Who remembers when the IRS mailed a packet with blank tax forms and instructions AND your Social Security number printed on your mailing label? Several years ago the IRS reduced mailings such as when they could tell the taxpayer prepared their return with software the year before and for the past few years don’t mail forms. They do still print them to pick up at IRS service locations. All of the forms, instructions and publications can be read or printed from the IRS website. Read more
Archive for Annette Nellen
While we are unlikely to see tax reform this year, there continues to be a lot of work going on in the tax committees on it. And President Obama updated and released his framework for business tax reform this month (first report was released in Sept. 2012). I think the main impetus for the update was to address inversions to tie to the recent activities of IRS and Treasury. Read more
You likely already heard that the due date for your 2015 return is not April 15 (today), but April 18. This is due to a tax rule (IRC section 7503) that says if the required date for an act is Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, then the action is to take place on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. April 16 is Emancipation Day in DC (see Read more
Transparency as a principle of good tax policy means taxpayers should understand taxes and how they apply to them. Despite lots of data on a filer’s Form 1040, the one number people focus on is the amount due or refund. Clearly the better number is total federal income tax liability. And better yet, people should also Read more
In 2015, over 15 federal laws were enacted, making over 150 changes to the federal tax laws! Many of these bills did not have the word tax in their title because the main purpose was appropriations or trade or the Highway Trust Fund. The tax changes include many administrative changes such as on due Read more
For the past few weeks, the IRS has been publishing Health Care Tax Tips. The one I received by email today was troubling because it includes an error or at least not enough detail to be entirely useful. Today’s (3/23/16), HCTT 2016-25 – Understanding the Terms Affordable Coverage and Minimum Value, is directed to people interested in the employer mandate. This mandate applies to “applicable large employers” (ALE) meaning employers who had 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees in the prior year. An ALE has to offer coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees and their dependents up to age 26 to avoid version (a) of the penalty at IRC Section 4980H. To avoid version (b) of the penalty, that coverage has to be affordable and minimum value.
Many states exempt food from sales tax (see list from Federation of Tax Administrators). The rationale is that food is a necessity of life so should not be taxed. But this is a flawed rationale because many food items are not necessities of life, such as:
Soda Read more
In a recent “tax tip,” the IRS pushed out on the 1095 forms, anitem for Form 1095-C issued by “applicable large employers” to their full-time employees, caught my attention (again). One of the ways the IRS tells a recipient of Form 1095-C to use it follows: Read more
I think it is correct to say that all taxpayers are affected by the Affordable Care Act in some way. Certainly individuals living in the US. All must answer a question on the 1040 as to whether everyone in the “shared responsibility family” (basically those listed on the return), had health coverage for all months of the year. If there are any uncovered months, the next step is to see if an exemption applies for that month. If no exemption for any month, a penalty is computed and reported on the 1040. Read more
On 1/28/16, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on – Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement: Increasing Access, Participation and Coverage in Retirement Savings Plans. This isn’t the first time for this topic. There were a few hearings on this in 2014. I’m not sure if anything is driving the renewed attention to this topic now. While tax reform is challenging in an election year, this important topic seems good for any year. There is a need for reform of the tax rules for retirement plans to make them more equitable and simple to help more people save for retirement. Read more
There were numerous public laws enacted in 2015 changing our federal tax system. The largest in terms of number of change (over 130) is Public Law 114-113 (12/18/15). See basics and links in my 1/10/16 post. That’s a lot of changes. There are a variety of effective dates including many that are retroactively effecting back to 1/1/15. Did we need all of these changes? I don’t think so. Or at least not all at once.
I want to note a few cautions based on what I’ve learned from reading this and thinking about it for the past several weeks. I’ve been covering many of these updates in update presentations I’ve been making for the past few weeks.
This is not all of the cautions. Please comment to this post if you have more to offer. Read more