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Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

Tax Day is Now May 17 For Individuals

Posted by taxguru on March 17, 2021

After a lot of teasing us with “will they or won’t they,” IRS has decided to give most of the country until Monday, May 17 to file 2020 tax returns or extensions.

Tax Day for individuals extended to May 17: Treasury, IRS extend filing and payment deadline

While we should all appreciate any extension of the filing deadline, just moving it back by one month seems a bit half-assed.  While most people were expecting another July 15 Tax Day, I was betting on June 15, which would have brought everyone else in sync with Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma,

Of course, there is a possibility that one month from now, IRS may move Tax Day out by another month or two, adding even more confusion to the process of preparing and filing tax returns.

It’s another crazy Tax Season.

Update 3/19/21:  There are a lot of critics, such as the AICPA, of this limited filing delay because it doesn’t cover businesses, which have a lot of new confusing issues to deal with from the pandemic, and the fact that IRS supposedly still wants people to send in their first estimated (ES) tax payment for 2021 by April 15.  Again, this is very much like the confusion we went through at this time last year, when for a while, IRS was requiring the second ES payment for 2020 to be made by June 15, while the first wasn’t due until July 15.  IRS is a master at complicating what should be a simple across the board delay for everyone.    

Posted in IRS, TaxDay | Comments Off on Tax Day is Now May 17 For Individuals

Delayed Tax Day for Three States

Posted by taxguru on March 12, 2021

While we are all waiting for IRS to announce a nation-wide extension of the filing deadline for 2020 tax returns, they have officially given a two month delay – until June 15 – to three States which had some nasty weather recently.

Victims of Texas winter storms get deadline extensions and other tax relief

IRS announces tax relief for Oklahoma severe winter storm victims

IRS announces tax relief for Louisiana severe winter storm victims

 

The insane two trillion dollar “stimulus” bill that was signed into law yesterday has some tax related items that will require modifications to the IRS’s computers, as well as to the software we practitioners use.  Trying to get all of that up to speed with an April 15 filing deadline will just make an already crazy Tax Season even more so.

While everyone will still have the option to file for their own extensions, until October 15, there is a big difference between that approach and IRS delaying the initial filing deadline.  If IRS doesn’t give us all extra time, we will have to do some tax calculations and submit payments for any expected taxes due by April 15. 

If IRS gives us the extra time like we had last year, those payments won’t be due until the new Tax Day, which will hopefully be July 15 for everyone.  It would also delay the deadline for some other tax return related events, such as when money could be deposited into an IRA account and be deducted on the 2020 returns.

Posted in IRS, TaxDay | Comments Off on Delayed Tax Day for Three States

Another Uncertain Tax Season

Posted by taxguru on March 10, 2021

It’s impossible not to have déjà vu feelings related to last year, when at this same point in time, there was a confusing “will they or won’t they” tension in the country in regard to IRS extending the official filing deadlines for 2019 tax returns.  We are currently in the midst of exactly that same debate for 2020 returns, with calls for July 15 to be Tax Day again this year.

Of course until IRS makes its official declaration of a later tax filing deadline, we have to operate as if the normal due dates of March 15 and April 15 are still our targets.

Very interesting analysis of the current status of how behind IRS currently is in this article from Accounting Today:

Momentum builds for delaying tax deadline

Posted in IRS, TaxDay | Comments Off on Another Uncertain Tax Season

IRS Mileage Rates For 2021

Posted by taxguru on December 23, 2020

With plenty of time for employers to adjust their employee reimbursement rates for next year’s business trips, IRS has published what the standard mileage deductions will be for 2021 tax returns.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

    56 cents per mile driven for business use, down 1.5 cents from the rate for 2020,
    16 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active duty members of the Armed Forces, down 1 cent from the rate for 2020, and
    14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2020.

 

My normal comments on this subject still apply.

It’s a good idea to keep track of actual vehicle expenses during the year, because there are plenty of times when they will exceed the IRS’s calculation of average operating costs.

I have yet to hear an explanation from the wizards in Congress who write our tax laws as to why they believe that it costs so much less to operate a vehicle when it is being driven on non-business trips, such as for charity, medical or moving.  Just another oxymoron, Congressional Logic.

Posted in Deductions, IRS, Vehicles | Comments Off on IRS Mileage Rates For 2021

The PPP Loan Forgiveness Enigma

Posted by taxguru on December 3, 2020

Normally, during this last month of the year, we tax pros are working with our calendar year clients to get a handle on what their income taxes will look like so they can take any necessary steps to bring their numbers into sync with their goals by December 31. 

This year, there is a new twist to the calculations we are doing: SBA and lender forgiveness of PPP loans; both those waived by 12/31/20, as well as those expected to be canceled next year.

There is no uncertainty regarding the fact that the amount of the forgiven loans will not be considered to be taxable Cancellation of Debt income.  However, there is still a lot of confusion and difference of opinion regarding whether the expenses that had been paid from those loan proceeds can be deducted on the 2020 tax returns.  It’s even trickier in relation to expenses paid during 2020, with an expected forgiveness in the future, as compared to situations where the loan has been cancelled as of 12/31/20. There are disagreements on how we should handle this.

Since the actual tax returns aren’t due until April 15, 2021 for most businesses, there is still plenty of time for there to be an official resolution to this dilemma.  However, for year-end tax planning purposes, we don’t have the luxury of those four extra months.  Decisions need to be made now.  If our rulers don’t nail this issue down until next February or March, it will be too late for business managers to take the steps they needed to have done by December 31.

The AICPA has some good summaries of the situation:

From the Journal of Accountancy: IRS doubles down on nondeductibility of PPP-funded expenses

 

From The Tax Advisor: Expenses used for PPP loan forgiveness: Deductible or not?

From an AICPA press release that I received today (12/3/2020):

The AICPA and a coalition of more than 560 organizations representing millions of employers and American workers sent Congressional leaders a letter urging passage of legislation making it clear that expenses related to a forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan are tax deductible. The letter states that without legislation, there is “…the specter or a surprise tax increase of up to 37 percent on small businesses when they file their taxes for 2020.”

The actual letter that was sent to our rulers in DC comprises just the first two pages of this PDF document.  The remaining 17 pages list the various organizations “signing” the letter.  How successful this request will be in motivating an official resolution of this question is impossible to predict.

Posted in Deductions, IRS, PPP | Comments Off on The PPP Loan Forgiveness Enigma

IRS Releases 2021 Inflation Adjustments

Posted by taxguru on October 26, 2020

The Tax Game never ends.  As 2020 nears its end, people are starting to look ahead to what we can expect for 2021.  Every year, many items in the Tax Code are adjusted to reflect the official increase in the Cost of Living since the prior year. 

There are also a lot of things in the Tax Code that have been set in concrete by our Rulers in DC and have not been increased for decades, such as the measly $3,000 of net capital loss that can be used to offset other kinds of income.  I long ago gave up any hope for such concepts as Fairness or Consistency in the Tax Code in order to hold onto my sanity in this profession.

While some tax publishers had already released what they calculated as the inflation adjustments a few weeks ago, it’s not really official until IRS makes its calculations known, which has happened today.

They have a good summary of the changes in their news release:

IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2021

 

All of the nitty-gritty specifics are spelled out in much more detail in the official 28 page Revenue Procedure 2020-45

Besides adjustments that affect Income taxes, there are some that affect Estate and Gift taxes.  One item that is closely watched is the change in the annual amount that can be gifted without the need to file a Gift Tax return (Form 709).  Many people have gifting plans that utilize this allowance in the amounts that are gifted each year.  Unlike the other inflation adjusted items, which normally increase every year and result in “odd-looking” numbers, the Gift tax allowance can only be increased when the cumulative inflation since the previous adjustment is close to an even $1,000.  That’s not happening in 2021.  The annual exemption will remain at $15,000 per donor (giver) per donee (recipient).

[Update 10-28-2020] – As they have done each year, the folks at TheTaxBook have posted this very handy one-page summary of the 2021 figures side by side with what they were for 2019 and 2020.

Posted in inflation, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Releases 2021 Inflation Adjustments

Reduced Stimulus Payments

Posted by taxguru on June 4, 2020

From a Client:

Good Morning Kerry I’ve a question ~ I received my “Economic Impact Payment “ due to COVID-19 I understood the checks to be $1,200.00 …mine was only $875.60 Were taxes to be taken out of these?

 

My Reply:

What you received is actually the correct amount per the current payment schedule. The amount can be as high as $1,200 per person, but is phased down for people whose most recently reported AGI was more than $75,000. I just used a handy phase-out calculator that I found on the web and entered your 2018 AGI of $81,488. Attached you can see the result of $876.

IRS-StimulusCheckAmount

It is still possible that you can get the additional $324, but that won’t be for more than a year. When we prepare your 2020 Federal income tax return, there will be a schedule to recalculate the proper amount using your 2020 AGI. If you qualify for more than the $876, you will get a credit for the extra amount. As it is currently being discussed, if you actually end up qualifying for less than what you received, you will not be forced to pay back the over-payment. That could change by next year. All of these special Covid related programs are still very fluid and being tinkered with constantly. There is even talk right now of a second round of stimulus payments in the next few months; so there will be no end to the confusion.

So, there is no need to contact IRS about your payment. They did send you the correct amount for this first round of payments.

I hope I have explained this adequately. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kerry

Posted in COVID-19, IRS | Comments Off on Reduced Stimulus Payments

Schedule For IRS Paper Stimulus Checks

Posted by taxguru on May 13, 2020

For those individuals who haven’t provided IRS with their personal bank account info to allow direct deposits of the up to $1,200 per person stimulus checks, IRS has to send out paper checks via the USPS.

With millions of such checks required, this will be taking a number of months.  Rather than mailing them in random order, IRS is doing so based on the amount of AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) that was reported on 2018 or 2019 1040s.  This begins with the lowest income individuals, which does make a lot of sense in this time of financial crisis, and increases by $10,000 each week

Here is the current IRS mailing schedule, courtesy of Forbes:

Here is the planned weekly schedule for the IRS to mail stimulus checks based on annual adjusted gross income, as first reported by The Washington Post. All dates represent the “week ending” (for example, the week ending April 24) and the IRS could change this schedule at any time.

Less than $10,000: April 24

$10,001 – $20,000: May 1

$20,001 – $30,000: May 8

$30,001 – $40,000: May 15

$40,001 – $50,000: May 22

$50,001 – $60,000: May 29

$60,001 – $70,000: June 5

$70,001 – $80,000: June 12

$80,001 – $90,000: June 19

$90,001 – $100,000: June 26

$100,001 – $110,000: July 3

$110,001 – $120,000: July 10

$120,001 – $130,000: July 17

$130,001 – $140,000: July 24

$140,001 – $150,000: July 31

$150,001 – $160,000: August 7

$160,001 – $170,000: August 14

$170,001 – $180,000: August 21

$180,001 – $190,000: August 28

$190,001 – $198,000: September 4

Remaining checks: September 11

Posted in IRS, stimulus | Comments Off on Schedule For IRS Paper Stimulus Checks

Receiving Stimulus Payments

Posted by taxguru on April 17, 2020

From a Client:

Kerry,

Hello. We were wondering about the stimulus payment so we checked it and they have nothing filed on us that they can determine our eligibility for a payment.

Is there something they don’t have because we usually don’t have any returns direct deposited, just mailed to us. But we get our SS checks direct deposited.

Thank You for information

 

My Reply:

As you may know, this stimulus payment program is so new that the details are constantly evolving. I did take a webinar on Wednesday that discussed the details as they currently stand.

There are actually a couple of issues at play with your situation.

1. Eligibility For Stimulus Payment
Only people with an expected 2020 income below a certain threshold ($99,000 per person or $198,000 per couple) are supposed to receive these special IRS payments. To guesstimate the 2020 income, IRS is using the income that was reported on the latest filed tax return, which for most people would be their 2018 or 2019.

While most people have fairly consistent incomes year to year, that wasn’t the case for you between 2018 and 2019. If you did, as we discussed, hold off mailing in your 2019 returns until closer to the July 15 due date, IRS will use what was reported on your 2018 1040 and will send you a check for the full $2,400.

If, however, you did send in the 2019 return and IRS was able to process it before it shut down all of its activities, the large capital gain that is on that return will make your total income well above the eligibility limit.

If IRS does have your 2019 income in their computer, even though you won’t be receiving a stimulus check now, you will receive it when you file your 2020 tax return and show them that your actual income for this year is under the limit. While the actual mechanics of this process are in the design stage, most tax pros are predicting that it will be handled in a similar manner to the $300 per person rebate checks sent out in 2008, where any over or under-payment was fixed with the filing of the actual 2008 1040.

2. Payment Logistics
IRS has already started direct depositing stimulus payments into some accounts where it has the bank info from what was reported on 1040s. While SSA does direct deposit their payments into recipients’ bank accounts, that system is separate and is not shared with IRS. Since we didn’t set you up for direct deposit of refunds with IRS, they will be sending you a check, most likely in the next few weeks.

You are in the exact same scenario as Sherry and I are. We have our SSA benefits deposited directly into our bank, only because they don’t give us any other option. With IRS, we don’t use their direct deposit option because there is always a possibility that those bank details could be used, intentionally or accidentally, to take money out of our account. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen often enough to make me wary of revealing too much personal info to IRS.

I hope I have explained the situation clearly. If anything does change in regard to the stimulus payments that would affect you, I will let you know.

Kerry

Posted in IRS | Comments Off on Receiving Stimulus Payments

IRS Tries To Explain the New July 15 Tax Day Details

Posted by taxguru on March 25, 2020

As is almost always the case with the wonderful tax systems in this country, even the simplest of concepts is more complicated and twisted than necessary.

Moving the 2020 Tax Day for 2019 tax returns to July 15 has already created a lot of confusion among taxpayers and tax practitioners.  To remedy, or add to, the confusion, IRS has already published 24 FAQs related to this new date.

Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers

The University of Illinois TaxSchool has posted this video explanation of the IRS FAQs.

As the presenter says, these FAQs are fluid and will almost certainly be changed before July 15 comes around and as a result of items in the massive stimulus bill that is working its way through Congress.

One of the craziest answers from IRS is Q16 regarding the due date of the second estimated tax payment for 2020.

A16. No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

The second quarterly payment is due a month before the first payment.  Does this make sense to anybody?  In the Bizarro world of Washington DC, it probably does.

Posted in IRS, TaxDay | Comments Off on IRS Tries To Explain the New July 15 Tax Day Details