National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2016 Annual Report to Congress, recommending that the IRS revamp its “Future State” plan to adopt a taxpayer-centric focus and urging Congress to simplify the tax code. The report presents a series of proposals to improve tax administration, placing particular emphasis on changing the culture of the IRS. Olson explains that “to create an environment that encourages taxpayer trust and confidence, the IRS must change its culture from one that is enforcement-oriented to one that is service-oriented.”
President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law creating an option for small businesses to offer employees a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) that is funded by the employer.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the maximum employees can receive per year through the HRA is $4,950 for individuals who show they have individual coverage or up to $10,000 for workers who also have coverage for family members. The contribution cap will be indexed for inflation.
There were numerous tax initiatives on ballots across the United States this year. One of the major tax initiatives was the legalization of marijuana and its subsequent taxing in eight states during the 2016 November election. Prior to the November elections, there were 26 states and the District of Columbia who legalized the use of marijuana, whether in the form of recreational use or medical use only. Now,California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine have all voted to allow the use of recreational marijuana. (As of now, the margin of victory in Maine is less than 1.5%, which means there will be a recount that does not affect the taxpayers.)
Unless Congress passes legislation to extend them, the following provisions are set to expire on December 31:
The amount for single and marred filing separate is $6,300 ($7,850 if 65 and over or blind), surviving spouse and married filing joint $12,600 plus $1,500 for each spouse 65 and over, or blind, heads of household $9,300 plus $1,250 if 65 and over or blind. For taxpayers claimed as a dependent on another return, it is the greater of (a) $1,050 or (b) $350 plus earned income. The amount can’t exceed the basic standard deduction.
If you will be 50 or older by the end of 2016, you may be able to contribute more money every year to your employer-sponsored retirement plans and your individual retirement arrangements. Contributing more money will help you save more for your retirement and reduce your taxable income if you make pre-tax retirement plan contributions or deductible IRA contributions.
If you’ve ever been picked up by an Uber driver or know someone who’s rented a room through Airbnb, then you are aware of the ‘sharing economy.’
In the past few years, the ‘sharing economy’ has become a targeted focal point for the IRS. Needless to say, they really want their “fair share” of this rapidly growing business segment.
This article discusses debt securities issued by the federal government—treasury securities and savings bonds and non-taxable bonds issued by states and municipalities.
U.S. Treasury Bonds and Notes
Non-inflation adjusted securities. Read More
For several years, the online sales tax debate has been tossed around Capitol Hill, but has gained little traction in Congress. However, two new bills introduced recently add some new fodder for discussion. One bill makes it harder to impose sales tax, while the other makes it much easier. Will either pass?
On August 24, 2016, the House Republican’s released the last part of their six-part vision/plan known as “A Better Way.” That part deals with tax reform. The plan offers some significant changes including moving business taxation to a consumption tax model at low rates (20% for corporations and a maximum of 25% for flow-throughs).
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (hereinafter the “PATH Act”) significantly enhanced the Federal-Level R&D Tax Credit Program (hereinafter “RTC Program”) under I.R.C. § 41 on a myriad of levels for both eligible “Small Businesses” and eligible “Start-Up Companies”. More specifically, the enhanced RTC Program has been considerably restructured for these aforementioned eligible companies to now: