Tag Archives: Income Tax

Medicare B Premiums for 2022

The base Medicare Part B monthly premium for 2022 increases to $170.10/month (from $148.50/month for 2021).

The higher premiums some taxpayers have to pay for 2022 vary depending on the taxpayers’ modified AGI (MAGI) as shown on their 2020 income tax returns. The various MAGI levels increased a small amount with the exception of the maximum MAGI levels which stayed the same (except for MFS where the maximum MAGI level actually went down). The exact costs and modified AGI levels can be found at medicare.gov by clicking on the “Your Medicare Costs” tab and then on “Part B Costs”. The top of the page shows the premiums for 2021 and the bottom of the page shows the premiums for 2022.

The highest Medicare Part B premium for 2022 is $578.30/month (up from $504.90/month for 2021) and applies to:

– Individuals with modified AGI of $500,000 or more.

– Married Filing Jointly taxpayers with modified AGI of $750,000 or more.

– Married Filing Separately taxpayers with modified AGI of $409,000 or more ($412,000 for 2021).

Reporting for Cryptocurrency Transactions

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) was signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021. The IIJA includes IRS information reporting requirements that will require cryptocurrency exchanges to perform intermediary Form 1099 reporting for cryptocurrency transactions. Generally, these rules will apply to digital asset transactions starting in 2023.

As you are aware, if you have a stock brokerage account, then whenever you sell stock or other securities you receive a Form 1099-B at the end of the year. Your broker uses that form to report details of transactions such as sale proceeds, relevant dates, your tax basis for the sale, and the character of gains or losses. Furthermore, if you transfer stock from one broker to another broker, then the old broker is required to furnish a statement with relevant information, such as tax basis, to the new broker.

The IIJA expands the definition of brokers who must furnish Forms 1099-B to include businesses that are responsible for regularly providing any service accomplishing transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person (“Crypto Exchanges”). Any platform on which you can buy and sell cryptocurrency will be required to report digital asset transactions to you and the IRS at the end of each year.

Occasionally you may have a transfer transaction that is not a sale or exchange. For example, if you transfer cryptocurrency from your wallet at one Crypto Exchange to your wallet at another Crypto Exchange, the transaction is not a sale or exchange. For that type of transfer, as with stock, the old Crypto Exchange will be required to furnish relevant digital asset information to the new Crypto Exchange. Additionally, if the transfer is to an account maintained by a party that is not a Crypto Exchange (or broker), the IIJA requires the old Crypto Exchange to file a return with the IRS. It is anticipated that such return will include generally the same information that is furnished in a broker-to-broker transfer.

For the reporting requirements, a “digital asset” is any digital representation of value which is recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger or any similar technology. Furthermore, the IRS can modify this definition. As it stands, the definition will capture most cryptocurrencies as well as potentially include some non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are using blockchain technology for one-of-a-kind assets like digital artwork.

You may be aware that when a business receives $10,000 or more in cash in a transaction, that business is required to report the transaction, including the identity of the person from whom the cash was received, to the IRS on Form 8300. The IIJA will require businesses to treat digital assets like cash for purposes of this reporting requirement.

These digital asset reporting rules will apply to information reporting that is due after December 31, 2023. For Form 1099-B reporting, this means that applicable transactions occurring after January 1, 2023 will be reported. Whether the IRS will refine the Form 1099-B for digital asset nuances, or come up with an entirely new form, is yet to be seen. Form 8300 reporting of cash transactions will presumably follow the same effective dates.

If you use a Crypto Exchange, and it has not already collected a Form W-9 from you (seeking your taxpayer identification number), expect it to do so. The transactions subject to the reporting will include not only selling cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies (like U.S. dollars), but also exchanging cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies. A reporting intermediary does not always have perfect information, especially when it comes to an entirely new type of reporting. Thus, the first information reporting cycle for digital assets may be a bit unsettling.

I am here to help you and can provide solutions for any challenges that may develop.

If you have questions or concerns about the digital asset reporting rules, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Year End Individual Tax Update

With the year-end approaching, it is time to start thinking about strategies that may help lower your tax bill for not only 2021 but 2022 as well.

Planning is more challenging than usual this year due to the uncertainty surrounding pending legislation that could, among other things, increase top rates on both ordinary income and capital gain starting in 2022.

Whether or not tax increases become effective next year, the standard year-end approach of deferring income and accelerating deductions to minimize taxes will continue to produce the best results for all but the highest income taxpayers, as will the bunching of deductible expenses into this year or next to avoid restrictions and maximize deductions.

If proposed tax increases do pass, however, the highest income taxpayers may find that the opposite strategies produce better results. Pulling income into 2021 to be taxed at currently lower rates, and deferring deductible expenses until 2022, when they can be taken to offset what would be higher-taxed income. This will require careful evaluation of all relevant factors.

Our firm has compiled a list of actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all of them will apply to you, but you, or a family member, may benefit from many of them. We can narrow down specific actions when we meet to review your particular tax situation.

Please review the following list and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can advise you on which tax-saving moves might be beneficial:

  • Higher-income individuals must be wary of the 3.8% surtax on certain unearned income. The surtax is 3.8% of the lesser of: (1) net investment income (NII), or (2) the excess of MAGI over a threshold amount, $250,000 for joint filers or surviving spouses, $125,000 for a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 in any other case. • As year-end nears, the approach taken to minimize or eliminate the 3.8% surtax will depend on the taxpayer’s estimated MAGI and NII for the year. Some taxpayers should consider ways to minimize additional NII for the balance of the year, others should try to reduce MAGI other than NII, and some individuals will need to consider ways to minimize both NII and other types of MAGI. An important exception is that NII does not include distributions from IRAs or most other retirement plans.
  • Pending legislative changes to the 3.8% net investment income tax NIIT proposed to be effective after this tax year would subject high income, phased-in starting at $500,000 on a joint return; $400,000 for most others, S shareholders, limited partners, and LLC members to NIIT on their pass-through income and gain that is not subject to payroll tax. Accelerating some of this type of income into 2021 could help avoid NIIT on it under the potential 2022 rules, but would also increase 2021 MAGI, potentially exposing other 2021 investment income to the tax.
  • The 0.9% additional Medicare tax also may require higher-income earners to take year-end action. It applies to individuals whose employment wages and self-employment income total more than an amount equal to the NIIT thresholds, above. Employers must withhold the additional Medicare tax from wages in excess of $200,000 regardless of filing status or other income. Self-employed persons must take it into account in figuring estimated tax. There could be situations where an employee may need to have more withheld toward the end of the year to cover the tax. This would be the case, for example, if an employee earns less than $200,000 from multiple employers but more than that amount in total. Such an employee would owe the additional Medicare tax, but nothing would have been withheld by any employer.
  • Long-term capital gain from sales of assets held for over one year is taxed at 0%, 15% or 20%, depending on the taxpayer’s taxable income. If you hold long-term appreciated-in-value assets, consider selling enough of them to generate long-term capital gains that can be sheltered by the 0% rate. The 0% rate generally applies to net long-term capital gain to the extent that, when added to regular taxable income, it is not more than the maximum zero rate amount, $80,800 for a married couple; estimated to be $83,350 in 2022. An example: If $5,000 of long-term capital gains you took earlier this year qualifies for the zero rate then try not to sell assets yielding a capital loss before year-end, because the first $5,000 of those losses will offset $5,000 of capital gain that is already tax-free.
  • Postpone income until 2022 and accelerate deductions into 2021 if doing so will enable you to claim larger deductions, credits, and other tax breaks for 2021 that are phased out over varying levels of AGI. These include deductible IRA contributions, child tax credits, higher education tax credits, and deductions for student loan interest. Postponing income also is desirable for taxpayers who anticipate being in a lower tax bracket next year due to changed financial circumstances. In some cases, it may benefit some taxpayers to actually accelerate income into 2021. An example: A person who will have a more favorable filing status this year than next such as head of household versus individual filing status, or who expects to be in a higher tax bracket next year.
  • If you believe a Roth IRA is better for you than a traditional IRA, consider converting traditional-IRA money invested in stocks and mutual funds that have devalued into a Roth IRA in 2021 if eligible to do so. Keep in mind that the conversion will increase your income for 2021, possibly reducing tax breaks subject to phaseout at higher AGI levels. This may be desirable, however, for those potentially subject to higher tax rates under pending legislation.
  • It may be advantageous to try to arrange with your employer to defer, until early 2022, a bonus that may be coming your way. This might cut as well as defer your tax. Again, considerations may be different for the highest income individuals.
  • Many taxpayers will not want to itemize because of the high basic standard deduction amounts that apply for 2021,$25,100 for joint filers, $12,550 for singles and for marrieds filing separately, $18,800 for heads of household, and because many itemized deductions have been reduced or eliminated, including the $10,000 limit on state and local taxes; miscellaneous itemized deductions; and non-disaster related personal casualty losses. You can still itemize medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your AGI, state and local taxes up to $10,000, your charitable contributions, plus mortgage interest deductions on a restricted amount of debt, but these deductions will not save taxes unless they total more than your standard deduction. In addition to the standard deduction, you can claim a $300 deduction , $600 on a joint return, for cash charitable contributions.

Some taxpayers may be able to work around these deduction restrictions by applying a bunching strategy to pull or push discretionary medical expenses and charitable contributions into the year where they will do some tax good. An example: a taxpayer who will be able to itemize deductions this year but not next will benefit by making two years’ worth of charitable contributions this year. The COVID-related increase for 2021 in the income-based charitable deduction limit for cash contributions from 60% to 100% of MAGI assists in this bunching strategy.

  • Consider using a credit card to pay deductible expenses before the end of the year. Doing so will increase your 2021 deductions even if you do not pay your credit card bill until after the end of the year.
  • If you expect to owe state and local income taxes when you file your return next year and you will be itemizing in 2021, consider asking your employer to increase withholding of state and local taxes or make estimated tax payments of state and local taxes before year-end to pull the deduction of those taxes into 2021. But this strategy is not good to the extent it causes your 2021 state and local tax payments to exceed $10,000.
  • Required minimum distributions RMDs from an IRA or 401(k) plan or other employer-sponsored retirement plan have not been waived for 2021, as they were for 2020. If you were 72 or older in 2020 you must take an RMD during 2021. Those who turn 72 this year have until April 1 of 2022 to take their first RMD but may want to take it by the end of 2021 to avoid having to double up on RMDs next year.
  • If you are age 70½ or older by the end of 2021, and especially if you are unable to itemize your deductions, consider making 2021 charitable donations via qualified charitable distributions from your traditional IRAs. These distributions are made directly to charities from your IRAs, and the amount of the contribution is neither included in your gross income nor deductible on Schedule A, Form 1040. However, if you are still entitled to claim the entire standard deduction. The qualified charitable distribution amount is reduced by any deductible contributions to an IRA made for any year in which you were age 70½ or older, unless it reduced a previous qualified charitable distribution exclusion.
  • Take an eligible rollover distribution from a qualified retirement plan before the end of 2021 if you are facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax and increasing your wage withholding won’t sufficiently address the problem. Income tax will be withheld from the distribution and will be applied toward the taxes owed for 2021. You can then timely roll over the gross amount of the distribution, the net amount you received plus the amount of withheld tax, to a traditional IRA. No part of the distribution will be includible in income for 2021, but the withheld tax will be applied pro rata over the full 2021 tax year to reduce previous underpayments of estimated tax.
  • Consider increasing the amount you set aside for next year in your employer’s FSA if you set aside too little for this year and anticipate similar medical costs next year.
  • If you become eligible in December of 2021 to make HSA contributions, you can make a full year’s worth of deductible HSA contributions for 2021.
  • Make gifts sheltered by the annual gift tax exclusion before the end of the year if doing so may save gift and estate taxes. The exclusion applies to gifts of up to $15,000 made in 2021 to each of an unlimited number of individuals. You cannot carry over unused exclusions to another year. These transfers may save family income taxes where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets who are not subject to the kiddie tax.
  • If you were in federally declared disaster area, and you suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, keep in mind you can choose to claim them either on the return for the year the loss occurred or on the return for the prior year, generating a quicker refund. If you were in a federally declared disaster area, you may want to settle an insurance or damage claim in 2021 to maximize your casualty loss deduction this year.

These are just some of the year-end steps that can be taken to save taxes.

If you received an Economic Impact Payment in 2021 or received  Advanced Child Tax Credit Payments, these amounts will be required to be reconciled on your 2021 Federal Income Tax Return.

With holidays rapidly approaching, we wish each of you safe travels and wonderful times with friends and family.

We are here to serve you and look forward to your call.

Year End Business Update

With year-end approaching, it is time to think about moves that may help lower your business’s taxes for 2021 and 2022.

2021 is more challenging than usual due to the uncertainty surrounding pending legislation that could increase corporate tax rates plus the top rates on both business owners’ ordinary income and capital gain starting in 2022.

Whether or not tax increases become effective next year, the standard year-end approach of deferring income and accelerating deductions to minimize taxes will continue to produce the best results for most small businesses, as will the bunching of deductible expenses into this year or next to maximize their tax value. If proposed tax increases do pass, however, the highest income businesses and owners may find that the opposite strategies produce better results: Pulling income into 2021 to be taxed at currently lower rates, and deferring deductible expenses until 2022, when they can be taken to offset what would be higher-taxed income. This will require careful evaluation of all relevant factors.

We have compiled a list of actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all of them will apply to you or your business, but you may benefit from many of them. We can determine specific actions when we meet to tailor a particular plan for your business, In the meantime, please review the following list and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can advise you on which tax-saving moves might be beneficial:

  • Taxpayers other than corporations may be entitled to a deduction of up to 20% of their qualified business income. For 2021, if taxable income exceeds $329,800 for a married couple filing jointly, about half that for others, the deduction may be limited based on whether the taxpayer is engaged in a service-type trade or business, such as law, accounting, health, or consulting, the amount of W-2 wages paid by the business, and/or the unadjusted basis of qualified property, such as machinery and equipment held by the business. The limitations are phased in; for example, the phase-in applies to joint filers with taxable income up to $100,000 above the threshold, and to other filers with taxable income up to $50,000 above their threshold.
  • Taxpayers may be able to salvage some or all of this deduction, by deferring income or accelerating deductions to keep income under the dollar thresholds, or be subject to a smaller deduction phaseout, for 2021. Depending on their business model, taxpayers also may be able increase the deduction by increasing W-2 wages before year-end. The rules are quite complex.
  • More small businesses are able to use the cash method of accounting rather than the accrual method than were allowed to do so in earlier years. To qualify as a small business a taxpayer must, among other things, satisfy a gross receipts test, which is satisfied for 2021 if, during a three-year testing period, average annual gross receipts don’t exceed $26 million. Next year this dollar amount is estimated to increase to $27 million. Not that many years ago it was $1 million. Cash method taxpayers may find it   easier to shift income, for example, by holding off billings till next year or by accelerating expenses, for example, paying bills early or by making certain prepayments. • Businesses should consider making expenditures that qualify for the liberalized business property expensing option. For tax years beginning in 2021, the expensing limit is $1,050,000, and the investment ceiling limit is $2,620,000. Expensing is generally available for most depreciable property. other than buildings, and off-the-shelf computer software. It is also available for interior improvements to a building. but not for its enlargement, elevators or escalators, or the internal structural framework, for roofs, and for HVAC, fire protection, alarm, and security systems.

The generous dollar ceilings mean that many small and medium sized businesses that make timely purchases will be able to currently deduct most if not all their outlays for machinery and equipment. What’s more, the expensing deduction is not prorated for the time that the asset is in service during the year.  Expensing eligible items acquired and placed in service in the last days of 2021, rather than at the beginning of 2022, can result in a full expensing deduction for 2021.

  • Businesses also can claim a 100% bonus first year depreciation deduction for machinery and equipment bought used, with some exceptions, or new if purchased and placed in service this year, and for qualified improvement property, described above as related to the expensing deduction. The 100% write-off is permitted without any proration based on the length of time that an asset is in service during the tax year. As a result, the 100% bonus first-year write-off is available even if qualifying assets are in service for only a few days in 2021.
  • Businesses may be able to take advantage of the de minimis safe harbor election, also known as the book-tax conformity election, to expense the costs of lower-cost assets and materials and supplies, assuming the costs aren’t required to be capitalized under the UNICAP rules. To qualify for the election, the cost of a unit of property cannot exceed $5,000 if the taxpayer has an applicable financial statement. If there’s no AFS, the cost of a unit of property cannot exceed $2,500. Where the UNICAP rules are not an issue, and where potentially increasing tax rates for 2022 are not a concern, consider purchasing qualifying items before the end of 2021.
  • A corporation, other than a large corporation, that anticipates a small net operating loss (NOL) for 2021 and substantial net income in 2022 may find it worthwhile to accelerate just enough of its 2022 income or to defer just enough of its 2021 deductions to create a small amount of net income for 2021. This allows the corporation to base its 2022 estimated tax installments on the relatively small amount of income shown on its 2021 return, rather than having to pay estimated taxes based on 100% of its much larger 2022 taxable income.
  • Year-end bonuses can be timed for maximum tax effect by both cash- and accrual-basis employers. Cash-basis employers deduct bonuses in the year paid, so they can time the payment for maximum tax effect. Accrual-basis employers deduct bonuses in the accrual year, when all events related to them are established with reasonable certainty. However, the bonus must be paid within 2½ months after the end of the employer’s tax year for the deduction to be allowed in the earlier accrual year. Accrual employers looking to defer deductions to a higher-taxed future year should consider changing their bonus plans before yearend to set the payment date later than the 2.5-month window or change the bonus plan’s terms to make the bonus amount not determinable at year end.
  • To reduce 2021 taxable income, consider deferring a debt-cancellation event until 2022. • Sometimes the disposition of a passive activity can be timed to make best use of its freed-up suspended losses. Where reduction of 2021 income is desired, consider disposing of a passive activity before year-end to take the suspended losses against 2021 income. If possible 2022 top rate increases are a concern, holding off on disposing of the activity until 2022 might save more in future taxes.

In our year- end planning, these are some of the steps that can be taken to save taxes.

Our firm looks forward to your call.

Advance Child Tax Credit

Here’s how a taxpayer’s custody situation may affect their advance child tax credit payments  

COVID Tax Tip 2021-147, October 5, 2021

Parents who share custody of their children should be aware of how the advance child tax credit payments are distributed. It is important to remember that these are advance payments of a tax credit that taxpayers expect to claim on their 2021 tax return. Understanding how the payments work will parents to unenroll, if they choose, and possibly avoid a possible tax bill when they file next year.

Here are some of the most common questions about shared custody and the advance child tax credit payments.

If two parents share custody, how will the IRS decide which one receives the advance child tax credit payments?

Who receives 2021 advance child tax credit payments is based on the information on the taxpayer’s 2020 tax return, or their 2019 return if their 2020 tax return has not been processed. The parent who claimed the child tax credit on their 2020 return will receive the 2021 advance child tax credit payments.

If a parent is receiving 2021 advance child tax credit payments and they shouldn’t be, what should they do?

Parents who will not be eligible to claim the child tax credit when they file their 2021 tax return should go to IRS.gov and unenroll to stop receiving monthly payments. They can do this by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. Receiving monthly payments now could mean they have to return those payments when they file their tax return next year. If their custody situation changes and they are entitled to the child tax credit for 2021, they can claim the full amount when they file their tax return next year.

If parents alternate years claiming their child on their tax return, will the IRS send the 2021 advance child tax credit payments to the parent who claimed the child on their 2020 tax return even though they will not claim them on their 2021 tax return?

Yes. Because the taxpayer claimed their child on their 2020 tax return, the IRS will automatically issue the advance payments to them. When they file their 2021 tax return, they may have to pay back the payments over the amount of the credit they’re entitled to claim. Some taxpayers may be excused from repaying some or all of the excess amount if they qualify for repayment protection. If a taxpayer won’t be claiming the child tax credit on their 2021 return, they should unenroll from receiving monthly payments using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

If one parent is receiving the advance child tax credit payments even though the other parent will be claiming the child tax credit on their 2021 tax return, will the parent claiming the qualifying child still be able to claim the full credit amount?

Yes. Taxpayers will be able to claim the full amount of the child tax credit on their 2021 tax return even if the other parent is receiving the advance child tax credit payments. The parent receiving the payments should unenroll, but their decision will not affect the other parent’s ability to claim the child tax credit.

Summer Activity that May Affect Your Tax Return!

Things people do during the summer that might affect their tax return next year

IRS Tax Tip 2021-102, July 15, 2021

It’s summertime and for many people, summertime means change. Whether it’s a life change or a typical summer event, it could affect incomes taxes. Here are a few summertime activities and tips on how taxpayers should consider them during filing season.

Getting married

Newlyweds should report any name change to the Social Security Administration. They should also report an address change to the United States Postal Service, their employers, and the IRS. This will help make sure they receive documents and other items they will need to file their taxes.

Sending kids to summer day camp

Unlike overnight camps, the cost of summer day camp may count towards the child and dependent care credit.

Working part-time

While summertime and part-time workers may not earn enough to owe federal income tax, they should remember to file a return. They’ll need to file early next year to get a refund for taxes withheld from their checks this year.

Gig economy work

Taxpayers may earn summer income by providing on-demand work, services or goods, often through a digital platform like an app or website. Examples include ride sharing, delivery services and other activities. Those who do are encouraged to visit the Gig Economy Tax Center at IRS.gov to learn more about how participating in the sharing economy can affect their taxes.

Normally, employees receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from their employer to account for the summer’s work. They’ll use this to prepare their tax return. They should receive the W-2 by January 31 next year. Employees will get a W-2 even if they no longer work for the summertime employer.

Summertime workers can avoid higher tax bills and lost benefits if they know their correct status. Employers will determine whether the people who work for them are employees or independent contractors PDF. Independent contractors aren’t subject to withholding, making them responsible for paying their own income taxes plus Social Security and Medicare taxes.

 

Changes to the Child Tax Credit

With the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, there were changes made to the child tax credit that may benefit many taxpayers, most notably:

  • The amount has increased for certain taxpayers
  • The credit is fully refundable
  • The credit may be partially received in monthly payments
  • The qualifying age for children has been raised from 16 to 17

The IRS will pay half the credit in the form of advance monthly payments beginning July 15 and ending Dec. 15. Taxpayers will then claim the other half when they file their 2021 income tax return.

How much will you receive?

The credit for children ages five and younger is up to $3,600 with up to $300 received in monthly payments. The credit for children ages 6 to 17 is up to $3,000 with up to $250 received in monthly payments.

How do you qualify?

The following criteria must be met to quality:

  • A 2019 or 2020 tax return was filed and claimed the child tax credit, or your information was provided to the IRS using the non-filer tool
  • Have a main home in the U.S. for more than half the year or file a joint return with a spouse who has a main home in the U.S. for more than half the year
  • Care for a qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021, and who has a valid Social Security number
  • Have a modified adjusted gross income less than certain limits:
    • $75,000 for single filers
    • $150,000 for married filing jointly filers
    • $112,500 for head of household filers

The credit begins to phase out above those thresholds. Higher-income families (e.g., married filing jointly couples with $400,000 or less in income or other filers with $200,000 or less in income) will generally get the same credit as prior law (generally $2,000 per qualifying child) but may also choose to receive monthly payments.

You won’t need to do anything to receive payments as the IRS will use information on file to start issuing payments.

IRS’s child tax credit update portal

The IRS has a child tax credit and update portal where you can update your information to reflect any recent changes to things like filing status or number of children. You can also opt out of the advance payments and check on payment status in the portal. If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse will need to opt out, otherwise a portion of the payment will still be issued. If you prefer not to opt out online, you can also call the IRS at 1-800-908-4184.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions or need help making decisions based on your specific situation, please contact our office today at 205-663-8686 or cris@essential-solutions.biz.

Thank you for trusting us with your tax preparation and planning needs.

Delayed Tax Refunds

If you’re one of the millions of Americans waiting patiently for your 2020 federal tax refund, I sympathize with you. This tax filing season has been one like never before and I am hearing from many of you wondering why you haven’t received your payment yet. There are several reasons for the delays, but I can assure you that your return was prepared with the utmost care and expertise, and it is likely part of the sizable IRS backlog of returns.

As of June 5, the IRS reported there are more than 18 million 2020 returns in its pipeline to be processed, and a few million others yet to be finalized from 2019. This past year has been extraordinary, the least of which being the COVID public health crisis and widespread unemployment. In addition, a series of stimulus payments from the federal government to help people navigate COVID financial woes was also managed by the IRS, and to ensure all eligible citizens received stimulus money, the IRS told Americans that everyone should file a tax return. Between more returns, unemployment amendments, issuing stimulus money and processing regular returns, the IRS has had its work cut out for it. Like many businesses during the pandemic, the IRS also had obstacles to overcome like switching its workforce from onsite to virtual and operating with a reduced staff.

If you have not received your refund 21 days after filing, it is likely that it is under further review. This happens more frequently when a return includes a recovery rebate credit, suspicion of identity theft or fraud, a claim for an earned income credit or other criteria that will ping a return for a manual review.

If you receive any correspondence from the IRS regarding your return, please contact me with a copy of the letter you received, and I can guide you through that. Unfortunately, due to the delays in processing, some notices are being sent by the IRS despite timely follow-up by you, or myself on your behalf. At this point, I am as powerless as you to speed up the IRS process, so patience is our best option right now.

I will keep you updated with all important news from the IRS that may apply to your situation. Thank you for your trust in me as your tax return professional and I look forward to serving you in the future.

Third IRS Stimulus Payment

Here Is How the Third Economic Impact Payment Is Different From Earlier Payments

The third Economic Impact Payment is different from the first and second payments in several ways.

The third Economic Impact Payment is an advance payment of the 2021 recovery rebate credit.

The two earlier payments are advance payments of the 2020 recovery rebate credit. Eligible people who didn’t get a first and second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts, may be eligible to claim the 2020 recovery rebate credit and must file a 2020 tax return even if they don’t usually file a tax return.

The third Economic Impact Payment will be larger for most eligible people.

Eligible individuals who filed a joint tax return will receive up to $2,800, and all other eligible individuals will receive up to $1,400. Those with qualifying dependents on their tax return will receive up to $1,400 per qualifying dependent.

More people qualify as dependents.

Unlike the first two payments, the third payment is not restricted to children under 17. Eligible families will get a payment for all qualifying dependents claimed on their return. This may include older relatives like college students, adults with disabilities, parents and grandparents.

Income phase-out amounts are different for the third payments.

Taxpayers will not receive a third payment if their Adjusted Gross Income exceeds:

  • $160,000, if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower.
  • $120,000, if filing as head of household.
  • $80,000 for eligible individuals using other filing statuses, such as single filers and married people filing separate returns

This means that some people won’t be eligible for the third payment, even if they received first or second EIPs or are eligible for a 2020 recovery rebate credit.

Some people may be eligible for a Supplemental Payment.

The amount of the third payment is based on the taxpayer’s latest processed tax return from either 2020 or 2019. If the taxpayer’s 2020 return hasn’t been processed, the IRS used 2019 tax return information to calculate the third payment.

If the third payment is based on the 2019 return, and is less than the full amount, the taxpayer may qualify for a supplemental payment. After their 2020 return is processed, the IRS will automatically re-evaluate their eligibility using their 2020 information. If they’re entitled to a larger payment, the IRS will issue a supplemental payment for the additional amount.

Changes to earlier eligibility requirements.

For taxpayers who file jointly and only one individual has a valid SSN, the spouse with a valid SSN will receive up to a $1,400 third payment and up to $1,400 for each qualifying dependent claimed on their 2020 tax return. For taxpayers who don’t have a valid SSN, but have a qualifying dependent who has an SSN, they will only receive up to $1,400 for a qualifying dependent claimed on their return only if they meet all other eligibility and income requirements. If either spouse was an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN for the couple to receive up to $2,800 for themselves, plus up to $1,400 for each qualifying dependent.

If married taxpayers filing jointly did not receive one or both of the first two Economic Impact Payments because one spouse didn’t have a Social Security number valid for employment, they may be eligible to claim a 2020 recovery rebate credit on their 2020 tax return for the spouse with the SSN valid for employment.

Business Changes due to ARPA

The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act has made substantial changes to issues concerning your business.

The following represents items that not only require your attention, but most importantly, your planning for these changes.

They include:

Payroll tax credits. The paid sick leave and family leave credits are extended to apply to wages paid through September 30, 2021 (instead of March 31, 2021).

There are also changes to these credits, including:

  • One major change is that during the two-quarter extension period the credits are applied against the employer Medicare portion of payroll taxes instead of the OASDI (Social Security) portion. The Medicare taxes taken into account are those for all employees, not just employees to whom qualifying leave wages are paid. But the credits continue to be refundable (and, thus, allowed in excess of the Medicare taxes) and advance refundable (they can be applied against any employment taxes, including income tax withholdings, for the quarter in which eligible leave wages are being paid, with any remaining credit refundable at the end of the quarter).
  • An additional major change is that the allowable credit can be increased by both by both the amount of the OASDI taxes paid and Medicare taxes paid with respect to eligible leave wages, instead of just the Medicare taxes.
  • Rules are provided that coordinate the leave credits with second draw Payroll Protection Program loans and certain government grants.
  • The no-double benefit rule, which disallows claiming both (1) either of the above credits and (2) the income tax credit for family or medical leave is expanded to include similar coordination with certain other income and payroll tax credits.
  • An employer is ineligible for the leave credits if, in providing paid leave, the employer discriminates in favor of highly compensated or full-time employees or on the basis of employment tenure.
  • IRS is allowed an extended limitation-on-assessment period for deficiencies due to claiming either of the leave credits.
  • ARPA allows employers who voluntarily provide 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave and 12 weeks of emergency family leave beginning after March 31, 2021 to claim the leave credits, thereby resetting the leave bank regardless of whether the employee used leave previously or has exhausted leave.
  • The employee retention credit is extended to apply to wages paid before January 1, 2022 (instead of July 1, 2021). The result is that as a general rule (but see below) there is allowed a maximum per employee credit for 2021 of $28,000 ($10,000 of wages taken into account per quarter multiplied by the credit rate of 70%).
  • Also, there are modifications to this credit. A major change is that for the last two calendar quarters of 2021 there is allowed a maximum $50,000 credit per quarter to certain small start-up businesses (and under relaxed eligibility rules). This change makes a limited credit available to some businesses that couldn’t qualify for the credit at all because they can’t meet either the full/partial suspension or 20% drop-in-gross-receipts requirements. And, during those two quarters certain distressed businesses will be able to treat all wages as eligible (up to the $10,000 per quarter limit), enabling employers with more than 500 employees, who can ordinarily treat only wages paid to laid-off workers as eligible, to treat any wages as eligible.
  • Another of the major changes is that the change to applying the credit to Medicare taxes (discussed above for the paid sick and family leave credits) also applies (along with the continuing refundability and, for employers with no more than 500 employees, advance refundability of the credit).
  • Under related rules, the relieved amounts aren’t included in the income of the individuals and there is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code a penalty on individuals that fail to report the end of their eligibility.

Self-employment sick and family leave credits. These credits, which are creditable against the income tax, have been extended to apply to eligible days through September 30, 2021 (instead of March 31, 2021). A major change is that both credits treat as reasons for eligible leave the obtaining of or recovering from Covid-19 immunization. And, for the family leave credit, reasons for eligible leave are expanded to include all qualifying reasons for taking sick leave.

Another major change is that in determining whether the 10-day per tax year limit for the sick leave credit is complied with, only days after December 31, 2021, are taken into account (thus restarting the count and often increasing the cumulative number of eligible days). And, a major change to the family leave credit is that the maximum number of eligible days per tax year is increased from 50 to 60, again with only days after March 31, 2021 taken into account (resetting the count and often increasing the cumulative number of eligible days).

Excess business losses. In a revenue raiser, the disallowance of excess business losses is extended to run through 2026 instead of 2025.

Deduction disallowance for over $1 million employee remuneration. In another revenue raiser, for tax years beginning after calendar year 2026, the $1 million annual cap on the deductibility of remuneration paid to certain categories of employees of publicly held corporations is expanded to include as a new category the five highest compensated employees not included in other categories.

Tax treatment of certain non-tax relief. ARPA provides favorable tax consequences for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances made by the SBA under the Economic Aid to Hard-hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act. The advances aren’t included in income and the income exclusion doesn’t result in deduction disallowances, denial of basis increases or reduction of other tax attributes. The same treatment applies to SBA Restaurant Revitalization Grants.

Pension plans. ARPA relaxes some funding standards and other IRC or ERISA rules for multiple employer pension plans. For single employer plans, IRC or ERISA rules are relaxed for amortizing funding shortfalls and the pension funding stabilization percentages are changed. Also changed are the special rules that apply to community newspaper plans.

Reporting by third party settlement organizations. ARPA tightens the de minimis exception to tax reporting by third party settlement organizations (TPSOs, e.g., PayPal) by excluding from reporting only transactions that don’t exceed $600 (and eliminating the 200-transaction threshold). ARPA also clarified that TPSO reporting obligations are limited to transactions involving goods and services.

Foreign tax. In a revenue raising provision, IRC section 864(f), which provided a one-time election under which, effectively, corporate groups could allocate some interest expense from foreign to domestic corporations and reduce the effect of limits on the foreign tax credit, is repealed. The repeal is retroactive to the election’s effective date (i.e., for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2020).

As these provisions may significantly affect your business, do not hesitate to call our office for an appointment to discuss.