Archive for 'Taxes'

Feb 09

 22b1d053-bee0-45e9-98e2-9aa4ce83d850

Form 709 is required IF:

  • If the total value of all gifts you make to a single person within the same calendar year exceeds $14,000. Gifts that don’t exceed $14,000 per year to the same person qualify for the annual exclusion from gift taxes.  So if you give your son $10,000 to buy a car and another $10,000 to pay off his credit card debt  you’re actually made a taxable gift to him in the amount of $6,000—$20,000 less the $14,000 exclusion.

Spouses Can “Split” Gifts 

If you or your spouse gives one or more gifts to the same person that exceed $14,000 in value in the same calendar year, you can agree to “split” the gifts between the two of you.

If your spouse gives his son $10,000 to buy a car and another $10,000 to pay off his credit card debt, he has two options even if the entire $20,000 came from an account in his sole name. He can file Form 709 and report $6,000 in taxable gifts to his son, or he can file Form 709 and report that the two of you have elected to divide the gifts between you. In this case, each of you is deemed to have made a $10,000 gift to the son, each coming in under the $14,000 annual exclusion limit so no tax would be due.

What Gifts Are Not Subject to the Gift Tax?

Currently, there are three types of such transfers that are not actually considered gifts at all for federal gift tax purposes: (1) annual exclusion gifts,  (2) certain payments for educational expenses, and (3) certain payments for medical expenses.

The following rules must be strictly adhered to in order for payments for educational expenses to be nontaxable gifts:

  1. The payment must be made directly to the institution providing the education, not to the individual receiving the education.
  2. The payment must be made for tuition only.

Payments that qualify for the medical exclusion are payments made directly to an institution that provides medical care to an individual or to a company that provides medical insurance to an individual, and expenses for medical care are the same as those deductible for income tax purposes.

But note that the payment must be made , not to the individual receiving the medical care or insurance benefit, otherwise the payment will be considered a taxable gift if it exceeds $14,000.

Jan 22

IRS

The shutdown is here and the IRS released its contingency plan for the filing season because, yes, tax season will go on even during a shutdown.
Without a deal, the government officially ran out of money for the fiscal year and shut down at midnight. Of course, shutdown is a loaded word since not every facet of government shuts down. For example, the IRS will maintain some functions, and those are outlined in their contingency plan. Specifically, the agency notes that “If the IRS is confronted by a lapse in appropriations during the 2018 Tax Filing Season (January 1 – April 30, 2018) the IRS will need to continue return processing activities to the extent necessary to protect Government property, which includes tax revenue, and maintain the integrity of the federal tax collection process, along with certain other activities authorized under the Anti-Deficiency Act.”
During a shutdown, agencies are allowed to perform activities that are supported by funding that doesn’t expire at the end of the fiscal year, as well as other activities that are either expressly permitted under the law or are deemed necessary. Sometimes those activities cross over. For example, Social Security payments are funded outside of an annual appropriation, so those employees will continue to work, as well as those IRS employees who support them (even though IRS funding is not outside of annual appropriation).
The law also allows for “activities necessary to safeguard human life or protect government property.” You might not think of your tax return as a matter of life or death but the government begs to differ: The IRS may process tax returns to ensure the protection of those returns that contain remittances (in other words, they can make sure that the government gets its money).
Here’s a partial list of functions that directly impact taxpayers and would typically be put on hold if the government shuts down:
• No tax refunds issued
• No processing of non-disaster relief transcripts
• No processing of forms 1040X, amended returns
• No non-automated collections
• No audit or examinations (some exceptions apply)
• No whistleblower office activity
Here’s a partial list of functions that directly impact taxpayers which will typically continue if the government shuts down:
• Processing of returns with payments
• E-filing
• Mailing tax forms
• Appeals (statutory deadlines will not be changed)
• Call centers (only during filing season)
• Civil and criminal tax cases
• Certain communications to taxpayers
• Active criminal investigations
• IRS.gov
To facilitate those activities, the IRS anticipates that 35,076 employees, or 43.5% of the total employee population, would be retained during a shutdown. So who stays on the job?
Top of the list is Acting IRS Commissioner David J. Kautter. The Commissioner is a presidential appointee who is not subject to furlough. The Commissioner’s salary is paid no matter how many hours he works, so he cannot be placed in a non-duty, non-pay status. A handful of Deputy Commissioners and Chiefs of Staff would also remain on staff or on call as needed.
A significant number of Criminal Investigation (CI) employees – more than 2,800 – are slated to report to work. This makes sense: If the bad guys don’t take a break, neither should those in pursuit of them. Currently, CI is working nearly 3,800 active criminal investigations with an additional 4,800 investigations in the adjudication phase (pre-indictment, indictment, trial and post-trial) in 93 judicial districts. That means that right now, nearly 9,000 investigations are in process on some level: special agents are actively gathering evidence, conducting interviews, testifying in court proceedings, executing search warrants and conducting arrests. CI will operate at close to “normal” levels since federal courts, federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement partners are operating with business as usual.
Just under a dozen employees will be needed to keep the IRS.gov website up and running. During the shutdown, taxpayers should still be able to access a number of online services, including filing tax returns and paying tax online. In fiscal year 2017, IRS.gov served over 1.8 million page views, helping drive more than 121 million form downloads and over 77.5 million payments.
More than 3,000 IT-related workers will stay in place to ensure that taxpayer data is protected and that computer systems function appropriately.
Finally, more than 10,000 Customer Service Representatives will remain in place to handle phones and paper service issues. It’s important to note that this is slated to happen only if a shutdown happens during filing season (during the 2013 government shutdown, customer service operations, including the call centers, stopped).
It’s worth noting that while this is the contingency plan, it’s not set in stone. In 2013, changes were made at the last minute, including shuttering the TAS offices.
The 2018 filing season is slated to open on January 29, shutdown or not. The IRS expects to process more than 155 million individual tax returns in 2018.

 

Dec 17

Congressional leaders unveiled a wide-ranging deal on tax extenders, making some items permanent.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 is a culmination of recent work done in both chambers of Congress and renews and makes permanent important tax incentives that support both individuals and job creators. Among the provisions that would be made permanent are the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the enhanced American Opportunity Tax Credit, the enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit, the above-the-line deduction for teachers who buy school supplies, the charitable deduction of contributions of real property for conservation purposes, along with the Research & Development Tax Credit and Section 179 expensing.

The permanent R&D Tax Credit provision permanently extends the research & development tax credit and, for the first time, allows for eligible small businesses to claim the credit against the alternative minimum tax liability or against the employer’s payroll tax liability. The Section 179 provision permanently extends the small business expensing limitation and phase-out amounts in effect from 2010 to 2014; and sets a new threshold at $500,000 and $2 million, respectively, from the current amounts of $25,000 and $200,000, respectively.

In addition, the legislation suspends the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices through 2017 and delays for two years the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-priced health insurance plans that was supposed to begin in 2018. It also phases out bonus depreciation. Another provision permanently extends the exception from subpart F income for active financing income. The legislation also permanently extends the rule reducing to five years (rather than 10 years) the period for which an S corporation must hold its assets following conversion from a C corporation to avoid the tax on built-in gains.

Another provision permanently extends the ability of individuals at least 70½ years of age to exclude from gross income qualified charitable distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) of up to $100,000 per taxpayer in any tax year.

Congress is expected to vote by the end of the week on the tax legislation along with an omnibus spending bill that was also unveiled late Tuesday night (see Congress Reaches Deal on Tax Extenders).

“Santa came early this year with gifts for almost everyone in the form of numerous tax relief provisions, although the IRS may view its gift as a lump of coal,” said Peter Mills, managing editor of federal taxes for Bloomberg BNA. “Tax planners would gain more certainty because the bill would make permanent many important tax provisions, most notably the research and development credit, the expanded §179 expensing limitations, the enhanced child tax credit, and the earned income tax credit, as well as extending some popular temporary provisions, such as bonus depreciation. Foreign investors would gain advantages in increasing investment in U.S. real estate by increasing their ownership percentage of publicly traded REITs without being taxed on sales of the interests, and by exempting foreign retirement and pension funds from being taxed on sales of REITS holding U.S. real estate. It also would delay some of the taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act. The IRS fares less well under the bill with new restrictions, including a rule providing for the termination of any IRS employee who takes official actions for political purposes. Moreover, the IRS has the burden of processing these changes in time for the upcoming tax season.”

The Internal Revenue Service would receive $11.23 billion in fiscal year 2016, an increase of $290 million over the current level, specifically for customer service, identity theft and cybersecurity, according to the National Treasury Employees Union. While that figure is $1.7 billion less than the administration’s request of $12.9 billion, the NTWU noted, the final amount is an improvement over the House proposal to cut the IRS budget by almost $838 million compared to the current level.

The bill would make permanent a provision that allows retailers to depreciate remodeling and other improvements to their stores over 15 years rather than the previous standard of 39 years, the National Retail Federation pointed out. The provision, which also applies to restaurants, is important because retailers typically remodel every five to seven years. In addition to helping keep stores attractive to customers and profitable, the remodeling work creates tens of thousands of construction jobs each year.

A separate provision that allows 50 percent of the cost of improvements to be written off under “bonus deprecation” would be extended for five years, and would be expanded to cover stores and restaurants that are owned rather than just those that are leased.

Section 179 expensing, which determines the amount of an investment a small business is allowed to write off entirely in the first year rather than being depreciated over multiple years, would be made permanent and its level would be increased.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives retailers a tax incentive to hire the disabled, welfare recipients and other economically challenged individuals, would be renewed for five years.

Paul Gevertzman, a tax partner at Anchin, Block & Anchin, sees benefits in having more certainty about the tax provisions. “The most positive aspect of this extender package is that many of the perennially expiring provisions are either made permanent, or at least pushed off beyond another New Year’s morning expiration,” he said. “What it means for businesses is that they can now plan properly. They can operate with the knowledge that if they follow the prescribed steps they can achieve the anticipated tax result. I had one client tell me just this morning how he’s been sweating it out because they spent $20+ million dollars on equipment purchases in 2015 not knowing for certain how much of that spend could be written off this year. This bill takes the guesswork out of the equation. This certainty allows tax incentives to actually incentivize businesses to spend, rather than to simply provide a benefit to businesses post facto for what they’ve already done.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke of the advantages of the tax deal during a press briefing Wednesday. “I cannot tell you how many times I have visited with small businesses and farmers who tell me, ‘Give me some certainty in the tax code, and I can go create jobs.’ We are finally delivering on one of those tax policies we’ve been trying to—for years—to get certainty in the tax code so we can create more jobs,” he said. “I think this is one of the biggest steps toward a re-write of our tax code that we’ve made in many years. And it will help us start a pro-growth, bold tax reform agenda in 2016.”

The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees have worked on efforts in Congress to overhaul the tax code through working groups, hearings, roundtables, issue papers and markups.

“Passing this legislation and making more tax policies permanent will provide significant tax relief for hard-working taxpayers in every walk of American life, from the middle class to military families to the working poor,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. “It will do the same for businesses and job creators throughout our country, resulting in a healthier U.S. economy, increased growth, and more American jobs,” Hatch said. “Put simply, more permanence in the tax code will be a good thing for our country, and the PATH Act will provide just the kind of permanence we need.”

Earlier this year, the Senate Finance Committee reported out a bipartisan tax extenders package that extended provisions to help families, individuals and small businesses for two years. The House Ways and Means Committee advanced several tax bills that would make permanent a number of policies, like incentives for innovative research and development, among others.

The PATH Act includes a number of bipartisan legislative policies that were advanced by the two tax-writing committees.

“It makes absolutely no sense the way America handles its tax code,” said House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, in a statement. “How can families and local businesses count on tax relief each year as long as Congress can’t decide what’s permanent and what’s not? That confusion ends now, and our economy will be stronger for it.”

However, the bill will come at a cost of billions of dollars added to annual budget deficit, which may complicate passage in Congress.

“This bill highlights clear priorities for reforming our tax system,” said Wyden. “What does that mean?  Millions of working families with children will not find themselves suddenly taxed into poverty. Millions of college students won’t have the rug pulled out from under them when the tuition bill arrives. Charities can confidently plan and expand the good work they do. And small business and enterprises on the forefront of innovation now have the economic certainty they deserve. At the same time we are phasing out provisions like bonus depreciation which were always designed to be temporary. But now is not the time for Congress to slow down and pat itself on the back. Today is a down payment on tax reform and our work continues as we strive towards a complete overhaul of our broken tax system.”

The tax extenders package also includes a five-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit to lead to a phase-down of the industry-specific tax credit. The wind production tax credit will be 100 percent in 2015 and 2016, 80 percent in 2017, 60 percent in 2018 and 40 percent in 2019.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had advocated for passage of this provision. “As the father of the first wind energy tax credit in 1992, I can say that the tax credit was never meant to be permanent,” Grassley said in a statement. “I also can say that the wind energy industry is the only energy industry that came forward with a phase-out plan. The oil and nuclear industries have benefited from tax incentives that have been permanently on the books for decades.  The five-year extension for wind energy brings about the best possible long-term outcome that provides certainty, predictability and a responsible phase-down of a tax incentive for a renewable energy source.”

The tax package includes an extension of the existing biodiesel fuel blenders credit, the small agri-biodiesel producer credit, the tax credit for cellulosic biofuels producers, the alternative fuel vehicle refueling tax credit, and bonus depreciation for cellulosic biofuel facilities.

Jul 31

little-boxes-624x236

Additional information on returns relating to mortgage interest.

Sec. 6050H is amended to require new information on the mortgage information statements that are required
to be sent to individuals who pay more than $600 in mortgage interest in a year. These statements will now be
required to report the outstanding principal on the mortgage at the beginning of the calendar year, the address
of the property securing the mortgage, and the mortgage origination date. This change applies to returns and
statements due after Dec. 31, 2016.

Jul 31

highway

The short-term highway funding extension passed by the Senate on Thursday contains several important tax
provisions. The bill modifies the due dates for several common tax returns, overrules the
Supreme Court’s Home Concrete decision, requires that additional information be reported on mortgage
information statements, and requires consistent basis reporting between estates and beneficiaries.

         

Due date modifications

For partnership returns -  the new due date is March 15 (for calendar-year partnerships) and the 15th day of the
third month following the close of the fiscal year (for fiscal-year partnerships).

For C corporations – the new due date is the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the
corporation’s year.

The new due dates will apply to returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015. However, for C
corporations with fiscal years ending on June 30, the new due dates will not apply until tax years beginning
after Dec. 31, 2025.

taxes-646511_640

Dec 19

The Internal Revenue Service has been doing business with nearly 1,200 vendors that owe back taxes, including one unnamed contractor that owes a whopping $525 million, the new inspector general’s report says.

 

The IRS’s 1,168 vendors owed back taxes totaling $589 million as of July 2012, according to the report released Tuesday.  Only 50 were in a payment plan to pay off their debt.

 

Apparently the IRS checks whether vendors owe back taxes when the agency awards contracts but it doesn’t continually monitor their tax bills after the contracts have been awarded.

 

The inspector general’s office is prohibited by law from revealing the name of any delinquent vendor, including the one that owed $525 million. The report says most of the back taxes, including the biggest, were delinquent for less than a year.

 

The report also excluded back taxes that were being contested, counting only those that either agreed to by the taxpayer or ordered by the court.

 

The IRS stated, “The vast majority of vendors that conduct business with the IRS meet their federal tax obligations.  We appreciate (the inspector general’s) acknowledgement that IRS has effective controls in place to prevent suspended and debarred vendors’ from receiving IRS contracts.”

 

Huh? What planet are they on?

 

Dec 11

Unknown

Dec 07

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business, medical, and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates.  The charitable rate is based on statute.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.  In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.  Notice 2013-80 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

May 30

As either a commercial property owner or a commercial property tenant you may take advantage of qualified leasehold improvements before midnight December 31, 2013.

 What will the qualified leasehold improvements mean for you in 2013 and 2014?

 In 2013, you’ll be able to take a 15-year depreciation, a Section 179 deduction of up to $250,000 and a 50% bonus depreciation.

 In 2014, you’ll be able to take a 39-year depreciation.

 $1,000,000 in leasehold improvements applied to 2013 tax year’s 15-year schedule rather than 2014’s 39-year schedule allowing a $24,610 deduction confers these huge savings:

  1.     $250,000 deduction straight from the top

  2.     $375,000 bonus depreciation

  3.     $12,488 additional via IRS’s first year midyear convention on the 15-year depreciation

 Adding it all up, you’ll be writing-off $637,488 versus $24,610!

 What sort of leasehold improvements qualifies under the 2013 rules?

 1.     The improvement is made under or pursuant to a lease by the lessee (or sublessee) of the building’s interior portion, or by the lessor of that interior portion.

 2.     The interior portion of the building is to be occupied exclusively by the lessee (or sublessee) of that interior portion.

 3.     The improvement is placed in service more than three years after the building was first placed in service by anyone.

 Under Section 168(k)(3)(B), the qualified leasehold improvement property does not include any expenditures:

 .                 To enlarge the building

 .                 To any elevator or escalator

 .                 To any structural component benefiting a common area

 .                 To the internal structural framework of the building

  Improvements qualifying under the 2013 rules include among others these:

 .                 Utilities

 .                 Framing

 .                 Walls

 .                 Doors

 .                 Windows

 .                 Pipes and Fittings

 .                 Plumbing Fixtures

 .                 Fire Protection

 .                 HVAV

 .                 Permanent Interior Finishes

 .                 Permanent Floor Coverings

 .                 Millwork and Trim

Other qualifying improvements include movable partitions or carpeting that is not part of the property’s structure.  Such improvements will not qualify as leasehold improvements under 2014’s 39-year rules and are generally depreciable over five to seven years.

Cost-segregation is a good way to look at faster depreciation deductions for qualified leasehold improvement property.  These depreciations are tax law-approved.

Using cost-segregation, you’ll first pay the cost-segregation fees necessary to obtain the cost-segregation study.  The study will show whether or not your cost-segregation passes IRS muster.  Qualified leasehold property improvements require no such study and it’s relatively easy to identify property qualifying for the tax breaks.

 Putting qualified leasehold improvements in practical terms, imagine the case of a lessee who’s made improvements to the HVAC serving a stand-alone commercial building used for retail sales.  The improvements serve only the space occupied by the lessee and the HVAC improvements:

 1.     Do not benefit a common area.

 2.     Are not part of the building’s internal framework and structure?

 3.     Do not enlarge the building.

 4.     Placed in service more than three years after the building first entered service.

Per the IRS, the HVAC improvements qualify as either 39-year property or as tax-favored 15-year qualified leasehold improvements.  Neither the IRS nor the lessor put forward an accelerated five-year personal property depreciation claim on the HVAC improvements.

Per the IRS, the HVAC improvements do not qualify as leasehold improvements made by the lessor as they’re located on the building’s rooftop and are not located within the building’s interior.

 The taxpayer in the example above unfortunately undertook the costly HVAC improvements without good tax advice.  Had the taxpayer received knowledgeable advice first, he’d have perhaps considered installing the HVAC upgrades within the leased space.

 Landlords and tenants:  Remember to take a good look at qualified leasehold improvements.  Keep in mind the property in question must have been in service for at least three years and the improvements must be in service before midnight December 31, 2013

Call Kruse and Crawford to assure you get this done correctly.

 

Feb 14

The IRS has a new tool to see if you may be eligible for an offer in compromise.

http://irs.treasury.gov/oic_pre_qualifier/

 An offer in compromise (offer) is an agreement between you (the taxpayer) and the IRS that settles a tax debt for less than the full amount owed. The offer program provides eligible taxpayers with a path toward paying off their debt and getting a “fresh start.” The ultimate goal is a compromise that suits the best interest of both the taxpayer and the IRS. To be considered, generally you must make an appropriate offer based on what the IRS considers your true ability to pay.

Go to web site and enter our financial and tax filing status to calculate a preliminary offer amount. They make their final decision based on your completed OIC application and their  associated investigation. This tool should only be used as a guide. Although it may show you can full pay your liability, you may still file an offer in compromise and discuss your individual financial situation with the IRS.

Submitting an offer application does not ensure that the IRS will accept your offer. It begins a process of evaluation and verification by the IRS, taking into consideration any special circumstances that might affect your ability to pay. Generally, the IRS will not accept an offer if you can pay your tax debt in full via an installment agreement or a lump sum.
A booklet is also available and will lead you through a series of steps to help you calculate an appropriate offer based on your assets, income, expenses, and future earning potential. The application requires you to describe your financial situation in detail, so before you begin, make sure you have the necessary information and documentation.

http://irs.treasury.gov/oic_pre_qualifier/