Walther CPA Newsletter October 2018

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Leasing Property To A Corporation

 Avoiding payroll taxes: Rental income from real estate is not subject to the self-employment (SE) tax; a lease of real estate to a closely held corporation represents the ability to withdraw funds from the corporation without incurring Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (i.e., Social Security and Medicare) or SE tax.

·    Avoiding corporate-level gain: Retaining ownership of real estate and other valuable tangible or intangible assets outside the corporation avoids the potential for triggering a gain within the corporation upon a distribution or liquidation of the assets. Conversely, if appreciated assets (i.e., those with a fair market value (FMV) in excess of adjusted tax basis) are distributed from a corporation, whether in liquidation or other form of distribution, gain must be recognized (Secs. 311(b)(1) and 336(a)).

·    Retirement cash flow: Retaining valuable assets outside a controlled corporation allows the shareholder-lessor to continue to receive a cash flow stream from the corporation in the form of rents or royalties, even though the shareholder is not employed by the corporation. This can allow a portion of the corporate income to flow to a retired shareholder or a shareholder who is uninvolved in the business operations.

·  Business transition: Retaining assets outside the corporation allows the ownership of the business operation and the ownership of business assets to be segregated. For example, a controlling shareholder-lessor may want to divest ownership and control of the business operations by disposing of some or all of the corporate stock but retain a significant portion of the business assets for lease to the entity. This can help transfer ownership and control to the successor generation by minimizing the value of the corporation (e.g., where the corporation contains only operating assets such as receivables and inventory, with fixed assets retained by the founder).

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Final 2017 Income Tax Returns

Due October 15, 2018

Individual: Form 1040

C Corporations: Form 1020

Employee Benefits Plans-5500

Gift Tax: Form 709

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

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Non Cash Contribution Lesson From The Tax Court:The Substantial Substantiation Rules

  • Non Cash Contribution Lesson From The Tax Court:

    The Substantial Substantiation Rules 

    George Carlin on the problem of stuff.  “My wife and I have too much stuff.  My wife, however, hates yard sales.  And we cannot afford a bigger house.  So we give a lot of stuff away. “

    The requirement of a proper contemporaneous receipt, as the recent case of Estelle C. Grainger v. Commissioner, demonstrates the need for substantiating and valuing non cash charitable contributions.

    Fair market value (fmv) is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller, neither under a compulsion to buy or sell and both having knowledge of the relevant facts.

    If the fmv is greater than the taxpayer’s basis in the property, §170(e) requires, in certain circumstances, that the taxpayer must reduce the value of the contribution to the taxpayer’s basis amount.  When the fmv is less than basis, however, there is no corresponding rule that allows taxpayers to increase the value of the contribution.  Taxpayers must use fair market value. Accordingly buying items at a discount and then deducting them at the undiscounted value is not permitted under the law.

    Two substantiation rules are (1) the aggregation rule and (2) the Form 8283 rules. In general, the substantiation rules get stricter and stricter as the value of a taxpayer’s donations increase. For all donations of either money or personal property, taxpayers have to maintain adequate records to show the date, location and valuation of all such donations. For each donation of either money or personal property that exceeds $250, the taxpayer must also obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgement that meets several requirements.  For donations that aggregate more than $5,000, the taxpayer must also provide a qualified appraisal that supports the value claimed for the donated property.

    Remember, the statute applies these substantiation requirements not only to individual and discrete donations of personality but to aggregate donations of “similar items of property” to “1 or more” charity. Treasury Regulations tell us that “similar items of property” mean property of the same generic category or type and lists a bunch of categories.  One of the categories is just this word: “clothes.”

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Walther CPA Newsletter September 2018

How To Handle Sales Tax

 First a sales tax permit is required, it’s against the law to collect sales tax without one.

If your business has a physical location (or locations), you’ll need to configure your checkout system to charge the appropriate sales tax for each location.

You can file your taxes and submit your payments online with each state, but be sure to check the requirements. Depending on the size of your business, or how much revenue you have in a particular state, you might have to file monthly or quarterly. If you collect very little tax, you might only need to file once a year. But even if you don’t collect any tax for a given period, in many states you still need to file.

Some states offer a discount if you file on time.

Corporations & Partnerships

 Tax Return Deadline

September 17, 2018

Taking a chance and stepping beyond the safety of the world we've always known is the only way to grow .

Wil Wheaton
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Reality check: Virtual Currency And Its Tax Ramifications

 

Virtual currencies are created by “mining,” in which    the miner, using powerful computers, authenticates a transaction in the blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions. Besides bitcoin, the most familiar virtual currency, hundreds of others have been created, with more appearing all the time. Digital currency can be traded on third-party digital trading platforms such as Coinbase, used as payment for goods and services, held for investment, and loaned to others. 

Although IRS guidance on virtual currency is sparse, Notice 2014-21 lays out some ground rules. Chief among them is that virtual currency is treated as property for tax purposes, and transactions involving virtual currency are governed by the general tax principles for property transactions. When paid as employee compensation, the fair market value (FMV) of the virtual currency (at the time it is paid) must be included in the employee’s W-2 wages, and the employer must withhold income and employment taxes. Similar rules apply when virtual currency is received as payment for services provided as an independent contractor.

Trade Or Business Treatment And Its Impact On Investment Partnerships         

 In Lender Management LLC, T.C. Memo. 2017-246, the Tax Court concluded that a taxpayer was engaged in the trade or business of providing investment management services and, therefore, could benefit from having its expenses treated as fully deductible business expenses under Sec. 162 rather than being treated as expenses for the production of income under Sec. 212 subject to the Sec. 67(a) 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income floor for miscellaneous itemized deductions. The court ruled that the operations of the company consisted of activities that were beyond those of an investor even though the clients it provided investment management services to were primarily family entities, and its primary source of income was an allocation of profits (i.e., an incentive allocation, or carried interest) from various partnerships to which it provided these services.

During the years covered in the case (2010-2012), Lender Management provided direct management services to three limited liability companies (LLCs) taxed as partnerships for federal income tax purposes. The only members in these three LLCs were the families.

Each LLC had a distinct investment strategy, with one investing in private equities, one investing in public equities, and the third investing in hedge funds. The end-level owners of the three LLCs were, in all cases, children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

To consider an activity as a trade or business, “the taxpayer must be involved in the activity with continuity and regularity and . . . the taxpayer’s primary purpose for engaging in the activity must be for income or profit.”

Given the familial relationship of the owners of Lender Management and the investors of the investment LLCs, the court reviewed the economic arrangement between the entities with a heightened scrutiny. Specifically, the court examined whether the arrangement was a bona fide business relationship or an arrangement due to the familial relationship. Applying this heightened scrutiny, the court noted: (1) There was no requirement or understanding that Lender Management would remain the manager of the assets held by the LLCs indefinitely; (2) investors could withdraw their individual money at any time (subject to the LLC’s liquidity restrictions); (3) Keith, as one of the investors in the LLCs, would still have benefited from the investment returns of ownership of the LLCs if he did not work for Lender Management, and any additional income to him was due to the services he provided to Lender Management; and (4) while each investor was a member of the Lender family, the members did not act collectively and, in some cases, did not know each other or were in conflict with each other. The Tax Court found that even though the investors were all members of the Lender family, Lender Management provided investment advisory services and managed investments for each of its clients individually.

Ultimately, the Tax Court held that the activities of Lender Management rose to the level of a trade or business, and it was entitled to deduct its expenses under Sec. 162.

Lender Management affirms the position that an investment adviser can be in a trade or business even if the primary source of its income is from the allocation of profits from underlying managed partnerships. In considering these structures, it is critical that taxpayers and their advisers consider the specific facts and circumstances of each particular situation for the structure to be respected.

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Walther CPA Newsletter June 2018

IRS issues HSA contribution limits for 2019

The IRS issued the calendar year 2019 inflation-adjusted figures for the annual contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and the minimum deductible amounts and maximum out-of-pocket expense amounts for high-deductible health plans.

For 2019, the annual limit on deductible contributions is $3,500 for individuals with self-only coverage (a $50 increase from 2018) and $7,000 for family coverage (a $100 increase from 2018).

Contact us for more information

Due June 15, 2018

Individual Estimated Tax    

Payments and Overseas Filers

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

W. Clement Stone
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Understanding the new Sec. 199A business income deduction

  • Sec. 199A allows taxpayers other than corporations a deduction of 20% of qualified business income earned in a qualified trade or business, subject to certain limitations.
  • The deduction is limited to the greater of (1) 50% of the W-2 wages with respect to the trade or business, or (2) the sum of 25% of the W-2 wages, plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of all qualified property (generally, tangible property subject to depreciation under Sec. 167). The deduction also may not exceed (1) taxable income for the year over (2) net capital gain plus aggregate qualified cooperative dividends.
  • Qualified trades and businesses include all trades and businesses except the trade or business of performing services as an employee and “specified service” trades or businesses: those involving the performance of services in law, accounting, financial services, and several other enumerated fields, or where the business’s principal asset is the reputation or skill of one or more owners or employees.
  • Qualified business income is the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to a qualified trade or business that are effectively connected with the conduct of a business in the United States. However, some types of income, including certain investment-related income, reasonable compensation paid to the taxpayer for services to the trade or business, and guaranteed payments, are excluded from qualified business income.
  • The W-2 wage limitation does not apply to taxpayers with taxable income of less than $157,500 for the year ($315,000 for married filing jointly) and is phased in for taxpayers with taxable income above those thresholds. Income from specified service businesses is not excluded from qualified business income for taxpayers with taxable income under the same threshold amounts.
  • The new law also reduces the threshold at which an understatement of tax is substantial for purposes of the accuracy-related penalty under Sec. 6662 for any return claiming the deduction, from the generally applicable lesser of 10% of tax required to be shown on the return or $5,000 before the new law, to 5% of tax required to be shown on the return or $5,000.

The law’s many yet-unclear points include its application to rental property, the netting of qualified business income and loss for taxpayers with multiple qualified trades or businesses, determining the deduction for tiered entities, allocating W-2 wages among businesses, and whether compensation paid to an S corporation shareholder is included in W-2 wages for purposes of that limitation.

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Income taxation of trusts and estates after tax reform

 Rate reduction and thresholds: The law provides, for tax years 2018 through 2025, a new table under Sec. 1(j)(2)(E) of ordinary income tax rates and thresholds for trusts and estates (subject to adjustment for inflation for years after 2018) as shown in the chart below.

Ordinary income tax rates

The law retains the preferential rates for qualified dividend and long-term capital gain income under Sec. 1(j)(5) but adjusts the thresholds as illustrated in the chart below.

Capital gains and qualified dividend rates

Application of Sec. 641(b): Generally, under Sec. 641(b), the taxable income of an estate or trust is computed in the same manner as for an individual. This means that many of the amendments to the Code applicable to individuals are also relevant to calculating the adjusted total income of trusts and estates:

Sec. 164, state and local taxes: The law amends Sec. 164(b) to limit the aggregate deduction for state and local real property taxes, state and local personal property taxes, and state and local income taxes to a maximum of $10,000 per year. This limitation does not apply to any real property taxes or personal property taxes incurred by a trust or estate in carrying on a trade or business, or an activity under Sec. 212.

Sec. 67, miscellaneous itemized deductions: The law amends Sec. 67 by suspending all miscellaneous itemized deductions. Trusts and estates will not be permitted to deduct investment fees and expenses and unreimbursed business expenses, among others. On its face, the law does not appear to impact Sec. 67(e), which does not apply the 2% limitation to administration expenses incurred solely because the property is held in a trust or estate (i.e., trustee fees); however, this is an area where clarification will be required.

Sec. 642(b), personal exemptions: The law amends Sec. 151 to suspend the personal exemptions for individuals; however, trusts and estates remain entitled to their personal exemptions under Sec. 642(b). The amounts of the personal exemptions for trusts and estates remain unchanged.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT) — Sec. 55: The law did not amend the AMT for trusts and estates. The exemption of $24,600 and phaseout threshold of $82,050 for trusts and estates (for 2018) were not changed. These amounts will continue to be adjusted for inflation under Sec. 55(d)(3).

Income distribution deduction (IDD) under Sec. 651Under Sec. 651(b), simple trusts are entitled to an IDD, which is limited to the lesser of fiduciary accounting income (FAI) or distributable net income (DNI). In the past, FAI has generally been greater than DNI for simple trusts, so the IDD for simple trusts usually equals DNI. This is because all expenses were allowed in calculating DNI, while some expenses were allocated to principal when calculating FAI.

As trusts and estates lose the deductions discussed above, the adjusted total income (ATI) will increase. As ATI increases, DNI increases. FAI will remain the same, as the allocation of expenses for FAI is controlled by a trust’s governing document or the applicable state’s Principal and Income Act. As such, this may result in FAI becoming the more common IDD limitation, which may result in trusts and estates paying more income tax at the trust level than before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted.

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Walther CPA Newsletter April 2018

Walther CPA

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easter

Casualty (Hurricane) Losses

Legislation enacted on Sept. 29, 2017, provided benefits for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. For qualified disaster-related personal casualty losses from those hurricanes, the act removes the requirement that personal casualty losses must exceed 10% of the taxpayer’s AGI to be deductible and allows nonitemizers to increase their standard deduction by the amount of their net disaster loss. Additionally, victims of the hurricanes can use their 2016 income to calculate the 2017 earned income tax credit and refundable portion of the child tax credit. The legislation waives the 10% penalty on pre-age-59½ retirement account payouts of “qualified hurricane distributions” of up to $100,000 in a tax year, and the income tax due on those distributions can be spread over a three-year period. Any amounts recontributed to the account during the three-year period will be treated as rollovers, and any tax previously paid on those amounts can be recovered by filing an amended Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Victims with Sec. 401(k) accounts can borrow up to the lesser of $100,000 or 100% of the account balance, and loan repayments can be deferred.

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Highlights

Due April 17, 2018.

Individual, Trust, C Corporation Returns and Foreign Bank Account Reporting

The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.

Emily Dickinson
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Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program To End In September

The IRS announced that it is closing the 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) on Sept. 28, 2018. It also said it was announcing OVDP’s closure now so taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts who want to participate will be aware that they have to act to take advantage of it.

“All along, we have been clear that we would close the program at the appropriate time, and we have reached that point,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter in a prepared statement. “Those who still wish to come forward have time to do so.”

The IRS Criminal Investigation division has indicted 1,545 taxpayers for criminal violations related to international activities and it continues to fight offshore tax avoidance. The Criminal Investigation Voluntary Disclosure Program continues to exist, as do procedures for submitting delinquent FinCEN Forms 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, and delinquent international information returns.

Taxpayers who were unaware of their filing obligations can continue to use the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, although the IRS said it may end this program as well sometime in the future.

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The IRS Is Auditing A Lot Fewer Americans

The IRS audited 1 in about 160 individual tax returns in 2017, the lowest since 2002 and the sixth consecutive year that audits have declined, as budget cuts have reduced the number of staff at the federal agency.

The Internal Revenue Service—which has lost nearly a third of its enforcement employees since a 2010 peak, when it audited 1 in 90 individual returns—audited 0.62% of individual returns in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to IRS data.

The spending bill that Congress recently passed contains just over $11 billion for the IRS.

The bill appropriates $2.5 billion to the IRS for taxpayer services (compared with $2.2 billion last year), $4.9 billion for IRS enforcement activities (similar to last year).

The IRS also gets $3.6 billion for its operations (similar to last year).

For business systems modernization, the IRS gets $110 million (a cut from last year’s $290 million). The bill directs the IRS to make improvements to its 1-800 help line a priority and to allocate resources to improve its response time when communicating with taxpayers, “particularly with regard to victims of tax-related crimes.”

The bill also makes $320 million available to the IRS for carrying out changes made by last year’s tax overhaul legislation, but the IRS must submit to the House and Senate appropriations committees a spending plan for those funds before it can spend them.

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Walther CPA Newsletter March 2018

Walther CPA

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FinCEN Announces Filing Deadline For 2017 FBARs

The FBAR due date also provides for an automatic six-month extension for filing the form to Oct. 15, 2018. FinCEN again explained that filers did not have to do anything to take advantage of the extension and need only file the return by Oct. 15 to comply.

Taxpayers who have a Form 114 filing requirement must file electronically on FinCEN’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) E-Filing System website.

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Due March 15th, 2018 

1120s- S Corporation Returns

1065- Partnership Returns

Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined

Leo Rosten
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New Tax Refund Scam

Thieves are using phishing and other schemes to steal client data from tax professionals. Then, using that data, they file fraudulent tax returns and use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts to deposit erroneous tax refunds. Finally, the thieves, posing as IRS or other law enforcement, call attention to the error and ask taxpayers to return the money to them.

Thieves use various tactics. Criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS reach out to taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and ask the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

Others have received an automated call with a recorded voice claiming to be from IRS; the caller threatens taxpayers with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice then gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Remember IRS collections ONLY occur through correspondence delivered by U.S. MAIL.

This is “Identity Theft” and form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit should be filed with the IRS to obtain a PIN that will need to be used with all future Federal Tax filings to assure that the returns being filed are from the taxpayer .

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Gross Receipts Tax

A gross receipts tax by any other name is still a gross receipts tax – and it goes by a number of different names in the various states that have enacted it. Ohio calls its GRT the commercial activity tax, or CAT, Texas calls the state GRT a franchise tax or margin tax, Washington named its GRT the Business and Occupation Tax, and Nevada’s GRT is the Commerce Tax. And although New Mexico has a GRT, its characteristics are more similar to a broad-based sales tax. While some states see a GRT as a revenue enhancer or a simpler alternative to the corporate income tax, most economists see it in a negative light because of tax pyramiding. Pyramiding occurs when products and services are taxed each time they are purchased and sold by subsequent firms during the production process. The tax thus becomes part of the base in each subsequent sale, and final purchasers pay a higher tax because of the repeated taxation of the same inputs.

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Walther CPA Newsletter February 2018

Walther CPA

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Rate Of Optional Withholding On Supplemental Wages

Because the new tax law lowered income tax rates beginning in 2018, the rate that employers should withhold on supplemental wages is also lowered from 25%, which was in effect from 2005 to 2017, to 22%. This new lower rate should be implemented as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 15, 2018. Employers have the option to correct overwithholding at the old 25% rate for wages paid between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 under the rules applicable to corrections of over collections of federal income tax.

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Due February 12th, 2018

Forms 940, 941, 943, 944 and/or 945 if you timely deposited all required payments.

Due February 28th, 2018

Forms 1096, 1098, 1099, (except form 1099-Misc reporting non employee compensation), and W-2G if you file paper forms.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

T.S. Eliot
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Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

Passed in December has certain provisions which offer expanded tax cuts.

One big plus is bonus depreciation. Under prior law, there was a 50 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service in 2017, 40 percent for 2018, and 30 percent for 2019. Qualified property has to be new, not used.

Under the new law, there’s 100 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before 2023, 80 percent for 2023, 60 percent for 2024, 40 percent for 2025 and 20 percent for 2026. The acquisition date for property purchased with a written contract is the date of the contract.

Qualified property includes property acquired by purchase if a taxpayer has not previously used the property, so the property does not have to be new, as long as it’s not acquired from a related party. A qualified property does not include property used in a business that is not subject to the net business interest expense limitation (see below), but it does include property used in farm business.

Section 179 expensing has also increased to include roofs, HVAC systems, fire protection, alarm systems and security systems, with the allowable expense increased from $500,000 to $1,000,000 in 2018, and the phase-out deduction increased to $2.5 million. These rules now include tangible personal property acquired for rental properties, furniture and appliances.

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IRS Closer To Obtaining Virtual Currency Records

Now that a federal district court has ruled that a narrower version of the IRS’s summons to Coinbase can be enforced, Coinbase’s customers should beware.

U.S. taxpayers who have traded in virtual currencies such as bitcoin, but have not reported and paid tax on the income or gains from those transactions, may face the heat as the IRS continues to press for greater tax compliance in the virtual currency arena.

Documents requested by the IRS

The government has been investigating the use of virtual currency that can be converted into traditional currency for the past several years. After the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, which took the position that transactions in virtual currency were property transactions that could result in gain or loss, it then served a John Doe summons on Coinbase Inc., a San Francisco-based virtual currency exchange company, in November 2016. (A John Doe summons, which is issued under Sec. 7609(f), does not name a taxpayer because the IRS does not know the person’s name.)

Most recently, on Nov. 30, 2017, after a lengthy summons enforcement proceeding, a federal district court issued an order granting in part and denying in part the IRS’s petition to enforce the summons. The court requires Coinbase to produce the following documents for accounts with at least the equivalent of $20,000 in any one transaction type (buy, sell, send, or receive) in any one year during the 2013 to 2015 period:

  1. The taxpayer identification number;
  2. Name;
  3. Birthdate;
  4. Address;
  5. Records of account activity; and
  6. All periodic statements.

Taxpayers who think they may have exposure would be wise to take steps to comply, such as participating in the IRS domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure programs, as opposed to waiting for the IRS to catch them.

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Walther CPA Newsletter January 2018

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Modifications to Depreciation Limitations on Luxury Automobiles and Personal Use Property

TCJA increases the depreciation limitations that apply to listed property, such as luxury automobiles. For passenger automobiles that qualify as luxury automobiles (i.e., gross unloaded weight of 6,000 lbs or more) placed in service after December 31, 2017, and for which the additional first-year depreciation deduction is not claimed, the maximum amount of allowable depreciation is $10,000 for the year in which the vehicle is placed in service, $16,000 for the second year, $9,600 for the third year, and $5,760 for the fourth and later years in the recovery period. The limitations are indexed for inflation for luxury passenger automobiles placed in service after 2018.

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Tax Deadline

Estimated Tax due for Individuals

January 16, 2018

Quarterly Payroll Reports , 1099-misc, W-2’s & w-3’s due Jan 31, 2018

Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed
until it is faced

James Baldwin
business tax

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Impact on 2018 Tax returns

Some of the highlights of the new tax law include the following:

For Individuals

Tax Rates and Brackets. TCJA provides seven tax brackets, with most rates being two to three points lower than the ones under present law (the top rate goes from 39.6 percent to 37 percent). The top rate kicks in at $600,000 of taxable income for joint filers, $300,000 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $400,000 for all other individual taxpayers.

Capital Gain Rates and Net Investment Income Tax. Tax rates on capital gains and the 3.8 percent net investment income tax (NIIT) are unchanged by TCJA.

Personal Exemptions and Standard Deduction. TCJA repeals the personal exemption deductions, but nearly doubles the standard deduction amounts to $24,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $18,000 for heads of household, and $12,000 for single individuals and married filing separately (additional amounts for the elderly and blind are retained).

Passthrough Tax Break. TCJA creates a new 20 percent deduction for qualified business income from sole proprietorships, S corporations, partnerships, and LLCs taxed as partnerships. The deduction, which is available to both itemizers and nonitemizers, is claimed by individuals on their personal tax returns as a reduction to taxable income. The new tax break is subject to some complicated restrictions and limitations, but the rules that apply to individuals with taxable income at or below $157,500 ($315,000 for joint filers) are simpler and more permissive than the ones that apply above those thresholds.

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