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1. 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.

2. 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.

3. How the government shutdown affects taxpayers and tax practitioners   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
The failure of Congress to agree on a continuing spending resolution on Monday led to the first federal government shutdown since 1995–1996. The shutdown involves a large number of federal government functions, including many affecting taxpayers and tax practitioners. As this item was posted, it was not clear how long the shutdown would continue.

4. 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.

5. Proposed PFP services standards available for public comment   WebExclusive

BY Chris Baysden
The AICPA released an exposure draft of a Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services on Tuesday as part of an initiative that’s expected to help boost the profile of CPA personal financial planning (PFP) practitioners. The proposal outlines members’ responsibilities in PFP engagements. These responsibilities include: General professional responsibilities; Responsibilities of members in PFP engagements; Planning the PFP engagement; Obtaining and analyzing information; Developing and communicating recommendations; Monitoring and updating engagements; Working with other service providers; and Using advice provided by other service providers

6. IRS gives details of operations on furlough dates   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
To help taxpayers plan for the upcoming furlough dates on which the IRS will be closed (see “IRS Decides to Shut Down Completely on Furlough Dates”), the IRS issued a news release detailing how the shutdown days, the first of which is May 24, will affect operations (IR-2013-51).

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Tax cliff averted   CPEDirect

BY Paul Bonner and Alistair M. Nevius
Pulling back from the “fiscal cliff” at the 13th hour, Congress on New Year’s Day preserved most of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and extended many other lapsed tax provisions. The new law brings a multitude of changes affecting both 2012 returns and, for the new year, tax planning, withholding, and estimated tax payments, prompting many considerations for CPAs and their clients concerning implementation of the new measures.
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