Certified Public Accountants & Financial Advisors

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Tax Alerts
January 20, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

2020 SOCIAL SECURITY, WITHHOLDING AND CERTAIN OTHER CHANGES


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.


Last year’s Tax Reform created a new 20-percent deduction of qualified business income for passthrough entities, subject to certain limitations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) created the new Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction for noncorporate taxpayers, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, the provision was enacted only temporarily through 2025. The controversial deduction has remained a buzzing topic of debate among lawmakers, tax policy experts, and stakeholders. In addition to its impermanence, the new passthrough deduction’s ambiguous statutory language has created many questions for taxpayers and practitioners.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modifies Section 529 qualified tuition plans to allow the plans to distribute up to $10,000 in tuition expenses incurred during the tax year for designated beneficiaries enrolled at a public, private, or religious elementary or secondary school. Section 529 plans used to only be allowed for college tuition, up to full tuition amounts. That provision for college tuition remains the same.


The IRS has issued temporary regulations (T.D. 9780) that explain how a partnership can opt in to the new partnership audit regime that was enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). As enacted, the new audit rules will apply to partnership returns filed for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, the new law allows partnerships to elect to apply the new audit regime to a return filed for a partnership tax year beginning after November 2, 2015 (the date of enactment of the BBA) and before January 1, 2018. A tax year within this period is identified as an “eligible tax year.”


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


An employer must withhold income taxes from compensation paid to common-law employees (but not from compensation paid to independent contractors). The amount withheld from an employee's wages is determined in part by the number of withholding exemptions and allowances the employee claims. Note that although the Tax Code and regulations distinguish between withholding exemptions and withholding allowances, the terms are interchangeable. The amount of reduction attributable to one withholding allowance is the same as that attributable to one withholding exemption. Form W-4 and most informal IRS publications refer to both as withholding allowances, probably to avoid confusion with the complete exemption from withholding for employees with no tax liability.


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.


The tax rules surrounding the dependency exemption deduction on a federal income tax return can be complicated, with many requirements involving who qualifies for the deduction and who qualifies to take the deduction. The deduction can be a very beneficial tax break for taxpayers who qualify to claim dependent children or other qualifying dependent family members on their return. Therefore, it is important to understand the nuances of claiming dependents on your tax return, as the April 18 tax filing deadline is just around the corner.