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

Posts Tagged ‘IRS tax forms’

Which Tax Form Should You File?

Posted by William Byrnes on January 30, 2014


The IRS released Tax Tip 2014-03 today: Which Tax Form Should You File?

The IRS is promoting its free tax software or Fillable Forms option that allows you to fill in your tax forms using a computer. You can e-file the completed forms for free!

The IRS offers the following tips for choosing the correct tax form:

You can generally use the 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
  • You are not claiming any dependents; and
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

The 1040A may be best for you if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • You have capital gain distributions;
  • You claim certain tax credits; and
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

However, reasons you must use the 1040 include:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
  • You claim itemized deductions;
  • You are reporting self-employment income; or
  • You are reporting income from sale of a property.

IRS YouTube Videos:

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1The newest addition to the Tax Facts Library, Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small businesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.  See http://www.nationalunderwriter.com/tax-facts-on-individuals-small-business.html

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business delivers the latest guidance on:
» Healthcare
» Home Office
» Contractor vs. Employee — clarified!
» Business Deductions and Losses
» Business Life Insurance
» Small Business Valuation
» Small Business Entity Choices
» Accounting — including guidance on how standards change as the business grows
» Capital Gains
» Investor Losses
» New Medicare Tax and Net Investment Income tax
» Individual Income Taxation

Authors Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink

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IRS Gives High-Income Taxpayers a Break on New 3.8% Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on January 2, 2014


The IRS has finally given high-income taxpayers a break with the release of the final regulations governing the new 3.8% tax on net investment income.

These final rules mark a dramatic shift from the IRS’s previous position. By adding flexibility to the rules, the IRS’s unanticipated amendments ease the sting of the investment income tax.

Read Professor Robert Bloink and William Byrnes’ analysis of the shift in the IRS’ position at > Think Advisor <  

tax planning case studies for individuals and small business available on Tax Facts online

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Employees and Independent Contactors

Posted by William Byrnes on August 9, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals? Many small business owners are faced with issues surrounding Form 1099 and how the rules apply to their businesses.  

What are some distinctions of the employees versus independent contractors?

An independent contractor, in general, has a majority of control over the details of his job function and only the end result is dictated by the company or individual who hires.  This is what is commonly known as “the degree of behavioral control.”  Another category used by the IRS and the courts to determine the status of an individual as either an employee or independent contractor is “financial control”.  Financial control involves examining the financial relationship between the parties such as reimbursement, and/or if any materials or space has been provided to accomplish the job.  Other relationship factors such as having a contract or agreement between the parties, as well as the terms of any contract, must also be examined in determining the employment status of the individual.

One of the issues that is often overlooked in the area of an employee relationship instead of an independent contractor relationship is that employees have X number of hours to dedicate to employment each week, whether that number is 40, 50, or anything else that an employment agreement might state.  Independent contracts are often not required to expend a set number of hours to accomplish a task, but instead enough hours to accomplish the task.

Another relevant issue to be considered in determining which of the two employment relations exist is that of termination.  An “At-Will” employee can normally be terminated and generally has no cause for a breach of contract and cannot sue for damages.  An independent contractor cannot usually be terminated without a breach of contract.

Tax Distinctions

Taxation of the two dissimilar positions is significantly different.  Independent contractors essentially work for themselves, and the business that pays them is, in effect, a client.  Generally, and independent contractor will file a tax return as a sole proprietor or closely held corporation, such as a Subchapter S Corporation.  An employee is subject to federal income tax withholding and the employer is subject to payroll taxes, included in the general W-2 process.

Independent contractors, like other businesses, recognize revenue and expenses. The independent contractor usually receives a Form 1099 from the source that pays him.  The Code and Regulations state that when a trade or business pays an individual for certain “services” over $600 that a Form 1099 is required to be filed with the Secretary of the Treasury.[1] And just as other businesses realize “legislative graces of Congress,” such as Section 162 deductions, the sole proprietor too may have expenses that generally qualify as trade or business expenses.

For a detailed analysis regarding independent contractors, see Tax Facts Q 814. How are business expenses reported for income tax purposes?


[1] Internal Revenue Code Section (IRC) 6041, Treasury Regulations (TR) 1.6041-1(a)(1)(i), TR 1.6041-1(a)(2).  

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How to Lose a Charitable Deduction

Posted by William Byrnes on October 21, 2011


As an advisor, your clients look to you for competent advice in planning their charitable giving. It would be terrible to find out that the gift you thoughtful suggest cannot be deducted due to an avoidable paperwork mistake. Although the IRS sometimes forgives these minor errors, others are unforgivable, as illustrated in recent IRS email advice.

The IRS was not so forgiving with a taxpayer, who made what would otherwise qualify as a tax-deductible charitable gift. The problem was that the taxpayer “failed to get a contemporaneous written acknowledgment” from the charitable organization. In its advice the IRS said it will deny the taxpayer’s charitable deduction even if the taxpayer takes remedial measures and the charity amends its Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) to acknowledge the donation and include the information required by the Code.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of charitable deductions in Advisor’s Journal, see Qualified Charitable Distributions from an IRA (CC 11-03) & IRS Takes Qualified IRA Charitable Distributions off the Table for 2010 (CC 11-15).

 

For in-depth analysis of the charitable deduction under Section 170, see Advisor’s Main Library: B6—The Income Tax Charitable Deduction—I.R.C. §170.

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Tax Court Revives Partnership Self Employment Tax Debate

Posted by William Byrnes on July 21, 2011


The Tax Court has reopened the question of whether status as a limited partner entitles them to an exemption from self-employment taxes—an issue that’s been idle for over 13 years.  The Tax Court recently declared that status as a limited partner does not necessarily exempt a partner from self-employment taxes. Instead, the exemption is derivative on how substantial of a role the partner played in the partnership business. Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of small businesses in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Announces Lenient Lien Program for Small Business (CC 11-48)

For in-depth analysis of partnership taxation, see Advisor’s Main Library: H–Partnership Taxation

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Pound Wise and Penny Foolish: The IRS Rebuts Unsound Tax Positions

Posted by William Byrnes on April 28, 2011


In the midst of the tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2011 version of its discussion of many of the more common “frivolous” tax arguments made by individuals and groups that oppose compliance with federal tax laws.

The Service suggested that “anyone who contemplates arguing on legal grounds against paying their fair share of taxes should first read their 84-page document, The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments.”  At AdvisorFYI, we are not contemplating any particular legal grounds for not paying a “fair share of taxes”, whatever that may be, but rather are interested in presenting some of the frivolous positions argued and how the Government generally responds. We’ve presented a few select ones below.

The 2011 IRS document explains many of the common “frivolous” arguments made in recent years and it presents a legal position that attempts to refute these claims.  The IRS claims, the document “will help taxpayers avoid wasting their time and money with frivolous arguments and incurring penalties.”

Congress in 2006 increased the amount of the penalty for frivolous tax returns from $500 to $5,000.  The increased penalty amount applies when a person submits a tax return or other specified submission, and any portion of the submission is based on a position the IRS identifies as frivolous.

Here are some of positions we found to be commonly marketed to the public, and how the IRS responds to the positions:  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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Deductibility of Welfare Benefit Plan Contributions (Section 419)

Posted by William Byrnes on March 18, 2011


Company is an accrual basis fiscal year taxpayer.  Company pays severance benefits in its discretion on an ad hoc basis, and vacation benefits pursuant to its established policy.

Historically, Company has paid both severance and vacation pay from its general assets.  Due to a decline in the Market over the past few years, Company has paid significant severance and expects to continue to pay additional severance over the next few years.  Effective Jan 1, 2009 Company established Trust to pay this anticipated severance and vacation pay.  Trust intends to submit an application for recognition of exempt status in 2010.  On 1/1/2009 Company contributed over $1,000,000 to the Trust and deducted that amount on its tax return for 2009.  Company indicates that beginning in 2010, Company will make payments for vacation and severance and will seek reimbursement from the Trust.

Company computed the amount deducted based on the limitation set forth in the Code.

Company has not provided any information documenting any severance claims incurred in 2009 that it expects to pay in 2010.  Company indicates that because the Trust was established “to pay severance that they anticipate they will have to pay over the next few years …”, and because the amount deducted is within the limit set forth in the Code that the deduction is proper.  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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“Wage” War: Round One

Posted by William Byrnes on February 24, 2011


The topic Self-Employment Tax on wages versus distributions has reared its head again – as shown by the recent Federal District Court case involving David E. Watson.

The C.P.A. recently disputed and lost to the Government’s position which recharacterized dividend and loan payments from David E. Watson, P.C. (a Subchapter S corporation) to its sole shareholder and employee, David E. Watson.  The IRS assessed additional employment taxes, interest and penalties against Watson for each of tax years in which Watson’s salary was significantly lower than his total distributions.

Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI (sign up for a 2 week online free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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Higher Filing Thresholds Doubles for Non-Profits

Posted by William Byrnes on February 16, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Discusses the new income reporting threshold for non-profit organizations.  Provides details on the new level of reporting required on Form 990 for 501(c) organizations.  

Generally the Internal Revenue Code requires the filing of an annual return by exempt organizations. [1]  However, there are certain mandatory exceptions to the annual filing requirement for exempt organizations provided by the Code.  [2] 

Further, the tax law provides that the Secretary of the Treasury, through the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service may relieve exempt organizations from the annual filing requirement if the Secretary determines that such filings are not necessary to the efficient administration of the internal revenue laws. [3]

Before, exempt organizations were relieved from the Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) filing requirement for organizations described in § 501(c) (other than private foundations) whose annual gross receipts are normally not more than $25,000. [4]

Read the full analysis and on similar issues – AdvisorFYI

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Some Clarity Brought to Uncertain Tax Positions

Posted by William Byrnes on February 11, 2011


Recently, in a series of Announcements the Internal Revenue Service stated that it was developing a schedule requiring certain business taxpayers to report uncertain tax positions on their tax returns.

Now the new requirements have been finalized, businesses and wealth managers have a better idea of the direction of Uncertain Tax Position reporting.

Reported under Schedule UTP for Form 1120 series, the Uncertain Tax Position reporting currently applies to a select number of corporations (however phase-in provisions will change this by 2012 and 2014).

Who must file a Schedule UTP?

The class of organizations that must file is limited (for now).   Generally, for 2010 tax year returns most small businesses will not be included in the reporting, but that will probably change.    Nevertheless, a corporation must file Schedule UTP with its 2010 income tax return if:  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI

 

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Foreign Trust Disclosure

Posted by William Byrnes on February 9, 2011


Although trusts can be taxpayers, Sections 671 to 679 of the Internal Revenue Code contain the so-called ‘grantor trust rules’, which treat certain trust settlors (and sometimes persons other than the settlor) as the owner of a portion or all of a trust’s income, deductions and credits for US tax purposes. A trust where the settlor (or other person) is treated as the owner of the trust assets for US tax purposes is referred to as a ‘grantor trust’. The grantor trust rules apply to both foreign and domestic trusts, but in different ways.

Under the grantor trust rules, a US person who transfers property to a foreign trust is generally treated for income tax purposes as the owner of that portion of the trust attributable to the transferred property, even if the trust would not have been a grantor trust had it been domestic.

This is the result for any tax year in which any portion of the foreign trust has a US beneficiary.  A foreign trust is treated as having a US beneficiary for a tax year unless (i) under the terms of the trust, no part of the trust’s income or corpus may be paid or accumulated during the tax year to or for the benefit of a US person, and (ii) if the trust is terminated at any time during the tax year, no part of the income or corpus could be paid to or for the benefit of a US person.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations under Section 679 of the Internal Revenue Code generally treat a foreign trust as having a US beneficiary if any current, future or contingent beneficiary of the trust is a US person.  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI.

 

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Selected Provisions and Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010

Posted by William Byrnes on February 8, 2011


Written by the foremost experts in the field – Professor William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M, and Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M

Understand the Act’s Implications for You and Your Clients

  • Analyzes important insurance, estate, gift, and other elements of the Act
  • Provides pertinent information on other important 2010 tax developments
  • Convenient Q&A format speeds you to the information you need – with answers to over 100 important questions

Summary Table of Contents

  • Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010
    • Income Tax Provisions
    • Estate Tax Provisions
    • Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
    • Deduction for State and Local Sales Taxes
    • Alternative Minimum Tax
    • Tax Credits
    • Payroll Tax Holiday
    • Wage Credit for Employees who are Active Duty Members of the Military
    • Charitable Distributions from Retirement Accounts
    • Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expensing
    • Basis Reporting Requirements for Brokers and Mutual Funds
    • Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010
    • Health Care Act
    • Form 1099 Reporting Requirement for Businesses
    • American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
    • Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

Price: $12.95 + shipping & handling and applicable sales tax

To order:

With our Custom Imprint program, you can place your company’s logo on the cover of this analysis and you’ll leave a lasting impression.  Call 1-800-543-0874 for additional information.

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Selected Provisions and Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010

Posted by William Byrnes on January 18, 2011


Written by the foremost experts in the field, Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M and Professor William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M, CWM 

Understand the Act’s Implications for You and Your Clients

  • Analyzes important insurance, estate, gift, and other elements of the Act
  • Provides pertinent information on other important 2010 tax developments
  • Convenient Q&A format speeds you to the information you need – with answers to over 100 important questions

Summary Table of Contents

  • Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010
    • Income Tax Provisions
    • Estate Tax Provisions
    • Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
    • Deduction for State and Local Sales Taxes
    • Alternative Minimum Tax
    • Tax Credits
    • Payroll Tax Holiday
    • Wage Credit for Employees who are Active Duty Members of the Military
    • Charitable Distributions from Retirement Accounts
    • Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expensing
    • Basis Reporting Requirements for Brokers and Mutual Funds
    • Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010
    • Health Care Act
    • Form 1099 Reporting Requirement for Businesses
    • American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
    • Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

Product Information:

Softcover/64 pages total;  42 pages of questions and answers

Publication Date: January 2011

Publication Number: 1350011

Price: $12.95 + shipping & handling and applicable sales tax

To order:

With our Custom Imprint program, you can place your company’s logo on the cover of this analysis and you’ll leave a lasting impression.  Call 1-800-543-0874 for additional information.

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1099s and Cost Basis Reporting

Posted by William Byrnes on December 1, 2010


Mutual fund

Image via Wikipedia

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 created new laws requiring most regulated securities transactions occurring after December 31, 2010 to be subject to cost basis reporting by securities brokers to the IRS. [1] Currently, brokers are required to report the gross proceeds from the sale of a security on Form 1099[2] The new law will add reporting of client’s adjusted basis of the security, and whether the gain is a short or long-term.  [3] Mutual fund cost basis reporting is to start a year after regulated securities reporting, and options and debt contracts are to follow a year after mutual funds.  The reports are to be filed on a Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange. [4]

Why is it important to know that the IRS will be receiving information about the values of securities of clients?  Read the entire article at AdvisorFYI.

 

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CAN I GET YOUR 1099 INFO WITH MY TO GO ORDER?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 14, 2010


By Associate Dean William H. Byrnes, IV and Professor Hannah Bible of the of the International Tax and Financial Services Graduate Program of Thomas Jefferson School of Law

I. CAN I GET A 1099 WITH THAT?

On January 1, 2012 Mr. Irk pulls up to his local McDonalds drive thru in his new hydro car, being the general public conscious man he is.

Id like a Big Mac, a small order of fries, and a signed 1099 Form on the side please. With speaker hiss overshadowing, a voice responds, OK thats a Big Mac, a small fry, and a fried small apple pie. No, Mr. Irk responds, a signed 1099 form. Again barely understandable over the hiss of the speaker, eh, so you want four fried small apple pies? Mr. Irk, living up to his namesake, responds no no, not four, form.

Sir, I aint got no idea what you talkin bout. Clearly the local McDonalds counsel did not advise his client on the most recent changes in tax law.

Unless the Treasury takes great prerogative and creativity in the writing of regulations applicable to the recent Amendments set out in I.R.C. 6041, throughout 2011 attorneys and consultants should be preparing clients on how to comply with the new reporting requirements.

Starting in 2012 all gross proceeds,  in addition to the previously required gains, profits, and income currently required to be reported, will need to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form 1099-MISC (or an applicable 1099 form within the 1099 series) from any amount received in consideration of …. Thus, starting January 1, sales of tangible goods will now require reporting by the purchaser.

Please read this 10 page detailed analysis of how to advise your clients and practice advice at Mertens Developments & Highlights via your Westlaw subscription (<– click there) or order via Thomson-West (<– click there).

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