IRS: Several tax law changes may affect bottom line of many business owners

 

Please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M., with questions about tax issues, about tax issues, and tax or business planning, at 252-321-2020. The following materials were originally published by the IRS.

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today reminded business owners that tax reform legislation passed last December affects nearly every business.

With just a few months left in the year, the IRS is highlighting important information for small businesses and self-employed individuals to help them understand and meet their tax obligations.

Here are several changes that could affect the bottom line of many small businesses:

Qualified Business Income Deduction 

Many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations may deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. The new deduction — referred to as the Section 199A deduction or the qualified business income deduction — is available for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Eligible taxpayers can claim it for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file next year.

A set of FAQs provides more information on the deduction, income and other limitations.

Temporary 100 percent expensing for certain business assets

Businesses are now able to write off most depreciable business assets in the year the business places them in service. The 100-percent depreciation deduction generally applies to depreciable business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less and certain other property. Machinery, equipment, computers, appliances and furniture generally qualify.

Taxpayers can find more information in the proposed regulations.

Fringe benefits

  • Entertainment and meals: The new law eliminates the deduction for expenses related to entertainment, amusement or recreation. However, taxpayers can continue to deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer or an employee of the taxpayer is present and other conditions are met. The meals may be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.
  • Qualified transportation: The new law disallows deductions for expenses associated with transportation fringe benefits or expenses incurred providing transportation for commuting. There’s an exception when the transportation expenses are necessary for employee safety.
  • Bicycle commuting reimbursements: Employers can deduct qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements as a business expense for 2018 through 2025. The new tax law also suspends the exclusion of qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements from an employee’s income for 2018 through 2025. Employers must now include these reimbursements in the employee’s wages.
  • Qualified moving expenses reimbursements: Reimbursements an employer pays to an employee in 2018 for qualified moving expenses are subject to federal income tax.  Reimbursements incurred in a prior year are not subject to federal income or employment taxes; nor are payments from an employer to a moving company in 2018 for qualified moving services provided to an employee prior to 2018.
  • Employee achievement award: Special rules allow an employee to exclude certain achievement awards from their wages if the awards are tangible personal property. An employer also may deduct awards that are tangible personal property, subject to certain deduction limits. The new law clarifies that tangible personal property doesn’t include cash, cash equivalents, gift cards, gift coupons, certain gift certificates, tickets to theater or sporting events, vacations, meals, lodging, stocks, bonds, securities and other similar items.

The tax reform for businesses page has more information on fringe benefit changes.

Estimated Taxes

Individuals, including sole proprietors, partners and S corporation shareholders, may need to pay quarterly installments of estimated tax unless they owe less than $1,000 when they file their tax return or they had no tax liability in the prior year (subject to certain conditions). More information about tax withholding and estimated taxes can be found on the agency’s Pay As You Go web page as well as in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. Publication 505 has additional details, including worksheets and examples, which can help taxpayers determine whether they should pay estimated taxes. Some affected taxpayers may include those who have dividend or capital gain income, owe alternative minimum tax or have other special situations.

More information

See IRS.gov/taxreform for more information about these and many other tax law changes.

New 100-percent depreciation deduction benefits business taxpayers

Please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M., with questions about tax issues, and tax or business planning, at 252-321-2020.  The following materials were originally published by the IRS.

Tax reform legislation passed in December 2017 includes changes that affect businesses. One of these changes allows businesses to write off most depreciable business assets in the year they place them in service.

Here are some facts about this deduction to help businesses better understand how to claim it:

  • The 100-percent depreciation deduction generally applies to depreciable business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less and certain other property.
  • Machinery, equipment, computers, appliances and furniture generally qualify.
  • The 100-percent depreciation deduction applies to qualifying property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017.
  • Taxpayers who elect out of the 100-percent depreciation deduction for a class of property must do so on a timely filed return. Those who have already timely filed their 2017 return and did not elect out can still do so. These taxpayers have six months from the original filing deadline, to file an amended return. For calendar-year corporations, this means Oct. 15, 2018.
  • The IRS issued proposed regulations with guidance on what property qualifies and rules for qualified film, television and live theatrical productions, and certain plants.
  • For details on claiming the 100-percent depreciation deduction or electing out of claiming it, taxpayers should refer to the proposed regulations or the instructions to Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization.

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For many business taxpayers, time is running out

Please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M., with questions about tax issues, and tax or business planning, at 252-321-2020.  The following materials were originally published by the IRS.

For many business taxpayers, time is running out to elect out of new 100-percent depreciation deduction for 2017

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminds business taxpayers who placed qualifying property in service during 2017 but choose not to claim the new 100-percent depreciation deduction, that they have a limited time to file the required election with the IRS.

In general, individuals and calendar-year corporations must file the election with the IRS by Oct. 15, 2018. The new 100-percent deduction allows businesses to write off most depreciable business assets in the year they are placed in service. This deduction was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the tax reform legislation enacted in December 2017. Because the deduction is retroactive and applies to qualifying property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, it may affect many 2017 tax returns. See IRS Fact Sheet 2018-09 for more details.

The 100-percent depreciation deduction generally applies to depreciable business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less and certain other property. Machinery, equipment, computers, appliances, furniture, certain plants and qualified film, television and live theatrical productions generally qualify. Further details can be found in proposed regulations, issued last month, as well as in Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property, and in Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and its instructions.

Taxpayers who elect out of the 100-percent depreciation deduction, as well as the 50-percent deduction available under prior law, must do so by attaching a statement to a timely-filed return. For details, see the instructions for Part II of Form 4562.

Those who have already timely filed their 2017 return and did not elect out but still wish to do so need to file an amended return. The deadline for filing the election is six months after the original deadline. For individuals or calendar-year corporations, this means Oct. 15, 2018.

For more information about this and other TCJA provisions, visit IRS.gov/taxreform.

 

IRS Extends Deadlines per Hurricane Florence

The IRS extended deadlines that apply to filing returns, paying taxes, and performing certain other time-sensitive acts for certain taxpayers affected by Hurricane Florence in the counties Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnson, Lee, Lenoir, Jones, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson in North Carolina and Dillon, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties in South Carolina. The extension applies to deadlines – either an original or extended due date – that occurred on or after September 7, 2018 and before January 31, 2019.

For more information, please visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/help-for-victims-of-hurricane-florence.

All material originally published by the IRS. For help with tax planning, business planning, or estate planning contact Kevin M Sayed, J.D., LL.M. Taxation, at 252-321-2020, or ksayed@ck-attorneys.com.

 

IRS warns of scams related to natural disasters

Please call Kevin M Sayed, J.D., LL.M., with questions about tax issues and business planning at 252-321-2020.  The following was originally published by the IRS.

WASHINGTON ― In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers that criminals and scammers try to take advantage of the generosity of taxpayers who want to help victims of major disasters.
Fraudulent schemes normally start with unsolicited contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person using a variety of tactics.
• Some impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.
• Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
• They even claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
• Others operate bogus charities and solicit money or financial information by telephone or email.
Help for disaster victims
Comprehensive information on disaster-related tax issues, including provisions for tax relief, can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. In the case of a federally declared disaster, affected taxpayers may also call the IRS Special Services Help Line, 866-562-5227, with disaster-related tax questions. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
Donate to real charities
To help taxpayers donate to legitimate charities, the IRS website, IRS.gov, has a search feature, Tax Exempt Organization Search, that helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
• Contribute by check or credit card. Never give or send cash.
• Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution.
Taxpayers suspecting fraud by email should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.” More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

 

Clarification for business taxpayers: Payments under state or local tax credit programs may be deductible as business expenses

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Please call Kevin M Sayed, J.D., LL.M., with questions about tax issues and business planning at 252-321-2020.  The following was originally published by the IRS.

WASHINGTON — Business taxpayers who make business-related payments to charities or government entities for which the taxpayers receive state or local tax credits can generally deduct the payments as business expenses, the Internal Revenue Service said today.

Responding to taxpayer inquiries, the IRS clarified that this general deductibility rule is unaffected by the recent notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the availability of a charitable contribution deduction for contributions pursuant to such programs. The business expense deduction is available to any business taxpayer, regardless of whether it is doing business as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation, as long as the payment qualifies as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Therefore, businesses generally can still deduct business-related payments in full as a business expense on their federal income tax return.

Updates on the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.

 

What do I do if I receive a threat from the IRS to seize my property?

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If the IRS has threatened to initiate a levy on your property, call 252-321-2020 today to ask for assistance from attorney Kevin Sayed.  All material here originally published by the Internal Revenue Service.

Taxpayers now have more time to challenge a levy

The IRS reminds individuals and businesses that they have additional time to file an administrative claim or bring a civil action for wrongful levy or seizure. Tax reform legislation enacted in December extended the time limit from nine months to two years.

Here are some facts about levies and the extension of time to file a claim or civil action:

  • An IRS levy permits the legal seizure and sale of property to satisfy a tax debt. For purposes of a levy, the term “property” includes wages, money in bank or other financial accounts, vehicles and real estate.
  • The timeframes apply when the IRS has already sold the property it levied. Taxpayers can make an administrative claim for return of their property within two years of the date of the levy.
  • If an administrative claim is made within the extended two-year period, the two-year period for bringing suit is extended for one of two periods, whichever is shorter:o Twelve months from the date the person filed the
    claim.
    o Six months from the date the IRS disallowed the
    claim.
  • The change in law applies to levies made before, on or after December 22, 2017, as long as the previous nine-month period hadn’t yet expired.
  • Anyone who receives an IRS bill titled, Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing, should immediately contact the IRS. By doing so, a taxpayer may be able to make arrangements to pay the liability, instead of having the IRS proceed with the levy.

More Information:

Please call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M. Taxation, with Colombo Kitchen Attorneys for help with IRS tax issues.  

Enforced Collection Actions

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The IRS recently decided to begin a campaign to aggressively levy wages and income, bank accounts, and other payments and assets that serve as cash or cash equivalents. For the last few years the IRS would routinely intercept federal payments (which will continue) to businesses or individuals. The IRS will soon begin aggressive collection campaigns on cash or payments. See the website below for common types of levy and collection and enforcement actions available to the IRS.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/enforced-collection-actions

If taxes are not paid timely, and the IRS is not notified why the taxes cannot be paid, the law requires that enforcement action be taken, which could include the following:

  • Issuing a Notice of Levy on salary and other income, bank accounts or property (legally seize property to satisfy the tax debt)
  • Assessing a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty for certain unpaid employment taxes
  • Issuing a Summons to the taxpayer or third parties to secure information to prepare unfiled tax returns or determine the taxpayer’s ability to pay

Note: To collect delinquent tax debts, certain federal payments (vendor, OPM, SSA, federal salary, and federal employee travel) disbursed by the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Fiscal Service (BFS) may be subject to a levy through the Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP).

Important Information for Employers

Employment taxes are:

  • The amounts an employer should withhold from employees for income, social security, and Medicare taxes (also called withheld or trust fund taxes), plus
  • The amount of social security tax and Medicare taxes an employer pays on behalf of each employee

Paying employment taxes late, or not including payment with a return if required, could result in additional penalties and interest on any unpaid balance. Failure to Deposit (FTD) penalties of up to 15 percent of the amount not deposited may be charged, depending on how many days the payment is late.

Enrolling in and making current tax deposits through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) can help employers stay up-to-date with their payment requirements.

If you need help with employment or contracts, business or corporate matters, or business tax optimization, call Kevin M. Sayed, J.D., LL.M. Taxation at Colombo Kitchin attorneys, 252-321-2020.

 

Taxpayers should look out for disaster scams during hurricane season

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With hurricane season running through November 30, taxpayers should remember that criminals and scammers often try to take advantage of generous taxpayers who want to help disaster victims. Everyone should be vigilant, because scams often pop up after a hurricane.

These disaster scams normally start with unsolicited contact in several ways. The scammer contacts their possible victim by telephone, social media, email or in-person. Scammers also use a variety of tactics to lure information out of people.

Here are some things for people to know so they can recognize a scam and avoid becoming a victim:

  • Some thieves pretend they are from a charity. They do this to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.
  • Bogus websites use names that are similar to legitimate charities. They do this scam to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
  • Scammers even claim to be working for ― or on behalf of ― the IRS. The thieves say they can help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
  • Disaster victims can call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number at 866-562-5227. Phone assistors will answer questions about tax relief or disaster-related tax issues.
  • Taxpayers who want to make donations can get information to help them on IRS.gov. The Tax Exempt Organization Search helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
  • Taxpayers should always contribute by check or credit card to have a record of the tax-deductible donation.
  • Donors should not give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution. This includes things like Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords.

More Information:
Report Phishing
Disaster relief

For more information on how to protect your assets, please contact Kevin Sayed at 252-321-2020.

Taxpayers should stay alert because scammers don’t take a summer vacation

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While many people take summer vacations, data thieves do not. Phishing emails and telephone scams continue to pop up around the country. The IRS reminds everyone to be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.

Here are some things for taxpayers to remember so they can keep their personal data safe:

  • The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In one scam, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number. If a taxpayer gets a call from the IRS, they should hang up and call the agency back at a publicly-available phone number.
  • If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, they should report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov. Some people might also receive an email from a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients should also send these emails to phishing@irs.gov.
  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

There are special circumstances when the IRS will call or come to a home or business. This includes situations when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill or when the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment.

More Information:

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