Tax planning

2015 inflation-adjusted items and tax tables issued

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

QDROs demand the attention of CPAs

Expertise in qualified domestic relations orders and dividing retirement benefits in divorce can be a valuable accounting and tax specialty.

Electing to aggregate rental activities: Better late than never

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

One-IRA-rollover-a-year rule will be effective in 2015, IRS says

Following up on its promise earlier in the year to follow the Tax Court’s holding that the limit of one rollover per year applies on an aggregate basis and not on an IRA-by-IRA basis, the IRS withdrew a proposed regulation from 1981, Prop. Regs. Sec. 1.408-4(b)(4)(ii), which had provided otherwise

The lure of a Sec. 475 election

A mark-to-market election can be very beneficial for securities or commodities traders. Here’s how to determine who qualifies for the election and who should make it.

IRS issues 2015 inflation adjustments for HSAs

The IRS issued the calendar year 2015 inflation-adjusted figures for the annual contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and the minimum deductible amounts and maximum out-of-pocket expense amounts for high-deductible health plans (Rev. Proc. 2014-30). Individuals who participate in a health plan with a high deductible are permitted a

Avoiding the squeeze: Trusts, estates, and the new ATRA tax regime

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 raised the top income tax rate to 39.6%, and a new 3.8% tax on net investment income also applies beginning in 2013. Both taxes apply to trusts and estates with income in excess of $11,950 in 2013, in contrast to much higher thresholds for individuals. This new tax regime necessitates drafting wills and trusts to give executors and trustees maximum discretion so they can reduce these taxes.

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

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.

Before you sign: Natural gas lease tax issues

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

How the government shutdown affects taxpayers and tax practitioners

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

Applying business provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act

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

PFP Q&A: Planning for change

With the Baby Boomer generation hitting retirement age, personal financial planning has become an increasingly important service for many accounting firms. But practitioners are dealing with plenty of changes, including the implementation of new tax laws and the landmark rollout of new standards. The JofA assembled a team of industry

Proposed PFP services standards available for public comment

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

IRS gives details of operations on furlough dates

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). The other

Conservation easement tax donation update

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. Careful

Tax considerations when dividing property in divorce

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

Making a “backdoor” Roth IRA contribution

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

Grouping passive activities

One technique for converting otherwise passive activities to nonpassive is grouping them and treating them collectively as a single activity, thereby combining the participation hours and improving a taxpayer’s ability to achieve the necessary hours for material participation. Regs. Sec. 1.469-4 provides general rules and limitations for grouping activities and

Tax cliff averted

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,

Simplified home-office deduction safe harbor announced

On Tuesday, the IRS released Rev. Proc. 2013-13, which gives taxpayers an optional safe-harbor method to calculate the amount of the deduction for expenses for business use of a residence during the tax year under Sec. 280A, beginning with the current tax year. Individual taxpayers who elect this method can

SPONSORED REPORT

Building client loyalty with payroll services

In this report, CPA experts detail their tactics for performing successful payroll services, how to mitigate risk in the process, and the impact payroll can have as a value-added service.

PODCAST

Using drones to enhance audits

Hermann Sidhu, CPA, global assurance digital leader at EY, walks us through EY’s exciting new project to use drones to help audit large warehouses and outdoor inventories.