, when the spouse making the contribution takes part in a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $109,000 and $129,000, increased from between $105,000 and $125,000.
- An IRA contributor, who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan but their spouse is, the phase out is between $204,000 and $214,000, increased from between $198,000 and $208,000.
- For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace plan, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.
- The phase-out ranges for Roth IRA contributions are:
- $129,000 to $144,000, for singles and heads of household,
- $204,000 to $214,000, for joint filers, and
- $0 to $10,000 for married separate filers.
Finally, the income limit for the Saver' Credit is:
- $68,000 for joint filers,
- $51,000 for heads of household, and
- $34,000 for singles and married filing separately.
The IRS has released additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness guidance.
The IRS has released additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness guidance. The guidance addresses (1) timing issues; (2) partner and consolidated group member basis adjustments; and (3) filing of amended partnership returns and information statements.
Timing of Tax-exempt Income
A taxpayer that received a PPP loan may treat tax-exempt income resulting from the partial or complete forgiveness of the PPP loan as received or accrued as follows:
- As the taxpayer pays or incurs eligible expenses. Under the safe harbor that allows certain taxpayers who relied on prior guidance and did not deduct certain PPP-related expenses on a tax return filed before the COVID Tax Relief Act was enacted, to deduct the expenses in the next tax year. A taxpayer that has elected to use the safe harbor will be treated as paying or incurring the eligible expenses during the taxpayer’s immediately subsequent tax year following the taxpayer’s 2020 tax year in which the expenses were actually paid or incurred, as described in Rev. Proc. 2021-20;
- When the taxpayer files an application for forgiveness of the PPP loan; or;
- When the PPP loan forgiveness is granted.
The timing treatment also applies to the extent tax-exempt income resulting from the partial or complete forgiveness of a PPP loan is treated as gross receipts under a federal tax provision.
If a taxpayer received PPP loan forgiveness of less than the amount that the taxpayer previously treated as tax-exempt income, the taxpayer must file an amended return, information return, or administrative adjustment request as applicable.
Partnership Allocations and Basis Adjustments
If covered partnerships meet certain requirements, the IRS will treat the covered taxpayer’s allocation of amounts treated as tax exempt income and allocation of deductions as determined in accordance with Code Sec. 704(b). A partner's basis in its interest is increased by the partner’s distributive share of tax exempt income and is decreased by the partner’s distributive share of deductions. If certain conditions are met, the treatment generally applies in connection with:
- deductions and amounts treated as tax exempt income arising in connection with the forgiveness of a PPP loan;
- deductions and amounts treated as tax exempt income arising in connection with payments made by the SBA on behalf of the taxpayer with respect to a covered loan under § 1112(c) of the CARES Act; and
- the allocation of deductions and amounts treated as tax exempt income arising in connection with the taxpayer receiving a Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance or a Restaurant Revitalization Grant.
Consolidated Group Members
For consolidated group members, the IRS will treat any amount excluded from gross income under § 7A(i) of the Small Business Act, § 276(b) of the COVID Tax Relief Act, or § 278(a)(1) of the COVID Tax Relief Act, as applicable, as tax exempt income for purposes of Reg. §1.1502-32(b)(2)(ii) investment adjustments. For the treatment to apply, the consolidated group must attach a signed statement to its consolidated tax return.
Eligible partnerships subject to the centralized partnership audit regime (BBA partnerships) that filed a Form 1065 and furnished all required Schedules K-1 for tax years ending after March 27, 2020 and before Rev. Proc. 2021-50 was issued may file amended partnership returns and furnish amended Schedules K-1 on or before December 31, 2021. The amended returns must take into account tax changes under Rev. Proc. 2021-48 or Rev. Proc. 2021-49, but eligible BBA partnerships may make any additional changes on their amended returns.
The amended return applies to any partnership tax year ending after March 27, 2020 and before the issuance of Rev. Proc. 2021-48 and Rev. Proc. 2021-49. The BBA partnership must clearly indicate the application of this revenue procedure on the amended return and write "FILED PURSUANT TO REV PROC 2021-50" at the top of the amended return and attach a statement with each amended Schedule K-1 furnished to its partners with the same notation.
Special rules apply to pass-through partners. A partnership under examination that wishes to use this amended return procedure must notify the revenue agent coordinating the partnership’s examination.
The IRS issued guidance related to the application of the per diem rules under Rev. Proc. 2019-48 to the temporary 100-percent deduction for business meals provided by a restaurant.
The IRS issued guidance related to the application of the per diem rules under Rev. Proc. 2019-48 to the temporary 100-percent deduction for business meals provided by a restaurant. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 ( P.L. 116-260) temporarily increased the deduction from 50 percent to 100 percent for a business’s restaurant food and beverage expenses for 2021 and 2022.
Application of Per Diem Rules
Under Rev. Proc. 2019-48, taxpayers using the per diem rules to substantiate deductible food and beverage expenses must still apply the 50-percent limitation. According to the IRS guidance, taxpayers that follow Rev. Proc. 2019-48 may treat the entire meal portion of a the per diem or allowance as being attributable to food or beverages provided by a restaurant.
This IRS guidance is effective for the meal portion of per diem allowances for lodging and M&IE, or for M&IE only that are paid or incurred by an employer after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023.
The IRS has released guidance which addresses the federal income tax treatment and information reporting requirements for payments made to or on behalf of financially distressed individual homeowners by a state with funds allocated from the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
The IRS has released guidance which addresses the federal income tax treatment and information reporting requirements for payments made to or on behalf of financially distressed individual homeowners by a state with funds allocated from the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). The fund was established under section 3206 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, P.L. No. 117-2, in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This guidance is effective on November 8, 2021, and would apply to qualified expenses paid after January 21, 2020.
Disaster Relief Payments
The IRS guidance provides that any HAF payment made to or on behalf of a homeowner is qualified disaster relief payment within the meaning of Code Sec. 139(b)(4) since COVID-19 is a qualified disaster. As a result, such payments are not included in the homeowner’s gross income. However, a homeowner that receives a HAF payment, or on whose behalf a HAF payment is made, for qualified expenses cannot take a deduction or credit with respect to such expenses. Qualified expenses under the HAF program include assistance payments for mortgage payments, utilities, and insurance.
Safe Harbor for Tax Deductions
For tax years beginning in 2021 through 2025, a homeowner may deduct as qualified mortgage interest expenses or qualified real property tax expenses on the homeowner’s federal income tax return for the lesser of:
- the sum of all payments the homeowner actually makes from the homeowner’s own sources during the taxable year to the mortgage servicer; or
- the sum of amounts shown on Form 1098, for qualified housing payment expenses.
A homeowner may first allocate the HAF payments to qualified expenses that are not qualified housing payment expenses before allocating the remaining portion of the HAF payments to qualified housing payment expenses. A qualified housing payment a payment for a mortgage or taxes that would be eligible to be deducted on the taxpayer’s return.
A homeowner is eligible to claim relief under the IRS guidance if:
- the homeowner receives a payment from, or a payment is made on the homeowner’s behalf by, a State;
- the payment is made with funds from the HAF;
- the payment is used to pay qualified expenses of the homeowner, and at least one of the expenses is a qualified housing payment expense;
- the homeowner has also paid a portion of the qualified housing payment expense from their own sources;
- the homeowner itemizes deductions on their federal income tax return;
- the homeowner would meet the requirements of Code Sec. 163(h)(3) to deduct qualified mortgage interest expenses, if they paid the qualified mortgage interest expenses from the homeowner’s own sources; and
- the homeowner would meet the requirements of Code Sec. 164(a)(1) to deduct qualified real property tax expenses if the homeowner paid the qualified real property tax expenses from the Homeowner’s own sources.
Since HAF payments made to or on behalf of homeowners are excluded from the gross income of the homeowners, they are not fixed or determinable income under Code Sec. 6041 and information reporting for such payments is not required. HAF payments that are made directly to third parties on behalf of homeowners, such as payments made to insurance companies and homeowners associations, are generally reportable to those third parties if they constitute fixed or determinable income to the third party and the aggregate payments meet the $600 reporting threshold. Moreover, the interest received from a governmental unit or an agency or instrumentality of a governmental unit is not interest received on a mortgage. Lenders who receive a homeowner’s mortgage payments directly from a State should not report the interest received from the State on Form 1098 as interest received on the homeowner’s mortgage.
If a lender files and furnishes a Form 1098 that includes mortgage interest received directly from the State, thereby reporting an incorrect amount of interest on the information return, the lender will not be subject to penalties under Code Secs. 6721 and 6722 so long as the lender notifies the homeowner that the amounts reported on the Form 1098 are overstated because they include payments from a governmental unit or an agency or instrumentality of a governmental unit, and sets forth the amount of the overstatement. Such notification to the homeowner should be made at the time the Form 1098 is furnished or within 30 days thereafter, and can be provided in a separate statement (written or electronic), or included on Form 1098 in Box 10 labeled "Other".
The IRS has urged taxpayers, including ones who received stimulus payments or advance Child Tax Credit payments, to follow some easy steps for accurate federal tax returns filing in 2022.
The IRS has urged taxpayers, including ones who received stimulus payments or advance Child Tax Credit payments, to follow some easy steps for accurate federal tax returns filing in 2022.
Organized tax records
Taxpayers can easily prepare complete and accurate tax returns with the help of organized tax records. Organized tax records also help avoid errors that lead to processing and refund delays. Taxpayers must have all tax information available before filing their tax returns. Taxpayers must inform the IRS of any address changes and the Social Security Administration of a legal name change.
Recordkeeping for individuals includes the following:
- Forms W-2 from employer(s),
- Forms 1099 from banks, issuing agencies and other payers, including unemployment compensation, dividends, distributions from a pension, annuity or retirement plan,
- Form 1099-K, 1099-MISC, W-2 or other income statement for workers in the gig economy,
- Form 1099-INT for interest received, and
- other income documents and records of virtual currency transactions.
Individuals can determine if they are eligible for deductions or credits with the help of income documents. Further, taxpayers will need their related 2021 information to reconcile their advance payments of the Child Tax Credit and Premium Tax Credit. People will also need their stimulus payment and plus-up amounts to figure and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit if they received third Economic Impact Payments and think they qualify for an additional amount.
Further, taxpayers must secure the end of year documents, including the following:
- Letter 6419, 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, to reconcile advance Child Tax Credit payments,
- Letter 6475, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment, to determine eligibility to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, and
- Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, to reconcile advance Premium Tax Credits for Marketplace coverage.
Taxpayers can securely gain entry to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to see their payment dates and amounts through their Online Account. This information will be required to reconcile taxpayers’ advance Child Tax Credit payments with the Child Tax Credit they can claim when filing their 2021 tax returns.
Eligible individuals claiming a 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit can view their Economic Impact Payment amounts in their online account to accurately claim the credit when they file.
Those who have an Online Account may:
- see the amounts of their Economic Impact Payments,
- access Child Tax Credit Update Portal for information regarding their advance Child Tax Credit payments,
- approve or reject authorization requests from their tax professional, and
- update their email address and opt-out/in for selected paper notice preferences.
The IRS has informed that individuals may want to consider adjusting their withholding if they owed taxes or received a large refund the previous year. Individuals can help avoid a tax bill or let individuals keep more money every payday by changing withholding. Some reasons for adjusting withholding might be marriage or divorce, childbirth or taking on a second job. Taxpayers may complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, every year and when personal or financial situations change.
Further, individuals should make quarterly estimated tax payments if they receive a substantial amount of non-wage income like self-employment income, investment income, taxable Social Security benefits and in some instances, pension and annuity income. The due date for 2021 is January 18, 2022.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) will expire on December 31, 2021 if it was not included on a U.S. federal tax return at least once for tax years 2018, 2019 and 2020. The IRS has reminded taxpayers that ITINs with middle digits 70 through 88 have expired. Further, ITINs with middle digits 90 through 99, IF assigned before 2013, have expired. Individuals are not required to renew again if they previously submitted a renewal application that was approved.
Individuals can access their refund faster than a paper check with the help of direct deposit. Taxpayers without a bank account can learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool. Veterans can visit the Veterans Benefits Banking Program to access financial services at participating banks.
IRS Certified Volunteers
The IRS has encouraged people to join the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs to prepare a free tax return for eligible taxpayers.
All members of the G20 on October 30 endorsed a global corporate minimum tax rate of 15 percent in an effort to eliminate countries slashing corporate tax rates and creating tax shelters to attract large multinational corporations.
All members of the G20 on October 30 endorsed a global corporate minimum tax rate of 15 percent in an effort to eliminate countries slashing corporate tax rates and creating tax shelters to attract large multinational corporations.
The agreement comes on the heels of an international agreement in October among 136 of the 140 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members, that featured two pillars. Under Pillar One, taxing rights will be reallocated to market jurisdictions to ensure that market economies receive tax revenue even in locations where large multinational enterprises (MNEs) lack a physical presence. MNEs with global sales above 20 billion euro and profitability above 10 percent will be covered by the new rules, with 25 percent of profit above the 10 percent threshold to be reallocated to market jurisdictions.
Pillar Two introduces the global minimum corporate tax rate set at 15 percent, which applies to companies with revenue above 750 million euro.
Each country will need to ratify the tax within its own governing structure.
"The final political agreement as set out in the Statement on a Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy and in the Detailed Implementation Plan, released by the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) on October 8, is a historic achievement through which we will establish a more stable and fairer international tax system," the final Rome Declaration states. "We call on the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS to swiftly develop the model rules and multilateral instruments as agreed in the Detailed Implementation Plan, with a view to ensure that the new rules will come into effect at global level in 2023."
Tax To Generate $60 Billion Annually for U.S.
A White House spokesperson said October 29 ahead of the formal G20 endorsement that the 15 percent global corporate minimum tax would generate at least $60 billion annually. The tax has been proposed as part of the current version of the Build Back Better Act ( H.R. 5376) as a key revenue generator that will help offset the $1.75 trillion in new spending that is included in the legislation. The House Rules Committee is in the process of reviewing that legislation as the last stop before the bill advances to the lower chamber of Congress for consideration, something that could happen as early as the week of November 1.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at a November 1 press conference that while the agreed upon global corporate minimum tax rate was set at 15 percent, it could conceivably go higher, although she does not expect it to.
Individual countries "may choose themselves to establish a higher tax, but I expect many countries to adopt a 15 percent tax," Yellen said, adding that there is nothing that makes 15 percent represents a fixed percentage, a minimum or even a ceiling. " I don't think that there's broad agreement on that. It works for many countries, and I don't think that that's something that is going to be reconsidered as a as a global minimum."
In a case of first impression, the Tax Court retained jurisdiction over a petition for redetermination with respect to a whistleblower's claim for an award after the petitioner’s death.
In a case of first impression, the Tax Court retained jurisdiction over a petition for redetermination with respect to a whistleblower's claim for an award after the petitioner’s death. The informant filed a claim for an award with the IRS Whistleblower Office (WBO) for naming multiple target taxpayers. The WBO denied the claim and the informant appealed the determination to the Tax Court under Code Sec. 7623(b)(4). The informant died after filing the petition, but before the trial. Moreover, the informant's claim with respect to two of the target taxpayers was pending before the Tax Court prior to the petitioner’s death.
Litigation Post-Death of Informant
The counsel for the informant filed a motion to substitute the informant's estate in order to continue to prosecute the informant's claim after his death. At trial, the Tax Court stated that its jurisdiction over a petition filed under Code Sec. 7623(b)(4) was not extinguished by the death of the informant because the WBO reached a final determination and a petition was filed. Further, the informant's claim survived his death and his estate had standing to be substituted as the petitioner.
An S corporation’s disposition of a major league baseball team was a disguised sale to a newly formed partnership.
An S corporation’s disposition of a major league baseball team was a disguised sale to a newly formed partnership. The taxpayer had formed the partnership, with a renowned family, where the taxpayer contributed the major league baseball team and related assets and the family contributed cash. Subsequently, the partnership then distributed cash to the taxpayer (the transaction) which represented a "disguised sale" which was taxable under Code Sec. 707. Further, the IRS had issued a notice of deficiency to the taxpayer and a notice of final partnership administrative adjustment (FPAA) as to the partnership for the tax year at issue. The IRS claimed that since the debt funded by the family was not bona fide debt, it was supposed to be disregarded for purposes of the debt-financed distribution rule. The taxpayer argued that the transaction was a disguised sale but that the distribution to the taxpayer was not taxable because it was a debt-financed distribution. Moreover, the taxpayer contended that it should be allocated to the debt because it bore the economic risk of loss on account of its guaranties. However, the IRS contended that the possibility of the taxpayer being called on to fulfill the guaranties was so remote it they should be disregarded.
Whether the Sub Debt was Bona Fide Debt or Equity
The parties disputed whether the amount of sub debt which the partnership borrowed from a finance company was bona fide debt and therefore a partnership liability. The factors which determined the same (the Dixie Dairies factors), such as: 1) presence or absence of a fixed maturity date; (2) names given to the certificates evidencing the indebtedness; (3) source of payments; (4) right to enforce payments; (5) participation rights; (6) status of the advances in relation to regular corporate creditors; (7) intent of the parties weighs strongly toward equity; (8) identity of interest between creditor and stockholder; (9) ‘thinness’ of capital structure in relation to debt; (10) ability of the corporation to obtain credit from outside sources; (11) use to which the advances were put; (12) failure of the debtor to repay; and (13) risk, all strongly favored that the sub-debt was equity. Because the sub debt was equity, it was not allowed to be allocated to the taxpayer as recourse debt.
Allocation of Partnership Liabilities
The economic substance of the transaction was a disguised sale with a debt-financed distribution, a structure contemplated by both the statute and the regulations. Moreover, under the constructive liquidation test, the taxpayer bore the risk of economic loss for the senior debt. According to the terms of the taxpayer’s guaranty of the senior debt, the taxpayer was obligated to pay when the partnership failed to make a payment and the debt was accelerated, the creditors had exhausted their remedies, and the creditors had failed to collect the full amount of the debt. Therefore, the senior debt guaranty was a nontaxable debt-financed distribution. Finally, the amount of expenses, in the form of legal expenses, paid by the taxpayer to a group of potential buyers, was required to be capitalized.
Amounts received as an annuity are included in gross income to the extent that they exceed the exclusion ratio, which is determined by taking the original investment in the contract, deducting the value of any refund features, and dividing the result by the expected yield on the contract as of the annuity starting date. In general, the expected return is the product of a single payment and the anticipated number of payments to be received, i.e., the total amount the annuitant can expect to receive. In the case of a life annuity, the number of payments is computed based on actuarial tables provided in IRS Regulation Sec. 1.72-9.
If a contract provides for fixed payments to be made to an annuitant for a guaranteed period but specifies that the payments will cease on the annuitant's death, the expected return is computed as if the arrangement were a temporary life annuity rather than a fixed term annuity. The applicable IRS tables under Regulation Sec. 1.72-9 contain multiples based on the guaranteed period (rounded to the nearest whole number of years) and age at the annuity starting date. The expected return under the contract is the product of this multiple and the total annual amount of annuity payments.
Example: Smith is to receive $100 each month for five years, beginning on his 60th birthday, but the payments will cease abruptly and all obligations will be terminated on his death. Either Pursuant to Table IV under IRS Regulations Sec. 1.7209, a 60-year-old male receiving payments for a term of five years can expect to live 4.8 of those five years; that multiple multiplied by $1,200 yields an anticipated return of $5,760. If Table VIII is applicable, the expected return is $5,880, based on a multiple of 4.9.
Another form of annuity provides for fixed periodic payments for the duration of the recipient's life, but for a changing amount: payments of a first amount for an initial guaranteed period, followed by payments of a reduced amount thereafter. In determining the expected return, the contract is treated as a combination of two annuities: (1) a whole life annuity providing payments at the lower amount, commencing at the annuity starting date; and (2) a separate temporary life annuity, of the kind discussed above, providing payments in the amount of the difference between the two specified amounts.
Q: After what period is my federal tax return safe from audit? A: Generally, the time-frame within which the IRS can examine a federal tax return you have filed is three years. To be more specific, Code Sec. 6501 states that the IRS has three years from the later of the deadline for filing the return (usually April 15th for individuals) or, if later, the date you actually filed the return on a requested filing extension or otherwise. This means that if you file your 2014 return on July 10, 2015, the IRS will have until July 10, 2018 to look at it and "assess a deficiency;" not April 15, 2018.
Q: After what period is my federal tax return safe from audit?
A: Generally, the time-frame within which the IRS can examine a federal tax return you have filed is three years. To be more specific, Code Sec. 6501 states that the IRS has three years from the later of the deadline for filing the return (usually April 15th for individuals) or, if later, the date you actually filed the return on a requested filing extension or otherwise. This means that if you file your 2014 return on July 10, 2015, the IRS will have until July 10, 2018 to look at it and "assess a deficiency;" not April 15, 2018.
There are exceptions and caveats to this general principle, however. If you file prior to April 15, the IRS still has until April 15 of the third year that follows to audit your return. This means that if you filed an income tax return on February 10, 2017, you still won't be out-of-the-woods until April 15, 2020. For taxpayers who file fraudulent returns, incorrect returns with the intent to evade tax, and those who do not file at all, the IRS may open an audit at any time.
(Don't confuse the deadline for IRS tax assessments with your right to file a refund claim for an amount that you overpaid, either on a filed return or through withholding or estimated tax payments. That deadline is the later of three years from the filing deadline or two years from your last tax payment.)
You may also find some comfort in the practical IRS audit-cycle rhythm. While you are never truly beyond an audit until the statute of limitations has properly run, there are some general standards to keep in mind. Office audits are usually done within 1 1/2 years of the time the return was filed, and field office audits are complete by 2 1/2 years. The rule of thumb is that if you haven't been contacted within this time frame, you're probably not going to be. Especially for small businesses, the IRS has promised to shorten its normal audit cycle so that those taxpayers are not "left hanging" on potential tax liabilities (with interest and penalties) until the three-year limitations period has expired. Whether this shortened period happens, however, is still open to speculation. Most businesses should continue to make it a practice to keep "tax reserves" to cover such audit liabilities.
The closely-held corporate form of entity is widely used by family-owned businesses. As its name implies, the owners of the business are typically limited to a small group of shareholders. Many businesses operate for years as closely-held corporations without giving a second thought to a little-known danger: the personal holding company tax.
The personal holding company tax lurks in the background to prevent the use of closely-held family corporations as reservoirs in which to collect investment income. The government wants corporations to distribute income rather than enabling shareholders to build an investment portfolio subject only to the corporate income tax.
The tax is triggered by a corporation's percentage of investment to total income. It is imposed on undistributed earnings and is added to the regular corporate tax. One frequent trigger for the personal holding company tax is the accumulation of income earmarked for expanding the business. Despite its ominous nature, the tax can be anticipated and maybe even averted through strategic planning.
Here are some scenarios that have unfortunately triggered the personal holding company tax for other businesses:
- A consolidated return group becomes unaffiliated, or an ineligible group, as the result of a change in stock ownership or a line of business
- A large amount of insurance proceeds are invested until replacement property can be purchased
- For asset protection purposes, a corporation holds investment assets or operating equipment without engaging in other operations
- During a plan of liquidation, a line of business is sold and the sale proceeds are invested while management is attempting to sell remaining assets or businesses
- As part of a plan to invest in a new line of business, a line of business is sold and the sale proceeds are invested while management is attempting to acquire a business or grow its new line of business
It's important to remember that any corporation can be a personal holding company. The IRS has developed two tests: (1) an income test and (2) an ownership test.
The income test is met if 60 percent or more of the corporation's adjusted ordinary gross income is "personal holding company income." This type of income is frequently derived from investment properties and includes:
- Interest, dividends and royalties,
- Mineral, oil and gas royalties,
- Copyright royalties,
- Produced film rents,
- Amounts received in compensation for use of the corporation's property,
- Compensation from personal contracts, where the corporation is not a personal service company, and
- Estate and trust income.
There are some important exceptions to this list. Some types of royalties, for example, are excluded.
Note. The PHC income test is not a test of gross receipts. The income test compares gross receipts less the cost of goods sold to investment income less its direct costs. Gross profit margins are significant to the test and investment activities generally have few direct costs. Thus, an increase in investment income is leveraged for purposes of the PHC income test and an increase in investment income that is insignificant to total gross income can cause investment income to exceed 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Manufacturing businesses are at a disadvantage. Because of high cost of goods sold when compared to a service business that has little or no costs of goods sold.
The ownership test is met if five or fewer individuals owned more than 50 percent of the corporation's stock value at any time during the last half of the tax year. The ownership test also has some important exceptions. Some important - and common - types of corporations are excluded:
- S corporations,
- Tax-exempt corporations,
- Banks, lending or finance companies,
- Small business investment companies, and
- Corporations in bankruptcy.
The personal holding company tax doesn't have to be an unwelcome and expensive surprise. If your business has experienced - or is planning - any of the events that could trigger the tax, give our office a call. Careful planning can help avoid or minimize the tax; at any rate, it can alert you to your possible liability for the tax.
Many people are surprised to learn that some "luxury" items can be deductible business expenses. Of course, moderation is key. Excessive spending is sure to attract the IRS's attention. As some recent high-profile court cases have shown, the government isn't timid in its crackdown on business owners using company funds for personal travel and entertainment.
First class travel
The IRS doesn't require that your business travel be the cheapest mode of transportation. If it did, businesspeople would be traveling across the country by bus instead of by plane. However, the expense as it is relative to the business purpose must be reasonable. Taking the Queen Mary II across the Atlantic to a business meeting in the U.K. could raise a red flag at the IRS.
As long as your business is turning a profit and is operated legitimately as a business and not a hobby, traveling first class generally is permissible. Even though a coach airline seat will get you to your business appointment just as quickly and an inexpensive hotel room is a place to sleep, the IRS generally won't try to reduce your deduction.
However, if your trip lacks a business purpose, the IRS will deny your travel-related deductions. Don't try to disguise a family vacation as a business trip. Many people are tempted; it's not worth the consequences, especially in today's environment where the IRS is aggressively looking for business abuses.
Convention expenses are deductible if a sufficient relationship exists to your profession or business and the convention is in North America. No deduction is allowed for attending conventions or seminars about managing your personal investments.
Overseas conventions definitely get the IRS's attention. If you want to deduct the costs of attending a foreign convention, you have to show that the convention is directly related to your business and it is as reasonable to hold the convention outside North America as within North America.
Country clubs expenses
Country club dues are not deductible. In fact, no part of your dues for clubs organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or social purposes is deductible.
Some country club costs may be partially deductible if you can show a direct business purpose and you meet some tough written substantiation requirements. These include greens fees as well as food and beverage expenses. They may be deductible up to 50 percent.
Meals and entertainment
Younger colleagues don't remember when business meals were 100 percent deductible and deals were brokered at "three martini lunches." Meals haven't been 100 percent deductible for a long time and, like other entertainment expenses, the IRS combs them carefully for abuses.
Expenditures for meals, entertainment, amusement, and recreation are not deductible unless they are directly related to, or associated with, the active conduct of your business. The IRS also requires you to keep a written or electronic log, made at the time you make the expenditure, recording the time, place, amount and business purpose of each expense.
Even if you pass the two tests, only 50 percent of meal and entertainment expenses are deductible. If you write-off business meals through your company and there is a proper reimbursement arrangement in place, you won't be charged with any imputed income for the half that is not deductible, but your company will be limited to a 50 percent write-off.
Whether a parent who employs his or her child in a family business must withhold FICA and pay FUTA taxes will depend on the age of the teenager, the amount of income the teenager earns and the type of business.
FICA and FUTA taxes
A child under age 18 working for a parent is not subject to FICA so long as the parent's business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership in which each partner is a parent of the child (if there are additional partners, the taxes must be withheld). FUTA does not have to be paid until the child reaches age 21. These rules apply to a child's services in a trade or business.
If the child's services are for other than a trade or business, such as domestic work in the parent's private home, FICA and FUTA taxes do not apply until the child reaches 21.
The rules are also different if the child is employed by a corporation controlled by his or her parent. In this case, FICA and FUTA taxes must be paid.
Federal income taxes
Federal income taxes should be withheld, regardless of the age of the child, unless the child is subject to an exemption. Students are not automatically exempt, though. The teenager has to show that he or she expects no federal income tax liability for the current tax year and that the teenager had no income tax liability the prior tax year either. Additionally, the teenager cannot claim an exemption from withholding if he or she can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return, has more than $250 unearned income, and has income from both earned and unearned sources totaling more than $800.
Bona fide employee
Remember also, that whenever a parent employs his or her child, the child must be a bona fide employee, and the employer-employee relationship must be established or the IRS will not allow the business expense deduction for the child's wages or salary. To establish a standard employer-employee relationship, the parent should assign regular duties and hours to the child, and the pay must be reasonable with the industry norm for the work. Too generous pay will be disallowed by the IRS.
Owning a vacation home is a common dream that many people share...a special place to get away from the weekday routine, relax and maybe, after you retire, a new place to call home. When thinking about buying a vacation home, you should also think about what you will ultimately do with it. Will it one day be your principal residence? Will you sell it in five, 10 or 20 years? Will you rent it? Will you leave it to your children or other family members? These decisions have important tax consequences.
You'll want to think about:
The maximum long-term capital gains tax rate for 2009 is currently 15 percent taxpayers in the highest brackets. For taxpayers in the 10 and 15 percent brackets, the maximum long-term capital gains rate is zero through 2010. However, these lower rates expire at the end of 2010. The maximum rate is set to rise to 20 percent in 2011. Congress also eliminated a special holding period rule but, again, only through the end of 2011.
The process of computing capital gains because of all these changes is very complicated. Yet, "doing the math" up front in assessing the benefits of a vacation home as a long term investment as well as a source of personal enjoyment is recommended before committing to such a large purchase. Our office can help you make the correct computations.
Renting your vacation home
Renting your vacation home to help defray some or a good portion of your carrying costs, especially in the early years of ownership, can be a sound strategy. Be aware, however, that renting raises many complex tax questions. Special rules limit the deduction you can take. The rules are based on how long you rent the property. If you rent your vacation home for fewer than 15 days during the year, all deductions directly attributable to the rental are not allowed, but you don't have to report any rental income. If you rent your vacation home for more than 15 days, you must recognize the rental income while being allowed deductions only on certain items depending on your personal use of the property. The methodology is very complicated. We can help you pin down your deductions and plan the true cost of ownership, especially if you're planning to swing a vacation home purchase on plans to rent it out.
Home sale exclusion
One of the most generous federal tax breaks for homeowners is the home sale exclusion. If you're single, you can generally exclude up to $250,000 of gain from the sale of your principal residence ($500,000 for married joint filers). Generally, you have to have owned your home for at least two of the five years before the sale, but like all the tax rules, there are exceptions.
Congress modified the home sale exclusion for home sales occurring after December 31, 2008. Under the new law, gain from the sale of a principal residence home will no longer be excluded from gross income for periods that the home is not used as a principal residence. This is referred to as "non-qualifying use." The rule is intended to prevent use of the home sale exclusion of gain for appreciation attributable to periods after 2008 during which the residence was used as a vacation home, or as a rental property before being used as a principal residence. However, the new income inclusion rule is based only on periods of nonqualified use that start on or after January 1, 2009, good news for vacation homeowners who have already owned their properties for a number of years.
Buying a vacation home is a big investment. We can help you explore all these and other important tax consequences.
A remainder interest is the interest you receive in property when a grantor transfers property to a third person for a specified length of time with the provision that you receive full possessory rights at the end of that period. The remainder is "vested" if there are no other requirements you must satisfy in order to receive possession at the end of that period, such as surviving to the end of the term. This intervening period may be for a given number of years, or it may be for the life of the third person. Most often, this situation arises with real estate, although other types of property may be transferred in this fashion as well, such as income-producing property held in trust. The holder of a remainder interest may wish to sell that interest at some point, whether before or after the right to possession has inured.
To determine the amount of gain or loss on the sale of an interest in property, you must first need to know the basis in that property. Generally, the basis of property is either the transferor's basis, if the transferor made a gift of the property while still living, or the fair market value at the time of the transfer if it was a testamentary gift. However, the value of a remainder interest is not the full value of the property, because someone else has an intervening right to its use.
The value of the remainder interest is equal to the undivided value of the property minus the value of the intervening interest. The value of this interest depends on applicable interest rates and the duration of the interest. In the case of a life estate, the duration depends on the age of the recipient and is determined with reference to mortality tables published in the Treasury regulations. The applicable interest rate is specified in Code Sec. 7520 as being 120 percent of the applicable federal rate (AFR) for that month, rounded to the nearest 0.2 percent. You may find these tables at the IRS web site.
IRS Pub. 1457 is known as Actuarial Values Book Aleph and contains tables that express the values of life estates, term interests and remainders. In this publication, you will need to select the appropriate section based on whether the interest is a term for years or a life estate. In each section is a series of tables based on interest rates ranging from 2.2 to 22.2 percent. Find the age of the life estate holder or duration of the term in the first column of the table. Next to it, under the column for remainder interests, is a decimal representation of the fractional interest represented by the remainder. Multiply this decimal by the basis of the property and you have the basis of the remainder interest.
Examples: Bob's grandfather died in March of 2009 and left a house valued at $100,000 to his mother for life, with the remainder interest to Bob. Bob's mother is 65 years old. The Sec. 7520 rate for that month is 2.4 percent, and the fractional value of the remainder is .67881. The value of Bob's interest in the house is $67,881.
For U.S. taxpayers, owning assets held in foreign countries may have a variety of benefits, from ease of use for frequent travelers or those employed abroad to diversification of an investment portfolio. There are, however, additional rules and requirements to follow in connection with the payment of taxes. Some of these rules are very different from those for similar types of domestic income, and more than a few are quite complex.
Two documents do not apply directly to federal income taxation, but are nevertheless highly important. The first of these is a Treasury form, Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. Any individual or organization that owns or has control over a bank or brokerage account must complete this form if the aggregate value of all such accounts under that taxpayer's ownership or control exceeds $10,000. The second such form is not a requirement per se, but taxpayers who have income in a foreign country with which the United States has a treaty would be seriously remiss in failing to complete it. IRS Form 8802, Application for United States Residency Certification, helps to speed and simplify the application process for eligible taxpayers claiming the benefits of tax treaties in connection with foreign taxes paid. Requirements for organizations that may have dual or layered status offer complications that depend on the type of entity, so these instructions must be parsed carefully.
Taxes on real and personal property held overseas are treated quite differently for purposes of federal income taxation, as opposed to the treatment of domestic property. Individuals may claim foreign real property taxes as itemized deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040, just as they would with U.S. real estate. However, taxes on personal property may only be deductible if used in connection with a trade or business or in the production of income.
U.S. taxpayers who own homes in foreign countries are eligible for the capital gains exclusion on the sale of a principal residence subject to the same requirements as domestic homeowners. Likewise, if a taxpayer derives rental income from a home, the rules for reporting income and deductions are the same. However, claiming depreciation expenses in connection with rental income subjects taxpayers to a different set of rules. Code Sec. 168(g) indicates that tangible property used predominantly outside the United States must be depreciated using the alternative depreciation system (ADS), rather than the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS), and involves longer recovery periods. This is true whether the tangible property in question is the residence itself or household appliances contained therein, as well as any other tangible property.
Intangible property such as patents, licenses, trademarks, copyrights and securities produce a variety of types of income, and the taxation of such income may be subject to different rules than similar domestic income. The provisions for taxation of foreign income are often subject to modification by treaty, and the United States has negotiated treaties with over sixty nations.
Income from all sources must be reported in U.S. dollars, regardless of how it is paid. One exception to this rule is that if income is received in a currency that is not convertible to U.S. dollars because of prohibitions placed on conversion by the issuing country, then the taxpayer may choose when to report the income. The income may be reported either in the year earned, according to the most accurate valuation means available, with the taxes paid from other income, or the taxpayer may choose to wait until the currency becomes convertible again.