Newsletters

Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

The IRS and the Treasury intend to provide regulations that will address issues affecting foreign corporations with previously taxed earnings and profits (PTEP). The regulations are in response to changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97)


The IRS has proposed regulations on the limitation on the business interest expense deduction under Code Sec. 163(j), as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). The IRS also has issued a safe harbor that allows taxpayers to treat certain infrastructure trades or businesses as real property trades or businesses solely for purposes of qualifying as an electing real property trade or business under Code Sec. 163(j)(7)(B).


A nonprofit corporation that operated a medical-marijuana dispensary legally under California law was not allowed to claim deductions for business expenses on its federal return. Code Sec. 280E, which prevents any trade or business that consists of trafficking in controlled substances from deducting any business expenses, applied.


The IRS released the optional standard mileage rates for 2019. Most taxpayers may use these rates to compute deductible costs of operating vehicles for:


The IRS has provided guidance and examples for calculating the nondeductible portion of parking expenses. In addition, the IRS has provided guidance to tax-exempt organizations to help such organizations determine how unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) will be increased by the nondeductible amount of such fringe benefit expenses paid or incurred.


The IRS has released initial guidance on the new Code Sec. 83(i), added by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97).

Code Sec. 83 generally provides for the federal income tax treatment of property transferred in connection with the performance of services. Code Sec. 83(i) allows certain employees to elect to defer recognition of income attributable to the receipt or vesting of qualified stock for up to five years.


Highly anticipated foreign tax credit regulations have been issued that provide guidance on the significant changes made to the foreign tax credit rules by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97).


Proposed regulations provide much anticipated guidance on the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) under Code Sec. 59A and related reporting requirements. The regulations are proposed to apply generally to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, but taxpayers may rely on these proposed regulations until final regulations are published.


The IRS will grant automatic consent to accounting method changes to comply with new Code Sec. 451(b), as added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97). In addition, some taxpayers may make the accounting method change on their tax returns without filing a Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method. These procedures generally apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Rev. Proc. 2018-31, I.R.B. 2018-22, 637, is modified.


The IRS has issued transition relief from the "once-in-always-in" condition for excluding part-time employees under Reg. §1.403(b)-5(b)(4)(iii)(B). Under the "once-in-always-in" exclusion condition, once an employee is eligible to make elective deferrals, the employee may not be excluded from making elective deferrals in any later exclusion year on the basis that he or she is a part-time employee.


The IRS has provided interim guidance for the 2019 calendar year on income tax withholding from wages and withholding from retirement and annuity distributions. In general, certain 2018 withholding rules provided in Notice 2018-14, I.R.B. 2018-7, 353, will remain in effect for the 2019 calendar year, with one exception.


Tax-related identity theft spikes during the filing season. Many taxpayers discover for the first time that they are victims of identity theft when they receive a letter from the IRS.


The IRS has rules that limit the deductibility of expenses and losses from a hobby or activity not engaged in for profit. If the IRS determines that an activity is not profit-driven, deductions from the activity are limited to the amount of income the activity generates. Losses from such activities cannot be used to offset other income, such as salary or investments.


A new year may find a number of individuals with the pressing urge to take stock, clean house and become a bit more organized. With such a desire to declutter, a taxpayer may want to undergo a housecleaning of documents, receipts and papers that he or she may have stored over the years in the event of an IRS audit. Year to year, fears of an audit for claims for tax deductions, allowances and credits may have led to the accumulation of a number of tax related documents—many of which may no longer need to be kept.


An S corporation can own an interest in another business entity. It can also be a partner in a partnership or a member of a limited liability company (LLC). An S corporation can own 80 percent or more of the stock of a C corporation, which can elect to join in the filing of a consolidated return with its affiliated C corporations. However, an S corporation is ineligible to be a member of the affiliated group and to join in the election to file a consolidated return.


Many federal income taxes are paid from amounts that are withheld from payments to the taxpayer. For instance, amounts roughly equal to an employee's estimated tax liability are generally withheld from the employee's wages and paid over to the government by the employer. In contrast, estimated taxes are taxes that are paid throughout the year on income that is not subject to withholding. Individuals must make estimated tax payments if they are self-employed or their income derives from interest, dividends, investment gains, rents, alimony, or other funds that are not subject to withholding.


A business operated by two or more owners can elect to be taxed as a partnership by filing Form 8832, the Entity Classification Election form. A business is eligible to elect partnership status if it has two or more members and:


The IRS has responded to criticism from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the National Taxpayer Advocate, among others, that resolution of identity theft accounts takes too long by increasing its measures to flag suspicious tax returns, prevent issuance of fraudulent tax refunds, and to expedite identity theft case processing. As a result, the IRS's resolution time has experienced a moderate improvement from an average of 312 days, as TIGTA reported in September 2013, to an average of 278 days as reported in March 2015. (The 278-day average was based on a statistically valid sampling of 100 cases resolved between August 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012.) The IRS has recently stated that its resolution time dropped to 120 days for cases received in filing season 2013.


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.


Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) required individuals to carry minimum essential health coverage or make a shared responsibility payment, unless exempt. Individuals will report on their 2014 federal income tax return if they had minimum essential health coverage for all or part of the year. Individuals who file Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, will indicate on Line 61 if they were covered by minimum essential health coverage for 2014, if they are exempt from the requirement to carry minimum essential health coverage or if they are making an individual shared responsibility payment.


Every year the IRS publishes a list of projects that are currently on its agenda. For example, the IRS may indicate through this list that it is working on a new set of procedures relating to claiming business expenses. The new 2014–2015 IRS Priority Guidance Plan, just released this September, has indicated that IRS is working on guidance relating to whether employer-provided meals offered on company premises are taxable as income to the employee. In the Priority Guidance Plan’s Employee Benefits Section B.3, the IRS listed: "Guidance under §§119 and 132 regarding employer-provided meals" in its list of projects for the upcoming year.


In recent years, the IRS has been cracking down on abuses of the tax deduction for donations to charity and contributions of used vehicles have been especially scrutinized. The charitable contribution rules, however, are far from being easy to understand. Many taxpayers genuinely are confused by the rules and unintentionally value their contributions to charity at amounts higher than appropriate.


Under a flexible spending arrangement (FSA), an amount is credited to an account that is used to reimburse an employee, generally, for health care or dependent care expenses. The employer must maintain the FSA. Amounts may be contributed to the account under an employee salary reduction agreement or through employer contributions.