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Tax Alerts
January 18, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

Final regulations clarify the definition of "real property" that qualifies for a like-kind exchange, including incidental personal property. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, P.L. 115-97), like-kind exchanges occurring after 2017 are limited to real property used in a trade or business or for investment.


The IRS has released rulings concerning deductions for eligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan expenses.


The IRS has issued final regulations under Code Sec. 274 relating to the elimination of the employer deduction of for transportation and commuting fringe benefits by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97), effective for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017. The final regulations address the disallowance of a deduction for the expense of any qualified transportation fringe (QTF) provided to an employee of the taxpayer. Guidance and methodologies are provided to determine the amount of QTF parking expenses that is nondeductible. The final regulations also address the disallowance of the deduction for expenses of transportation and commuting between an employee’s residence and place of employment.


As part of a series of reminders, the IRS has urged taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. A special page ( https://www.irs.gov/individuals/steps-to-take-now-to-get-a-jump-on-next-years-taxes), updated and available on the IRS website, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021.


This year marks the 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week-a collaboration by the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry. The IRS and the Security Summit partners have issued warnings to all taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of scams and identity theft schemes by criminals taking advantage of the combination of holiday shopping, the approaching tax season and coronavirus concerns. The 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week coincided with Cyber Monday, the traditional start of the online holiday shopping season.


The IRS has issued proposed regulations for the centralized partnership audit regime...


The IRS has issued final regulations with guidance on how a tax-exempt organization can determine whether it has more than one unrelated trade or business, how it should identify its separate trades and businesses, and how to separately calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) for each trade or business – often referred to as "silo" rules. Since 2018, under provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the loss from one unrelated trade or business may not offset the income from another, separate trade or business. Congress did not provide detailed methods of determining when unrelated businesses are "separate" for purposes of calculating UBTI.


The IRS has modified Rev. Proc. 2007-32, I.R.B. 2007-22, 1322, to provide that the term of a Gaming Industry Tip Compliance Agreement (GITCA) is generally five years, and the renewal term of a GITCA is extended from three years to a term of up to five years. A GITCA executed under Rev. Proc. 2003-35, 2003-1 CB 919 and Rev. Proc. 2007-32 will remain in effect until the expiration date set forth in that agreement, unless modified by the renewal of a GITCA under section 4.04 of Rev. Proc. 2007-32 (as modified by section 3 of this revenue procedure).


Final regulations issued by the Treasury and IRS coordinate the extraordinary disposition rule that applies with respect to the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the disqualified basis rule under the Code Sec. 951A global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) regime. Information reporting rules are also finalized.


Dual-income families are commonplace these days, however, some couples are discovering that their second income may not be worth the added aggravation and effort. After taking into consideration daycare expenses, commuting expenses, the countless take-out meals, and additional clothing costs, many are surprised at how much (or how little) of that second income is actually hitting their bank account.


You have just been notified that your tax return is going to be audited ... what now? While the best defense is always a good offense (translation: take steps to avoid an audit in the first place), in the event the IRS does come knocking on your door, here are some basic guidelines you can follow to increase the chances that you will come out of your audit unscathed.


When it comes to legal separation or divorce, there are many complex situations to address. A divorcing couple faces many important decisions and issues regarding alimony, child support, and the fair division of property. While most courts and judges will not factor in the impact of taxes on a potential property settlement or cash payments, it is important to realize how the value of assets transferred can be materially affected by the tax implications.


How quickly could you convert your assets to cash if necessary? Do you have a quantitative way to evaluate management's effectiveness? Knowing your business' key financial ratios can provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of your operations and your ability to meet your financial obligations as well as help you chart your company's future.


Raising a family in today's economy can be difficult and many people will agree that breaks are few -- more people mean more expenditures. However, in recent years, the IRS has passed legislation that borders on "family-friendly", with tax credits and other breaks benefiting families with children. Recent legislation also addresses the growing trend towards giving families a break.


The responsibility for remitting federal tax payments to the IRS in a timely manner can be overwhelming for the small business owner -- the deadlines seem never ending and the penalties for late payments can be stiff. However, many small business owners may find that participating in the IRS's EFTPS program is a convenient, timesaving way to pay their federal taxes.


Q. Each year when it comes time to prepare my return, I realize how little I think about my tax situation during the rest of the year. I seem to lack any sort of common sense when it comes to dealing with my taxes. Do you have any general advice for people like me trying to "do the right thing" in any tax situation that may arise during the year?


Stock options have become a common part of many compensation and benefits packages. Even small businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and now provide a perk previously confined to the executive suites of large publicly held companies. If you are an employee who has received stock options, you need to be aware of the complicated tax rules that govern certain stock options -- several potential "gotchas" exist and failing to spot them can cause major tax headaches.


Q. Last year when I filed my tax return, I received a huge refund check as I had apparently paid far too much in during the year. Although it's nice to get a big check each year, I can't help but think that there must be a better way to handle my money. What can I do right now to avoid this situation in the future?


All of us will, at one time or another, incur financial losses - whether insubstantial or quite significant -- in our business and personal lives. When business fortunes head South -- either temporarily or in a more prolonged slide, it is important to be aware of how the tax law can limit the actual amount of your losses and your ability to deduct them. Here are some of the types of losses your business may experience and the related tax considerations to keep in mind in the event of a business downturn.


Q. I am reviewing my portfolio and considering selling some of my stock. How do I determine what tax basis I have in the publicly-traded shares that I own for purposes of determining my gain or loss if I buy and sell multiple shares at different times? Does keeping track of basis really matter?


An attractive benefit package is crucial to attract and retain talented workers. However, the expense of such packages can be cost-prohibitive to a small business. Establishing a tax-advantaged cafeteria plan can be an innovative way to provide employees with additional benefits without significantly adding to the cost of your overall benefit program.


While one of the most important keys to financial success of any business is its ability to properly manage its cash flow, few businesses devote adequate attention to this process. By continually monitoring your business cycle, and making some basic decisions up-front, the amount of time you spend managing this part of your business can be significantly reduced.


Keeping the family business in the family upon the death or retirement of the business owner is not as easy as one would think. In fact, almost 30% of all family businesses never successfully pass to the next generation. What many business owners do not know is that many problems can be avoided by developing a sound business succession plan in advance.


If you use your home computer for business purposes, knowing that you can deduct some or all of its costs can help ease the pain of the large initial and ongoing cash outlays. However, there are some tricky IRS rules that you should consider before taking - or forgoing - a deduction for home computer costs.


If you are considering selling business property that has substantially appreciated in value, you owe it to your business to explore the possibility of a like-kind exchange. Done properly, a like-kind exchange will allow you to transfer your appreciated business property without incurring a current tax liability. However, since the related tax rules can be complex, careful planning is needed to properly structure the transaction.


Starting your own small business can be hectic - yet fun and personally fulfilling. As you work towards opening the doors, don't let the onerous task of keeping the books rain on your parade. With a little planning upfront and a promise to "keep it simple", you can get an effective system up and running in no time.


Q. My wife and I are both retired and are what you might call "social gamblers". We like to play bingo and buy lottery tickets, and take an occasional trip to Las Vegas to play the slot machines. Are we required to report all of our winnings on our tax return? Can we deduct our losses?


Q. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine borrowed some money from me to start a small business. The business didn't survive and has left my friend without the ability to pay me back. Since I'm sure I'll never see any of the money again, can I at least get a tax write-off?


Q. Last year I underwent a number of elective surgical procedures and would like to deduct the cost of these expensive procedures on my personal tax return. What are the criteria for medical expenses to be deductible? Do they have to exceed a certain dollar amount?


In addition to decisions that affect the day to day operations of the company, the new business owner will also be faced with accounting and tax related decisions. Whether to use the cash or accrual method of accounting, for example, although not always a matter of choice, is an important decision that must be considered carefully.


We've all heard the basic financial planning strategy "pay yourself first" but paying yourself first doesn't simply mean stashing money into your savings account - debt reduction and retirement plan participation also qualify. Paying yourself today can result in a more comfortable and prosperous future for you and your family.


What do amounts paid for new swimming pools, Lamaze classes, lunches with friends, massages, and America Online fees have in common? All of these costs have been found to be legitimate tax deductions under certain circumstances. As you gather your information for the preparation of your tax return, it may pay to take a closer look at the items you spent money on during the year.


We all know to include the amount shown on our Form W-2 as taxable income on our Form 1040, but what about those other items of income, such as severance pay, lawsuit settlements, and disability payments, that occur less frequently?