International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Thursday, May 14, 2020

to prohibit the use of tax flow-through entities and the provision of trust services to high-risk third countries and EU Blacklisted jurisdictions

Loyens & Loeff writes that the Netherlands government proposal entails the following prohibitions:

  1. The prohibition to facilitate the use of a flow-through entity, which currently is one of the trust services under the Wtt 2018.
  2. It will be prohibited to enter into a business relationship or provide a trust service in case a client, object company or the UBO of a client or object company resides in or has its seat in (a) a high-risk third country or (b) a non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The original list of high-risk third countries adopted by the European Commission may be found here, more countries were added to the list in October 2017December 2017 and July 2018. A list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes is kept by the EU Council and can be found here.

Proposals in Dutch from Dutch Ministry here

May 14, 2020 in BEPS, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Multiple IRS Job Announcements in IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities

The IRS has announced multiple Internal Revenue Agent job openings in both Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations as part of the IRS Pathways Recent Graduate Program. These positions are open in multiple cities and have a starting pay scale of GS 5 – 9.

Revenue agents in Employee Plans examine the books and records of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k) plans.

You can learn more about, and apply for, one of the recent graduate positions on USAjobs.gov, but you need to hurry.

These job openings close on May 8, 2020. 

May 2, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Eighth Circuit Upholds Determination that Wells Fargo is Liable for Penalties for Engaging in Abusive Tax Shelter Scheme

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion on Friday, April 24, 2020, affirming a district court decision that a transaction designed to generate massive foreign tax credits (referred to as the STARS tax shelter) lacked economic substance and business purpose and was subject to the accuracy-related penalty for negligence, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joshua Wu of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

In Wells Fargo v. United States, No. 17-3578, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and the position of the United States. Wells Fargo, like several other U.S. banks, had entered into the STARS shelter, a transaction promoted to them by Barclays PLC and KPMG as a method of generating foreign tax credits on U.S. income. The Eighth Circuit rejected the transaction as an economic sham subject to penalties, consistent with the decisions of three other courts of appeals. In rejecting Wells Fargo’s appeal, the court agreed with the government that “STARS was an elaborate and unlawful tax avoidance scheme, designed to exploit the differences between the tax laws of the U.S. and the U.K. and generate U.S. tax credits for a foreign tax that Wells Fargo did not, in substance, pay.” 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked Tax Division attorney Judith Hagley and former Tax Division attorneys Gilbert Rothenberg and Richard Farber, who handled the case on appeal for the government, as well as Chief Senior Litigation Counsel Dennis Donohue, Senior Litigation Counsel Kari Larson, trial attorneys William Farrior, Harris Phillips, Matthew Johnshoy, and former Tax Division attorney Viki Economides Farrior, who litigated the case in the district court.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

April 28, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

IRS announce relaxation of U.S. tax resident "days count" related to COVID-19 emergency

The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance that provides relief to individuals and businesses affected by travel disruptions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. 

The guidance includes the following:

  1. Revenue Procedure 2020-20, which provides that, under certain circumstances, up to 60 consecutive calendar days of U.S. presence that are presumed to arise from travel disruptions caused by the COVID-19 emergency will not be counted for purposes of determining U.S. tax residency and for purposes of determining whether an individual qualifies for tax treaty benefits for income from personal services performed in the United States;
  2. Revenue Procedure 2020-27, which provides that qualification for exclusions from gross income under I.R.C. section 911 will not be impacted as a result of days spent away from a foreign country due to the COVID-19 emergency based on certain departure dates; and
  3. An FAQ, which provides that certain U.S. business activities conducted by a nonresident alien or foreign corporation will not be counted for up to 60 consecutive calendar days in determining whether the individual or entity is engaged in a U.S. trade or business or has a U.S. permanent establishment, but only if those activities would not have been conducted in the United States but for travel disruptions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. 

April 21, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: Health Plans. Worthless Securities Deduction.

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

Editor’s Note: New rulings from the IRS help clarify that COVID-19 expenses can be paid by HDHPs (before the deductible has been met) and FSAs can pay for genetic testing when the information is intended to be provided to a medical professional for treatment purposes. Note that the decision on genetic testing comes in the form of a PLR that addresses some rather unique facts, so it may not be very broadly applicable. We also have a new (and regrettably timely) ruling on worthless securities.

IRS Announces HDHPs Can Pay Coronavirus Costs

The IRS announced that high deductible health plans are permitted to cover the costs associated with the coronavirus. HDHPs can cover coronavirus-related testing and equipment needed to treat the virus. Generally, HDHPs are prohibited from covering certain non-specified expenses before the covered individual's deductible has been met. Certain preventative care expenses are excepted from this rule. HDHPs will not jeopardize their status if they pay coronavirus-related expenses before the insured has met the deductible, and the insured will remain HSA-eligible. The guidance applies only to HSA-eligible HDHPs. For more information on the rules governing HDHPs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Tax Court Rules on Deduction

The Tax Court held that a worthless securities deduction may be permitted even if the entity that issued the securities still held some value. In a complex case involving a number of rounds of financing over several years, the court found it was reasonable to believe that a junior interest may be worthless if there are not funds to pay currently, or anticipated in the future, the senior interests. For more information on the worthless securities deduction, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

IRS Finds Health FSA Can Reimburse a Portion of Ancestry Genetic Testing

In a private letter ruling (applicable only to the taxpayer requesting the ruling), the IRS found that a portion of the ancestry genetic test could be reimbursed by the health FSA. In the redacted PLR, the IRS discussed whether the genetic testing service could be classified as medical care. The taxpayer's goal was to provide genetic information to their healthcare provider, but it was impossible to purchase the genetic information without also purchasing the ancestry services. The IRS found that portions of the testing may be considered medical care, although ancestry reports could not be classified as reimbursable medical care. The IRS directed the taxpayer to use a "reasonable method" to allocate between medical and non-medical services. For more information on health FSAs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 16, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Employee Retention: SBA Loan or Tax Credits? Which offers more money to my business, and when?

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

For a business with by example 400 employees, a $5,000 credit per employee is worth $2,000,000 of tax-free tax credit that can be more beneficial than an SBA Loan.  The SBA loan is not straight forward and regardless, is not in general allowed for business above 500 employees.  The taxpayer must choose either one or the other - the PPP (forgivable employee retention) SBA loan or the employee retention tax credit.  For small employers with less than say 250 employees (not exactly 'small' in most American minds) the answer is probably the SBA loan. But for employer with more than 350 employees, the answer is probably that the Employee Retention Tax Credit is worth more to the business.  Watch the webinar above or ask your questions live this Thursday, April 16th (Register now for our webinar on Wednesday, April 16, at 2:00 EDT)

 

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 15, 2020 in Financial Regulation, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

another reason to (re) locate a business to Texas: New York state and city do not adopt the CARES Act tax provisions

  • Deloitte covers New York's new budget that purposefully 'decouples' from the CARES Act tax relief for New York based business and other states' business that have income within New York.
  • BDO explains it here as well.
  • Pillsbury here.

Anything that improves the employment of tax professionals, I am for.  Thus, states with their own tax codes that do not correspond to the federal Internal Revenue Code, at least for my students and alumni, are OK by me.  Unless I own a business.  Then it's maddeningly complex, and compliance expensive, to operate in several tax regimes.

Not saying that the CARES Act provisions made good tax policy sense.  But unless New York state (and city) has something better to offer, the Covid-19 meltdown does not seem like an opportune time to 'stick it' to Congress' because Congress seems to enact ineffectual tax provisions. Not that the typical New York voter understands or cares about 163(j) relief or NOL. But New York based business in particular may come to understand when the CPA / tax advisor informs that on the federal return Covid-19 stimulus relief is allowable but not so on the NY state return. Some NY based businesses are going to feel that their state didn't have their backs.  Other businesses that are large enough and able because of industry to relocate operations have time a plenty at this moment to think about such relocation.  (And by the way, Texas will be open for business again soon).      

April 15, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Determining the Employer's Obligations Under the New Proposed Withholding Regulations

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

Determining the Employer's Obligations Under the New Proposed Withholding Regulations

The regulations are clear that the employer is not required to ascertain whether the withholding allowance claimed by the employee is greater than those to which the employee is actually entitled. However, the IRS (or published guidance) may direct an employer to submit employees’ withholding certificates (or the certificates relating to groups of employees) to the IRS. Further, the IRS may notify the employer that an employee is not entitled to claim more than a certain withholding allowance. For more information on the new withholding regulations, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 15, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tax Impact of Stimulus' RMD Waiver, Early Withdrawals: Bloink & Byrnes Webinar

Sign up now for ThinkAdvisor's free tax webinar on Thursday, April 16, from 2-2:30 p.m. EDT.

The $2 trillion stimulus plan signed into law on March 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, includes a temporary waiver of required minimum distribution (RMD) rules for certain defined contribution plans and IRAs during 2020.

There are also special rules for use of retirement funds that waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes made this year.

Register now for our 30-minute webinar on Thursday, April 16, at 2:00 EDT. Hear from two expert sources about the tax implications of these withdrawals and other retirement issues in the CARES Act during our free ThinkAdvisor webcast:

  • ROBERT BLOINK, Esq., LL.M., has taught at Texas A&M University School of Law and Thomas Jefferson School of Law; and
  • WILLIAM BYRNES, Esq., LL.M., CWM, is an executive professor and associate dean of special projects at the Texas A&M University School of Law.

April 14, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: Coronavirus Response Act and Families First Act's Tax Relief for Small Business Owners

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

            William H. Byrnes, J.D.
        Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.

The IRS provided concrete responses to the COVID-19 virus in the tax field. First, the IRS has now formally extended the income tax filing deadline for tax year 2019 to July 15, as well as the FBAR form, FATCA form, and several other reporting forms initially left out of the IRS extension. Because this is an extension of the actual filing deadline (not just an extension of time to pay owed taxes) it also pushes a number of related deadlines (e.g. for qualified plan contributions) back to July. President Trump also signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which creates a paid sick leave program and related tax credits for small businesses, as well as the CARES Act calling for forgivable SBA loans (without tax consequences) or a $5,000 tax credit per employee retained for medium and large size businesses.

Our comment is that for a business with by example 400 employees, a $5,000 credit per employee is worth $2,000,000 of tax-free tax credit that can be more beneficial than an SBA Loan.  The SBA loan is not straight forward and regardless, is not in general allowed for business above 500 employees.  The taxpayer must choose either one or the other - the PPP (forgivable employee retention) SBA loan or the employee retention tax credit.  For small employers with less than say 250 employees (not exactly 'small' in most American minds) the answer is probably the SBA loan.  But above 250, careful consideration and analyzing the benefits/outcomes of each program must be weighed. Watch the webinar above.. or the one forthcoming Thursday, April 16th (sign up on Tax Facts Online).   

Avoid Confusion Over IRS 90-Day Extension of the Federal Tax Payment Deadline

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS has announced that it will extend the tax payment deadline from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Interest and penalties during this period will also be waived. The April 15 filing deadline was also extended to July 15, although in separate guidance. Individuals and pass-through business entities owing up to $1 million in federal tax are eligible for the relief, as are corporations owing up to $10 million in federal tax. Individuals who do not anticipate being able to file by July 15 should be aware of their option for requesting a six-month filing extension to October 15. The extension is available by filing Form 4868. For more information on federal tax filing requirements, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Coronavirus Act Creates Paid Sick Leave Benefits for Small Business Employees

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees (and government employers), and makes several key changes to paid time off laws. The bill: (1) provides 80 hours' additional paid sick leave for employees (pro-rated for part-time workers) and (2) expands FMLA protections. The additional paid sick leave is capped at $511 per day (total of $5,110) for employees who cannot go to work or telecommute because they (1) are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a diagnosis, or (2) are subject to government-mandated quarantine or a recommendation to self-quarantine. The additional paid sick leave is capped at 2/3 of the employee's pay rate, subject to a maximum of $200 per day or $2,000 total if the employee (1) is caring for or assisting someone subject to quarantine, (2) caring for a child whose school or care provider is unavailable or (3) experiencing "substantially similar conditions" specified by HHS. For more information on the family and medical leave tax credit available for business owners, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Coronavirus Response Act: Tax Relief for Small Business Owners

The law contains a tax credit to help small business owners subject to the new paid sick leave and expanded FMLA requirements. The tax credit is computed each quarter, and allows as a credit (1) the amount of qualified paid sick leave wages paid in weeks 1-2, and (2) qualified FMLA wages paid (in the remaining 10 weeks) during the quarter. The credit is taken against the employer portion of the Social Security tax. Amounts in excess of the employer Social Security taxes due will be refunded as a credit (in the same manner as though the employer had overpaid Social Security taxes during the quarter). The Act also provides a tax credit for qualified health plan expenses that are allocable to periods when the paid sick leave or family leave wages are paid. For more information on refundable tax credits, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 14, 2020 in Financial Regulation, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Covid-19 Tax Facts News: CARES Act Payment Extensions, FATCA and FBAR Filing Extensions

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

                    Prof. William Byrnes
          Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.
Lots of CVOID-19 legislation in the updates this week. The IRS and DOL continue to release new guidance--and update existing guidance--at an unprecedented and fast pace. For the time being, clients and advisors alike should check the actual text of the guidance before taking concrete action to make sure they are operating under the most up-to-date rules.

IRS Releases FAQ on COVID-19 Filing, Payment Extensions

The IRS FAQ clarifies that the filing and payment extensions (from April 15 to July 15) apply regardless of whether the taxpayer is actually sick or quarantined because of COVID-19. For fiscal year taxpayers with 2019 returns due April 15, the deadline is extended to July 15 regardless of whether April 15 is an original or extended filing deadline. Taxpayers facing filing or payment deadlines that are not April 15 must note that their deadlines have not generally been extended. The relief also does not apply to payroll or excise tax payments (deposit dates remain unchanged, but employers may be eligible for the new paid sick leave tax credit, see Tax Facts Q8550). Taxpayers do not have to do anything to take advantage of the extension--they simply file their returns and make required payments by the new July 15 deadline. Taxpayers who filed and schedule a payment for April 15 must, however, take action to reschedule their payment for July 15 if they wish (by contacting the credit or debit card company if the payment was scheduled directly with the card issuer). For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

FBARs (Foreign Bank & Financial Accounts Reporting) is automatically extended from April 15 to October 15 (see FinCEN March 2020 notice). 

FATCA form 8938 may be submitted July 15th by automatic extension.  The IRS extended on April 6, by Notice 2020-23 (Update to Notice 2020-18, Additional Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic), the 3 month filing relief to FATCA.

"This relief includes not just the filing of Specified Forms, but also all schedules, returns, and other forms that are filed as attachments to Specified Forms or are required to be filed by the due date of Specified Forms, including, for example, Schedule H and Schedule SE, as well as Forms 3520, 5471, 5472, 8621, 8858, 8865, and 8938." 

Counting Employees for COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Expansion Purposes

DOL FAQ provides that an employer is subject to the expanded paid sick leave and FMLA rules if the employer has fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees. Employees on leave and temporary employees should be included, while independent contractors are not included in the count. Each corporation is usually a single employer. When a corporation has an ownership interest in another corporation, the two are separate employers unless they are joint employers for Fair Labor Standards Act purposes. Joint employer status is based on a facts and circumstances analysis, and is generally the case when (1) one employer employs the employee, but another benefits from the work or (2) one employer employs an employee for one set of hours in a workweek, and another employer employs the same employee for a separate set of hours in the same workweek. For more information on the details provided by current DOL guidance, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Calculating Sick Pay for Part-Time and Variable Hour Workers Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

With respect to the FMLA extension, the rate of pay for part-time employees is based upon the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work. For employees with variable schedules, pay is based upon a number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes such leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type or (2) if the employee did not work over such period, the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work. As of now, the law provides that leave may not be carried over into 2021. For more information on the law's requirements, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

RMDs Suspended for 2020, Penalty Waived for Coronavirus Distributions

The CARES Act suspended the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules for 2020--a suspension that applies to all 401(k), 403(b), and certain 457(b) deferred compensation plans maintained by the government, as well as IRAs. The law also contains a provision waiving the 10% early distribution penalty that applies to retirement account withdrawals. The relief generally mirrors the relief commonly granted in more localized natural disaster situations. The Act allows employees to take up to $100,000 in distributions from an employer-sponsored retirement plan (401(k), 403(b) or defined benefit plan) or an IRA without becoming subject to the penalty. Unless the participant elects otherwise, inclusion of the distribution in income is spread over three years, beginning with the tax year of distribution. The Act also provides a repayment option, where the participant has the option of repaying the distribution over the three-taxable year period beginning with the tax year of distribution. In this case, the distribution will be treated as an eligible rollover made in a trustee-to-trustee transfer within the 60-day window. For more information on expanded access to retirement funds, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

April 13, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Byrnes & Bloink’s Covid-19 TaxFacts Intelligence Weekly for April 10, 2020

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched a Covid-19 expert response team.  Listen to Professor Neal Newman and William discussing the Covid-19 SBA forgiveness loans, deferral on paying the employer's Social Security tax, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (YouTube). Find the response team members from all disciplines here: Download Texas A&M Coronavirus_Experts

           Prof. William H. Byrnes
        Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.
Today we have three big updates from the newly-passed CARES Act. The first allows NOLs for tax years 2018 through 2020 to be carried back five years. This give business who had NOLs and were waiting to carry them forward to future tax years to apply them to past years, potentially resulting in additional tax refunds. The other two updates relate to deferrals and tax credits for payroll taxes in 2020.

CARES Act Provides NOL Relief for Struggling Businesses

The CARES Act allows corporations to carry back net operating losses (NOLs) incurred in 2018, 2019, and 2020 for five years (excluding offset to untaxed foreign earnings transition tax). Post-tax reform, these NOLs could only be carried forward. For tax years beginning prior to January 1, 2021, businesses can offset 100% of taxable income with NOL carryovers and carrybacks (the 80% taxable income limitation was lifted). With respect to partnerships and pass-through entities, the CARES Act amended the effective date for the new excess business loss rules created by the 2017 tax reform legislation. The new rules will only apply beginning in 2021 (rather than 2018). Pass-through taxpayers who have filed a return reflecting excess business losses will presumably be entitled to refund by filing an amended return, absent guidance to the contrary. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

CARES Act Permits Penalty-Free Payroll Tax Deferral for Employers

The CARES Act allows both employers and independent contractors to defer payment of employer payroll taxes without penalty. Importantly, employers with fewer than 500 employees are entitled to withhold payroll taxes as an advance repayment of the tax credit for paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave under the FFCRA. Under the CARES Act payroll tax deferral, employers are permitted to defer the employer portion of the payroll tax on wages paid through December 31, 2020 for up to two years. Payroll taxes are generally due in two installments under CARES: 50% by December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% by December 31, 2022. Economic hardship is presumed, meaning the employer does not have to produce documentation establishing that COVID-19 impacted the business. Payroll tax deferral options apparently apply to all employers, regardless of size. However, employers who have loans forgiven under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Loan program are not eligible for the deferral. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

CARES Act Employee Retention Tax Credit

The CARES Act creates a new refundable tax credit designed to help employers who retain employees during the COVID-19 health crisis. The credit is taken against employment taxes and is equal to 50% of the first $10,000 of qualified wages paid to the employee. The credit is available for calendar quarters where either (1) operations were either fully or partially suspended because of a government-issued order relating to COVID-19 or (2) the business' gross receipts declined by more than 50% when compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

April 11, 2020 in Economics, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2020

15 Competent Authority Analyst Positions with the IRS LB&I (APMA Project Leader)

Pay scale & grade GS 14       Salary $119,559 to $170,800 per year

Locations: 15 vacancies in the following locations: (job posting)

  • Laguna Niguel, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY

WHAT DOES A COMPETENT AUTHORITY ANALYST (APMA TEAM LEADER) DO? This position seeks tax professionals who will primarily perform the duties of an Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement (APMA) Team Leader within the office of the Deputy Commissioner (International) and U.S. Competent Authority, under the Director of Transfer Pricing Operations. Incumbent possess substantial skill in the area of international tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code relating to transfer pricing with advanced knowledge of relevant provisions in U.S. income tax treaties (e.g., Articles 7, 9 and 25), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Transfer Pricing Guidelines, and foreign transfer pricing rules. The major responsibilities include leading teams of IRS professionals in the analysis and development of advance pricing agreements and the resolution of double tax cases arising from transfer pricing adjustments.

As a Competent Authority Analyst (APMA) you will:

  • Receive requests for competent authority consideration and/or APA submissions.
  • Review requests to ensure compliance with applicable procedural guidelines. Take necessary action to perfect requests.
  • Assist field revenue agents and other IRS technicians (attorneys, economists, and international examiners) to further develop facts/issues in cases. May secure additional information directly from taxpayer or treaty partner.
  • Prepare positions and other memoranda for the U.S. Competent Authority, recommending a course of action based on analysis of the facts of the case, appropriate tax law and treaty, and the position of the foreign country.
  • Participate in or lead development of Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APA), including preparing and negotiating the U.S. position, providing advice to both taxpayers and other IRS personnel concerning competent authority implications i.e., Mutual Agreement. Also, coordinates with appropriate IRS personnel to insure the review of APA Annual Reports to determine taxpayer compliance with previously executed agreements.
  • Negotiate with foreign Competent Authority representatives when the foreign official does not accept U.S. position on particular issues. Determine and recommend reasonable offers that will still protect U.S. interest. Assigned to a specific country as coordinator, specializing in specific country issues, and planning negotiation agenda. Responsible for preparing documents implementing the Mutual Agreement with the foreign country(ies).
  • Perform program analyst and staff assignments regarding non-case related matters. Review Counsel-prepared material (e.g., regulations or revenue procedures) for accuracy and consistency in respect of tax treaty administration matters.
  • Advise field agents and other IRS and Treasury personnel on competent authority issues.
  • Participate in Treasury-led teams negotiating tax treaties.
  • Speak before external and internal groups regarding competent authority procedures and tax treaty technical issues, e.g., in training classes and professional organizations, such as, the American Bar Association.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OTHER IRS CAREERS? If you want to find out more about IRS careers, visit us on the web at www.jobs.irs.gov

Announcement number 20PHI-LBB0158-0930-14
Control number 563657400

April 6, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

text of final Covid-19 Senate Bill “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act’’.

Risk Management Graduate Course Case Studies Based on Covid-19 this Summer at Texas A&M (online via Zoom) “Delivered by a renowned group of industry thought leaders who deliver detailed and thought-provoking materials and professional guidance, you’ll explore immediately applicable practical knowledge and full coverage of risk management and Covid-19, tackle content fully tailored to the market place and a pandemic's changing conditions: confident and practice-ready.” Contact Texas A&M's risk management here

Final Covid-19 Text of Bill for Senate Vote [PDF Link]  “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act’’.

Tax and Benefits sections of Final Bill described below by Senate Finance Committee (March 25, 2020)

DIVISION A – KEEPING WORKERS PAID AND EMPLOYED, HEALTH CARE SYSTEM ENHANCEMENTS, AND ECONOMIC STABILIZATION

TITLE II—ASSISTANCE FOR AMERICAN WORKERS, FAMILIES, AND BUSINESSES

Subtitle A—Unemployment Insurance Provisions

Section 2101. Short Title

This title is called the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act

Section 2102. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

This section creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for

unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

Section 2103. Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Nonprofit Organizations

This section provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofits, government agencies, and Indian tribes for half of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay

unemployment benefits.

Section 2104. Emergency Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits

This section provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.

Section 2105. Temporary Full Federal Funding of the First Week of Compensable Regular Unemployment for States with No Waiting Week

This section provides funding to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 for states that choose to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed instead of waiting one week before the individual is eligible to receive benefits.

Section 2106. Emergency State Staffing Flexibility

This section provides states with temporary, limited flexibility to hire temporary staff, rehire former staff, or take other steps to quickly process unemployment claims.

Section 2107. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

This section provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

Section 2108. Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Payments in States with Programs in Law

This section provides funding to support “short-time compensation” programs, where employers reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers and the employees with reduced hours receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit. This provision would pay 100 percent of the costs they incur in providing this short-time compensation through December 31, 2020.

Section 2109. Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Agreements

This section provides funding to support states which begin “short-time compensation” programs. This provision would pay 50 percent of the costs that a state incurs in providing short-time compensation through December 31, 2020.

Section 2110. Grants for Short-Time Compensation Programs

This section provides $100 million in grants to states that enact “short-time compensation” programs to help them implement and administer these programs.

Section 2111. Assistance and Guidance in Implementing Programs

This section requires the Department of Labor to disseminate model legislative language for states, provide technical assistance, and establish reporting requirements related to “shorttime compensation” programs.

Section 2112. Waiver of the 7-day Waiting Period for Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act

This section temporarily eliminates the 7-day waiting period for railroad unemployment insurance benefits through December 31, 2020 (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for states through the same period in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2113. Enhanced Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act

This section provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of railroad unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for states in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2114. Extended Unemployment under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act

This section provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of regular unemployment benefits are no longer available (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for states in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2115. Funding for the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General for Oversight of Unemployment Provisions

This section provides the Department of Labor’s Inspector General with $25 million to carry out audits, investigations, and other oversight of the provisions of this subtitle.

Section 2116. Implementation

This section gives the Secretary of Labor the ability to issue operating instructions or other guidance as necessary in order to implement this subtitle, as well as allows the Department of Labor to waive Paperwork Reduction Act requirements, speeding up their ability to gather necessary information from states.

Subtitle B – Rebates and Other Individual Provisions

Section 2201. 2020 recovery rebates for individuals

All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits.

For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or in the

alternative their 2018 return. This includes many low-income individuals who file a tax return in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Section 2202. Special rules for use of retirement funds

Consistent with previous disaster-related relief, the provision waives the 10-percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes made on or after January 1, 2020. In addition, income attributable to such distributions would be subject to tax over three years, and the taxpayer may recontribute the funds to an eligible retirement plan within three years without regard to that year’s cap on contributions. Further, the provision provides flexibility for loans from certain retirement plans for coronavirus-related relief.

A coronavirus-related distribution is a one made to an individual: (1) who is diagnosed with COVID-19, (2) whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19, or (3) who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to COVID-19, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to COVID-19, or other factors as determined by the Treasury Secretary.

Section 2203. Temporary waiver of required minimum distribution rules for certain retirement plans and accounts

The provision waives the required minimum distribution rules for certain defined contribution plans and IRAs for calendar year 2020. This provision provides relief to

individuals who would otherwise be required to withdraw funds from such retirement accounts during the economic slowdown due to COVID-19.

Section 2204. Allowance of partial above the line deduction for charitable contributions

The provision encourages Americans to contribute to churches and charitable organizations in 2020 by permitting them to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions, whether they itemize their deductions or not.

Section 2205. Modification of limitations on charitable contributions during 2020

The provision increases the limitations on deductions for charitable contributions by individuals who itemize, as well as corporations. For individuals, the 50-percent of

adjusted gross income limitation is suspended for 2020. For corporations, the 10-percent limitation is increased to 25 percent of taxable income. This provision also increases the limitation on deductions for contributions of food inventory from 15 percent to 25 percent. Section 2206. Exclusion for certain employer payments of student loans The provision enables employers to provide a student loan repayment benefit to employees on a tax-free basis. Under the provision, an employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans, and such payment would be excluded from the employee’s income. The $5,250 cap applies to both the new student loan repayment benefit as well as other educational assistance (e.g., tuition, fees, books) provided by the employer under current law. The provision applies to any student loan payments made by an employer on behalf of an employee after date of enactment and before January 1, 2021.

Subtitle C – Business Provisions

Section 2301. Employee retention credit for employers subject to closure due to COVID-19

The provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended, due to a COVID-19-related shutdown order, or (2) gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

The credit is based on qualified wages paid to the employee. For employers with greater than 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to the COVID-19-related circumstances described above. For eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order. The credit is provided for the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, paid to an eligible employee. The credit is provided for wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Section 2302. Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes

The provision allows employers and self-employed individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are responsible for paying to the federal government with respect to their employees. Employers generally are responsible for paying a 6.2-percent Social Security tax on employee wages. The provision requires that the deferred employment tax be paid over the following two years, with half of the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022. The Social Security Trust Funds will be held harmless under this provision.

Section 2303. Modifications for net operating losses

The provision relaxes the limitations on a company’s use of losses. Net operating losses (NOL) are currently subject to a taxable-income limitation, and they cannot be carried back to reduce income in a prior tax year. The provision provides that an NOL arising in a tax year beginning in 2018, 2019, or 2020 can be carried back five years. The provision also temporarily removes the taxable income limitation to allow an NOL to fully offset income. These changes will allow companies to utilize losses and amend prior year returns, which will provide critical cash flow and liquidity during the COVID-19 emergency.

Section 2304. Modification of limitation on losses for taxpayers other than corporations

The provision modifies the loss limitation applicable to pass-through businesses and sole proprietors, so they can utilize excess business losses and access critical cash flow to maintain operations and payroll for their employees.

Section 2305. Modification of credit for prior year minimum tax liability of corporations

The corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but corporate AMT credits were made available as refundable credits over several years, ending in 2021. The provision accelerates the ability of companies to recover those AMT credits, permitting companies to claim a refund now and obtain additional cash flow during the COVID-19 emergency.

Section 2306. Modification of limitation on business interest

The provision temporarily increases the amount of interest expense businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, by increasing the 30-percent limitation to 50 percent of taxable income (with adjustments) for 2019 and 2020. As businesses look to weather the storm of the current crisis, this provision will allow them to increase liquidity with a reduced cost of capital, so that they are able to continue operations and keep employees on payroll.

Section 2307. Technical amendment regarding qualified improvement property

The provision enables businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, to write off immediately costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to depreciate those improvements over the 39-year life of the building. The provision, which corrects an error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, not only increases companies’ access to cash flow by allowing them to amend a prior year return, but also incentivizes them to continue to invest in improvements as the country recovers from the COVID-19 emergency.

Section 2308. Temporary exception from excise tax for alcohol used to produce hand sanitizer

The provision waives the federal excise tax on any distilled spirits used for or contained in hand sanitizer that is produced and distributed in a manner consistent with guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration and is effective for calendar year 2020

March 25, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Byrnes & Bloink's TaxFacts Intelligence Weekly for March 19, 2020

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

 

Editor’s Note: New rulings from the IRS help clarify that COVID-19 expenses can be paid by HDHPs (before the deductible has been met) and FSAs can pay for genetic testing when the information is intended to be provided to a medical professional for treatment purposes. Note that the decision on genetic testing comes in the form of a PLR that addresses some rather unique facts, so it may not be very broadly applicable. We also have a new (and regrettably timely) ruling on worthless securities.

IRS Announces HDHPs Can Pay Coronavirus Costs

The IRS announced that high deductible health plans are permitted to cover the costs associated with the coronavirus. HDHPs can cover coronavirus-related testing and equipment needed to treat the virus. Generally, HDHPs are prohibited from covering certain non-specified expenses before the covered individual's deductible has been met. Certain preventative care expenses are excepted from this rule. HDHPs will not jeopardize their status if they pay coronavirus-related expenses before the insured has met the deductible, and the insured will remain HSA-eligible. The guidance applies only to HSA-eligible HDHPs. For more information on the rules governing HDHPs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Tax Court Rules on Worthless Securities Deduction

The Tax Court held that a worthless securities deduction may be permitted even if the entity that issued the securities still held some value. In a complex case involving a number of rounds of financing over several years, the court found it was reasonable to believe that a junior interest may be worthless if there are not funds to pay currently, or anticipated in the future, the senior interests. For more information on the worthless securities deduction, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

IRS Finds Health FSA Can Reimburse a Portion of Ancestry Genetic Testing

In a private letter ruling (applicable only to the taxpayer requesting the ruling), the IRS found that a portion of the ancestry genetic test could be reimbursed by the health FSA. In the redacted PLR, the IRS discussed whether the genetic testing service could be classified as medical care. The taxpayer's goal was to provide genetic information to their healthcare provider, but it was impossible to purchase the genetic information without also purchasing the ancestry services. The IRS found that portions of the testing may be considered medical care, although ancestry reports could not be classified as reimbursable medical care. The IRS directed the taxpayer to use a "reasonable method" to allocate between medical and non-medical services. For more information on health FSAs, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched its online wealth management, risk management, and international tax risk management graduate curricula for industry professionals. Apply now for Summer courses that begin May: FATCA & CRS Risk Management; International Tax Risk Management, Data, and Analytics I  Texas A&M University is a public university and is ranked 1st among public universities for its superior education at an affordable cost (Fiske, 2018) and ranked 1st of Texas public universities for best value (Money, 2018). To apply for Summer, call or fill in the form https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education/

 

March 20, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Australia Revenue Estimates of High Wealth Income Tax Gap from Noncompliance

The high wealth income tax gap is an estimate of the difference between the total amount of income tax collected from high wealth private groups and the amount we estimate would have been collected if every one of these taxpayers was fully compliant with the law.

High wealth private groups are defined as Australian resident individuals who, together with their associates, control wealth of more than $50 million. For the purpose of estimating this gap, we include:

  • registered individuals linked to a high wealth private group
  • companies where ownership by the head individual is 40% or more.

Companies with total business income greater than $250 million are included in the large corporate groups income tax gap.

The income of high wealth private groups includes distributions from trusts and partnerships that are part of their structure; these amounts are accounted for as part of this gap estimate.

In 2016–17, there were approximately 5,000 high wealth private groups with more than $50 million in net wealth. They comprised 9,000 individuals and 18,000 companies. In total, they paid $9.3 billion in income tax and employed 780,000 employees.

Estimate of the tax gap

For 2016–17, the net income tax gap estimate for high wealth private groups was $772 million or 7.7%. This means we estimate that high wealth private groups paid more than 92% of the total theoretical tax payable for 2016–17.

The estimate is an aggregate of the income tax gap for individuals and companies in our population of high wealth private groups. On average, high wealth individuals contribute to 53% of the total net gap and high wealth companies account for slightly less, approximately 47%.

High wealth income tax performance

High wealth private groups voluntarily contributed over $9 billion in income tax for the 2016–17 income year. This is more than 90% of the revenue we were expecting from them.

This shows the vast majority are reporting and paying tax correctly. We understand sometimes people will make honest mistakes, this is usually due to:

  • not correctly recording or reporting transactions outside of the normal course of business
  • not correctly accounting for private use of business funds or assets
  • not reporting income earned from overseas investments or related partnership or trust distributions.

We encourage you to seek advice from your tax advisor as part of your tax governance.

The majority of high wealth private groups are already taking the right steps to avoid these errors and pay the right amount of tax. These include:

  • investing in strong tax governance practices and system controls
  • talking to your tax advisor, or us, if you’re planning to change your business or wealth management arrangement
  • using our tools and services to get greater certainty about the tax consequences, including early engagement and commercial deals services.

We have a number of strategies in place to help reduce the gap. We are improving our detection of errors and deliberate tax avoidance through data and analytics. We are also:

  • increasing our engagement to talk to you about our view of your tax affairs, supporting you to correct past mistakes, and mitigate future tax issues and risks
  • providing guidance in the form of practical compliance guidelines, rulings and taxpayer alerts.

Also, from 2020–21 the expansion of the reportable tax position schedule will apply to large private companies and corporate groups.

This is our first release of the income tax gap estimate for the high wealth population. As we calculate additional estimates over future years, we will be able to see clearer long-term trends.

Find out about:

See also

March 17, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 16, 2020

4 tax policy suggestions to address the damage of the Covid-19 / coronavirus pandemic

I have four tax policy suggestions for Congress that it can include in a taxpayer coronavirus relief bill. I welcome acronym suggestions for this proposed bill's name, especially a creative bill name whose acronym is "Zombie" or "Eat Brains". The four tax relief suggestions that will mitigate damage caused by Covid-19 are:

Proposal 1 (stop medical bankruptcy): In 2020 the itemized deduction for medical expenses is reduced by 7.5% of a taxpayer's AGI.  For 2020, I propose eliminating the 7.5% reduction of medical expenses attributed to the coronavirus or any 2020 flu (or zombie bite), such as hospitalization.  Medical diagnosis should suffice. Not going to be used by many people.  But the people who do use will really need it - those that do not awake as zombies that is.

Proposal 2 (stop restaurant bankruptcy): The administration proposes the suspension of the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax to jump-start consumer spending, presumably after the removal of quarantine orders to stay indoors or at least six feet away from each other. Not very targeted.  Someone like me may just shift the payroll tax relief and use it instead to upward adjust my 403(b) retirement savings for 2020, taking advantage of my full $19,500 contribution allowance for 2020 (and because I am 50 years old or older - add another $6,000 retirement 'catchup' to that $19,500 for a full $25,500),  Not only have I not spent the money to help the economy rebound, I have reduced my tax due for 2020 because my retirement contributions reduce my taxable income.  I have saved tax twice!! While I quite like that idea personally, I feel empathy for all the local restaurant owners who may go bankrupt unless I go out to eat at more local restaurants once I assured that 2020 was not the year of the zombie apocalypse.

A better-targeted proposal to save our nation's local restaurants and the local farmers that supply them is to allow taxpayers an itemized deduction up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a married filing jointly 2020, beyond the standard deduction, of 100% of restaurant meals expense between June 1 and October 31, at U.S. restaurants with the last three years gross annual receipts averaging less than [$5 million - whatever is reasonable so that big chains are not included, Small Business Administration uses a maximum of $8 million for full-service restaurants (NAICS 722511)- I'm OK with that].  I know - many reasons not to do this, such as Americans will become hooked on eating out at local restaurants. Wait, why is that a bad thing?  And we will need to address the tax abusers who will order one slice of pizza and 20 bottles of wine, to go. So maybe the maximum meal receipt must be set at $100 per meal receipt per adult. That should allow plenty of food for a couple, and alcohol, and leave enough for the children to still have mac & cheese. Plus it requires ten different restaurant trips. Local restauranteurs and the local farmers can hold out hope that 2020 will not require filing for bankruptcy protection.  November is Thanksgiving when people eat out anyway, at least in the restaurants that have remained open.  By the way, I am purposely leaving business out of this.  Business has a 50% business meal deduction anyway. And my policy suggestion is about Americans being social and not talking business at the dinner table (and perhaps not politics either).

Proposal 3 (stop hotel bankruptcy): And let's not forget about locally-owned hotels with average gross receipts below $8 million (SBA uses $35 million for hotels and $8 million for B&B Inns so maybe I am way off base with just $8 million - see NAICS subsector 721 Accomodation). A $500 itemized deduction for 2020 for a U.S. hotel stay (not Air BnB homes or apartments, actually licensed hotels/BnB Inns) for an individual or couple between June 1 and October 31. Might not buy a weekend at the Ritz but the Ritz probably exceeds the small business amount of revenue a year.  Is it sound tax policy? Huey Long (I'm from Louisiana) promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every yard.  I promise a get-a-way weekend at a small(ish) hotel.

Proposal 4 (keep employees employed): A tax credit (I am not sure the right amount, let the Labor Secretary decide, something around $5,000 an employee) to employers of less than 500 employees who do not reduce the monthly payroll of the employees, or fire any employees, between June 1 and September 30. October 1 employers start thinking about Christmas hiring for the shopping season.  I can imagine some mathematically-inclined employees thinking "I am going to walk into my boss' office and projectile vomit because the cost of losing the tax credits for firing me is too high." OK, so firing 'for cause including projectile Zombie vomiting on the boss ' will be allowed without loss of the tax credit.  Now if a business wants to expand and hire a lot of employees up to 500 that's great.  I propose that all employees employed and start fulltime work before June 1st qualify for a reduced $4,000 tax credit (basically $1,000 a month of employment for June through September).

These four proposals are enough to keep the economy, restaurants, hotels, and employees out of recession and bankruptcy.  But I have more proposals not currently part of the current bill, but common sense dictates should be (well, maybe not).  Why have we heard nothing from the House to encourage donations of toilet paper rolls to local shelters?   And why hotels and restaurants, but not spas?  I'll leave it to the politicians (and lobbyists) to argue about.  Meanwhile, I look forward to receiving your comments while I set up my anti-zombie chicken wire barricade around the yard.

I'll be covering these and related issues in my weekly Tax Facts Intelligence Newsletter.

2020’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

March 16, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What will be the impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) on tax filings due by April 15? (Or will we all be eaten by zombies by then?)

If the illness known as Covid-19 generated by the coronavirus does not cause a zombie apocalypse (it's almost April 1st, expect wide coverage of zombies in your neighborhood), then we still need to plan for our tax payments due April 15th this year. Not talking about 2019 but rather the first of the 2020 estimated tax payments.  However, it is likely that taxpayers with business or investment income may reduce the 2020 quarterly estimated tax payments that will be due April 15 this year, June 15, September 15, and January 15 of 2021.  Why?

2019 was a good income year for most taxpayers earning investment and business income.  But 2020 will likely be a depressed income year, maybe even a recession (for those not eaten by zombies). Thus, estimated tax payments to avoid a penalty, generally, 90% of the tax that is estimated to be due for 2020, should be much reduced from the 2019 level paid. (Contrarian investor taxpayers that shorted the market may actually need to make higher estimated taxpayers because the contrarians are likely to have a great capital gain year).

What are the changes enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that, because of the coronavirus, impact 2020's estimated tax payments?

  • A taxpayer's ability to reduce tax because of a net operating loss ("NOL") in 2020 has been reduced by the TCJA. An NOL resulting in 2020 cannot be applied to taxes paid in the previous two-years of 2019 and 2018 to claw those taxes back.  Before the TCJA, the NOL "carry-back" of two-years was allowed.  NOLs may still be carried forward.  Excess NOL in 2020 may be used to reduce 2021's income and thus tax due.

However, the TCJA even modifies how much NOL may be used to reduce 2020's taxable income.  Starting in 2018, the TCJA modified the tax law on "excess business losses" by limiting losses from all types of business for noncorporate taxpayers. An "excess business loss" is the amount of a taxpayer's total deductions from business income that exceeds a taxpayer’s "total gross income and capital gains from business plus $250,000 for an individual taxpayer or $500,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return."  Said another way, the business loss in 2020 is limited to a maximum of $250,000 for an individual taxpayer. Yet, the remainder does not evaporate like a vampire stabbed with a stake in the heart.  The remainder may be carried forward to 2021.  The remainder is called a "net operating loss" or NOL.

But the TCJA has another limitation for the carry forward of an NOL.  The NOL may only be used in 2021 to reduce the taxpayer's taxable income by 80%.  The remainder NOL in 2021, if any, that resulted from 2020's original loss and 2021's limitation to just 80% of taxable income may again be carried forward, to 2022, yet again subject to the 80% of taxable income limitation.  The NOL may keep rolling forward indefinitely, subject to the 80% limitation until it is all used.

  • High net wealth taxpayers that generate gross receipts greater than $26 million may be subject to the TCJA's limitation of interest expense for 2020. The TCJA included a rule that limits the amount of interest associated with a taxpayer's business income when the taxpayer has on average annual gross receipts of more than $26 million since 2018.  The limitation does not apply to a taxpayer whose business income is generated from providing services as an employee, and a taxpayer that generates business income from real estate may elect not to have the limitation apply.

The amount of deductible business interest expense that is above a taxpayer's business interest income is limited to 30% of the taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income (called "ATI").  For 2020, ATI will probably be significantly lower than in 2019 and 2018. A taxpayer calculated ATI taking the year's taxable income then reducing it by the business interest expense as if the limitation did not apply. The remaining amount is then further reduced by any net operating loss deduction; the 20% deemed deduction for qualified business income, any depreciation, amortization, or depletion deduction, and finally, any capital loss.  The business interest expense allowable for 2020 is 30% of that remainder.  The lost business income resulting from the coronavirus in 2020 may lead the remainder to be zero, and 30% of zero is zero.  Like the NOL above, the business interest expense if not usable in 2020 does not vanish. It carries forward to 2021 and each year thereafter, applying the same limitation rules each year.

  • Many taxpayers may end 2020 in a capital loss position if the stock market does not fully recover by December.  If a taxpayer’s capital losses are more than the year's capital gains, then $3,000 of that loss may be deducted from the taxpayer's 2020 regular income.  Remaining capital loss above the $3,000 may be carried forward to apply against 2021 income, and so on until used up.
  • The IRS may offer taxpayers more time beyond the April 15th deadline to file and pay 2019's tax in 2020.  The filing and payment for 2019, and estimated tax for 2020, is due on or before April 15. But the IRS has indicated that it may extend that deadline.  A taxpayer may, regardless, file a request for a six-month extension on or before April 15, 2020, that is automatically granted if filed on time. But any tax owing for 2019 will still be due April 15, 2020, after which interest begins to be charged by the IRS to the taxpayer's tax debt.   Check the IRS website here for whether, because of the coronavirus, it has extended the payment deadline beyond April 15, 2020. Can the IRS extend the deadline, legally? Yes. Because Congress enacted a section of the Internal Revenue Code (our tax law) "§ 7508A" which is aptly named "Authority to postpone certain deadlines by reason of Presidentially declared disaster or terroristic or military actions".  The President declared an official national emergency (see here). 
  • Taxpayers are not required to exhaust the deductible required by a high-deductible health plan (called "HDHP") before using the HDHP to pay for COVID-19 related testing and treatment.

I'll be covering these and related issues in my weekly Tax Facts Intelligence Newsletter.

March 15, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 31, 2020

The UK Govt (Parliament and HMRC) Deals With Tax Avoidance Schemes So Differently than the U.S.

In September 2019, the Government commissioned Sir Amyas Morse to lead the independent loan charge review. The loan charge is designed to tackle disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes. These are tax arrangements that seek to avoid income tax and national insurance contributions by paying scheme users income in the form of loans, usually via an offshore trust, with no expectation that the loans will ever be repaid.

On 20 December 2019, the Government published the review and the Government’s response to the review. The Government accepted all but one of the review’s recommendations (HCWS14).

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has today published draft legislation to give effect to these changes, alongside explanatory notes and a tax information and impact note. These can be found using the links below.

The draft legislation and explanatory notes: https://www. gov.uk/government/collections/finance-bill-2019-20

The tax information and impact note: https://www.gov. uk/government/collections/tax-information-and-impact-notes-tiins

HMRC will hold an informal four-week consultation on the draft legislation to invite views from stakeholders. The Government intend to legislate for the changes in the forthcoming Finance Bill, which will be introduced after the Budget.

The draft legislation that the Government have published today does not cover the Government’s commitment that HMRC will repay settlements where voluntary restitution has been paid by individuals and employers for years no longer subject to the loan charge because the year is unprotected. Legislation giving effect to this commitment, together with details of the repayment scheme, will be published separately ahead of the Finance Bill. The scheme will be legislated for at the earliest opportunity in the Finance Bill, alongside the other changes to the loan charge.

HMRC has also published further guidance for taxpayers on the changes to the loan charge following Sir Amyas’s review. This supplements the guidance published on 20 December.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-independent-loan-charge-review/guidance

Find out how the changes to the loan charge affect you https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-independent-loan-charge-review

Disguised remuneration: guidance following the outcome of the independent loan charge review https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-independent-loan-charge-review/guidance

January 31, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

HMRC v Hicks: how much diligence must the accountant due regarding the tax scheme?

Factual background (read case here)

12. The underlying facts were not in dispute and can be summarised as follows. It will be seen later in this decision, however, that HMRC contest certain other findings of fact by the FTT.

13. Mr Hicks was one of a number of participants in the Montpelier Scheme. The Montpelier Scheme was marketed by Montpelier Tax Consultants (IOM) Ltd (“Montpelier”) and was disclosed to HMRC on Form AAG 1 under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme Rules (“DOTAS”) received by HMRC on 24 September 2008. The Form AAG 1 stated that the arrangement was available to self-employed derivative traders who worked at least 10 hours per week on average in the trade. The trader acquired dividend rights with the intention that the cost of such rights was a deductible expense of the trade but the dividend income was not taxable as a result of section 730 Income and Corporation Taxes Act (“section 730”).

14. Under the Montpelier Scheme, Mr Hicks entered into a contract to acquire the rights to 5 dividends (all payable on 5 February 2009) of £300,000 each at a total cost of £1,498,035. Entities controlled by Montpelier lent Mr Hicks the funds to acquire the right to acquire the dividends. On 27 February 2009, Mr Hicks paid Montpelier an up-front fee of £75,000 pursuant to a Professional Service Agreement (“PSA”). The PSA stated that a further £75,000 was contingent upon agreement of the losses by HMRC. Mr Hicks claimed the deduction in full (i.e. £150,000 in respect of the fees) in his 2008/09 accounts.

15. In his tax returns, Mr Hicks relied on section 730 to exclude the receipt of the £1.5 million dividend income from his trading income during the income tax year ended on 5 April 2009. By excluding the dividend income under section 730 (and deducting the fees paid under the PSA) Mr Hicks’ taxable profit of £425,899 was reduced to nil and a loss of £1,221,867 was created. This loss was carried forward under section 83 Income Tax Act 2007 to reduce the taxable profits of his trade (i.e. his pre-existing derivatives trade) in the two subsequent years from £483,696 to nil (2009/10) and £348,594 to nil (2010/11). Therefore, Mr Hicks claimed that his participation in the Montpelier Scheme reduced his taxable profits of £1,258,189 for 10 the three relevant tax years to nil.

(read full case and its disposition here)

January 30, 2020 in Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)