Category Archives: AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
[Stacie says: You don’t need to be a tax professional to learn how to take advantage of the tax laws. The IRS offers free online classes to help taxpayers and professionals to learn more. Why not sign up? In fact, if you are a college student, here is a way to beef up your resume. It’s free, its convenient, heck – why not?]
WASHINGTON — Experts from the Internal Revenue Service and the tax preparation industry will discuss the many tax credits, deductions and incentives contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for 2009 on the Oct. 6 Internet airing of Tax Talk Today.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contained benefits for:
People purchasing new cars
Energy efficient home upgrades
Parents and students paying for college
The October program for qualifies for one CPE credit for tax professionals. To access the web cast at no charge, viewers can register online at Tax Talk Today.
Panelists include: Virginia M. Tarris, IRS tax law specialist; Amy Stanton, IRS program manager; CPA Gerard H. Schreiber, Jr, partner, Schreiber and Schreiber; and CPA and attorney Donna Rodriguez, managing partner, Donna L. Rodriguez, PLLC. The moderator is Les Witmer.
Tax Talk Today is a free, live, interactive webcast aimed at educating tax professionals on the most contemporary and complex tax issues. Viewers are encouraged to submit questions during the live broadcast. Tax professionals in need of continuing education credits should select Continuing Education at the Web site for more information.
They can view Tax Talk Today with Windows Media Player and Real Player; both are free software that may already be installed on your computer. If not, click the link for Installing System Software to view Internet Broadcast under “How to View.”
Subscribers can view live web casts as well as archived programs; listen to audio podcasts or read show transcripts through Dec. 31, 2009. Subscribers also can order audio and video recordings. A transcript and audio of the July 14 Webcast, “OPR: A Balanced Approach,” is now available.
Beware – 110 Percent Penalty For Anyone Who Continues to Receive COBRA Subsidy After Becoming Eligible For Alternate Coverage.
[Stacie says: This reminder, issued by the IRS is a must read for anyone who has received a COBRA health insurance subsidy due to involuntary termination from a prior job. As indicated below, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided this 65 percent subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums. ]
The IRS Say:
Individuals who have qualified and received the 65 percent subsidy for COBRA health insurance, due to involuntary termination from a prior job, should notify their former employer if they become eligible for other group health coverage.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a subsidy of 65 percent of the COBRA health insurance premium for employees who are involuntarily terminated from September 30, 2008, to December 31, 2009. The subsidy requires only 35 percent of the premium to be paid for COBRA coverage for individuals, and their families, who have involuntarily lost their job and do not have coverage available elsewhere.
The IRS announced the subsidy in a February 26, 2009, information release, IR-2009-15.
If an individual becomes eligible for other group health coverage, they should notify their plan in writing that they are no longer eligible for the COBRA subsidy. The notice that the United States Department of Labor sent to the individual advising them of their right to subsidized COBRA continuation payments includes the form individuals should use to notify the plan that they are eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare.
If an individual continues to receive the subsidy after they are eligible for other group health coverage, such as coverage from a new job or Medicare eligibility, the individual may be subject to the new IRC § 6720C penalty of 110 percent of the subsidy provided after they became eligible for the new coverage.
Taxpayers who fail to notify their plan that they are no longer eligible for the COBRA subsidy may wish to self-report that they are subject to the penalty by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040. In addition, taxpayers will need to notify their plan that they are no longer eligible for the COBRA premium subsidy.
Anyone who suspects that someone may be receiving the subsidy after they become eligible for group coverage or Medicare may report this to the IRS by completing Form 3949-A, Information Referral (PDF).
Did You Purchase a New Car This Year? – Here Are Some Facts about the New Vehicle Sales and Excise Tax Deduction
[Stacie says: Here are some great tips from the IRS if you purchased a new car this year.]
Taxpayers who buy new motor vehicles this year may be entitled to a special tax deduction for the sales or excise taxes on those purchases when they file their 2009 federal tax returns next year. This tax break is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Taxpayers in states that do not have state sales taxes may be entitled to deduct other fees or taxes imposed by the state or local government.
Here are nine important facts the IRS wants you to know about the deduction.
State and local sales and excise taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of each qualifying vehicle are deductible.
Qualified motor vehicles generally include new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles.
To qualify for the deduction, the new cars, light trucks and motorcycles must weigh 8,500 pounds or less. Motor homes are not subject to the weight limit.
Purchases must occur after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010.
Taxpayers who purchase new motor vehicles in states that do not have state sales taxes may be entitled to deduct other fees or taxes assessed on the purchase of those vehicles. Fees or taxes that qualify must be based on the vehicles’ sales price or as a per unit fee. These states include Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
Taxpayers who purchase qualified motor vehicles may claim the deduction when they file their 2009 tax return in 2010.
The deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.
This deduction can be taken regardless of whether the buyers itemize their deductions or choose the standard deduction.Taxpayers who do not itemize will add this additional amount to the standard deduction on their 2009 tax return.
The amount of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
For more information on this and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act visit the official IRS Website at IRS.gov.
Sales Tax Deduction for Vehicle Purchases
YouTube Video: Vehicle Tax Deduction
Audio File for Podcast – ARRA Vehicle Tax Deduction: English Spanish
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Information Center
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people purchasing new cars, those interested in making their homes more energy efficient, and parents and students paying for college.
Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about ARRA tax incentives for individuals:
First-Time Homebuyer Credit Taxpayers who haven’t owned a principal residence during the past three years prior to the purchase date of a home before Dec. 1 of this year may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $8,000 on an original or amended 2008 tax return. They can also wait and claim the credit on their 2009 return.
New Vehicle Purchase Incentive Qualifying taxpayers can deduct the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. The deduction per vehicle is limited to the tax on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of each qualifying vehicle and phases out for taxpayers at higher income levels.
Making Work Pay and Withholding The Making Work Pay Credit lowered employees’ tax withholding rates this year and has already put more money into the pockets of wage earners. Self-employed individuals will have an opportunity to claim this credit when they file their 2009 return. Taxpayers who fall into any of the following groups should review their tax withholding rates to ensure enough tax is currently being withheld: multiple job holders, families in which both spouses work, workers who can be claimed as dependents by other taxpayers, workers without a valid social security number, some social security recipients who work and pensioners. Failure to adjust your withholding in these situations could result in potentially smaller refunds or in limited instances may cause you to owe tax rather than receive a refund next year.
Tax Credit for First Four Years of College The American Opportunity Credit can help parents and students pay part of the cost of the first four years of college. The new credit modifies the existing Hope Credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.
Certain Computer Technology Purchases Allowed for 529 Plans ARRA adds computer technology to the list of college expenses that can be paid for by a qualified tuition program, commonly referred to as a 529 plan. For 2009 and 2010, the law expands the definition of qualified higher education expenses to include expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services.
Energy-Efficient Home Improvements The credit for nonbusiness energy-efficient improvements is increased for homeowners who make qualified improvements to existing homes. Qualifying improvements include the addition of insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems.
For more information on this and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act, visit the official IRS Website at IRS.gov/Recovery.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Information Center
First-Time Homebuyer: English Spanish ASL
Check Your Withholding; Making Work Pay: English ASL
Home Energy Credit: English ASL
Education Credits (Parents): English ASL
General Recovery (ARRA) Message: English Spanish ASL
Taxpayers who purchase computer technology for higher education purposes may be eligible for a special tax break. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 added computer equipment and technology to the list of college expenses that can be paid for by a qualified tuition program, commonly referred to as a 529 plan.
A qualified, nontaxable distribution from a 529 plan during 2009 or 2010 now includes the cost of the purchase of any computer technology, equipment or Internet access and related services. To qualify the beneficiary must use the technology, equipment or services while enrolled at an eligible educational institution.
Here are some things the IRS wants you to know about 529 plans.
A 529 plan is an educational savings plan designed to provide tax-free earnings for the benefit of a student. Withdrawals must be used for qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution.
Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, reasonable costs of room and board, mandatory fees, computer technology, supplies and books.
An eligible educational institution includes any college, university, vocational school or other postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the Department of Education.
Contributions to a 529 plan cannot be more than the amount necessary to provide for a student’s qualified education expenses.
For more information about 529 plans, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education. For more information on other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act, visit the official IRS Website at IRS.gov/Recovery.
Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center
Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education
Fact Sheet 2009-12, How 529 Plans Help Families Save for College; and How the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Expanded 529 Plan Features
529 Plans: Questions and Answers
YouTube Video: English Spanish ASL
Audio file for Podcast
IR-2009-78, Special IRS Web Section Highlights Back-to-School Tax Breaks; Popular 529 Plans Expanded, New $2,500 College Credit Available
WASHINGTON – As part of an effort to highlight the success of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) in revitalizing communities across the country, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released a report providing state-by-state data on Treasury program funding. The report, issued around the 200 day anniversary of the Recovery Act, details funds provided to states, local communities, and families through a variety of programs, including the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, payments for renewable energy production, funds for affordable housing development, and Build America Bonds.
“In 200 days, the Recovery Act has made significant progress in revitalizing our communities and providing the basis for economic growth,” said Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin. “Through innovative programs established by the Recovery Act, the Treasury Department has provided tax relief to millions of families, supported increased development of affordable housing and clean energy projects, and provided new tools for states and communities to fund much needed infrastructure projects.”
Highlights of the impact from Treasury’s Recovery Act programs during the first 200 days include:
· $66.1 billion in estimated tax benefits provided to individuals, families, and businesses through the implementation of various tax provisions. The Making Work Pay credit has been a significant element of these provisions.
· $502 million in payments made to promote renewable energy production throughout the country
· $2.3 billion provided to 37 states to spur the development of affordable housing
· $28.2 billion in Build America Bonds issuances to help 37 states finance a variety of public improvement projects
The report also provides information on the First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit, the $250 one- time stimulus payments, New Markets Tax Credits, Qualified School Construction Bonds, and Recovery Zone Bonds. The comprehensive report is available here. Additional information on Treasury’s Recovery Act programs follows:
Making Work Pay Tax Credit: In 2009 and 2010, the Making Work Pay provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a credit of up to $400 for working individuals and up to $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. The tax credit is calculated at a rate of 6.2 percent of earned income and will phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Recovery Zone Bonds: Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds are one type of taxable Build America Bond that allow state and local governments to obtain lower borrowing costs through a new direct federal payment subsidy, for 45 percent of the interest, to finance a broad range of qualified economic development projects, such as job training and educational programs. Recovery Zone Facility Bonds are a type of traditional tax-exempt private activity bond that may be used by private businesses in designated recovery zones to finance a broad range of depreciable capital projects. Both of these are allocated directly to counties and large municipalities.
Qualified School Construction Bonds: Investors who buy these bonds receive tax credits worth 100 percent of the interest, allowing state and local governments to obtain financing without having to pay any interest. States may directly issue the bonds on behalf of eligible schools or provide school districts with the authority to issue the bonds within the state.
Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds: These bonds are authorized under an expanded tax credit bond program of the Recovery Act of 2009 for states and large local governments based on population data. The bonds are tax credit bonds that provide a federal subsidy for repair and rehabilitation of public schools and related authorized purposes through a federal tax credit to investors intended to cover 70 percent of the interest on the bonds.
Build America Bonds: Under the Build America Bonds program, Treasury makes a direct payment to the state or local governmental issuer in an amount equal to 35 percent of the interest payment on the Build America Bonds. Potential investors include pension funds that traditionally do not hold tax exempt bonds and foreign investors. These investors have been important additions to the market for municipal debt.
One-time $250 Payments: Treasury’s Financial Management Service, in coordination with the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, have issued more than 54 million Economic Recovery payments to beneficiaries totaling more than $13 billion.
Community Development Financial Institutions: The CDFI Fund makes monetary awards (grants, loans and other investments) on a competitive basis to certified CDFIs. A CDFI is a specialized financial institution that works in low-income communities or serves individuals or businesses that lack access to mainstream financial institutions. Among many financial services, CDFIs provide capital to small businesses and micro-enterprises; mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers; financing to support the development of affordable housing projects and community facilities; and retail banking services to the unbanked.
New Markets Tax Credit: With the increased investment authority made available through the Recovery Act, this program incentivizes private-sector capital investment in distressed communities across the country to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and jumpstart the lending necessary for financial stability. The credit provided to the investor totals 39 percent of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a seven-year period.
Affordable Housing Payments: Under this program, state housing agencies that apply receive funds to finance the construction or refurbishment of qualified affordable housing developments. Applicants agree to forgo tax credits down the line in favor of an immediate payment. Through this program, the Treasury Department works with state housing agencies to jump start the development or renovation of qualified affordable housing across the country.
Renewable Energy Payments: The Recovery Act authorized Treasury to make direct payments to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities. Previously, these companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the renewable energy project’s cost. Under the new program, applicants would agree to forgo tax credits down the line in favor of an immediate payment.
First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit: Taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home this year before December 1 have a special option available for claiming the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns or on their 2009 tax returns next year. The maximum credit is $8,000.