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Category Archives: INCOME
By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA
Do you have an employer provided automobile? If so, here are some things to know.
The law provides that the personal use of an employer-provided automobile represents additional compensation to an employee. This compensation is also known as a taxable fringe benefit.
Many employees are surprised to learn that when you use a business vehicle to commute to and from work or for any other personal use, you are generating additional taxable income that will be included on your W2.
No, sorry you did not get an unexpected raise. This portion of our tax code is just another example of how nothing in life is free. Not even an innocent trip to the park, or maybe that parent teacher conference – at least not if you got there in the company car.
Anyway, since this additional income along with the appropriate payroll taxes is determined annually by your employer, it is important that you carefully document your business versus personal use of the vehicle. After all, there is no need to pay more tax than is necessary. At a minimum, you should maintain a daily log that shows the miles you have driven, the business purpose for your trip, and where you were going.
You may also want to discuss the need for additional income tax withholding with your CPA or qualified tax preparer to make sure there are no tax surprises during tax filing time.
Now, the calculation of the income element for your visit to that parent teacher conference or other personal trips can be based on a couple of methods. Your employer may choose any one of the following to calculate your taxable personal use:
Your employer will multiply the total miles you used the vehicle for personal use by the standard mileage rate.
In order to use this method certain requirements must be met. You can check out the details of this method in Publication 15-B Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.
Lease Value Rule
If your employer uses this method, your employer will determine the percentage of personal use by dividing the total miles driven by the amount of personal miles driven. The resulting personal use percentage will then be multiplied by the vehicles “lease value.” The IRS provides the Annual Lease Value table that will be used in this calculation. Additional calculation information can be found at Publication 15-B.
If your employer provides a vehicle for the purposes of commuting such as a commuter vanpool, the taxable benefit is calculated by “multiplying each one-way commute by $1.50.”
One final note for S corporation shareholders who receive a W2 and who have a company vehicle, if at any time during the year you owned more than 2% of the outstanding stock of your S-Corp you are treated like a partner and not an employee in regards to the application of these rules. Check with your CPA or tax preparer for more information.
Guidance – Proposed Reg Exclusion From Gross Income Amounts Received on Account of Personal Physical Injuries
REG-127270-06 contains proposed regulations relating to the exclusion from gross income for amounts received on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness. The proposed regulations reflect amendments under the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996. The proposed regulations also delete the requirement that to qualify for exclusion from gross income, damages received from a legal suit, action, or settlement agreement must be based upon “tort or tort type rights.” The proposed regulations affect taxpayers receiving damages on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness and taxpayers paying these damages.
Revenue Procedure 2009-39 amplifies, clarifies, and modifies Rev. Proc. 2008-52, which provides procedures for taxpayers to obtain automatic consent for the changes in method of accounting described in its APPENDIX. This revenue procedure also clarifies and modifies Rev. Proc. 97-27, as amplified and modified by Rev. Proc. 2002-19, as amplified and clarified by Rev. Proc. 2002-54, and as modified by Rev. Proc. 2007-67, which provides the general procedures for obtaining non-automatic consent for changes in method of accounting.
Revenue Procedure 2009-39 will be in IRB 2009-38, dated September 21, 2009.
Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about reporting what Lady Luck has sent your way.
Gambling income includes, but is not limited to, winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, poker tournaments and casinos. It includes cash winnings and also the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips.
Okay – so what does that mean?
It means that if you are trying to hide income in a foreign account, your bank is going to tattle on you to the Internal Revenue Service.
So…..If you do have cash or an investment in a foreign account – or have signing authority over a foreign account, you need to make sure you are properly reporting it to the IRS.
Form TD F 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts is for this purpose. The Form is due and must be received by the IRS no later than June 30 each year. And, if you don’t file it – be ready to receive a whopping $10,000 fine.
In addition, all foreign income must also be reported on your income tax return.
However, there is some good news. The IRS has recently announced a new voluntary disclosure program that allows U.S. taxpayers until September 23, 2009 to disclose any previously unreported accounts and income. Here’s some more good news, if you follow the guidelines of the program, the IRS promises not to refer you to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
For more information, take a look at these frequently asked questions offshore activities.
Since not reporting your offshore activity can subject you to criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice, it is HIGHLY recommended that you learn what your responsibility is concerning this type of activity.
Note: The filing relief deadline has been extended to June 30, 2010 for taxpayers who need to file an FBAR report for 2008, 2009 or earlier calendar years if they meet the following criteria:
1) persons with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account, and
2) persons with a financial interest in, or signature authority over, a foreign commingled fund.
See notice 2009-62 for more information