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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.

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.
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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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The IRS Presents: Tax Credit Helps Pay for Higher Education Expenses

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed in early 2009 and created the American Opportunity Credit. This educational tax credit – which expanded the existing Hope credit – helps parents and students pay for college and college-related expenses.

Here are the top nine things the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know about this valuable credit and how you can benefit from it when you file your 2009 taxes.

  1. The credit can be claimed for tuition and certain fees paid for higher education in 2009 and 2010.
  2. The American Opportunity Credit can be claimed for expenses paid for any of the first four years of post-secondary education.
  3. The credit is worth up to $2,500 and is based on a percentage of the cost of qualified tuition and related expenses paid during the taxable year for each eligible student. This is a $700 increase from the Hope Credit.
  4. The term “qualified tuition and related expenses” has been expanded to include expenditures for required course materials. For this purpose, the term “course materials” means books, supplies and equipment required for a course of study.
  5. Taxpayers will receive a tax credit based on 100 percent of the first $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year, plus 25 percent of the next $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year.
  6. Forty percent of the credit is refundable, so even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit for each eligible student as cash back.
  7. To be eligible for the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less — $160,000 or less for joint filers.
  8. The credit begins to decrease for individuals with incomes above $80,000 or $160,000 for joint filers and is not available for individuals who make more than $90,000 or $180,000 for joint filers.
  9. The credit is claimed using Form 8863, Education Credits, (American Opportunity, Hope, and Lifetime Learning Credits), and is attached to Form 1040 or 1040A.

For more information about the American Opportunity Tax Credit visit the IRS Web site at IRS.gov/recovery.
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Tax Credit Certification for New Hires – October 17 Deadline Approaching Fast

WASHINGTON ― Businesses planning to claim the recently-expanded work opportunity tax credit for eligible unemployed veterans and disconnected youth hired before mid-September now have until Oct. 17 to request the certification required for these workers, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

In Notice 2009-69, released in August, the IRS extended the certification deadline from Aug. 17, 2009, to Oct. 17, 2009, and clarified the definition of “disconnected youth.” Revised Form 8850 , available on IRS.gov, is used by employers to request certification from their state workforce agency.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted in February, added unemployed veterans returning to civilian life and certain younger workers, referred to as disconnected youth, to the list of groups covered by the credit.

Normally, a business must file Form 8850 with the state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins work. But under a special rule, businesses have until Oct. 17, 2009, to file this form for unemployed veterans and disconnected youth who begin work on or after Jan. 1, 2009 and before Sept. 17, 2009. The instructions for Form 8850 provide details on requesting the certification.

Last Day To Purchase a Home and Qualify for The First Time Homebuyers Credit is November 30, 2009

First-Time Homebuyer Credit Provides Tax Benefits to 1.4 Million Families to Date, More Claims Expected.

WASHINGTON — With the deadline quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded potential homebuyers they must complete their first-time home purchases before Dec. 1 to qualify for the special first-time homebuyer credit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act extended the tax credit, which has provided a tax benefit to more than 1.4 million taxpayers so far
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The credit of up to $8,000 is generally available to homebuyers with qualifying income levels who have never owned a home or have not owned one in the past three years. The IRS has a new YouTube video and other resources that explain the credit in detail.

The IRS encouraged all eligible homebuyers to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit but at the same time cautioned taxpayers to avoid schemes that help ineligible people file false claims for the credit. Currently, the agency is investigating a number of cases of potential fraud and is using computer screening tools to identify questionable claims for the credit.
Because the credit is only in effect for a limited time, those considering buying a home must act soon to qualify for the credit. Under the Recovery Act, an eligible home purchase must be completed before Dec. 1, 2009. This means that the last day to close on a home is Nov. 30.
The credit cannot be claimed until after the purchase is completed. For purchases made this year before Dec. 1, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on their 2008 returns or waiting until next year and claiming it on their 2009 returns.

For those considering a home purchase this fall, here are some other details about the first-time homebuyer credit:

The credit is 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $8,000 for either a single taxpayer or a married couple filing jointly. The limit is $4,000 for a married person filing a separate return. In most cases, the full credit will be available for homes costing $80,000 or more.

The credit reduces the taxpayer’s tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar. Unlike most tax credits, the first-time homebuyer credit is fully refundable. This means that the credit will be paid to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.
Only the purchase of a main home located in the United States qualifies. Vacation homes and rental properties are not eligible.

A home constructed by the taxpayer only qualifies for the credit if the taxpayer occupies it before Dec. 1, 2009.

The credit is reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. The credit is phased out based on the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). MAGI is adjusted gross income plus various amounts excluded from income—for example, certain foreign income. For a married couple filing a joint return, the phase-out range is $150,000 to $170,000. For other taxpayers, the range is $75,000 to $95,000. This means the full credit is available for married couples filing a joint return whose MAGI is $150,000 or less and for other taxpayers whose MAGI is $75,000 or less.

The credit must be repaid if, within three years of purchase, the home ceases to be the taxpayer’s main home. For example, a taxpayer who claims the credit based on a qualifying purchase on Sept. 1, 2009, must repay the full credit if he or she sells the home or converts it to business or rental use at any time before Sept. 1, 2012.

Taxpayers cannot take the credit even if they buy a main home before Dec. 1 if:
The taxpayer’s income is too large. This means joint filers with MAGI of $170,000 and above and other taxpayers with MAGI of $95,000 and above.

The taxpayer buys a home from a close relative. This includes a home purchased from the taxpayer’s spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild.

The taxpayer owned another main home at any time during the three years prior to the date of purchase. For a married couple filing a joint return, this requirement applies to both spouses.

For example, if the taxpayer bought a home on Sept. 1, 2009, the taxpayer cannot take the credit for that home if he or she owned, or had an ownership interest in, another main home at any time from Sept. 2, 2006, through Sept. 1, 2009.

The taxpayer is a nonresident alien.

For details on claiming the credit, see Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit.

Wondering About Recovery Act Tax Benefits? Here is Some Information

WASHINGTON — As part of a larger effort to increase the awareness and use of tax benefits available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the Internal Revenue Service announced the availability of a vast array of products that help explain several tax benefits currently available to American Families.

With time running out to qualify for some of the Recovery benefits, the IRS has unveiled new YouTube videos, radio public service announcements (PSAs) and multi-lingual informational flyers that provide basic information for taxpayers. The items are available on IRS.gov for partner groups, the media, web sites and other organizations whose audience could benefit from the new tax changes.

These products are in addition to earlier IRS efforts on YouTube (www.youtube.com/irsvideos) and iTunes to increase public awareness about the tax credits. The IRS.gov official web site also contains links and complete information about ARRA at www.irs.gov/recovery. The PSAs are in English and Spanish in either 30-second or 60-second formats. The flyers and posters are in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese.

Topics covered include:
The first-time homebuyer credit which provides a maximum $8,000 tax credit to people who meet eligibility requirements and complete the purchase of their homes before December 1;

The American Opportunity Credit expands education tax credits to $2,500 for tuition and a change in 529 plans allows for the purchase of computers for college use;
The energy credit expands to a maximum of $1,500 for certain energy-saving upgrades;
A new deduction for the sales or excises taxes paid on the purchase price of new vehicles;

The Making Work Pay tax credit, which many American workers received in April through reduced tax withholding in their paychecks. The Making Work Pay credit is $400 for single taxpayers and $800 for married taxpayers who meet certain income guidelines. However, some people, such as married spouses, workers with two jobs, pensioners, some Social Security recipients and dependents, should check their tax withholding to ensure they are not having too little withheld.

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