William Byrnes' Tax, Wealth, and Risk Intelligence

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

TaxFacts Intelligence August 5, 2021

Posted by William Byrnes on August 5, 2021


It’s been another busy week for the IRS and DOL.  Both agencies have responded to taxpayer questions on various issues–the DOL, by providing helpful clarifications on plan sponsors’ obligations under the new SECURE Act lifetime income disclosure rules, and the IRS by expanding the availability of tax credits for employers who offer paid leave to encourage COVID-19 vaccination.  On another note, the IRS reminds taxpayers: remember your substantiation when claiming reimbursement from tax-preferred health savings accounts!

By the way subscribers, Texas A&M graduate program for wealth and risk management, including tax risk management, is accepting applications for fall. Maximum enrollment for a course section is 30 so that each student receives meaningful feedback throughout the course from the full-time academic, professional part-time faculty, and each other. Learn more about it here: https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education

Prof. William H. Byrnes         Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.

A Reminder for Clients: IRS Emphasizes Need for Health FSA Substantiation

Recent IRS activity indicates that the agency is paying attention to whether or not clients are properly substantiating items reimbursed through tax-preferred health savings accounts.  In IRS Information Letter 2021-13, the IRS restated that flexible spending account (FSA) items paid using an FSA debit card must have substantiation containing all of the information required for claims submitted through other means.  A simple receipt is usually not sufficient.  Substantiation from a third-party must include: (1) the name of the person receiving the services, (2) the date the service was provided, (3) a description of the service or item purchased, (4) the name of the provider or merchant and (5) the claim amount.  The only exception is for certain merchants and providers that can be automatically substantiated by the Merchant Category Code (MCC) on the provider’s debit card machine and the actual item/service via identification by an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) from non-healthcare providers.  For more information on the health FSA rules, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Related Questions:

8888. What is a dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA)?

DOL Releases FAQ on SECURE Act Lifetime Income Illustrations

The DOL issued a temporary set of FAQ to implement the interim final rule on the SECURE Act lifetime income illustration provisions.  Under the SECURE Act, plan sponsors must disclose a participant’s account balance as both a single life annuity and joint and survivor annuity income stream.  Plans must furnish lifetime income illustrations annually (or more frequently).  The FAQ clarifies that the earliest statement for which the illustrations are required is a statement for a quarter ending within 12 months of the rule’s effective date (September 18, 2021) if the plan issues quarterly statements.  Therefore, the illustrations can be incorporated into any quarterly statement up to the second calendar quarter of 2022.  For non-participant-directed plans, the lifetime income illustrations must be included on the statement for the first plan year ending on or after September 19, 2021 (or, no later than October 15, 2022, which is the last day for filing the annual return for a calendar year plan that year).  The FAQ also clarifies that plans are permitted to provide additional lifetime income illustrations as long as the required illustrations are also provided, recognizing that some plans have been including illustrations for many years.  For more information on the lifetime income disclosure rules, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Related Questions:

559. What are the rules that allow 401(k) plan sponsors to include deferred annuities in target date funds (TDFs)?

561. Can a taxpayer combine a deferred income annuity (“longevity annuity”) with a traditional deferred annuity product?

IRS Updates FAQ on ARPA Paid Sick and Family Leave Tax Credits

The IRS updated its frequently asked questions on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) paid sick and family leave credits.  Now, employers are entitled to claim the tax credits if they provide paid leave for employees to accompany family, household members and certain others to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or to care for someone recovering from immunization.  The new eligibility requirement also applies to self-employed taxpayers.  Generally, employers are no longer obligated to provide employees with paid sick and family leave.  However, those who choose to offer paid leave for qualifying reasons may claim a tax credit for wages paid.  To date, the tax credits for leave have been extended through September 30, 2021.  For more information on the FFCRA paid leave tax credits for sick and family leave, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Related Questions:

768. What initial guidance has the Department of Labor (DOL) provided to help employers and employees understand their rights and duties under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

769. What documentation should employers request and keep with respect to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) COVID-19 paid leave? Are there any reporting requirements? How does the employee request leave?

$1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

The 2,702-page bi-partisan “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021” has been released by the Senate. The bill may be downloaded from the U.S. Senate website here. The bill contains approximately $550 billion of new project spending and carries over an additional $650 billion from previously funded projects for a total of over $1.2 trillion in infrastructure spending that will begin in 2021 and most end in 2026.

But the bill contains many energy provisions and excise taxes as well as fees that will impact all segments of the energy industry. These provisions include billions of dollars for the industry for expenditure and incentives for carbon capture; clean hydrogen R&D; nuclear; among others. By example, $500,000,000 is provided for clean hydrogen technology R&D (see page 1550 at section 40314). The excise taxes and fees include the extensions of the highway-related taxes, superfund excise taxes, and customs user fees.

The major tax reform provisions addressing estate and gift tax, capital gains, carried interests, real estate exchanges, retirement plans, and high-income earners have been reserved to the forthcoming yet-to-be-agreed/released Democratic reconciliation bill. However, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 contains some new tax provisions including:

  • Sec. 80501. Modification of automatic extension of certain deadlines in the case of taxpayers affected by Federally declared disasters.
  • Sec. 80502. Modifications of rules for postponing certain acts by reason of service in combat zone or contingency operation.
  • Sec. 80503. Tolling of time for filing a petition with the tax court.
  • Sec. 80504. Authority to postpone certain tax deadlines by reason of significant fires.
  • Sec. 80601. Modification of tax treatment of contributions to the capital of a corporation.
  • Sec. 80602. Extension of interest rate stabilization.
  • Sec. 80603. Information reporting for brokers and digital assets.
  • Sec. 80604. Termination of employee retention credit for employers subject to closure due to COVID–19.

The automatic extension for certain tax deadlines for Federally declared disasters addresses the situation of multiple declarations relating to a disaster area which are issued within a 60-day period. A separate 60-day period shall be determined with respect to each such declaration pursuant to the bill’s language.

The bill will resurrect energy industry-related tax credits (expired IRC Section 48C) worth up to 30 percent of expenditure for converting fossil energy production into green energy production. Senator Joe Manchin is doing his job of representing his West Virginia coal industry constituency!

The bill’s cryptocurrency reporting regime (Sec. 80603. Information reporting for brokers and digital assets) is marked to raise $28 billion from current non-compliance and tax evasion regarding taxpayers’ either ignorance or purposeful oversight of including gross income derived from investments or trading digital currency. The reporting threshold will only be lowered to $10,000 which is still rather high in our personal opinion. It creates a potential perspective (or perhaps incentive among cheaters) that only digital currency income of at least $10,000 is reportable for gross income. On the other hand, it is often better to build out first then and scale up an operation, tweaking it. For example, the $10,000 reporting amount will capture a substantial pool of taxpayers, and that threshold can be lowered in the future (with grossly overstated estimates of the ‘evasion’ income it will bring in to pay for an extension or some new program in next year’s budget bills).

The bill contains hundreds of not-obvious federal grants and contract opportunities for business. By the example of one provision related to education and training of workers, section 401513 includes $10 million dollars for FY2022 for government grants of 50 percent of the cost to provide ‘career skills training’ to identify and involve in training programs target populations of individuals who would benefit from training and be actively involved in activities relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy industries; and the ability to help individuals achieve economic self-sufficiency. The program students must concurrently receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training for the purpose of obtaining an industry-related certification to install energy-efficient buildings.

Look in your Tax Facts Online app for our continuing analysis of this bill, the tax reform in the reconciliation bill, and other weekly intelligence.

Wealth & Risk Management Studies for Industry Professionals

Check out the graduate program here: https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education

Texas A&M, an annual budget of $6.3 billion (FY2020), is the largest U.S. public university, one of only 60 accredited U.S. universities of the American Association of Universities (R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity) and one of only 17 U.S. universities that hold the triple U.S. federal grant of Land, Sea, and Space! The law school has the #1 bar passage in Texas, and #1 for employment in Texas (and top 10 in U.S.)

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