A review of a few recent sales tax advisory opinions, issued by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, reminds us of the complexities of sales tax exemptions and special definitions of taxed items.
Archive for Annette Nellen
The GAO released a report today called Tax Expenditures: Opportunities Exist to Use Budgeting and Agency Performance Processes to Increase Oversight (GAO-16-622). The report examines the estimated $1.23 trillion annual cost of special tax deductions, exclusions, credits and preferential rates AND how there is basically no oversight of these costs relative to discretionary budget items. Apparently, OMB and federal agencies were to review tax expenditures (there are over 150 of them) to see how they help agency goals. So far, only 11 of 169 expenditures were addressed representing less than one-third of the total cost.
In Information Letter 2016-0036, released June 24, the IRS explains general rules that might apply to someone’s receipts of funds via a crowdfunding platform. It doesn’t mention any websites, but examples include Kickstarter and GoFundMe. The IRS notes the broad rule of Section 61 that receipt of funds is likely to be taxable gross income.
On June 24, 2016, the House Republicans released their tax reform blueprint, the last part of their “Better Way” plan. The plan includes reasons for tax reform and the basics of the plan. There is no legislative language so the details are not all there. But, here are some highlights:
Tax issues for high tech—no doubt this will continue to be a hot area for many years to come. Changes in how we live and do business challenge existing tax rules.
This a key focus for this blog and my research.
A May 2016 GAO report released in May 2016 says a lot just by its title—Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Address Legacy Systems (GAO-16-696T; 5/25/16).
In spring 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, initial guidance on the tax treatment of virtual currency such as Bitcoin, from mining to its general use. The IRS explained convertible virtual currency is to be treated as property.
Well, it’s not a carbon tax war yet as neither side of this issue in Congress seems to have it as their number one issue. A carbon tax aims to increase the cost of using one type of fuel that leads to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. There are other types of GHG emission, but per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbon emissions represent 81% of the total.
Worker classification—whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor—is a longstanding and sometimes difficult issue. There are a few different classification schemes applicable to different types of laws (labor, tax, etc.). Employers tend to favor contractor status when possible to avoid payroll taxes, application of most labor laws (such as overtime), and state laws governing how someone is paid, sick pay, reporting, and more.
The House Small Business Committee held a hearing today (May 24) (part 1 of 2) on “The Sharing Economy: A Taxing Experience or New Entrepreneurs.” Part 2 is scheduled for May 26 with National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson speaking. A focal point of the hearing per the posted testimony was difficulties freelancers face in the sharing economy because they don’t fully understand their tax obligations.
Here is my 15 minute presentation to the San Jose Rotary Club delivered today (May 11) on deciphering campaign tax proposals and helping members increase their tax policy savviness.
Deciphering Campaign Tax Proposals
Presentation delivered to Rotary International San Jose Chapter (District 5170) on May 11, 2016. Read more
In writing a summary of a recent Tax Court summary opinion, I realized that a 2015 law change may cause problems for some students trying to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit (Section 25A), Lifetime Learning Credit (Sec. 25A) or Section 222 above the line tuition deduction starting in 2016. A 2015 law changes requires an individual to have received a Form 1098-T from the university in order to claim the tax benefit. Read more