Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

As 2015 winds down, another temporary extension of the tax extenders appears almost certain. Despite talk in early 2015 about finding a permanent solution to the on-again, off-again extenders, the arrival of November brings a short window for Congress to extend these tax breaks. The expected late passage of these popular tax breaks also adds uncertainty to year-end tax planning as well as possibly causing a delay to the start of the 2016 filing season.

Small businesses received some welcomed news in October with passage of the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act. The new law revises the definition of small employer for purposes of market reforms under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The PACE Act is intended to help protect small businesses from potential health care premium increases. At the same time, many small businesses wait for expected relief from potential penalties for stand-alone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) deemed not to comply with the ACA.

After acknowledging earlier this year that hackers breached one of its popular online apps, the IRS has promised more identity theft protections in the 2016 filing season. The IRS, along with partners in the tax preparation community, has identified and tested more than 20 new data elements on returns to help detect and prevent identity-theft related filings. The agency is also working to prevent criminals from accessing tax-time financial products.

As the calendar approaches the end of 2015, it is helpful to think about ways to shift income and deductions into the following year. For example, spikes in income from selling investments or other property may push a taxpayer into a higher income tax bracket for 2015, including a top bracket of 39.6 percent for ordinary income and short-term capital gains, and a top bracket of 20 percent for dividends and long-term capital gains. Adjusted gross incomes that exceed the threshold for the net investment income (NII) tax can also trigger increased tax liability. Accordingly, traditional year-end techniques to defer income or to accelerate deductions can be useful.

For a business to start writing off the cost of depreciable equipment and property, it is necessary that the equipment be placed in service. To write off costs in 2015, the equipment must be placed in service by December 31, 2015. The "placed-in-service" requirement applies, for example, for taking depreciation, especially first-year bonus depreciation, under Code Sec. 168, expensing of the cost of property under Code Sec. 179, and other write-offs such as the investment tax credit under Code Sec. 46.

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 November 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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