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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.
By Stacie Kitts, CPA
Earlier this year the IRS announced an extension for filing Highway Use Tax Returns. Originally due on August 31, truckers now have until November 30 to file their return. Just in case you forgot, here is another reminder.
Because the highway use tax is currently scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2011, this extension is designed to alleviate any confusion and possible multiple filings that could result if Congress reinstates or modifies the tax after that date. Under temporary and proposed regulations filed today in the Federal Register, the Nov. 30 filing deadline for Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, for the tax period that begins on July 1, 2011, applies to vehicles used during July, as well as those first used during August or September. Returns should not be filed and payments should not be made prior to Nov. 1.
To aid truckers applying for state vehicle registration on or before Nov. 30, the new regulations require states to accept as proof of payment the stamped Schedule 1 of the Form 2290 issued by the IRS for the prior tax year, ending on June 30, 2011. Under federal law, state governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal highway use tax as a condition of vehicle registration. Normally, after a taxpayer files the return and pays the tax, the Schedule 1 is stamped by the IRS and returned to filers for this purpose. A state normally may accept a prior year’s stamped Schedule 1 as a substitute proof of payment only through Sept. 30.
For those acquiring and registering a new or used vehicle during the July-to-November period, the new regulations require a state to register the vehicle, without proof that the highway use tax was paid, if the person registering the vehicle presents a copy of the bill of sale or similar document showing that the owner purchased the vehicle within the previous 150 days.
In general, the highway use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more. Ordinarily, vans, pick-ups and panel trucks are not taxable because they fall below the 55,000-pound threshold.
For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are, under normal circumstances, due on Aug. 31. The tax of up to $550 per vehicle is based on weight, and a variety of special rules apply to vehicles with minimal road use, logging or agricultural vehicles, vehicles transferred during the year and those first used on the road after July.
Last year, the IRS received about 650,000 Forms 2290 and highway use tax payments totaling $886 million.
IRS Presents:Ten Things Tax-Exempt Organizations Need to Know About the Oct. 15 Due Date (This is a how to on keeping your exempt status)
Stacie says: This tax tip is some particularly good information from the IRS for tax exempt organizations to help them keep their exempt status. The time period to fix your delinquent Form 990 filings for years 2007, 2008 or 2009 will expire on October 15. That’s just a few more days. You are encouraged to take advantage and keep your tax exempt status.
A crucial filing deadline of Oct. 15 is looming for many tax-exempt organizations that are required by law to file their Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service or risk having their federal tax-exempt status revoked. Nonprofit organizations that are at risk can preserve their status by filing returns by Oct. 15, 2010, under a one-time relief program.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations must file an annual return or submit an electronic notice, with the IRS and it also requires that any tax-exempt organization that fails to file for three consecutive years automatically loses its federal tax-exempt status.
Here are 10 facts to help nonprofit organizations maintain their tax-exempt status.
- Small nonprofit organizations at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they failed to file required returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 can preserve their status by filing returns by Oct. 15, 2010.
- Among the organizations that could lose their tax-exempt status are local sports associations and community support groups, volunteer fire and ambulance associations and their auxiliaries, social clubs, educational societies, veterans groups, church-affiliated groups, groups designed to assist those with special needs and a variety of others.
- A list of the organizations that were at-risk as of the end of July is posted at IRS.gov along with instructions on how to comply with the new law.
- Two types of relief are available for small exempt organizations — a filing extension for the smallest organizations required to file Form 990-N, Electronic Notice and a voluntary compliance program for small organizations eligible to file Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.
- Small tax-exempt organizations with annual receipts of $25,000 or less can file an electronic notice Form 990-N also known as the e-Postcard. To file the e-Postcard go to the IRS website and supply the eight information items called for on the form.
- Under the voluntary compliance program, tax-exempt organizations eligible to file Form 990-EZ must file their delinquent annual information returns by Oct. 15 and pay a compliance fee.
- The relief is not available to larger organizations required to file the Form 990 or to private foundations that file the Form 990-PF.
- Organizations that have not filed the required information return by the extended Oct. 15 due date will have their tax-exempt status revoked.
- If an organization loses its exemption, it will have to reapply with the IRS to regain its tax-exempt status and any income received between the revocation date and renewed exemption may be taxable.
- Donors who contribute to at-risk organizations are protected until the final revocation list is published by the IRS.
Small Tax-Exempt Orgs Revised Deadline: English
Time Is Running Out – Three Deadlines: English
- October 15 Deadline Looming for Nonprofits at Risk of Losing Their Tax-Exempt Status (prweb.com)
- IRS seeking tax returns from small nonprofits (knoxnews.com)
- Thousands of Mass. Nonprofits Risk Losing Tax-Exempt Status (thenon-profittoolbox.com)
- Tax-Exempt Status: Help the IRS Help You (thenon-profittoolbox.com)
- As a small nonprofit — did you file your Form 990? (chicagonow.com)
- O’Donnell Non-Profit May Lose Tax-Exempt Status For Failing To File Proper Tax Forms (alan.com)
- Keeping Your Exempt Status (thenon-profittoolbox.com)
- Tax Exempt Interest and your 2006 Form 1009-INT (turbotax.intuit.com)
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued regulations outlining the administration of a 10-percent excise tax on indoor tanning services that goes into effect on July 1.
The regulations were published today in the Federal Register.
In general, providers of indoor tanning services will collect the tax at the time the purchaser pays for the tanning services. The provider then pays over these amounts to the government, quarterly, along with IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.
The tax does not apply to phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional on his or her premises. The regulations also provide an exception for certain physical fitness facilities that offer tanning as an incidental service to members without a separately identifiable fee.
The IRS and Treasury Department invite comments.
Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-112841-10), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, PO Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044.
Submissions may be hand-delivered to: CC:PA:LPD:PR Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-112841-10), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW; Washington, DC,
Submissions may be sent electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (REG-112841-10).
Audio File for Podcast: Don’t Throw Away Your Tax Exempt Status
Stacie says: “Don’t risk your tax-exempt status by not filing your information form.”
WASHINGTON — A crucial filing deadline of May 17 is looming for many tax-exempt organizations that are required by law to file their Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service or risk having their federal tax-exempt status revoked.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that all non-profit organizations, other than churches and church related organizations, must file an information form with the IRS. This requirement has been in effect since the beginning of 2007, which made 2009 the third consecutive year under the new law. Any organization that fails to file for three consecutive years automatically loses its federal tax-exempt status.
Form 990-series information returns are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s fiscal year ends. Many organizations use the calendar year as their fiscal year, which makes May 15 the deadline for those tax-exempt organizations. May 15 falls on a Saturday this year so the deadline this year is actually Monday, May 17. Organizations can request an extension of their filing date by filing Form 8868 by the original due date.
Absent a request for extension, there is no grace period from filing by the original due date.
Small tax-exempt organizations with annual receipts of $25,000 or less can file an electronic notice Form 990-N (e-Postcard). This asks for a few basic pieces of information. Tax-exempts with annual receipts above $25,000 must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ, depending on their annual receipts. Private foundations file form 990-PF.
Any tax-exempt organization that has not filed the required form in the last three years automatically will lose its tax exempt status effective as of the due date of the annual filing. Under the law, the IRS does not have discretion in this matter.
A list of revoked organizations will be available to the public on IRS.gov.
If an organization loses its exemption, it will have to reapply with the IRS to regain its tax-exempt status. Any income received between the revocation date and renewed exemption may be taxable.
For more information, see the Exempt Organizations: Status Revoked for not Filing Annual Returns or Notices page on this website; or the ABC’s for Exempt Organizations page.
Every year, millions of taxpayers donate money to charitable organizations. The IRS has put together the following list of six things you should know about the tax treatment of tax-exempt organizations.
- Annual returns are made available to the public. Exempt organizations generally must make their annual returns available for public inspection. This also includes the organization’s application for exemption. In addition, an organization exempt under 501(c)(3) must make available any Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. These documents must be made available to any individual who requests them, and must be made available immediately when the request is made in person. If the request is made in writing, an organization has 30 days to provide a copy of the information, unless it makes the information widely available.
- Donor lists generally are not public information. The list of donors filed with Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, is specifically excluded from the information required to be made available for public inspection by the exempt organization. There is an exception, private foundations and political organizations must make their donor list available to the public.
- How to find tax-exempt organizations. The easiest way to find out whether an organization is qualified to receive deductible contributions is to ask them. You can ask to see an organization’s exemption letter, which states the Code section that describes the organization and whether contributions made to the organization are deductible. You can also search for organizations qualified to accept deductible contributions in IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations and its Addendum, available at IRS.gov. Taxpayers can also confirm an organization’s status by calling the IRS at 877-829-5500.
- Which organizations may accept charitable contributions. Not all exempt organizations are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions include most charities described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and, in some circumstances, fraternal organizations described in section 501(c)(8) or section 501(c)(10), cemetery companies described in section 501(c)(13), volunteer fire departments described in section 501(c)(4), and veterans organizations described in section 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(19).
- Requirement for organizations not able to accept deductible contributions. If an exempt organization is ineligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, it must disclose that fact when soliciting contributions.
- How to report inappropriate activities by an exempt organization. If you believe that the activities or operations of a tax-exempt organization are inconsistent with its tax-exempt status, you may file a complaint with the Exempt Organizations Examination Division by completing Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form. The complaint should contain all relevant facts concerning the alleged violation of tax law. Form 13909 is available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
The Alternative Minimum Tax attempts to ensure that anyone who benefits from certain tax advantages pays at least a minimum amount of tax.
Here are seven facts the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know about the AMT and changes to this special tax for 2009.
1. Tax laws provide tax benefits for certain kinds of income and allow special deductions and credits for certain expenses. These benefits can drastically reduce some taxpayers’ tax obligations. Congress created the AMT in 1969, targeting taxpayers who could claim so many deductions they owed little or no income tax.
2. Because the AMT is not indexed for inflation, a growing number of middle-income taxpayers are discovering they are subject to the AMT.
3. You may have to pay the AMT if your taxable income for regular tax purposes plus any adjustments and preference items that apply to you are more than the AMT exemption amount.
4. The AMT exemption amounts are set by law for each filing status.
5. For tax year 2009, Congress raised the AMT exemption amounts to the following levels:
- $70,950 for a married couple filing a joint return and qualifying widows and widowers;
- $46,700 for singles and heads of household;
- $35,475 for a married person filing separately.
6. The minimum AMT exemption amount for a child whose unearned income is taxed at the parents’ tax rate has increased to $6,700 for 2009.
7. If you claim a regular tax deduction on your 2009 tax return for any state or local sales or excise tax on the purchase of a new motor vehicle, that tax is also allowed as a deduction for the AMT.
Taxpayers can find more information about the Alternative Minimum Tax and how it impacts them by accessing IRS Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax —Individuals, and its instructions at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).