2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Economic Impact – Information for all taxpayers

 Accounting & Taxation, Current Events, Current Events, Tax Tips  Comments Off on 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Economic Impact – Information for all taxpayers
Apr 032020
 

Recent events have unfolded very rapidly; perhaps too rapidly for processes to keep pace. This is the first entry in a series to hopefully help bring some current information together in one place for our clients who are financially affected by the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.

This post focuses on general taxpayer information, due dates, and economic impact payments.

Due dates

Federal filings and payments

Per IRS Notice 2020-18, any individual, trust, estate, partnership, association, company, or corporation1 with a Federal income tax payment or a Federal income tax return due April 15, 2020, such payment or return is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020. There is no limitation on the amount of the payment that may be postponed, and no extension filing is required.

No interest or penalty which would otherwise be charged or would accrue between April 15 and July 15 will be charged on any amount due.

Essentially, for tax purposes, July 15 is April 15, this year.

Note that this also applies to Federal estimated income tax payments. Thus, the payment due date schedule for 2020 is currently:

  • 1st quarter – July 15, 2020
  • 2nd quarter – June 15, 2020
  • 3rd quarter – September 15, 2020
  • 4th quarter – January 15, 2021

ONLY THE PAYMENTS AND FILINGS DUE APRIL 15 HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THIS CHANGE. FURTHER, FISCAL YEAR ENTITIES WITH PAYMENTS AND FILINGS DUE IN MAY AND JUNE REMAIN ON THE ORIGINAL SCHEDULE.

State and local filings and payments

These vary by taxing authority, and vary widely. For an updated list, see Taxing Subjects: Did COVID-19 Change My State Individual Income Tax Deadline?

Reconciliation of Federal and State filing dates

Where applicable and as possible, we will be filing State extensions so as to take full advantage of the Federal postponement to July 15. This would pertain to those clients who have filings due to states which have not moved their due dates to at least July 15.

As always, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay any tax which would otherwise be due (the Federal postponement is different, in that it is in fact, a postponement and specifically not an extension, and it pertains to payments as well as filings). Thus, if any State tax would be due on the original (or as adjusted) due date for filing that return, this tax should be paid or it will generally be subject to penalty and interest on the underpayment and may invalidate the State extension.

Economic impact payments

Amounts

Subtitle B-Rebates and Other Individual Provisions, SEC. 2201. 2020 RECOVERY REBATES FOR INDIVIDUALS as stated in the CARES Act, provides for the following tax rebates or economic impact payments to all eligible taxpayers2:

  • $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers), plus
  • $500 for each qualifying child3

This is (currently) a one-time rebate (cash payment). See the next section on how income levels are determined for the purpose of this payment.

These amounts phase out at the rate of $5 for each $100 above the following thresholds:

  • $75,000 of adjusted gross income for single filers
  • $150,000 of adjusted gross income for joint filers

Single filers with AGI in excess of $99,000 and joint filers with AGI in excess of $198,000 with no children are not eligible for any rebate (fully phased out).

Adjusted gross income

Taxpayers who have filed 2018 or 2019 returns will automatically receive a payment as calculated above.

Method of payment

If direct deposit information has already been provided to the Internal Revenue Service on the most recent income tax return filing (or in some other fashion), this information will be used to directly deposit the rebate amount.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has stated publicly that it is the intention of the Treasury, through the Internal Revenue Service, to provide an online portal for taxpayers to provide their banking information if not already on file with the IRS. Alternatively, payments may (apparently) be sent in the form of debit cards or paper checks.

Timing of payments

Disbursements are reportedly to begin sometime during the week of April 6, 2020.

Non-filers for 2018 who have returns due

If you have not yet filed a 2018 Federal income tax return, while our normal procedure is to prepare returns chronologically, we can prepare these based on the information at hand, simply to satisfy the filing requirement for rebate eligibility. Note that you should fully expect to have us amend such filings if one or more preceding year(s) need to be prepared and where such earlier return(s) would have an impact on 2018. Contact us to get started.

Non-filers for 2018 and/or 2019 who did not or do not have a filing obligation

If your gross income was below the filing threshold or other circumstances would have rendered you not required to file a return for 2018 (and 2019), supposedly there will be an “abbreviated” return filing which will be made available. As such forms have not yet been released, our best advice is to have us prepare a standard 2018 tax return showing what income you did have, even if it was below the filing threshold or even if you were exempted from filing for that year. No tax or penalty should be due with the late filing of the return (assuming no return would have been statutorily required originally).

Further information

Here are some helpful links for more information, which should be updated on a regular basis:

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know
https://www.drakesoftware.com/archive/economic-impact-payments-the-facts/

Show 3 footnotes

  1. As provided in section 7701(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. Any individual who is NOT: a nonresident alien individual, any individual who is a dependent of another, or an estate or trust.
  3. Within the meaning of section 24(c).

State government waste and a Sales Tax reminder for those with retail sales in California

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Aug 222019
 

I received an envelope today from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in Sacramento. This was not a window envelope, but rather a heavy stock (20lb? 24lb?), security envelope (you know, with the blue hashed printing so one cannot easily discern what’s inside), bulk mailed under USPS permit number 569. I don’t get all that much mail from California, but as we do handle clients all over the country and abroad, it wasn’t that unusual.

Inside the envelope was a letter-sized (well, 11×17, folded to form a booklet) 4-page, full color newsletter, entitled, NEWS FOR TAX PRACTITIONERS (Publication 542, August 2019, Edition 10). This is apparently a semi-annual newsletter for tax professionals. Who knew?

Before I get to the Sales Tax reminder (hint: think the Wayfair decisionPortable Document Format), I was struck by the apparent cost of the mailing of this information. First, the zeitgeist is that we should never print anything unless absolutely necessary (because trees won’t regrow or that paper isn’t biodegradable or some such justification). Not that I’m all that crazy about having more paper to handle, but that’s not my point. So, here I had in my hands a full color, moderately-heavy-stock newsletter entirely lacking in personal information to be kept private, mailed in a heavy-stock, custom printed security envelope, sent from a state reportedly having financial difficulties. It boggles the mind.

Please, people, lobby your elected officials to stop wasting your hard earned money. Of course, it’s easy to waste taxpayer money when all you need to do is increase the tax rate to cover the expense. So it goes.

PS – I did not knowingly subscribe to this mailing.

Now, as for the Sales Tax reminder: In April, with the signing of Assembly Bill No. 147, California joined the growing group of states which now impose the collection of Sales Tax on out-of-state retailers selling over the internet and delivering into the state. In the case of California, the threshold is $500,000 of sales within the State, with no minimum number of transactions required, and effective April 1, 2019 (district tax collection became effective April 25, 2019). See this page for specifics.

There is some relief afforded “marketplace sellers” using fulfillment centers located in-State. See this page for details, under Special Notices – 2019, July postings.

To determine whether any or all of your sales into the state of California are subject to the collection of Sales Tax, you might want to review the current California statutes.

 Posted by at 5:10 pm

Deduction for legal fees related to civil rights and whistle blower suits

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Dec 102018
 

While most legal fees relating to personal matters are non-deductible (or no longer deductible), IRC Section 62(a) provides for a deduction for attorneys fees in civil rights & whistle blower cases as a write-in deduction on Line 36 of Form 1040, before AGI.

Be sure to bring to your tax preparer’s attention any such legal fees which you have paid during the tax year in order to properly report them and take the deduction to which you are entitled.

State Energy Tax Incentives

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Dec 072018
 

Contemplating an investment in some energy-efficient equipment but unsure as to what tax incentives may be available in your state? The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, maintains DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Simply visit the link above and enter your zip code to get a list of potential incentives available in your area.

The 2017 Tax Extender Bill and what it means for 2017 personal returns

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Feb 152018
 

The 2017 Tax Extender Bill was passed on February 9, resurrecting no less than 32 provisions which were to have sunset December 31, 2016. In fact, a number of these provisions would/could have impacted 2017 tax planning, had they been been taken up in a timely manner, but so it goes. Nevertheless, there are some important points to bear in mind for this tax season. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:17 pm

Cryptocurrency and you (or, what you need to know about Bitcoin, briefly)

 Accounting & Taxation, Current Events, Tax Tips  Comments Off on Cryptocurrency and you (or, what you need to know about Bitcoin, briefly)
Jan 092018
 

This will probably morph into a series of brief posts about cryptocurrency and how to handle it from a business and tax perspective. Most of us are still working through the maze, and of course, the tax landscape continues to shift beneath our feet. This article has been written post-signing of H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December, 2017. Continue reading »

Why Accountants and Telephones Don’t Get Along

 Accounting & Taxation, General, Tax Tips  Comments Off on Why Accountants and Telephones Don’t Get Along
Mar 182016
 

A recent article in the CPA Practice Advisor cites a study of 2,234 people, conducted by “audio branding specialist” (whatever that means exactly) PH Media Group, which concludes that less than 24% of Americans who contact their accountants via telephone are satisfied with the manner in which their calls are handled. The article goes on to infer that as a result, accounting firms score an F in the area of phone skills this post. Continue reading »

Phone scams: Don’t be a victim!

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Feb 272016
 

It seems that each year, criminals become emboldened by their past successes, and 2016 is no exception to that rule. While not at the top of this year’s <a href="https://www singulair generic.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Wraps-Up-the-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-2016″ target=”_blank”>IRS Dirty Dozen list of tax scams, phone scams are certainly toward the top of ours. Continue reading »

Think twice before becoming an Uber Entrepreneur

 Accounting & Taxation, Tax Tips  Comments Off on Think twice before becoming an Uber Entrepreneur
Jul 022015
 

The allure of being your own boss is a strong pull for many to escape the traditional demands of a regular job. Recently, app-oriented companies (such as Uber, Washio, Postmates, Shyp, and others) have become popular ways for non-capitalized erstwhile entrepreneurs to enter the wide world of self-employment. Continue reading »