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1. 2015 inflation-adjusted items and tax tables issued   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS issued the annual inflation adjustments for 2015 for more than 40 tax provisions as well as the 2015 tax rate tables for individuals and estates and trusts (Rev. Proc. 2014-61).Among the inflation-adjusted amounts that have increased are the personal exemption, which increases from $3,950 in 2014 to $4,000 for 2015, and the standard deduction, which for married taxpayers filing joint returns increases from $12,400 in 2014 to $12,600 in 2015.

2. QDROs demand the attention of CPAs   CPEDirect

BY Ray A. Knight, CPA/PFS, J.D., and Lee G. Knight, Ph.D.
A key issue in separation, divorce, and other domestic relations proceedings is whether and how to divide a participant’s interest in a retirement plan. This is a recurrent issue in divorce proceedings, because more than 90 million workers in the United States actively participated in private employer-sponsored retirement plans as of 2011 (Department of Labor, Private Pension Plan Bulletin, June 2013, available at tinyurl.com/muvj2pr).

3. Electing to aggregate rental activities: Better late than never  

BY Bradley D. Kay, J.D., LL.M.
Taxpayers that own several rental properties have to make many decisions when it comes to reporting income or loss from those properties. Among them is whether it would be more beneficial for the income or loss to be characterized as active rather than passive. If the taxpayer wants active characterization applied to income (e.g., to reduce or eliminate liability for the new Sec.

4. The lure of a Sec. 475 election   CPEDirect

BY Jay A. Soled, J.D., Mary B. Goldhirsch, J.D. and Kristie N. Tierney
Prudence is in order any time a taxpayer considers an election under the Internal Revenue Code. When it comes to Sec. 475, this axiom is especially relevant. Sec. 475 permits mark-to-market accounting for eligible taxpayers, which is a substantial deviation from the Code’s traditional standard of income recognition only when it is realized.

5. Before you sign: Natural gas lease tax issues  

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The practice of extracting natural gas from shale through hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is becoming more widespread throughout the country. It is essential for practitioners to understand the tax issues that could arise for clients who own property with shale gas deposits. From 2001 to 2011, Americans signed more than a million leases to allow energy producers to drill for natural gas on their land.

6. Act before the deadline: Exclusion of 100% of QSBS gain  

BY Laura Jean Kreissl, Ph.D., and Darlene Pulliam, CPA, Ph.D.
Taxpayers have a short window in which to act if they want to take advantage of the Sec. 1202 provision that allows exclusion of 100% of the gain realized on the sale or exchange of qualified small business stock (QSBS). Unless the law is amended, for QSBS acquired after Dec.

7. Applying business provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act   CPEDirect

BY Laughlin Cutler, Esq., Douglas M. Sayuk, CPA and Camille Shoff
While the comprehensive corporate tax reform desired by the business community remains highly elusive, businesses did receive a number of concessions via the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), P.L. 112-240, which was signed into law Jan. 2, 2013. The act extends through 2013 an assortment of expired or expiring temporary business tax credits and other provisions, thus providing a narrow window for tax planning.

8. Conservation easement tax donation update  

BY Karl L. Fava, CPA
The deductibility of a charitable donation for a conservation easement or restriction on a real property interest is provided for under Sec. 170(h). Even with almost 13 pages of regulations (Regs. Sec. 1.170A-14), this provision is not straightforward, as evidenced by the number of taxpayers challenged by the IRS.

9. Tax considerations when dividing property in divorce   CPEDirect

BY Ray A. Knight, CPA, J.D. and Lee G. Knight, Ph.D.
The emotional aspects of a divorce often interfere with planning for the efficient distribution of the marital estate. The shock and ill feelings may create a barrier between spouses that prevents even discussing issues. Tax practitioners need to know how to explain to a divorcing client the tax realities, to avoid any post-divorce tax surprises.

10. Making a “backdoor” Roth IRA contribution   CPEDirect

BY Kim T. Mollberg, CPA, CGMA, CMA, MBT
Sec. 408(d)(1) ordinarily requires a pro rata allocation between taxable and nontaxable amounts (using the Sec. 72 annuity rules) when reporting distributions received from an individual retirement plan (an individual retirement account or annuity (IRA)). The practical effect is that a taxpayer must recover any nontaxable amount (basis) ratably as distributions are received, by tracking basis on Form 8606, Nondeductible IRAs.
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