We hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy during this time. Along with paramount health concerns, you may be wondering about the recent tax changes and how they may affect you. In addition to the last email we sent out concerning Economic Impact Payments, we now want to update you on tax related provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on March 27th, 2020.
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Recovery Rebates: To help individuals stay afloat during this time of uncertainty, the government will send up to $1,200 payments to eligible taxpayers and $2,400 to married couples filing jointly. An additional $500 additional payment will be sent to taxpayers for each qualifying child under the age of 17 (using qualification rules under the Child Tax Credit).
There is no income floor or “phase-in”- all recipients who are under the phaseout threshold ($75,000 singles and $150,000 joint for adjusted gross income) will receive the same amounts. Tax filers must have provided, on recent tax returns (2018 or 2019) or other documents (see below): Social security numbers (SSN) for each family member whom a rebate is claimed.
The rebates will be paid out in the form of checks or direct deposits. Rebates will be computed based on the taxpayer’s 2019 return (or 2018 if no 2019 has been filed yet.) If you have not filed in the past, the IRS will use information for 2019 provided from your Social Security Benefit Statement or Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement.
Delay in Tax-filing Requirements: Individuals now have until July 15, 2020 to file their 2019 income tax returns. The deadline for 2019 tax payments has also been extended to July 15. The Treasury Department has postponed the deadline for making IRA contributions until the date the return is due.
Retirement Account Changes
Waiver of Required Distribution Rules: Required minimum distributions from retirement plans such as 401(k) plans and IRAs have been waived for 2020. This includes distributions that would have been required by April 1, 2020, due to the recipient having turned 70 ½ in 2019.
Waiver of 10% Early Distribution Penalty: The additional 10% tax on early distributions from IRAs and defined contribution plans (such as 401 (k) plans) is waived for distributions made during 2020 by a person (or family member) infected with COVID-19 or who is economically harmed by COVID-19. Penalty-free distributions are limited to $100,000, and may, subject to guidelines, be re-contributed to the plan or IRA.
Tax Benefits for Charitable Gifts
Charitable Deduction Liberalizations: The CARES Act makes significant changes to the rules governing charitable deductions:
1. Individuals will be able to claim a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions made to public charities in 2020. This allows a charitable deduction to taxpayers claiming the standard deduction.
2. The limitation on charitable deductions (60% of modified adjusted gross income) does not apply to cash contributions made to public charities in 2020. Instead, qualifying contributions, reduced by other contributions, can be as much as 100% of AGI.
Student Loans: Payments on federally-held student loans have been automatically extended through Sept. 30, 2020 with no interest accruing or penalties during period of suspension.
Exclusion for Employer Payments of Student Loans: An employee currently may exclude $5,250 from income for benefits from an employer-sponsored educational assistance program. The CARES Act expands the definition of expenses qualifying for the exclusion to include employer payments of student loan debt made before January 1, 2021.
Break for Nonprescription Medical Products: For amounts paid in 2020, the CARES Act allows amounts paid from Health Savings Accounts and Archer Medical Savings Accounts to be treated as paid for medical care even if they aren’t paid under a prescription. This includes items such as over-the-counter medications, health supplies, and menstrual products.
Break for Remote Care Services provided by High Deductible Health Plans: For plan years beginning before 2021, the CARES Act allows high deductible health plans to pay for expenses for tele-health and other remote services without regard to the deductible amount for the plan.
Additional information from the IRS regarding the tax implications of the CARES Act and other responses to COVID-19 can be found at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus .
PKC remains in operation full-time as an essential business while doing our best to keep our clients and staff safe and healthy. If you have any questions regarding these changes or your specific situation, please contact Renae Heesch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-783-0440.
We wish you all the best during this difficult time. Stay safe!
PKC3 LLC Staff
In an Information Release, the Treasury Department and IRS have announced that distribution of economic impact payments, made as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (P.L. 116-136, 3/27/2020, the Act), will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, people who did not file 2018 or 2019 federal income tax returns will need to submit "a simple tax return" to receive the stimulus payment.
The Information Release answers the following questions:
Who is eligible for the economic impact payment? Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
How will the IRS know where to send a payment? The vast majority of people do not need to take any action to provide IRS with a way to send them their payment. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.
How will the IRS calculate the amount of payment? For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use information from those returns to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.
What should a recipient do if IRS doesn't have his direct deposit information? In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.
If a potential recipient is not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, can that person still receive a payment? Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Persons who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.
How can a person in the groups listed in the above question file the tax return needed to receive an economic impact payment? IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.
If a person required to file a 2018 or 2019 retun has not yet filed either return, can the person still receive an economic impact payment? Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.
How long are the economic impact payments available? For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.
Where can one get more information? The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.
The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but says that it is committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. It asks that taxpayers, etc. check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than call IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.
Citation: Thomson Reuters
Governor Scott Walker and Speaker Robin Vos announced an agreement to return the state's budget surplus to taxpayers through a one-time child tax rebate and sales tax holiday in 2018. Families will receive $100 by check for every child living at home under age 18. Under the agreement with Speaker Vos, when parents make the claim with the state online, they will also have the option to donate the amount to charitable causes that are currently part of the state tax check-off program. The sales tax holiday is set for August 4-5, 2018. Consumers will be exempt from paying state sales tax on all retail "off the shelf" items up to $100. The exemption does not apply to the sale of taxable services, prepared food, motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, tangible or intangible property used to access telecommunications services, tangible or intangible property provided by a utility, or alcohol and tobacco products. ( Wisconsin Governor and Speaker Agree to Tax Relief Package, 02/08/2018 .)
© 2018 Thomson Reuters/Tax & Accounting. All Rights Reserved.
The IRS has just announced that it will begin accepting 2017 income tax returns on January 29. You may be more concerned about the April 17 filing deadline, or even the extended deadline of October 15 (if you file for an extension by April 17). After all, why go through the hassle of filing your return earlier than you have to?
But it can be a good idea to file as close to January 29 as possible: Doing so helps protect you from tax identity theft.
Here’s why early filing helps: In an all-too-common scam, thieves use victims’ personal information to file fraudulent tax returns electronically and claim bogus refunds. This is usually done early in the tax filing season. When the real taxpayers file, they’re notified that they’re attempting to file duplicate returns.
A victim typically discovers the fraud after he or she files a tax return and is informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with the same Social Security number has already been filed for the same tax year. The IRS then must determine who the legitimate taxpayer is.
Tax identity theft can cause major headaches to straighten out and significantly delay legitimate refunds. But if you file first, it will be the tax return filed by a potential thief that will be rejected — not yours.
The IRS is working with the tax industry and states to improve safeguards to protect taxpayers from tax identity theft. But filing early may be your best defense.
W-2s and 1099s
Of course, in order to file your tax return, you’ll need to have your W-2s and 1099s. So another key date to be aware of is January 31 — the deadline for employers to issue 2017 Form W-2 to employees and, generally, for businesses to issue Form 1099 to recipients of any 2017 interest, dividend or reportable miscellaneous income payments.
If you don’t receive a W-2 or 1099, first contact the entity that should have issued it. If by mid-February you still haven’t received it, you can contact the IRS for help.
Of course, if you’ll be getting a refund, another good thing about filing early is that you’ll get your refund sooner. The IRS expects over 90% of refunds to be issued within 21 days.
E-filing and requesting a direct deposit refund generally will result in a quicker refund and also can be more secure. If you have questions about tax identity theft or would like help filing your 2017 return early, please contact us.
Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, most of the limits remain unchanged for 2018. But one piece of good news for taxpayers who’re already maxing out their contributions is that the 401(k) limit has gone up by $500. The only other limit that has increased from the 2017 level is for contributions to defined contribution plans, which has gone up by $1,000.
2018 contribution limits
If you’re not already maxing out your contributions to other plans, you still have an opportunity to save more in 2018. And if you turn age 50 in 2018, you can begin to take advantage of catch-up contributions.
Higher-income taxpayers should also be pleased that some limits on their retirement plan contributions that had been discussed as part of tax reform didn’t make it into the final legislation.
However, keep in mind that there are still additional factors that may affect how much you’re allowed to contribute (or how much your employer can contribute on your behalf). For example, income-based limits may reduce or eliminate your ability to make Roth IRA contributions or to make deductible traditional IRA contributions.
If you have questions about how much you can contribute to tax-advantaged retirement plans in 2018, check with us.
Working from home has become commonplace. But just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it. And for 2018, even fewer taxpayers will be eligible for a home office deduction.
Changes under the TCJA
For employees, home office expenses are a miscellaneous itemized deduction. For 2017, this means you’ll enjoy a tax benefit only if these expenses plus your other miscellaneous itemized expenses (such as unreimbursed work-related travel, certain professional fees and investment expenses) exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.
For 2018 through 2025, this means that, if you’re an employee, you won’t be able to deduct any home office expenses. Why? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor for this period.
If, however, you’re self-employed, you can deduct eligible home office expenses against your self-employment income. Therefore, the deduction will still be available to you for 2018 through 2025.
Other eligibility requirements
If you’re an employee, your use of your home office must be for your employer’s convenience, not just your own. If you’re self-employed, generally your home office must be your principal place of business, though there are exceptions.
Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, the space must be used regularly (not just occasionally) and exclusively for business purposes. If, for example, your home office is also a guest bedroom or your children do their homework there, you can’t deduct the expenses associated with that space.
2 deduction options
If you’re eligible, the home office deduction can be a valuable tax break. You have two options for the deduction:
Deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses, as well as the depreciation allocable to the office space. This requires calculating, allocating and substantiating actual expenses.
Take the “safe harbor” deduction. Only one simple calculation is necessary: $5 × the number of square feet of the office space. The safe harbor deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on a maximum of 300 square feet.
More rules and limits
Be aware that we’ve covered only a few of the rules and limits here. If you think you may be eligible for the home office deduction on your 2017 return or would like to know if there’s anything additional you need to do to be eligible on your 2018 return, contact us.
Any business owner developing a succession plan should rightfully assume that regular business valuations are a must. When envisioning the valuation process, you’re likely to focus on its end result: a reasonable, defensible value estimate of your business as of a certain date. But lurking beneath this number is a variety of often hard-to-see issues.
Estate tax liability
One sometimes blurry issue is the valuation implications of whether you intend to transfer the business to the next generation during your lifetime, at your death or upon your spouse’s death. If, for example, you decide to bequeath the company to your spouse, no estate tax will be due upon your death because of the marital deduction (as long as your spouse is a U.S. citizen). But estate tax may be due on your spouse’s death, depending on the business’s value and estate tax laws at the time.
Speaking of which, President Trump and congressional Republicans have called for an estate tax repeal under the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” issued in late September. But there’s no guarantee such a provision will pass and, even if it does, the repeal might be only temporary.
So an owner may be tempted to minimize the company’s value to reduce the future estate tax liability on the spouse’s death. But be aware that businesses that appear to have been undervalued in an effort to minimize taxes will raise a red flag with the IRS.
Inactive heirs and retirement
Bear in mind, too, that your heirs may have different views of the business’s proper value. This is particularly true of “inactive heirs” ― those who won’t inherit the business and whose share, therefore, may need to be “equalized” with other assets, such as insurance proceeds or real estate. Your appraiser will need to clearly understand the valuation’s purpose and your estate plan.
When (or if) you plan to retire is another major issue to be resolved. If you want your children to take over, but you need to free up cash for retirement, you may be able to sell shares to successors. Several methods (such as using trusts) can provide tax advantages as well as help the children fund a business purchase.
Obtaining a valuation in relation to your succession plan involves much more than establishing a sale price, transitioning ownership (or selling the company), and sauntering off to retirement. The details are many and potential conflicts abundant. Let us help you anticipate and manage these complexities to ensure a smooth succession.
The recently passed tax reform bill, commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), is the most expansive federal tax legislation since 1986. It includes a multitude of provisions that will have a major impact on businesses.
Here’s a look at some of the most significant changes. They generally apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, except where noted.
Replacement of graduated corporate tax rates ranging from 15% to 35% with a flat corporate rate of 21%
Repeal of the 20% corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT)
New 20% qualified business income deduction for owners of flow-through entities (such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations) and sole proprietorships — through 2025
Doubling of bonus depreciation to 100% and expansion of qualified assets to include used assets — effective for assets acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023
Doubling of the Section 179 expensing limit to $1 million and an increase of the expensing phaseout threshold to $2.5 million
Other enhancements to depreciation-related deductions
New disallowance of deductions for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business’s adjusted taxable income (exceptions apply)
New limits on net operating loss (NOL) deductions
Elimination of the Section 199 deduction, also commonly referred to as the domestic production activities deduction or manufacturers’ deduction — effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, for noncorporate taxpayers and for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018, for C corporation taxpayers
New rule limiting like-kind exchanges to real property that is not held primarily for sale
New tax credit for employer-paid family and medical leave — through 2019
New limitations on excessive employee compensation
New limitations on deductions for employee fringe benefits, such as entertainment and, in certain circumstances, meals and transportation
Keep in mind that additional rules and limits apply to what we’ve covered here, and there are other TCJA provisions that may affect your business. Contact us for more details and to discuss what your business needs to do in light of these changes.
Come tax time, owner-employees face a variety of distinctive tax planning challenges, depending on whether their business is structured as a partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Whether you’re thinking about your 2016 filing or planning for 2017, it’s important to be aware of the challenges that apply to your particular situation.
Partnerships and LLCs
If you’re a partner in a partnership or a member of an LLC that has elected to be disregarded or treated as a partnership, the entity’s income flows through to you (as does its deductions). And this income likely will be subject to self-employment taxes — even if the income isn’t actually distributed to you. This means your employment tax liability typically doubles, because you must pay both the employee and employer portions of these taxes.
The employer portion of self-employment taxes paid (6.2% for Social Security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax) is deductible above the line. Above-the-line deductions are particularly valuable because they reduce your adjusted gross income and modified adjusted gross income, which are the triggers for certain additional taxes and phaseouts of many tax breaks.
But flow-through income may not be subject to self-employment taxes if you’re a limited partner or the LLC member equivalent. And be aware that flow-through income might be subject to the additional 0.9% Medicare tax on earned income or the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), depending on the situation.
S and C corporations
For S corporations, even though the entity’s income flows through to you for income tax purposes, only income you receive as salary is subject to employment taxes and, if applicable, the 0.9% Medicare tax. Keeping your salary relatively — but not unreasonably — low and increasing your distributions of company income (which generally isn’t taxed at the corporate level or subject to employment taxes) can reduce these taxes. The 3.8% NIIT may also apply.
In the case of C corporations, the entity’s income is taxed at the corporate level and only income you receive as salary is subject to employment taxes, and, if applicable, the 0.9% Medicare tax. Nevertheless, if the overall tax paid by both the corporation and you would be less, you may prefer to take more income as salary (which is deductible at the corporate level) as opposed to dividends (which aren’t deductible at the corporate level, are taxed at the shareholder level and could be subject to the 3.8% NIIT).
Whether your entity is an S or a C corporation, tread carefully, however. The IRS remains on the lookout for misclassification of corporate payments to shareholder-employees. The penalties and additional tax liability can be costly.
As you can see, tax planning is extra important for owner-employees. Plus, tax law changes proposed by the President-elect and the Republican majority in Congress could affect tax treatment of your income in 2017. Please contact us for help identifying the ideal strategies for your situation.