Category Archives: TAX ACTS

Electronic Health Records Incentive Payments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) authorizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals that adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve patient care. The funds for these incentive payments may be administered through the state’s Medicaid agency or directly from CMS via a Medicare contractor.

If the state agency or CMS makes incentive payments of $600 or more to an eligible professional or hospital, they are responsible for reporting such payments to the recipients on a Form 1099-MISC by January 31 of the next year. Therefore, if a state agency or CMS made payments of $600 or more in 2012, they should issue Form 1099-MISC to the recipients by January 31, 2013.
Professionals and hospitals should not consider EHR incentive payments to be reimbursements of expenses incurred in establishing an EHR system; instead, the recipient of the payments should consider the payments to be includible in gross income.

An eligible provider receiving an EHR incentive payment may be required to give the payment to the provider’s practice or group and not be allowed to keep it. In this situation, the eligible provider is not required to include the payment in gross income if the provider (1) is receiving the payment as an agent or conduit of the practice or group, and (2) turns the payment over to the practice or group as required. The state agency or CMS should send the Form 1099-MISC to the provider regardless of whether the funds are assigned or transferred to the provider’s practice group, or retained by the provider. The eligible provider, not the state agency or CMS, would bear the information reporting obligation, if any, for payments made to the provider’s practice group.


Yesterday, the President signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which was passed on New Year’s Day. Here is brief summary of selected portions of it, for your review. We can help answer any questions that you may have.

Individual Tax Rates
The Act preserves and permanently extends the Bush-era income tax cuts except for single individuals with taxable income above $400,000; married couples filing joint returns with taxable income above $450,000; and heads of household with taxable income above $425,000. Income above these thresholds will be taxed at a 39.6 percent rate, effective January 1, 2013. The $400,000/$450,000/$425,000 thresholds will be adjusted for inflation after 2013.
The new law, however, does not extend the payroll tax holiday. Effective January 1, 2013, the employee-share of Social Security tax withholding increased from 4.2% to 6.2% (its rate before the payroll tax holiday).

Capital Gains and Dividend Tax Rate
Effective January 1, 2013, the maximum tax rate on qualified capital gains and dividends rises from 15 to 20 percent for taxpayers whose taxable incomes exceed the thresholds set for the 39.6 percent rate (the $400,000/$450,000/$425,000 thresholds discussed above). The maximum tax rate for all other taxpayers remains at 15 percent; and moreover, a zero-percent rate will continue to apply to qualified capital gains and dividends to the extent income falls below the top of the 15- percent tax bracket. Note – The 2010 Affordable Care Act imposes a 3.8% Medicare tax on interest, dividends, capital gains, and other passive income, starting in 2013, and it applies at taxable income over $200,000 for single filers and over $250,000 for joint filers.

Estate and Gift Tax
Federal transfer taxes (estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes) seem to have been in a constant state of flux in recent years. The Act provides some certainty. Effective January 1, 2013, the maximum estate, gift and GST tax rate is generally 40 percent, which reflects an increase from 35 percent for 2012. The lifetime exclusion amount for estate and gift taxes is unchanged for 2013 and subsequent years at $5 million (adjusted for inflation). The GST exemption amount for 2013 and beyond is also $5 million (adjusted for inflation). The new law also makes permanent portability and some enhancements made in previous tax laws.

Other Act Elements Affecting Individuals
• AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – Higher exemptions are made permanent, and indexed for inflation
• IRA distributions to charitable organizations, (for those over age 70) – restored through 2013
• Exclusion for cancellation of debt on principal residence – extended through 2013
• Reduction of itemized deductions for incomes over certain levels, (which was not in place since 2010) – will apply starting in 2013

Business Tax Provisions
Code Sec. 179 business equipment expensing. In recent years, Congress has repeatedly increased dollar and investment limits under Code Sec. 179 to encourage spending by businesses. For tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, the Code Sec. 179 dollar and investment limits were $500,000 and $2 million, respectively. [This means that you can expense up to $500,000 of equipment or software purchased, so long as you don’t spend more than $2 million in total. Expenditures over the $2 million level reduces the allowable expense amount dollar-for-dollar.] The Act restores the dollar and investment limits for 2012 and 2013 to their 2011 amounts ($500,000 and $2 million) and adjusts those amounts for inflation. However, this increase is temporary. The Code Sec. 179 dollar and investment limits are scheduled, unless changed by Congress, to decrease to $25,000 and $200,000, respectively, after 2013. The new law also provides that off-the-shelf computer software qualifies as eligible property for Code Sec. 179 expensing. The software must be placed in service in a tax year beginning before 2014. Additionally, the Act allows taxpayers to treat up to $250,000 of qualified leasehold and retail improvement property as well as qualified restaurant property, as eligible for Code Sec. 179 expensing.

Bonus depreciation. Bonus depreciation of business equipment is one of the most important tax benefits available to businesses, large or small. In recent years, bonus depreciation has reached 100 percent, which gave taxpayers the opportunity to write off 100 percent of qualifying asset purchases immediately. For 2012, bonus depreciation remained available but was reduced to 50 percent. The Act extends 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2013. The Act also provides that a taxpayer otherwise eligible for additional first-year depreciation may elect to claim additional research or minimum tax credits in lieu of claiming depreciation for qualified property.

While not quite as attractive as 100 percent bonus depreciation, 50 percent bonus depreciation is valuable. For example, a $100,000 piece of equipment with a five-year MACRS life would qualify for a $55,000 write-off: $50,000 in bonus depreciation plus 20 percent of the remaining $50,000 in basis as “regular” depreciation, with the half-year convention applied in the first and last year.

Bonus depreciation also relates to the passenger vehicle depreciation dollar limits under Code Sec. 280F. This provision imposes dollar limitations on the depreciation deduction for the year in which a taxpayer places a passenger automobile/truck in service within a business and for each succeeding year. Because of the new law, the first-year depreciation cap for passenger automobile/truck placed in service in 2013 is increased by $8,000.

Bonus depreciation, unlike Code Sec. 179 expensing, is not capped at a dollar threshold. However, only new property qualifies for bonus depreciation. Code Sec. 179 expensing, in contrast, can be claimed for both new and used property and qualifying property may be expensed at 100 percent.

Research Tax Credit. The research tax credit was restored for 2012 and extended through 2013.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Finally a Tax Law Change That Will Make Our Lives Easier. Well, unless you are a stock broker or mutual fund company that is. 1099-B Reporting Expanded

Mutual fund

Mutual Fund

Stacie says: Good news for taxpayers who receive Forms 1099-B Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions.  Starting in 2011, these forms will include the cost or other basis information of stock and mutual fund shares sold or exchanged during the year.  I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.  Countless hours are spent each year by preparers and taxpayers alike trying to find the basis information on stock sales.  I have to say that this law change falls within one of my more favored.

WASHINGTON —  The Internal Revenue Service today issued final regulations under a law change that will require reporting of basis and other information by stock brokers and mutual fund companies for most stock purchased in 2011 and all stock purchased in 2012 and later years.  The reporting will be to investors and the IRS. This additional reporting will be optional for stock purchased prior to these dates.

“This important reporting change means investors will now receive the information they need to more easily and accurately report their gains and losses,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We will continue to work closely with stakeholder groups to ensure a smooth implementation of the new requirement, which reduces the recordkeeping and paperwork burden for millions of taxpayers.”

These regulations, posted today in the Federal Register, implement a provision in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.  Among other things, the regulations describe who is subject to this reporting requirement, which transactions are reportable and what information needs to be reported. Besides providing numerous examples, they also adopt a number of comments and suggestions received since the proposed regulations were issued last December.

Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, long used to report sales prices, will be expanded in 2011 to include the cost or other basis of stock and mutual fund shares sold or exchanged during the year. Stock brokers and mutual fund companies will use this form to make these expanded year-end reports.   The expanded form will also be used to report whether gain or loss realized on these transactions is long-term (held more than one year) or short-term (held one year or less), a key factor affecting the tax treatment of gain or loss. The expanded form, to be first used for calendar-year 2011 sales, must be filed with the IRS and furnished to investors in early 2012.

The IRS today also announced penalty relief for brokers and custodians for reporting certain transfers of stock in 2011.

The relief is described in Notice 2010-67, which was posted today on IRS.gov.

HR 5297 Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 Outline of Tax Stuff

U.S. Capital

Image by Biggunben via Flickr

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

Well loyal readers, I am finally getting around to outlining the tax aspects of the Small Business Jobs Act.   Because I am a visual interactive learner, writing and organizing helps me to retain information. I guess you could say that blogging is like a study technique for me.  Too bad it doesn’t qualify for continuing education credit.  *sigh* oh well.

Fixed asset expensing – Section 179

  • Maximum expense amount $500,000
  • Phase out amount $2 million for years 2010 and 2011

Fixed asset bonus depreciation – Section 168(k)

  • Extended through 2010
  • Percentage of completion method can be taken into account for qualified property

Qualified small business stock – Section 1202

  • Increases the gain exclusion from the sale or exchange of qualified small business stock to 100%
  • Applies to eligible stock acquired after the enactment date and before Jan 1, 2011

Business credits – Section 38

  • Is extended to five years
  • Can be used to offset regular and alternative minimum tax
  • Tax years beginning after 2009

Built in gains – Section 1374

  • Recognition period for computing built in gains tax is the five year period beginning with the first day of the fist tax year for which the corporation was an S Corporation.

Health insurance for self employed individuals

  • (This is a particularly good one) For tax years ending after 2009, self employed individuals can deduct health insurance for themselves, their spouses, dependents and children under 27 against net earnings for self-employment for purposes of calculating their SECA taxes ( SECA is equivalent to a workers FICA tax)

Startup expenses – Section 195

  • Expenses increased to $10,000 for years beginning in 2010 and 2011
  • Limitation on deduction is increased to $60,000
  • Calculated by the lessor of 1) the amount of the startup expense or 2) 10,000, reduced (but not below zero) by the amount by which the startup expenditures exceed $60,000

Reportable and listed transactions – penalty under section 6707A

  • The penalty for failure to disclose a reportable transaction is limited to 75% of the decrease in tax resulting from the transactions.
  • Max penalty for a natural person is $10,000
  • Penalty for a non-natural person is $50,000 (so like a business or trust or such)
  • Listed transactions maximum penalty will be $100,000 for a natural person
  • Listed transactions maximum penalty will be $200,000 for non-natural person\
  • Minimum penalty
    • $5000 Natural person
    • $10,000 Non-natural person

Listed property – Section 280A

  • no longer includes cell phone.

Outline of the Tax Provisions of HR 4872 The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

Okay so earlier this week I talked about the passing of HR 3590 aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is now a law known as P.L. 111-148. 

However, the new law was amended yesterday by the passing of HR 4872 aka the Health Care and Education Reconciliation ACT.  This new bill is on its way to the president’s desk for approval.

As the Journal of Accountancy points out, this new bill adds stuff that was not built-in to  the Patient Protection Act.

If you need to get up to speed, you can  check out my previous post which outlines the original tax provision here Outline of Health Care Act – Tax Provisions of HR 3590.

The following is  a list of things that were changed or added.  For a complete analysis, check out the J of A’s article.

  • Premium Assistance Credit – Updated
  • Excise Tax on Uninsured Individuals – Updated
  • Adult Dependent – Updated
  • Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Coverage Updated
  • Medicare Tax on Investment Income ( I thought this one might be of particular interest to taxpayers so I have included the J of A’s analysis here- my take, this provision is likely to tick some folks off)

The Reconciliation Act added a new IRC § 1411 that imposes a tax on individuals equal to 3.8% of the lesser of the individual’s net investment income for the year or the amount the individual’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds a threshold amount. For estates and trusts, the tax equals 3.8% of the lesser of undistributed net investment income or adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest trust and estate tax bracket begins.

For married individuals filing a joint return and surviving spouses, the threshold amount is $250,000; for married taxpayers filing separately, it is $125,000; and for other individuals it is $200,000.

Net investment income is defined as income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents, other than such income derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business (however, income from passive activities and from a trade or business of trading in financial instruments or commodities is included in the definition of net investment income).

This provision applies to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012.

  • Economic Substance Doctrine – New


Here is a calendar of dates related to the Act to know:

Dates to follow  
January 1, 2010 Small Business Tax Credit – For tax Years Beginning on or after 1/1/10
July 1, 2010 Tax on Indoor Tanning Services – For services on or after 7/1/2010
January 1, 2011 Tax on HSA Distributions – For tax years beginning on or after 1/1/2011
January 1, 2011 SIMPLE Cafeteria Plans for Business – For tax years beginning on or after 1/1/11
January 1, 2011 Charitable Hospitals – For payments made on or after 1/1/2011
January 1, 2012 Medicare tax on Investment Income – for tax years beginning on or after 1/1/2012
October 1, 2012 Fees on Health Plans –  Beginning for plan years on or after 10/1/12
January 1, 2013 Medical Care Itemized Deductions Threshold -Beginning on 1/1/13
January 1, 2013 Additional Hospital Insurance Tax on High Income Taxpayers – For tax years beginning on or after 1/1/13
January 1, 2013 Flexible Spending Account – Tax years beginning on or after 1/1/13
January 1, 2014 Premium Assistance Credit – For years beginning on 1/1/14
January 1, 2014 Excise tax on Uninsured Individuals – Tax years beginning on or after 1/1/14,
January 1, 2014 Reporting Requirements – Beginning on 1/1/14
January 1, 2014 Cafeteria Plans – Starting 1/1/14
January 1, 2014 Employer Responsibility – Beginning on 1/1/14
January 1, 2018 Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer Plans – For tax years beginning on or after 1/1/18

IRS Presents: Five New Things to Know About 2009 Taxes

As you get ready to prepare your 2009 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service wants to make sure you have all the details about tax law changes that may impact your tax return.

Here are the top five changes that may show up on your 2009 return.

1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

ARRA provides several tax provisions that affect tax year 2009 individual tax returns due April 15, 2010. The recovery law provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people who purchased new cars, those that made their homes more energy efficient, parents and students paying for college, and people who received unemployment compensation.

2. IRA Deduction Expanded

You may be able to take an IRA deduction if you were covered by a retirement plan and your 2009 modified adjusted gross income is less than $65,000 or $109,000 if you are married filing a joint return.

3. Standard Deduction Increased for Most Taxpayers

The 2009 basic standard deductions all increased. They are:

  • $11,400 for married couples filing a joint return and qualifying widows and widowers
  • $5,700 for singles and married individuals filing separate returns
  • $8,350 for heads of household

Taxpayers can now claim an additional standard deduction based on the state or local sales or excise taxes paid on the purchase of most new motor vehicles purchased after February 16, 2009. You can also increase your standard deduction by the state or local real estate taxes paid during the year or net disaster losses suffered from a federally declared disaster.

4. 2009 Standard Mileage Rates

The standard mileage rates changed for 2009. The standard mileage rates for business use of a vehicle:

  • 55 cents per mile

The standard mileage rates for the cost of operating a vehicle for medical reasons or a deductible move:

  • 24 cents per mile

The standard mileage rate for using a car to provide services to charitable organizations remains at 14 cents per mile.

5. Kiddie Tax Change

The amount of taxable investment income a child can have without it being subject to tax at the parent’s rate has increased to $1,900 for 2009.

For more information about these and other changes for tax year 2009, visit IRS.gov.

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Presents: Are You Eligible to Claim the Government Retiree Credit

[Stacie says:  If you are a retired government employee be sure to talk to your preparer about your eligibility to claim the Government Retiree Credit]

Certain government retirees who receive a government pension or annuity payment in 2009 may be eligible for the Government Retiree Credit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides this one-time credit of $250 for certain federal and state pensioners.

Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about the Government Retiree Credit:

  1. You can take this credit if you receive a pension or annuity payment in 2009 for service performed for the U.S. Government or any U.S. state or local government and the service was not covered by social security.
  2. Recipients of the Making Work Pay Credit will have that credit reduced by any Government Retiree Credit they receive.
  3. The credit is $250 for individuals and $500 if married filing jointly and both you and your spouse receive a qualifying pension or annuity.
  4. You must have a valid social security number to claim the credit. If married filing jointly, both spouses must have a valid social security number to each claim the $250 credit.
  5. You cannot take the credit if you received a $250 economic recovery payment in 2009.
  6. This is a refundable credit, which means it may give you a refund even if you had no tax withheld from your pension.
  7. To claim the credit, you must complete Schedule M, Making Work Pay and Government Retiree Credits, and attach it to your Form 1040A or 1040.


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