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Tax Alerts
November 27, 2020
Tax Briefing(s)

For 2021, the Social Security tax wage cap will be $142,800, and Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 1.3 percent. These changes reflect cost-of-living adjustments to account for inflation.


The IRS has adopted previously issued proposed regulations ( REG-106808-19) dealing with the 100 percent bonus depreciation deduction. In addition, some clarifying changes have been made to previously issued final regulations ( T.D. 9874). Changes to the proposed and earlier final regulations are largely in response to various comments submitted by practitioners, and generally relate to:


Final regulations reflect the significant changes that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) made to the Code Sec. 274 deduction for travel and entertainment expenses. These regulations finalize, with some changes, previously released proposed regulations, NPRM REG-100814-19.


The IRS has issued a final regulation addressing tax withholding on certain periodic retirement and annuity payments under Code Sec. 3405(a), to implement amendments made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97) (TCJA). The regulation affects payors of certain periodic payments, plan administrators that are required to withhold on such payments, and payees who receive such payments. The final regulation adopts, without modification, a proposed regulation that updated and replaced the provisions of three questions and answers with a new regulation regarding the default withholding rate on periodic payments made after December 31, 2020.


The IRS has issued final regulations that provide guidance for employers on federal income tax withholding from employees’ wages.


The Treasury and IRS have released final regulations that provide guidance for Achieve a Better Living Experience (ABLE) programs under Code Sec. 529A to help eligible individuals pay for qualified disability expenses.


The IRS has released final regulations clarifying that the following deductions allowed to an estate or non-grantor trust are not miscellaneous itemized deductions.


The IRS has issued final regulations that address the gain or loss of certain foreign persons on the sale or exchange of an interest in a partnership that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States. The regulations provide guidance on determining the amount of gain or loss treated as effectively connected income under Code Sec. 864(c)(8), as well coordination rules. The final regulations retain the basic approach and structure of the proposed regulations ( REG-113604-18) with certain revisions. Proposed regulations ( REG-105476-18) on information reporting and withholding on dispositions of these interests will be finalized at a later date.


Although you may want your traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to keep accumulating tax-free well into your old age, the IRS sets certain deadlines. The price for getting an upfront deduction when contributing to a traditional IRA (or having a rollover IRA) is that Uncle Sam eventually starts taxing it once you reach 70½. The required minimum distribution (RMD) rules under the Internal Revenue Code accomplish that.

Businesses benefit from many tax breaks. If you are in business with the objective of making a profit, you can generally claim all your business deductions. If your deductions exceed your income for the year, you can claim a loss for the year, up to the amount of your income from other activities. Remaining losses can be carried over into other years.

If someone told you that you could exchange an apartment house for a store building without recognizing a taxable gain or loss, you might not believe him or her. You might already know about a very valuable business planning and tax tool: a like-kind exchange. In some cases, if you trade business property for other business property of the same asset class, you do not need to recognize a taxable gain or loss.

When you receive cash other than the like-kind property in a like-kind exchange, the cash is treated as "boot." Boot does not render the transaction ineligible for non-recognition treatment but it does require you to recognize gain to the extent of the cash received. The same is true for other non-like-kind property. In other words, anything you receive in addition to the like-kind property, such as relief from debt from a mortgage or additional property that is not like-kind will force you to recognize the gain realized.

Ordinarily, you can deduct the fair market value (FMV) of property contributed to charity. The FMV is the price in an arm's-length transaction between a willing buyer and seller. If the property's value is less than the price you paid for it, your deduction is limited to FMV. In some cases, you must submit an appraisal with your tax return.

More small businesses get into trouble with the IRS over payroll taxes than any other type of tax. Payroll taxes are a huge source of government revenue and the IRS takes them very seriously. It is actively looking for businesses that have fallen behind in their payroll taxes or aren't depositing them. When the IRS finds a noncompliant business, it hits hard with penalties.

The AMT is difficult to apply and the exact computation is very complex. If you owed AMT last year and no unusual deduction or windfall had come your way that year, you're sufficiently at risk this year to apply a detailed set of computations to any AMT assessment. Ballpark estimates just won't work

Starting for tax year 2005, businesses have been able to take a new deduction based on income from manufacturing and certain services. Congress defined manufacturing broadly, so many businesses -just not those with brick and mortar manufacturing plants-- will be able to claim the deduction. The deduction is 3 percent of net income from domestic production for 2005 and 2006. This percentage rises to 6 percent and then 9 percent in subsequent years.

Given a choice between recognizing income now or in a later year, most people want to be paid now and be taxed in a later year. As a practical matter, however, an employee cannot defer compensation after performing services and becoming entitled to payment. Routine compensation earned over a prescribed pay period -- a week, two weeks, or a month, for example - usually is paid or made available in the same year it was earned. Recognition of the income cannot be put off to a later year.

One of the easiest ways for a business to limit liability is to use independent contractors instead of employees. Of course, merely calling employees "independent contractors" will not make those individuals independent contractors.

Owning a vacation home is a common dream that many people share...a special place to get away from the weekday routine, relax and maybe, after you retire, a new place to call home.

If you pay for domestic-type services in your home, you may be considered a "domestic employer" for purposes of employment taxes. As a domestic employer, you in turn may be required to report, withhold, and pay employment taxes on a calendar-year basis. The reporting rules apply to both FICA and FUTA taxes, as well as to income taxes that domestic employees elect to have withheld from their wages. The FICA tax rate, applied separately to the employer's share and the employee's share, is 7.65 percent.