Categories for General News and Information

Dec
05
2018

Postponed vote





U.S. House GOP lawmakers postponed a vote on their tax package. It includes the “Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018” and the “Taxpayer First Act of 2018.” Lawmakers said the decision was due to the absence of several GOP members who lost their re-election bids. The package addresses retirement savings, tax extenders, disaster relief, technical corrections and IRS reform. Senate Democrats indicated they have little enthusiasm for voting on the recently introduced legislation.

Dec
05
2018

Withholding correct?


The IRS continues to warn taxpayers that they may be at risk for receiving a surprise tax bill due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The IRS noted that while the TCJA lowered tax rates for most taxpayers, it also nearly doubled the standard deduction and limited or discontinued many deductions. As a result, some taxpayers may have too little tax withheld from their pay. Many employees have few paychecks left this year,

Nov
30
2018

Tax forms get a remodel





Tax forms get a remodel. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has brought many changes, including physical modifications to some tax forms. Form 1040 is now significantly smaller and has far fewer lines. Also changed is the due date listed. While the tax filing deadline for most taxpayers is 4/15/19, calendar year filers who live in Maine and Massachusetts will have until 4/17/19 to file. Forms 1040A and 1040EZ have been eliminated for 2018,

Nov
29
2018

Research credit available to some businesses for the first time





The TCJA didn’t change the research credit, but it has an impact on the credit. Previously, corporations subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) couldn’t offset the research credit against AMT liability, which erased the credit’s current benefits. By eliminating corporate AMT, the TCJA removed this obstacle. Pass-through businesses can still claim the credit against AMT if their average gross receipts are $50 million or less. And qualifying start-ups without taxable income can still claim the credit against up to $250,000 in payroll taxes.

Nov
28
2018

Take Advantage of FSA





The IRS reminds taxpayers to take advantage of their employers’ Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) in 2019. For 2019, the contribution limit is $2,700. If an employer chooses, employees can carry over up to $500 of unused funds into 2020. Otherwise, FSAs have a “use or lose” provision. FSAs provide employees a way to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by other health plans. Amounts contributed aren’t subject to federal income tax,

Nov
28
2018

Bad Debt





A taxpayer can generally deduct a bad debt in the year it becomes worthless. But these deductions are disallowed if the debt is owed by a political party. One taxpayer claimed a bad debt deduction for an unpaid loan he made to a now-defunct 501(c)4 organization. He stated the organization wasn’t a political party, but existed to advocate for better public education. In Chief Counsel Advice, the IRS said the 501(c)4 was a political party,

Nov
27
2018

Wisconsin Disaster Extension


Disaster victims in Wisconsin qualify for tax relief. The IRS announced that victims of severe storms, flooding and landslides in Wisconsin counties designated as federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance have more time to make tax payments and file returns. The following Wisconsin counties are designated federal disaster areas: Crawford, Dane, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon. For affected counties, the onset date of the disaster was 8/17/18 and the extended filing deadline is 12/17/18.

Nov
25
2018

Tax Disputes





Taxpayers that have a tax dispute may request a hearing before the IRS Office of Appeals. They then raise issues to be considered. One taxpayer was found to owe $39,737. Instead of paying it, he sent a check on a related matter, for $1,396, with a letter instructing the IRS that, if this amount didn’t satisfy his full tax bill, the check shouldn’t be cashed. The check was cashed, and he was sent a notice of deficiency for the balance.

Nov
24
2018

Patients and Communities Act





President Trump signs the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, allowing religious exemption from the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, the mandate requires individuals to maintain basic health coverage. It’s been eliminated after 2018. The exemption applies to members of a religious sect who rely solely on a religious method of healing, and for whom the acceptance of medical health services would be inconsistent with their religious beliefs.

Nov
23
2018

Middle-income tax cut





President Trump announced he will propose a middle-income tax cut and that Congress would vote on it soon. Trump said that his administration is studying a tax cut for middle-income earners but it’s unclear if or when a vote could happen. While the House has recently passed legislation that would make the individual tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent, the Senate hasn’t taken up the proposed legislation because it’s concerned about increasing the deficit.