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Archive for Tax Provision/Tax Reporting

National Football League Is Giving Up Its Tax-Exempt Status

With all the distractions of deflated footballs, player misconduct and the safety of the game, the NFL is volunteering to give up its tax-exempt status.

The NFL As A Non-profit Entity

The National Football League (“NFL”) which you figure makes millions in revenue every year is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt entity and does not pay income taxes as any for-profit-company would.

Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption from  tax entities which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. Read more

Deducting Medical and Dental Expenses

It is very important that you keep adequate records of all your medical and dental expenses incurred, because if you incurred substantial expenses, you may be entitled to claim a deduction on your tax return. You can deduct medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, and all your dependents on your tax return. It is very important to note, however, that you can deduct these expenses only to the extent that they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. (For taxpayers 65 and older, up to tax year 2016, they can deduct expenses that exceed 7.5% of their income).

Deductible medical expenses include the following:

• Doctors, dentists, and other medical practitioners’ fees. Read more

Innocent Spouse Relief

Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of the benefits to be derived from this filing status. On a joint return, both taxpayers are jointly and individually responsible for the tax and any interest or penalty due on the return, even if they later divorce. This is true even if a divorce decree should state that your former spouse will be solely responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.

The situation can exist, then, where one spouse could be held responsible for all the tax due, even if all the income was earned by the other spouse. In cases like this, the IRS, in the interest of equity may allow a spouse in such a situation to be relieved of tax, interest, and penalties that are due on the joint tax return. Read more

New Developments (As of December 23, 2014)

Recently, there have been several important IRS and court opinions affecting various areas of taxation.

A. Distribution of benefits to estate beneficiaries.

An executor was aware that the estate would owe significant taxes but instead of distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, he had the estate distribute money to himself and other heirs. As a result, the estate did not have enough funds to pay the taxes. The IRS put a lien against other property owned by the executor. The executor appealed the IRS decision to a Pennsylvania District court. The court upheld the IRS decision stating that the executor is personally liable for depleting the assets of the estate [Stiles, D.C., PA]. Read more

Two Weeks To Benefit from the Recently Passed Tax Extenders Bill!

This past Friday, December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR 5771) which passed the the Senate on December 16th, 2014, that retroactively extended certain tax incentives which had expired on December 31, 2013 for one year.

Individual Tax Extenders:

– Research and experimentation credit;
– 50% first-year bonus depreciation;
– Increased expensing limits ($500,000/$2 million) for section 179 property;
– 15-year depreciation life for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant Read more

Over 50 Provisions Retroactively Extended On 12/19/14

On December 31, 2013, 57 provisions in the federal tax law expired. Many had expired before and been renewed. While there was discussion in the congressional tax committees since at least April 2014, as well as votes, no consensus was reached until early December. The House passed the bill – H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, on December 3 by 378-46. On December 16, the Senate passed it by a vote of 76-16. On December 19, President Obama signed the bill. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the cost of H.R. 5771 for one year as about $81 billion, but only $42 billion for ten years (because some of the items, such as bonus depreciation involved timing of deductions).

The extension means, for example, that if a business purchased new equipment in the first 50 weeks of 2014 not expecting to be able to claim 50% bonus depreciation on it (because Read more

The House Passes Tax-Extenders Bill

On December 3, 2014, the House passed “The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2014” (TIPRA) by a vote of 378 to 46. This bill includes a temporary one-year extension of many favorable tax provisions and a laundry list of technical corrections, including extension of:

• The education deduction for teachers;

• Exclusion from taxable income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness;

• Mortgage insurance premiums treated as a mortgage interest deduction; Read more

Church Exemption From Filing Form 990 Challenged

Churches are exempt from having to file Form 990 with the IRS. This exemption has been in place since the early 1940’s when Form 990 was adopted, and non-profit organizations were required to file the form with the IRS. This was brought about by a concern that tax-exempt organizations were using their status to engage in unfair competition with for-profit businesses. Churches have held to be exempt, as to do so would violate the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed suit in a federal district court in Wisconsin, alleging that it was required to file a “detailed application” (Form 1023) and pay a fee before obtaining tax exempt status, and has also been required to file “detailed, intrusive and expensive annual reports” (Form 990) in order to maintain that status. Read more

Why The Ministerial Housing Allowance Might Not Survive

On September 7, as was discussed in “Appeals Court Upholds Clergy Housing Exemption,” the Seventh Circuit of appeals reversed a Federal District Court decision that ruled the minister’s housing allowance was unconstitutional. The suit had been brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. So the housing allowance survives, for now.

The Appeals Court ruling was actually based on the fact that the plaintiffs, Dan Barker and Laurie Anne Gaylor (co-presidents of FFRF) did not have standing to sue as they had not been denied the benefit of a housing allowance. In ruling that the plaintiffs did not have standing, the court did not actually address the issue of the constitutionality of the housing allowance. Read more

The Election, 114th Congress And Fate of Tax Reform

What does the change in majority party in the Senate for the 114th Congress mean for tax reform, and perhaps for any tax legislation?

An op ed in the Wall Street Journal on November 5, 2014 by Congressman Boehner and Senator McConnell, states that the Republican controlled Congress will address many challenges including “The insanely complex tax code that is driving American jobs overseas.”

What might that mean? A few possibilities:

Nothing. Complexity is not a bi-partisan issue. There is no contrary argument to the statement that our federal tax law is too complex. So, why hasn’t the complexity been Read more

Appeals Court Upholds Clergy Housing Exemption

The 7th U S Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that challenged the constitutionality of the clergy housing allowance. The suit was originally brought in the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin where Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the tax break for ministers was unconstitutional. Her basis for the ruling was that the law benefited religious people and no one else. The decision, which would potentially eliminate the most important tax break for ministers, was stayed pending appeal.

The law allows ministers of the gospel to exclude income tax on amounts designated by the church as housing allowance. Self-employment taxes are payable on these amounts. In addition, ministers may “double dip,” as they are allowed to deduct mortgage interest Read more

Minister’s Housing Allowance Subject of Court Battles

The housing allowance is a significant tax benefit for a minister. It can result in thousands of dollars in tax savings annually. The law currently allows a minister to occupy a church-owned parsonage without paying income tax on the value of the accommodations. Alternatively, the church may designate an amount to be paid to the minister as housing allowance. This amount, when used for housing costs, is not subject to income tax. Both a parsonage and a housing allowance are subject to self-employment taxes.

Only One Home Subject to Housing Allowance

Several court cases have recently been brought, seeking to limit or abolish this tax benefit for ministers.

Read more

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