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One month after the presidential election, taxpayers are learning more about President-elect Donald Trump’s tax proposals for his administration. Although exact details, including legislative language, are likely months away, taxpayers have a snapshot of the president-elect’s tax proposals for individuals and businesses.


The likelihood exists that federal tax-cut legislation will become law sometime in 2017. Nevertheless, the possibility also remains that comprehensive tax legislation may be delayed until 2018 either because of difficult negotiations or intervening events, or it could eventually even get tabled indefinitely, except for a few provisions, if momentum turns to other matters. The contents of a tax bill, too, can vary – from a compromise between the House GOP’s “Better Way” blueprint and President-elect Trump’s tax plan as set forth during his campaign—to a significantly rewritten version if Senate Democrats and fiscally conservative House and Senate members are able to gain seats at the negotiating table.


Each new filing season may bring changes to the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, as well as draft instructions for Form 1040 and any related Schedules, and this year is of no exception. The following highlights some of the changes to 2016 Form 1040, its Schedules and other Forms, which can be found on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. The draft Form 1040 and Instructions are expected to track what will appear in the final Form 1040 and Instructions this year since "tax extenders" common to past years have either been made permanent or run through 2016. Any year-end tax legislation from Congress likely will have a prospective impact only, into tax year 2017 and beyond.


Virtual currency – often referred to as ‘bitcoin” -- is a mystery for many people but an everyday currency for others. As virtual currency grows in popularity, questions arise about its taxation. The IRS treats virtual currency as property and not as currency. This means that general tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.


Child care can undoubtedly prove to be a costly expense for any taxpayer. In some instances, taxpayers must weigh whether the cost of child care is a deterrent to returning, or, in some cases, entering the workforce. Although the IRS may not be able to control market prices of child care options, it does offer a credit that can lessen the burden that child care costs may have on the budget of working parents.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important federal tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of December 2016. 

 

 


It is never too early to begin planning for the 2016 filing season, the IRS has advised in seven new planning tips published on its website. Although the current filing season has just ended, there are steps that taxpayers can take now to avoid a tax bill when April 2016 rolls around. For example, the IRS stated that taxpayers can adjust their withholding, take stock of any changes in income or family circumstances, maintain accurate tax records, and more, in order to reduce the probability of a surprise tax bill when the next filing season arrives.


An LLC (limited liability company) is not a federal tax entity. LLCs are organized under state law. LLCs are not specifically mentioned in the Tax Code, and there are no special IRS regulations governing the taxation of LLCs comparable to the regulations for C corporations, S corporations, and partnerships. Instead, LLCs make an election to be taxed as a particular entity (or to be disregarded for tax purposes) by following the check-the-box business entity classification regulations. The election is filed on Form 8832, Entity Classification Election. The IRS will assign an entity classification by default if no election is made. A taxpayer who doesn't mind the IRS default entity classification does not necessarily need to file Form 8832.


When starting a business or changing an existing one there are several types of business entities to choose from, each of which offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the size of your business, one form may be more suitable than another. For example, a software firm consisting of one principal founder and several part time contractors and employees would be more suited to a sole proprietorship than a corporate or partnership form. But where there are multiple business members, the decision can become more complicated. One form of business that has become increasingly popular is called a limited liability company, or LLC.


The IRS has announced a new optional safe harbor method, effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, for individuals to determine the amount of their deductible home office expenses (IR-2013-5, Rev. Proc. 2013-13). Being hailed by many as a long-overdue simplification option, taxpayers may now elect to determine their home office deduction by simply multiplying a prescribed rate by the square footage of the portion of the taxpayer's residence used for business purposes.


Under the new health care law, starting in 2014, "large" employers with more than 50 full-time employees will be subject to stiff monetary penalties if they do not provide affordable and minimum essential health coverage. With less than eleven months before this "play or pay" provision is fully effective, the IRS continues to release critical details on what constitutes an "applicable large employer," "full-time employee," "affordable coverage," and "minimum health coverage."  Most recently, the IRS issued proposed reliance regulations that provide employers with the most comprehensive explanation of their obligations and options to date.


Estimated tax is used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding or if not enough tax is being withheld from a person's salary, pension or other income. Income not subject to withholding can include dividends, capital gains, prizes, awards, interest, self-employment income, and alimony, among other income items. Generally, individuals who do not pay at least 90 percent of their tax through withholding must estimate their income tax liability and make equal quarterly payments of the "required annual payment" liability during the year.


Have you already mailed (on paper or electronically) your Form 1040 for the 2010 tax year but only now noticed you made an error when preparing the return? If you need to correct a mistake on your federal income tax return that you’ve already filed with the IRS, it’s not too late to correct the mistake by filing an amended return, Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The IRS considers an amended return filed on or before the due date of a return to be the taxpayer’s return for the period.


The flagging state of the economy has left many individuals and families to cope with rising gas prices and food costs, struggle with their mortgage and rent payments, and manage credit card debt and other common monthly bills. Whether individuals are contemplating how to pay off their credit card or obtain a mortgage amid the "credit crunch" and "economic downturn," many people may be considering alternative sources of financing to reach their goals, including the tapping of a retirement account.