Posted on May 4, 2022

The April tax filing deadline has passed, but that doesn’t mean you should push your taxes out of your mind until next year. Here are three tax-related actions that you should consider taking in the near term (if you filed on time and didn’t file for an extension).

Retain the requisite records

Depending on the specific issue, the IRS has years to audit your tax return so it’s critical to maintain the records you may need to defend yourself. You generally need to keep the documents that support your income, deductions and credits for at least three years after the tax-filing deadline. (Note that no time limit applies to how long the IRS has to pursue taxpayers who don’t file or file fraudulent returns.)

Essential documentation to retain may include:

  • Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,”
  • Form 1099-NEC, “Nonemployee Compensation,” 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Income,” and 1099-G, “Certain Government Payments,”
  • Form 1098, “Mortgage Interest Statement,”
  • Property tax payments,
  • Charitable donation receipts,
  • Records related to contributions to and withdrawals from Section 529 plans and Health Savings Accounts, and
  • Records related to deductible retirement plan contributions.

Hold on to records relating to property (including improvements to property) until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property. You’ll need those records to calculate your gain or loss.

Plan for your 2022 taxes

You should be collecting the documentation you’ll need for next year’s tax filing deadline on an ongoing basis. Keep up-to-date records of items such as charitable donations and mileage expenses.

In addition, this is a good time to reassess your current tax withholding to determine if you need to update your Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Certificate.” You may want to increase withholding if you owed taxes this year. Conversely, you might want to reduce it if you received a hefty refund. Changes also might be in order if you expect to experience certain major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, childbirth or adoption this year.

If you make estimated tax payments throughout the year, consider reevaluating the amounts you pay. You might want to increase or reduce the payments on account of changes in self-employment income, investment income, Social Security benefits and other types of nonwage income. To preempt the risk of a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax, consider paying at least 90% of the tax for the current year or 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return, whichever amount is less.

When it comes to strategies to reduce your 2022 tax bill, recent downturns in the stock market may have some upside. If you have substantial funds in a traditional IRA, this could be a ripe time to convert them to a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs have no required mandatory distributions, and distributions are tax-free. You must pay income tax on the fair market value of the converted assets, but, if you convert securities that have fallen in value or you’re in a lower tax bracket in 2022, you could pay less in taxes now than you would in the future. Moreover, any subsequent appreciation will be tax-free.

The market downturn could provide loss-harvesting opportunities, too. By selling poorly performing investments before year end, you can offset realized taxable gains on a dollar-for-dollar basis. If you end up with excess losses, you generally can apply up to $3,000 against your ordinary income and carry forward the balance to future tax years.

If you itemize deductions on your tax return, you also might consider “bunching” expected medical expenses into 2022 to increase the odds that you can claim the medical and dental expense deduction. You’re allowed to deduct unreimbursed expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. If you expect to have, for example, a knee replacement surgery next winter, accelerating it (and all of the follow-up appointments and physical therapy) into this year could put you over the 7.5% threshold.

Respond to an IRS question or audit

You might have no choice but to continue thinking about your taxes if you receive a tax return question or audit letter from the IRS (and you would be notified only by a letter — the IRS doesn’t initiate inquiries or audits by telephone, text or email). Such letters can be alarming, but don’t assume the worst.

It’s important to remember that receiving a question or being selected for an audit doesn’t always mean you’ve tripped up somehow. For example, your tax return could have been flagged based on a statistical formula that compares similar returns for deviations from “norms.”

Further, if selected, you’re most likely going to undergo a correspondence audit; these audits account for more than 70% of IRS audits. They’re conducted by mail for a single tax year and involve only a few issues that the IRS anticipates it can resolve by reviewing relevant documents. According to the IRS, most audits involve returns filed within the last two years.

If you receive notification of a correspondence audit, you and your tax advisor should closely follow the instructions. You can request additional time if you can’t submit all documentation requested by the specified deadline. It’s advisable to submit copies instead of original documents, and each page of documentation should be marked with your name, Social Security number and the tax year under scrutiny.

Don’t ignore the letter. Doing so will eventually lead to the IRS disallowing the item(s) claimed and issuing a Notice of Deficiency (that is, a notice that a balance is due). You’ll then have 90 days to petition the U.S. Tax Court for review.

While correspondence audits are by far the most common, you could be selected for an office audit (in an IRS office) or field audit (at the taxpayer’s place of business). These are more intensive, and you should consult a tax professional with expertise in handling these types of exams.

Stay ahead of the game

Tax planning is an ongoing challenge. We can help you take the necessary steps to minimize your filing burden, your tax liability and the risk of bad results if you’re ever flagged for an audit.

© 2022


Posted on Apr 18, 2022

In 2019, the bipartisan Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) — the first significant legislation related to retirement savings since 2006 — became law. Now Congress appears ready to build on that law to further increase Americans’ retirement security.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act by a 414-5 vote. Also known as SECURE 2.0, the bill contains numerous provisions that — if enacted — would affect both individuals and employers, including in the following areas.

Catch-up contributions

Currently, qualified individuals age 50 or older can make catch-up contributions, on top of the standard contribution limits, to certain retirement accounts — an extra $6,500 for 401(k) plan accounts and $3,000 for SIMPLE plans. Beginning in 2024, SECURE 2.0 would boost those figures for individuals age 62 to 64 to $10,000 for 401(k)s and $5,000 for SIMPLE plans (indexed for inflation). In addition, the $1,000 annual catch-up for IRAs, which hasn’t changed in years, would be indexed going forward.

The bill also would change the taxation of catch-up contributions, reducing the upfront tax savings for those who max out their annual contributions. Such contributions would be treated as post-tax Roth contributions starting in 2023. Under existing law, you can choose whether to make catch-up contributions on a pre- or post-tax basis. SECURE 2.0 would also allow you to determine whether your employer’s matching contributions should be treated as pre- or post-tax. Currently, these contributions can be pre-tax only.

RMDs

The SECURE Act eased the rules for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and other qualified plans. It generally raised the age at which you must begin to take your RMDs — and pay taxes on them — from 70½ to 72.

SECURE 2.0 would increase the age over the course of a decade. As of 2023, RMDs wouldn’t be mandated until age 73, going up to age 74 in 2030 and age 75 in 2033. This would give you more time to grow your retirement savings tax-free, bearing in mind that delayed RMDs may translate to larger withdrawal requirements down the road.

The bill would relax the penalty for failing to take full RMDs, too. Currently, the failure results in a 50% excise tax of the amount that should have been withdrawn. SECURE 2.0 would reduce the tax to 25% beginning in 2023. If corrected in a “timely” manner, the penalty would further drop to 10%.

QCDs

Some taxpayers use qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) to satisfy both their RMD requirements and their philanthropic inclinations. With a QCD, you can distribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a 501(c)(3) charity after age 70½. You can’t claim a charitable deduction for this donation, but the distribution is removed from taxable income.

The bill would make this option more attractive. It would annually index the $100,000 limit for inflation. It also would allow you to make a one-time QCD transfer of up to $50,000 through a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust (as opposed to directly to the charity). Both provisions would take effect in the taxable year following enactment of the law.

Automatic enrollment

The House bill would require employers to automatically enroll all newly eligible employees in their 401(k) plans at a deduction rate of at least 3% (but no more than 10%) of the employee’s pay, increasing it by 1% each year until the employee is contributing 10%. Employees could opt out or change their contribution rates.

Annuities

Annuities can help reduce the risk that retirees run out of money during their lifetimes. The SECURE Act encouraged reluctant employers to offer annuities by immunizing them from breach of fiduciary duty liability if they choose an annuity provider that meets certain requirements.

But an actuarial test in the regulations for RMDs has interfered with the availability of annuities. For example, the test commonly prohibits annuities with guaranteed annual increases of only 1% to 2%, return of premium death benefits and period-certain guarantees. Without such guarantees, though, many individuals are hesitant to choose an annuity option in a defined contribution plan or IRA. SECURE 2.0 would specify that these guarantees are allowed. The changes would take effect upon enactment of the law.

Matching contributions on student loan payments

SECURE 2.0 recognizes that many employees are unable to contribute to their retirement accounts because of student loan payment responsibilities. Such employees miss out on matching contributions from their employers.

The bill would allow employers to contribute to certain retirement plans for employees who are making qualified student loan payments. If enacted, this would take effect for contributions made for plan years beginning after 2022.

Part-time employee eligibility

The SECURE Act generally requires employers to allow part-time employees who work at least 500 hours for three consecutive years to participate in their 401(k) plans. Under SECURE 2.0, part-time employees would need to work at least 500 hours for only two consecutive years to be eligible for their employer’s 401(k) plan. The provision would be effective for plan years beginning after 2022.

Small business tax credits

SECURE 2.0 would create or enhance some tax credits for small businesses for tax years after 2022. For example, the SECURE Act increased the potential amount of the credit for retirement plan startup costs by capping it at $5,000 (up from $500). The three-year credit currently is available for 50% of “qualified startup costs” for employers with no more than 100 employees.

The new bill hikes the credit to 100% of qualified costs for employers with up to 50 employees. It provides an additional credit, too, except for defined benefit plans. The additional amount generally is a percentage of the amount the employer contributes on behalf of employees, up to $1,000 per employee. The full additional credit is limited to employers with 50 or fewer employees, gradually phasing out for employers with 51 to 100 employees.

Next steps

While the odds for passage of some form of retirement savings reform seem high in light of the bipartisan support for the SECURE Act and the new House bill, it remains to be seen what form it’ll take. The Senate is working its own bill, and the two would need to be reconciled before it reaches President Biden’s desk. The final legislation could add to, revise or remove the provisions described above. We’ll keep you up to date.

© 2022


Posted on Mar 3, 2022

The IRS has announced additional relief for pass-through entities required to file two new tax forms — Schedules K-2 and K-3 — for the 2021 tax year. Certain domestic partnerships and S corporations won’t be required to file the schedules, which are intended to make it easier for partners and shareholders to find information related to “items of international tax relevance” that they need to file their own returns.

In 2021, the IRS released guidance providing penalty relief for filers who made “good faith efforts” to adopt the new schedules. The IRS has indicated that its latest, more sweeping move comes in response to continued concern and feedback from the tax community and other stakeholders.

A tough tax season for the IRS

The announcement of additional relief comes as IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has acknowledged that the agency faces “enormous challenges” this tax season. For example, millions of taxpayers are still waiting for prior years’ returns to be processed.

To address such issues, he says, the IRS has taken “extraordinary measures,” including mandatory overtime for IRS employees, the creation and assignment of “surge teams,” and the temporary suspension of the mailing of certain automated compliance notices to taxpayers. In addition, the partial suspension of the Schedules K-2 and K-3 filing requirements might ease the burden for both affected taxpayers and the IRS.

K-2 and K-3 filing requirements

Provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was enacted in 2017, require taxpayers to provide significantly more information to calculate their U.S. tax liability for items of international tax relevance. The Schedule K-2 reports such items, and the Schedule K-3 reports a partner’s distributive share of those items. These schedules replace portions of Schedule K and numerous unformatted statements attached to earlier versions of Schedule K-1.

Schedules K-2 and K-3 generally must be filed with a partnership’s Form 1065, “U.S. Return of Partnership Income,” or an S corporation’s Form 1120-S, “U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation.” Previously, partners and S corporation shareholders could obtain the information that’s included on the schedules through various statements or schedules the respective entity opted to provide, if any. The new schedules require more detailed and complete reporting than the entities may have provided in the past.

In January of 2022, the IRS surprised many in the tax community when it posted changes to the instructions for the schedules. Under the revised instructions, an entity may need to report information on the schedules even if it had no foreign partners, foreign source income, assets generating such income, or foreign taxes paid or accrued.

For example, if a partner claims a credit for foreign taxes paid, the partner might need certain information from the partnership to file his or her own tax return. Although some narrow exceptions apply, this change substantially expanded the pool of taxpayers required to file the schedules.

Good faith exception

IRS Notice 2021-39 exempted affected taxpayers from penalties for the 2021 tax year if they made a good faith effort to comply with the filing requirements for Schedules K-2 and K-3. When determining whether a filer has established such an effort, the IRS considers, among other things:

  • The extent to which the filer has made changes to its systems, processes and procedures for collecting and processing the information required to file the schedules,
  • The extent the filer has obtained information from partners, shareholders or a controlled foreign partnership or, if not obtained, applied reasonable assumptions, and
  • The steps taken by the filer to modify the partnership or S corporation agreement or governing instrument to facilitate the sharing of information with partners and shareholders that’s relevant to determining whether and how to file the schedules.

The IRS won’t impose the relevant penalties for any incorrect or incomplete reporting on the schedules if it determines the taxpayer exercised the requisite good faith efforts.

Latest exception

Under the latest guidance, announced in early February, partnerships and S corporations need not file the schedules if they satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • For the 2021 tax year:
    • The direct partners in the domestic partnership aren’t foreign partnerships, corporations, individuals, estates or trusts, and
    • The domestic partnership or S corporation has no foreign activity, including 1) foreign taxes paid or accrued, or 2) ownership of assets that generate, have generated or may reasonably be expected to generate foreign-source income.
  • For the 2020 tax year, the domestic partnership or S corporation didn’t provide its partners or shareholders — nor did they request — information regarding any foreign transactions.
  • The domestic partnership or S corporation has no knowledge that partners or shareholders are requesting such information for the 2021 tax year.

Entities that meet these criteria generally aren’t required to file Schedules K-2 and K-3. But there’s an important caveat. If such a partnership or S corporation is notified by a partner or shareholder that it needs all or part of the information included on Schedule K-3 to complete its tax return, the entity must provide that information.

Moreover, if the partner or shareholder notifies the entity of this need before the entity files its own return, the entity no longer satisfies the criteria for the exception. As a result, it must provide Schedule K-3 to the partner or shareholder and file the schedules with the IRS.

Temporary reprieves

The IRS guidance on the exceptions to the Schedules K-2 and K-3 filing requirement explicitly refers to 2021 tax year filings. In the absence of additional or updated guidance, partnerships and S corporations should expect and prepare to file the schedules for current and future tax years. We can help ensure you have the necessary information on hand.

© 2022


Posted on Feb 9, 2022

If you run a business and accept payments through third-party networks such as Zelle, Venmo, Square or PayPal, you could be affected by new tax reporting requirements that take effect for 2022. They don’t alter your tax liability, but they could add to your recordkeeping burden, as well as the number of tax-related documents you receive every January in anticipation of tax-filing season.

Form 1099-K primer

Form 1099-K, “Payment Card and Third-Party Network Transactions,” is an information return that reports certain payment transactions to the IRS and the taxpayer who receives the payments. Since it was first introduced in 2012, the form has been used to report payments:

  • From payment card transactions (for example, debit, credit or stored-value cards), and
  • In settlement of third-party network transactions, when above a certain minimum threshold amount.

For 2021 and prior years, the threshold was defined as gross payments that exceeded $20,000 and more than 200 such transactions. Note that no minimum threshold applies to payment card transactions — all such payments must be reported.

Taxpayers should receive a Form 1099-K from each “payment settlement entity” (PSE) from which they received payments in settlement of reportable payment transactions (that is, a payment card or third-party network transaction) during the tax year. Form 1099-K reports the gross amount of all reportable transactions for the year and by month. The dollar amount of each transaction is determined on the transaction date.

In the case of third-party network payments, the gross amount of a reportable payment doesn’t include any adjustments for credits, cash equivalents, discounts, fees, refunds or other amounts. In other words, the full amount reported might not represent the taxable amount.

Businesses (including independent contractors) should consider the amounts reported when calculating their gross receipts for income tax purposes. Depending on filing status, the amounts generally should be reported on Schedule C (Form 1040), “Profit or Loss From Business, Sole Proprietorship;” Schedule E (Form 1040), “Supplemental Income and Loss;” Schedule F (Form 1040), “Profit or Loss From Farming;” or the appropriate return for partnerships or corporations.

Understanding the new rules

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law in March of 2021, brought significant changes to the requirements regarding Form 1099-K. The changes are intended to improve voluntary tax compliance.

Beginning in 2022, the number of transactions component of the threshold for reporting third-party network transactions is eliminated, and the gross payments threshold drops to only $600. The change is expected to boost the number of Forms 1099-K many businesses receive in January 2023 for the 2022 tax year and going forward.

The ARPA also includes an important clarification. Since Form 1099-K was introduced, stakeholders have been uncertain about which types of third-party network transactions should be included. The ARPA makes clear that these transactions are reportable only if they’re for goods and services. Payments for royalties, rent and other transactions settled through a third-party network are reported on Form 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Information.”

The ARPA changes heighten only the reporting obligations of third-party payment networks; they don’t affect individual taxpayer requirements. They might, however, reduce your odds of inadvertently underreporting income and paying the price down the road.

Taking steps toward accurate reporting

While the increased reporting doesn’t require any specific changes of affected taxpayers, you’d be wise to institute some measures to ensure the reporting is accurate. For example, consider monitoring your payments and the amounts so you know whether you should receive a Form 1099-K from a particular PSE. Notably, you’re required to report the associated income regardless of whether you receive the form.

You’ll also want to step up your recordkeeping to allow you to reconcile any Forms 1099-K with the actual amounts received. If you have multiple sources of income, track and report each separately even if you receive a single Form 1099-K with gross payments for all of the businesses. For example, if you process both retail sales and rent payments on the same card terminal, your tax preparer would report the retail sales on Schedule C and the rent on Schedule E.

If you permit customers to get cash back when using debit cards for purchases, the cash back amounts will be included on Form 1099-K. Those amounts generally aren’t included in your gross receipts or businesses expenses, though, making it critical that you track cash-back activity to prevent inclusion.

Amounts reported could be inaccurate if you share a credit card terminal with another person or business. Where required, consider filing and furnishing the appropriate information return (for example, Form 1099-K or Form 1099-MISC) for each party with whom you shared a card terminal. In addition, keep records of payments issued to every party sharing your terminal, including shared terminal written agreements and cancelled checks.

Other potential landmines include:

  • Incorrect amounts due to mid-tax year changes in entity type (for example, from a sole proprietorship to a partnership),
  • Forms issued to you as an individual, with your Social Security number, rather than to your C corporation, S corporation or partnership, with its taxpayer identification number,
  • Incorrect amounts due to a mid-tax year sale or purchase of a business, and
  • Duplicate payments that appear on both a Form 1099-K and either a Form 1099-MISC or a Form 1099-NEC, “Nonemployee Compensation.”

If you receive a form with errors in your taxpayer identification number or payment amount, request a corrected form from the PSE and maintain records of all related correspondence.

Don’t dawdle

It may seem tempting to put off the steps necessary to establish solid recordkeeping procedures for payments from third-party networks, but that would be a mistake. We can help you set up the necessary processes and procedures now so you’re in compliance and not scrambling at tax time.

© 2022


Posted on Jan 31, 2022

To help you make sure you don’t miss any important 2022 deadlines, we’ve provided this summary of when various tax-related forms, payments and other actions are due. Please review the calendar and let us know if you have any questions about the deadlines or would like assistance in meeting them.

© 2022


Posted on Jan 31, 2022



While Congress didn’t pass the Build Back Better Act in 2021, there are still tax changes that may affect your tax situation for this year. That’s because some tax figures are adjusted annually for inflation.

 

If you’re like most people, you’re probably more concerned about your 2021 tax bill right now than you are about your 2022 tax situation. That’s understandable because your 2021 individual tax return is generally due to be filed by April 18 (unless you file an extension).

However, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with tax amounts that may have changed for 2022. Below are some Q&As about tax amounts for this year.

I have a 401(k) plan through my job. How much can I contribute to it?

For 2022, you can contribute up to $20,500 (up from $19,500 in 2021) to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. You can make an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution if you’re age 50 or older.

How much can I contribute to an IRA for 2022?

If you’re eligible, you can contribute $6,000 a year to a traditional or Roth IRA, or up to 100% of your earned income. If you’re 50 or older, you can make another $1,000 “catch-up” contribution. (These amounts were the same for 2021.)

I sometimes hire a babysitter and a cleaning person. Do I have to withhold and pay FICA tax on the amounts I pay them?

In 2022, the threshold when a domestic employer must withhold and pay FICA for babysitters, house cleaners, etc., is $2,400 (up from $2,300 in 2021).

How much do I have to earn in 2022 before I can stop paying Social Security on my salary?

The Social Security tax wage base is $147,000 for this year (up from $142,800 in 2021). That means that you don’t owe Social Security tax on amounts earned above that. (You must pay Medicare tax on all amounts that you earn.)

I didn’t qualify to itemize deductions on my last tax return. Will I qualify for 2022?

A 2017 tax law eliminated the tax benefit of itemizing deductions for many people by increasing the standard deduction and reducing or eliminating various deductions. For 2022, the standard deduction amount is $25,900 for married couples filing jointly (up from $25,100). For single filers, the amount is $12,950 (up from $12,550) and for heads of households, it’s $19,400 (up from $18,800). If your itemized deductions (such as mortgage interest) are less than the applicable standard deduction amount, you won’t itemize.

If I don’t itemize, can I claim charitable deductions on my 2022 return?

Generally, taxpayers who claim the standard deduction on their federal tax returns can’t deduct charitable donations. But thanks to two COVID-19-relief laws, non-itemizers could claim a limited charitable contribution deduction for the past two years (for 2021, this deduction is $300 for single taxpayers and $600 for married couples filing jointly). Unfortunately, unless Congress acts to extend this tax break, it has expired for 2022.

How much can I give to one person without triggering a gift tax return in 2022?

The annual gift exclusion for 2022 is $16,000 (up from $15,000 in 2021). This amount is only adjusted in $1,000 increments, so it typically only increases every few years.

More to your tax picture

These are only some of the tax amounts that may apply to you. Contact us for more information about your tax situation, or if you have questions.

© 2022


Posted on Jan 27, 2022

Many tax limits that affect businesses are annually indexed for inflation, and a number of them have increased for 2022. Here’s a rundown of those that may be important to you and your business.

Social Security tax

The amount of an employee’s earnings that is subject to Social Security tax is capped for 2022 at $147,000 (up from $142,800 in 2021).

Deductions

  • Standard business mileage rate, per mile: 58.5 cents (up from 56 cents in 2021)
  • Section 179 expensing:
    • Limit: $1.08 million (up from $1.05 million in 2021)
    • Phaseout: $2.7 million (up from $2.62 million)
  • Income-based phase-out for certain limits on the Sec. 199A qualified business income deduction begins at:
    • Married filing jointly: $340,100 (up from $329,800 in 2021)
    • Single filers: $170,050 (up from $164,900)

Business meals

In 2022 and 2021, the deduction for eligible business-related food and beverage expenses provided by a restaurant is 100% (up from 50% in 2020).

Retirement plans

  • Employee contributions to 401(k) plans: $20,500 (up from $19,500 in 2021)
  • Catch-up contributions to 401(k) plans: $6,500 (unchanged)
  • Employee contributions to SIMPLEs: $14,000 (up from $13,500)
  • Catch-up contributions to SIMPLEs: $3,000 (unchanged)
  • Combined employer/employee contributions to defined contribution plans: $61,000 (up from $58,000)
  • Maximum compensation used to determine contributions: $305,000 (up from $290,000)
  • Annual limit for defined benefit plans: $245,000 (up from $230,000)
  • Compensation defining a highly compensated employee: $135,000 (up from $130,000)
  • Compensation defining a “key” employee: $200,000 (up from $185,000) 

Other employee benefits

  • Qualified transportation fringe-benefits employee income exclusion: $280 per month (up from $270 per month)
  • Health Savings Account contributions:
    • Individual coverage: $3,650 (up from $3,600)
    • Family coverage: $7,300 (up from $7,200)
    • Catch-up contribution: $1,000 (unchanged)
  • Health care Flexible Spending Account contributions: $2,850 (up from $2,750)

These are only some of the tax limits that may affect your business and additional rules may apply. Contact us if you have questions.

© 2022


Posted on Jan 24, 2022

While some businesses have closed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, many new ventures have launched. Entrepreneurs have cited a number of reasons why they decided to start a business in the midst of a pandemic. For example, they had more time, wanted to take advantage of new opportunities or they needed money due to being laid off. Whatever the reason, if you’ve recently started a new business, or you’re contemplating starting one, be aware of the tax implications.

As you know, before you even open the doors in a start-up business, you generally have to spend a lot of money. You may have to train workers and pay for rent, utilities, marketing and more.

Entrepreneurs are often unaware that many expenses incurred by start-ups can’t be deducted right away. Keep in mind that the way you handle some of your initial expenses can make a large difference in your tax bill.

Essential tax points

When starting or planning a new enterprise, keep these factors in mind:

  • Start-up costs include those incurred or paid while creating an active trade or business — or investigating the creation or acquisition of one.
  • Under the federal tax code, taxpayers can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs in the year the venture begins. Of course, $5,000 doesn’t go far these days! And the $5,000 deduction is reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount by which your total start-up or organizational costs exceed $50,000. Any remaining costs must be amortized over 180 months on a straight-line basis.
  • No deductions or amortization write-offs are allowed until the year when “active conduct” of your new business commences. That usually means the year when the enterprise has all the pieces in place to begin earning revenue. To determine if a taxpayer meets this test, the IRS and courts generally ask questions such as: Did the taxpayer undertake the activity intending to earn a profit? Was the taxpayer regularly and actively involved? Has the activity actually begun?

Types of expenses

Start-up expenses generally include all expenses that are incurred to:

  • Investigate the creation or acquisition of a business,
  • Create a business, or
  • Engage in a for-profit activity in anticipation of that activity becoming an active business.

To be eligible for the election, an expense also must be one that would be deductible if it were incurred after a business began. One example would be the money you spend analyzing potential markets for a new product or service.

To qualify as an “organization expense,” the outlay must be related to the creation of a corporation or partnership. Some examples of organization expenses are legal and accounting fees for services related to organizing the new business and filing fees paid to the state of incorporation.

An important decision 

Time may be of the essence if you have start-up expenses that you’d like to deduct for this year. You need to decide whether to take the election described above. Recordkeeping is important. Contact us about your business start-up plans. We can help with the tax and other aspects of your new venture.

© 2022


Posted on Dec 2, 2021

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law on November 15, 2021. It includes new information reporting requirements that will generally apply to digital asset transactions starting in 2023. Cryptocurrency exchanges will be required to perform intermediary Form 1099 reporting for cryptocurrency transactions.

Existing reporting rules

If you have a stock brokerage account, whenever you sell stock or other securities, you receive a Form 1099-B after the end of the year. Your broker uses the form to report transaction details such as sale proceeds, relevant dates, your tax basis and the character of gains or losses. In addition, if you transfer stock from one broker to another broker, the old broker must furnish a statement with relevant information, such as tax basis, to the new broker.

Digital asset broker reporting

The IIJA expands the definition of brokers who must furnish Forms 1099-B to include businesses that are responsible for regularly providing any service accomplishing transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person (“crypto exchanges”). Thus, any platform on which you can buy and sell cryptocurrency will be required to report digital asset transactions to you and the IRS after the end of each year.

Transfer reporting

Sometimes you may have a transfer transaction that isn’t a sale or exchange. For example, if you transfer cryptocurrency from your wallet at one crypto exchange to your wallet at another crypto exchange, the transaction isn’t a sale or exchange. For that transfer, as with stock, the old crypto exchange will be required to furnish relevant digital asset information to the new crypto exchange. Additionally, if the transfer is to an account maintained by a party that isn’t a crypto exchange (or broker), the IIJA requires the old crypto exchange to file a return with the IRS. It’s anticipated that such a return will include generally the same information that’s furnished in a broker-to-broker transfer.

Digital asset definition

For the reporting requirements, a “digital asset” is any digital representation of value that’s recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger or similar technology. (The IRS can modify this definition.) As it stands, the definition will capture most cryptocurrencies as well as potentially include some non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are using blockchain technology for one-of-a-kind assets like digital artwork.

Cash transaction reporting

You may know that when a business receives $10,000 or more in cash in a transaction, it is required to report the transaction, including the identity of the person from whom the cash was received, to the IRS on Form 8300. The IIJA will require businesses to treat digital assets like cash for purposes of this requirement.

When reporting begins

These reporting rules will apply to information reporting that’s due after December 31, 2023. For Form 1099-B reporting, this means that applicable transactions occurring after January 1, 2023, will be reported. Whether the IRS will refine the form for digital assets, or come up with a new form, is not known yet. Form 8300 reporting of cash transactions will presumably follow the same effective dates.

More details

If you use a crypto exchange, and it hasn’t already collected a Form W-9 from you seeking your taxpayer identification number, expect it to do so. The transactions subject to the reporting will include not only selling cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies (like U.S. dollars), but also exchanging cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies. And keep in mind that a reporting intermediary doesn’t always have accurate information, especially with a new type of reporting. Contact us with any questions.

© 2021


Posted on Nov 30, 2021

Don’t let the holiday rush keep you from considering some important steps to reduce your 2021 tax liability. You still have time to execute a few strategies.

Purchase assets

Thinking about buying new or used equipment, machinery or office equipment in the new year? Buy them and place them in service by December 31, and you can deduct 100% of the cost as bonus depreciation. Contact us for details on the 100% bonus depreciation break and exactly what types of assets qualify.

Bonus depreciation is also available for certain building improvements. Before the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), bonus depreciation was available for two types of real property: land improvements other than buildings (for example fencing and parking lots), and “qualified improvement property,” a broad category of internal improvements made to nonresidential buildings after the buildings are placed in service. The TCJA inadvertently eliminated bonus depreciation for qualified improvement property. However, the 2020 CARES Act made a retroactive technical correction to the TCJA. The correction makes qualified improvement property placed in service after December 31, 2017, eligible for bonus depreciation.

Keep in mind that 100% bonus depreciation has reduced the importance of Section 179 expensing. If you’re a small business, you’ve probably benefited from Sec. 179. It’s an elective benefit that, subject to dollar limits, allows an immediate deduction of the cost of equipment, machinery, “off-the-shelf” computer software and some building improvements. Sec. 179 expensing was enhanced by the TCJA, but the availability of 100% bonus depreciation is economically equivalent and thus has greatly reduced the cases in which Sec. 179 expensing is useful.

Write off a heavy vehicle

The 100% bonus depreciation deal can have a major tax-saving impact on first-year depreciation deductions for new or used heavy vehicles used over 50% for business. That’s because heavy SUVs, pickups and vans are treated for federal income tax purposes as transportation equipment. In turn, that means they qualify for 100% bonus depreciation.

Specifically, 100% bonus depreciation is available when the SUV, pickup or van has a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating above 6,000 pounds. You can verify a vehicle’s weight by looking at the manufacturer’s label, which is usually found on the inside edge of the driver’s side door. If you’re considering buying an eligible vehicle, placing one in service before year end could deliver a significant write-off on this year’s return.

Time deductions and income

If your business operates on a cash basis, you can significantly affect your amount of taxable income by accelerating your deductions into 2021 and deferring income into 2022 (assuming you expect to be taxed at the same or a lower rate next year).

For example, you could put recurring expenses normally paid early in the year on your credit card before January 1 — that way, you can claim the deduction for 2021 even though you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2022. In certain circumstances, you also can prepay some expenses, such as rent or insurance and claim them in 2021.

As for income, wait until close to year-end to send out invoices to customers with reliable payment histories. Accrual-basis businesses can take a similar approach, holding off on the delivery of goods and services until next year.

Consider all angles

Bear in mind that some of these tactics could adversely impact other factors affecting your tax liability, such as the qualified business income deduction. Contact us to make the most of your tax planning opportunities.

© 2021