After failed attempts in the past, the Internal Revenue Service has engaged the services of four private-sector collection agencies. As most people are aware, there are numerous tax-related scams in today’s world. If you are contacted by someone who states they are attempting to collect a tax debt for the IRS, you need to know what to expect and how to determine if the individual is legitimate. Read more
Archive for John Stancil
The United States Tax Court recently made a ruling that drew some fine lines about what constitutes a de minimis fringe benefit for employees. The IRS had sued the Boston Bruins Hockey Team, contending that meals served to players and others while attending away games was subject to the 50 percent limitation on the cost of meals provided to employees. It should be noted that this is a working-condition benefit and not taxable to the employees. The Bruins countered the IRS, stating that these meals met the qualifications of a de minimis benefit and were therefore fully deductible. The Tax Court sided with the Bruins, stating that the benefit was fully deductible. Read more
A benefit frequently offered to employees is discounts on products or services that the company sells. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all benefits provided to an employee are taxable, unless they are specifically excluded from income or defers tax on the benefit.
One example of deferring tax on the benefit would be employer contributions to a pension plan for the employee. This is not subject to income tax at the time received, but is taxed then the employee begins making withdrawals from the plan upon retirement.
The Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number (PTIN) was originated by the IRS in 1999 as a measure to protect the Social Security number identity of tax preparers. At that time, the IRS stated that preparers could use their SSN or apply for the free PTIN. The PTIN was apparently permanent, as it did not need to be renewed. And this was the status quo for 12 years. Read more
Having survived tax season for one more year, I was struck by how complex our tax code really is. I’ve been preparing taxes for over 40 years, yet I ran into several provisions that I had not previously encountered. I am fully aware that there is much wrong with the code, that there are some major overhauls needed. In the midst of all this complexity, it struck me that there are provisions in the code which are not big deals, but are head scratchers. Why are these things in the code? Eliminating them can go a long way toward helping the middle-class taxpayer.
When an organization wishes to become a tax-exempt organization eligible to accept tax deductible contributions from donors it is not sufficient that it be a non-profit organization. That, however, is the first step. Before the organization can be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization, it must file organization papers with the state as a non-profit corporation.
So you get all your tax information together early and go to your preparer so you can file your tax return early and get the refund quickly. Not so fast. Certain refunds will be delayed and will not be released by the IRS until February 15. This is due to a provision in the PATH Act, enacted by Congress in 2015, prohibiting the IRS from releasing certain refunds prior to February 15. This provision takes effect this year. Note that the 15th is the release date, so it will take a few more days for you to receive the refund.
When one has rental real estate, the sale of that property can have significant tax ramifications. Some of these are good, while others can create significant tax liabilities.
First, the good news. If there were losses that could not be deducted due to the passive activity rules, these losses may be deducted on Schedule E in the year of sale, assuming the property is sold in a taxable transaction.
A minister who wishes to be exempt from social security/Medicare tax must file a Form 4361 with the IRS for approval. Before your application can be approved, the IRS must verify that you are aware of the grounds for exemption and that you want the exemption on that basis.
I recently received a mailing from an American automobile company regarding the Section 179 deduction. The letter expressed some urgency to purchase a vehicle before the end of the year to get a large Section 179 deduction. While this is true, the letter left me with the impression that I needed to take action before December 31, 2016, or the deduction would be lost. What they stated was true. However, it is what was left unstated that concerns me.
The IRS has extended the due date for ACA related statements 1095-B and 1095-C to be given to individuals. IRS Notice 2016-70 extends the due date for these forms from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. Note that the due date to provide these forms to the IRS has not changed, that date remains February 28, 2017.
PTIN stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number. This was originated by the IRS in 1999 to protect the identity of professional tax return preparers. Prior to that time, preparers were required to list their social security number on the prepared return. This, obviously, was a good move that preparers readily accepted as it helped protect their identity. It was simple. You applied for the PTIN, paid no fee, and it was presumably good for life.