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January 20, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

Final regulations clarify the definition of "real property" that qualifies for a like-kind exchange, including incidental personal property. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, P.L. 115-97), like-kind exchanges occurring after 2017 are limited to real property used in a trade or business or for investment.


The IRS has released rulings concerning deductions for eligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan expenses.


The IRS has issued final regulations under Code Sec. 274 relating to the elimination of the employer deduction of for transportation and commuting fringe benefits by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97), effective for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017. The final regulations address the disallowance of a deduction for the expense of any qualified transportation fringe (QTF) provided to an employee of the taxpayer. Guidance and methodologies are provided to determine the amount of QTF parking expenses that is nondeductible. The final regulations also address the disallowance of the deduction for expenses of transportation and commuting between an employee’s residence and place of employment.


As part of a series of reminders, the IRS has urged taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. A special page ( https://www.irs.gov/individuals/steps-to-take-now-to-get-a-jump-on-next-years-taxes), updated and available on the IRS website, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021.


This year marks the 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week-a collaboration by the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry. The IRS and the Security Summit partners have issued warnings to all taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of scams and identity theft schemes by criminals taking advantage of the combination of holiday shopping, the approaching tax season and coronavirus concerns. The 5th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week coincided with Cyber Monday, the traditional start of the online holiday shopping season.


The IRS has issued proposed regulations for the centralized partnership audit regime...


The IRS has issued final regulations with guidance on how a tax-exempt organization can determine whether it has more than one unrelated trade or business, how it should identify its separate trades and businesses, and how to separately calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) for each trade or business – often referred to as "silo" rules. Since 2018, under provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the loss from one unrelated trade or business may not offset the income from another, separate trade or business. Congress did not provide detailed methods of determining when unrelated businesses are "separate" for purposes of calculating UBTI.


The IRS has modified Rev. Proc. 2007-32, I.R.B. 2007-22, 1322, to provide that the term of a Gaming Industry Tip Compliance Agreement (GITCA) is generally five years, and the renewal term of a GITCA is extended from three years to a term of up to five years. A GITCA executed under Rev. Proc. 2003-35, 2003-1 CB 919 and Rev. Proc. 2007-32 will remain in effect until the expiration date set forth in that agreement, unless modified by the renewal of a GITCA under section 4.04 of Rev. Proc. 2007-32 (as modified by section 3 of this revenue procedure).


Final regulations issued by the Treasury and IRS coordinate the extraordinary disposition rule that applies with respect to the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the disqualified basis rule under the Code Sec. 951A global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) regime. Information reporting rules are also finalized.


Every year the IRS publishes a list of projects that are currently on its agenda. For example, the IRS may indicate through this list that it is working on a new set of procedures relating to claiming business expenses. The new 2014–2015 IRS Priority Guidance Plan, just released this September, has indicated that IRS is working on guidance relating to whether employer-provided meals offered on company premises are taxable as income to the employee. In the Priority Guidance Plan’s Employee Benefits Section B.3, the IRS listed: "Guidance under §§119 and 132 regarding employer-provided meals" in its list of projects for the upcoming year.


Taxpayers who are self-employed must pay self-employment tax on their income from self-employment. The self-employment tax applies in lieu of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes paid by employees and employers on compensation from employment. Like FICA taxes, the self-employment tax consists of taxes collected for Social Security and for Medicare (hospital insurance or HI).


The current likelihood that your business will become involved in an employment tax audit or an employment-related income tax audit has increased: the IRS is aggressively attempting to reduce the "tax gap" of uncollected revenues in a time of increasing budget austerity. Employment tax noncompliance is estimated by the IRS to account for approximately $54 billion of the tax gap. Under-reporting of FICA makes up $14 billion; under-reporting of self-employment tax accounts for $39 billion; and under-reporting of unemployment tax accounts for $1 billion in lost revenue. Add to that total amount over $50 billion in estimated employment-associated income tax lost that are the result of missteps in withholding obligations, tip reporting, and proper fringe benefit classification . . . and employers are forewarned. The IRS is stepping up its auditing in these areas and has been conducting studies to maximize the best use of its agents' time to do so.

In January, the U.S. Tax Court threw a curve ball in many retirement planning strategies. The court held that a taxpayer could make only one nontaxable rollover contribution within each one-year period regardless of how many IRAs the taxpayer has. The court found that the one-year limitation under Code Sec. 408(d)(3)(B) is not specific to any single IRA owned by an individual but instead applies to all IRAs owned by a taxpayer. The court's decision was a departure from a long-time understanding of IRS rules and publications and, for several weeks after, it was unclear what approach the IRS would take. Now, the IRS has announced that it will follow the court's decision and revise its rules and publications. Everyone contemplating an IRA rollover needs to be aware of this important development.

The health care reform package (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) imposes a new 3.8 percent Medicare contribution tax on the investment income of higher-income individuals. Although the tax does not take effect until 2013, it is not too soon to examine methods to lessen the impact of the tax.

Keeping the family business in the family upon the death or retirement of the business owner is not as easy as one would think. In fact, almost 30% of all family businesses never successfully pass to the next generation. What many business owners do not know is that many problems can be avoided by developing a sound business succession plan in advance.


If you are considering selling business property that has substantially appreciated in value, you owe it to your business to explore the possibility of a like-kind exchange. Done properly, a like-kind exchange will allow you to transfer your appreciated business property without incurring a current tax liability. However, since the related tax rules can be complex, careful planning is needed to properly structure the transaction.


Starting your own small business can be hectic - yet fun and personally fulfilling. As you work towards opening the doors, don't let the onerous task of keeping the books rain on your parade. With a little planning upfront and a promise to "keep it simple", you can get an effective system up and running in no time.


As you open the doors of your new business, the last thing on your mind may be the potential for loss of profits through employee oversight or theft - especially if you are the only employee. However, setting up some basic internal controls to guard against future loss before you hire others can save you headaches in the future.


The rise of paperless processing and remote access to computer systems has made increased computer security imperative. Establishing an effective password system can help keep your data secure while allowing you greater control over the access to your company's vital information.