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Archive for William Byrnes

New Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Rules

New Foreign Earned Income Rules

The bona fide residence test and physical presence test generally provide specific time requirements that apply to individuals claiming a tax exclusion for foreign-earned income. An otherwise qualified individual may still exclude foreign earned income for the period in which the individual was actually present in the foreign country even if the individual fails to meet the time requirements.

What are the bona fide residence and physical presence tests that can allow a U.S. individual to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion?

A U.S. individual with foreign earned income must satisfy either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test in order to be eligible to exclude all or a portion of foreign earned income from U.S. income (see Q 964).

Editor’s Note: The IRS relaxed these requirements for 2020 in response to travel restrictions put in place in response to COVID-19. An otherwise qualified individual may still exclude foreign earned income for the period in which the individual was actually present in the foreign country even if the individual fails to meet the time requirements. To qualify for relief, an individual must establish (1) he or she must have established residency, or have been physically present in either: China on or before December 1, 2019, or any other foreign country on or before February 1, 2020 and (2) the individual must have departed either: China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) between December 1, 2019, and July 15, 2020, or any other foreign country between February 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020 and (3) individual would have met the requirements of either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, but for the COVID-19 emergency.[1]
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Home Office Deductions: What Can You Deduct From Home Office Expenses

Home Office Deductions: What Can You Deduct From Home Office Expenses

Home Office Deductions in the Age of Covid-19

With so many taxpayers working from home–some indefinitely–do to Covid-19, many are likely wondering whether they can deduct their home office expenses. In short, traditional W-2 employees cannot deduct their home office expenses regardless of whether they would otherwise qualify for the deduction. The 2017 tax reform legislation eliminated this deduction for 2018-2025. Self-employed taxpayers can deduct expenses associated with maintaining a home office if the office is used regularly and exclusively as the taxpayer’s principal place of business (if the office is within the dwelling unit). A home office deduction is permitted for self-employed taxpayers with separate structures if the office/workspace is used “in connection with” the trade or business. For more information on the home office deduction, visit Tax Facts Online.

When is a taxpayer entitled to deduct expenses incurred in maintaining a home office?

A taxpayer is only entitled to deduct expenses for a home office if the taxpayer is able to meet the restrictive requirements imposed by the IRC and the courts with regard to this business deduction. A deduction for use of a part of the taxpayer’s residence as an office will not be allowed unless a portion of the dwelling is used exclusively and on a regular basis as (a) the principal place of business for any trade or business of the taxpayer; or (b) the place of business used by the taxpayer for meeting patients, clients or customers in the normal course of the taxpayer’s business.1 If the taxpayer uses a separate structure as a home office, the use requirements are less restrictive and the use must only be “in connection with” the taxpayer’s trade or business.2 A home office will qualify as a taxpayer’s principal place of business if both of the following are true:

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Assets Of A Foreign Individual (Nonresident Alien) Subject To U.S. Estate Tax

Assets Of A Foreign Individual (Nonresident Alien) Subject To U.S. Estate Tax

Unlike a U.S. citizen, who is subject to estate taxation on worldwide assets, the gross estate of a nonresident alien (meaning, a foreign individual who is not a U.S. citizen or resident alien) only includes property that is situated in the U.S. at the time of the nonresident alien’s death.1

For purposes of determining what property is situated in the U.S., any property which the decedent has transferred, by trust or otherwise, which would be taxable within the provisions of IRC Sections 2035 through 2038 (relating to termination of certain property interests within three years of death, transfers with a retained life estate or to take effect at death, and revocable transfers), is deemed situated in the United States if it was so situated either at the time of the transfer or at the time of death.2

For a decedent who was a nonresident alien at the time of death, property is considered located in the U.S. if it falls into any of the following categories:

(1)Real property located in the U.S.;

(2)Tangible personal property located in the U.S., including clothing, jewelry, automobiles, furniture or currency. Works of art imported into the U.S. solely for public exhibition purposes are not included;

(3)A debt obligation of a citizen or resident of the U.S., a domestic partnership or corporation or other entity, any domestic estate or trust, the U.S., a state or a political subdivision of a state or the District of Columbia; or

(4)Shares of stock issued by domestic corporations, regardless of the physical location of stock certificates.3

However, in the case of a nonresident alien who dies while in transit through the U.S., personal effects are not considered located in the U.S. Neither is merchandise that happens to be in transit through the U.S. when a nonresident alien owner dies.

Read More At Tax Facts

New Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Rules

New Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Rules

The bona fide residence test and physical presence test generally provide specific time requirements that apply to individuals claiming a tax exclusion for foreign-earned income. An otherwise qualified individual may still exclude foreign earned income for the period in which the individual was actually present in the foreign country even if the individual fails to meet the time requirements.

What are the bona fide residence and physical presence tests that can allow a U.S. individual to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion?

A U.S. individual with foreign earned income must satisfy either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test in order to be eligible to exclude all or a portion of foreign earned income from U.S. income (see Q 964).
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Reimbursing Employees For Home Business Expenses Now Required In Some States

Reimburse Employee's Home Expenses

Some employers are now permitting employees to work from home–while others are requiring it. In some jurisdictions (California and Illinois, for example) employers are required to reimburse employees for employment expenses. This may create the need for employers to reimburse employees for the cost of maintaining a home office. Further, the FLSA does not permit an employer to require an employee to pay for business expenses if doing so would reduce the employee’s earnings to below the minimum wage.

How does an employer’s reimbursement or failure to reimburse an employee’s expenses impact a taxpayer’s business expense deductions?

The tax treatment of an employee’s business expenses depends on whether the employee is reimbursed for them by the employer. The IRC provides that expenses paid or incurred by the taxpayer, in connection with the performance of services as an employee, under a reimbursement or other expense allowance arrangement with the employer are deductible in full from gross income, to arrive at adjusted gross income, so long as the expenses otherwise qualify as business expense deductions.1 Generally, this deduction will be available only to the extent that the reimbursement is includable in the employee’s gross income.2
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Treasury Guidance On Payment Protection Loans

Treasury Guidance On Payment Protection Loans

This week we have new Treasury Guidance on the PPP loan forgiveness requirements. This guidance seems to be primarily aimed at the issue of the “necessity” of the loan, which continues to be somewhat murky. We also have updates on business expense reimbursement, which is an issue that has become more important with employees working from home and changing the pattern of their business expenditures.

New PPP Guidance

The Treasury has updated its guidance related to the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness requirements. The Treasury now notes that most companies with adequate sources of alternative liquidity are likely not eligible for the program. In order to qualify for the loans, PPP borrowers are now required to provide a good faith certification stating that current economic conditions and uncertainty make the loan necessary to support ongoing operations. PPP borrowers who find they cannot make the certification in good faith are permitted to return the funds. For more information on the PPP loan rules, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Required Business Expense Reimbursement

Required Business Expense Reimbursement

Some employers are now permitting employees to work from home–while others are requiring it. In some jurisdictions (California and Illinois, for example) employers are required to reimburse employees for employment expenses. This may create the need for employers to reimburse employees for the cost of maintaining a home office.

Further, the FLSA does not permit an employer to require an employee to pay for business expenses if doing so would reduce the employee’s earnings to below the minimum wage. For more information on the impact of reimbursing business expenses, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness: The Devil Is In The Details

WILLIAM BYRNES

The devil is in the details, but where exactly? This week we are starting to see how the broad changes in the recent spate of COVID-19 legislation will be administered. We have new notices on loan forgiveness procedures (did you get your PPP loan yet?).

The Finer Points of PPP Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness offers powerful assistance to those small businesses who were actually able to receive Paycheck Protection Program loan funds. However, loan forgiveness is not without its costs. While amounts forgiven will not be included in income under the usual cancellation of indebtedness rules, business owners may not be entitled to their typical business deductions either. Notice 2020-32 clarifies that otherwise allowable deductions are disallowed if the payment of the expense (1) results in loan forgiveness under the PPP loan program and (2) the income associated with the loan forgiveness is excluded from income under CARES Act Section 1106(i).

What are the tax consequences of loan forgiveness under the paycheck protection loan program?
Under normal circumstances, when a loan or debt is forgiven, the income is included in the debtor’s income under cancellation of debt principles. Paycheck protection loans, however, are excluded from these generally applicable rules—meaning that amounts forgiven are not included in the recipient’s income when forgiven.
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CARES Act Permits Penalty-Free Payroll Tax Deferral For Employers

William Byrnes

The CARES Act allows both employers and independent contractors to defer payment of employer payroll taxes without penalty. Importantly, employers with fewer than 500 employees are entitled to withhold payroll taxes as an advance repayment of the tax credit for paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave under the FFCRA. Under the CARES Act payroll tax deferral, employers are permitted to defer the employer portion of the payroll tax on wages paid through December 31, 2020 for up to two years. Payroll taxes are generally due in two installments under CARES: 50% by December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% by December 31, 2022. Economic hardship is presumed, meaning the employer does not have to produce documentation establishing that COVID-19 impacted the business. Payroll tax deferral options apparently apply to all employers, regardless of size. However, employers who have loans forgiven under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Loan program are not eligible for the deferral. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

William Byrnes

CARES Act Bonus Depreciation Fix: Amended Returns For Partnerships

CARES Act Bonus Depreciation Fix: Amended Returns For Partnerships

The CARES Act provided retroactive relief to partnerships on multiple fronts, including by fixing the so-called “retail glitch” to allow businesses to take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation on qualified improvement property through 2022. Existing law may have prevented partnerships from filing amended Forms 1065 and Schedules K-1. Instead, partnerships would have been required to file an administrative adjustment request, so that partners would not have received relief until filing returns for the current tax year. Revenue Procedure 2020-23 allows partnerships to file amended returns and issue revised Schedules K-1 for 2018 and 2019 to take advantage of retroactive CARES Act relief (and, absent further guidance, even if they are not taking advantage of CARES Act relief). For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Special Notice – IRS Just Issued Notice Denying Deductions for PPP Loan Forgiveness And It’s Dead Wrong

IRS Notice Denying Deductions For PPP Loan Forgiveness

The IRS released on April 30th Notice 2020-32 wherein the IRS interprets general tax law principles to deny business deductions (under Internal Revenue Code Section 162) for the wage and related expenses when the business takes advantage of the SBA’s PPP loan forgiveness.

The IRS Notice is a wrong interpretation of how CARES Section 1106 (see below) and by implication, Internal Revenue Code Section 108 (discharge of indebtedness), works, as well as how Congress intends CARES to work. Congress clearly intends CARES’ SBA loan proceeds to ameliorate Covid-19s damage to small business’ earnings (and thus mitigate the Covid-19 economic recession) by pushing cash flow into, and through, small business.
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CARES Act: Penalty-Free Payroll Tax Deferral For Employers

Payroll Tax Deferral

The CARES Act allows both employers and independent contractors to defer payment of employer payroll taxes without penalty. Importantly, employers with fewer than 500 employees are entitled to withhold payroll taxes as an advance repayment of the tax credit for paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave under the FFCRA. Under the CARES Act payroll tax deferral, employers are permitted to defer the employer portion of the payroll tax on wages paid through December 31, 2020 for up to two years. Payroll taxes are generally due in two installments under CARES: 50 percent by December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50 percent by December 31, 2022. Economic hardship is presumed, meaning the employer does not have to produce documentation establishing that COVID-19 impacted the business. Payroll tax deferral options apparently apply to all employers, regardless of size. However, employers who have loans forgiven under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Loan program are not eligible for the deferral. For more information, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

William Byrnes