Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

After a five week recess, lawmakers returned to work in September and took up several tax bills. While some tax bills moved out of committee, their ultimate passage by both the House and Senate before year-end is unclear. Congress has only a finite number of days in which to complete work on a number of tax bills including the tax extenders, possible reforms to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and energy legislation.

The approach of year-end 2015 makes it tax planning season. Tax law developments in 2015 can affect, for example, the deduction of costs and expenses, the treatment of contributions to tax-favored accounts, and the inclusion of certain benefits in income. Traditional year-end planning techniques for investments and retirement are also important. Small businesses also have some tools for year-end tax planning. Although it may seem early to contemplate year-end planning, the remaining weeks of 2015 will pass quickly and taxpayers need to be proactive.

Foreign travel expenses may be subject to allocation if the taxpayer engages in personal activities while traveling on business. A portion of the foreign travel expenses may be nondeductible if the individual engages in substantial nonbusiness activity. The allocation rules apply where the individual engages in substantial nonbusiness activity at, near, or beyond the business destination; or, when the personal destination is en route to and from the business destination.

Gross income is taxed to the person who earns it by performing services, or who owns the property that generates the income. Under the assignment of income doctrine, a taxpayer cannot avoid tax liability by assigning a right to income to someone else. The doctrine is invoked, for example, for assignments to creditors, family members, charities, and controlled entities. Thus, the income is taxable to the person who earned it, even if the person assigns the income to another and never personally receives the income. The doctrine can apply to both individuals and corporations.

In two recent cases, whistleblowers have had success before the Tax Court. In one case, Tax Court granted motions to compel production of documents filed by three whistleblowers—individuals who informed the government about a tax evasion scheme—whose reward claims the IRS had denied. In another case, the Tax Court found that the whistleblower statute does not require that a whistleblower first bring his or her information to the IRS Whistleblower Office to be eligible for an award.

As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of October 2015.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a business entity created under state law. Every state and the District of Columbia have LLC statutes that govern the formation and operation of LLCs.

Often, timing is everything or so the adage goes. From medicine to sports and cooking, timing can make all the difference in the outcome. What about with taxes? What are your chances of being audited? Does timing play a factor in raising or decreasing your risk of being audited by the IRS? For example, does the time when you file your income tax return affect the IRS's decision to audit you? Some individuals think filing early will decrease their risk of an audit, while others file at the very-last minute, believing this will reduce their chance of being audited. And some taxpayers don't think timing matters at all.

President Obama unveiled his fiscal year (FY) 2012 federal budget recommendations in February, proposing to increase taxes on higher-income individuals, repeal some business tax preferences, reform international taxation, and make a host of other changes to the nation's tax laws. The president's FY 2012 budget touches almost every taxpayer in what it proposes, and in some cases, what is left out.

On December 17, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Relief Act). This sweeping new tax law includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, including extension of the current, lower individual tax rates and capital gains/dividend tax rates. The new tax law - the largest in over ten years - also includes a temporary estate tax compromise, as well as the extension of many popular individual and business tax incentives, an alternative minimum tax (AMT) "patch" for 2010 and 2011, 100 percent bonus depreciation for businesses, and more. The much-anticipated legislation provides tax relief to taxpayers across-the-board. Here is a review of the 2010 Tax Relief Act's major provisions:

Congress not only extended the current, lower individual income tax rates through 2012 in the recently enacted Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Relief Act); it also extended a number of beneficial tax breaks for families and individuals. Through 2012, the law extended significant tax incentives for education, children, and energy-saving home improvements.

In 2011, millions of employees will receive a significant boost in their take-home pay as a result of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Relief Act) enacted December 17. In addition to maintaining the current lower individual income tax rates, the 2010 Tax Relief Act reduces the employee's share of the OASDI portion of Social Security two percentage points, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, for wages earned during the 2011 calendar year, up to the taxable wage base of $106,800. Many workers can expect to see an average tax savings of more than $1,000 as a result of this payroll tax cut. Moreover, the payroll tax reduction is available to all wage earners irrespective of income level, with no phaseout. In effect, individuals earning at or above the OASDI cap of $106,800 will receive $2,136 in tax savings in 2011.

Like the Internet itself, the correct deductibility of a business's website development costs is still in its formative stages. What is fairly clear, however, is that it is highly unlikely that any single tax treatment will apply to all of the costs incurred in designing an internet site because the process encompasses many different types of expenses.

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