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

Posts Tagged ‘Tax exemption’

IRS Creates New 3 Page 1023-EZ for Small Charities Apply for Tax Exemption

Posted by William Byrnes on July 3, 2014

On Monday July 1, the IRS released its new, short application form for small charities to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  The new Form 1023-EZ is three pages long (instructions link is here), compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023.

As many as 70% of all charity applicants for tax exemption will qualify to use the new streamlined three page form. Most organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less are eligible.  The IRS created a Q&A worksheet to help an organization’s representative determine if it can use the new 1042-EZ: link available here:

Question 1: Do you project that your annual gross receipts will exceed $50,000 in any of the next 3 years? (Gross receipts are the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses. You should consider this year and the next two years.) 

Question 2: Do you have total assets in excess of $250,000? (Total assets includes cash, accounts receivable, inventories, bonds and notes receivable, corporate stocks, loans receivable, other investments, depreciable and depletable assets, land, buildings, equipment, and any other assets.)

“Previously, all of these groups went through the same lengthy application process — regardless of size,” aid IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “It didn’t matter if you were a small soccer or gardening club or a major research organization. This process created needlessly long delays for groups, which didn’t help the groups, the taxpaying public or the IRS.”

The change will allow the IRS to speed the approval process for smaller groups and free up resources to review applications from larger, more complex organizations while reducing the application backlog. Currently, the IRS has more than 60,000 501(c)(3) applications in its backlog, with many of them pending for nine months.  There are more than a million 501(c)(3) organizations recognized by the IRS.

The Form 1023-EZ must be filed using pay.gov, and a $400 user fee is due at the time the form is submitted. Further details on the new Form 1023-EZ application process can be found in Revenue Procedure 2014-40, posted today on IRS.gov.

For a history of US tax treatment of charity, please read http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2304044  This article studies the American political debate on the charitable tax exemption from 1864 to 1969, in particular, the debate regarding philanthropic, private foundations.


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 Authoritative and easy-to-use, 2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits shows you how the tax law and regulations are relevant to your insurance, employee benefits, and financial planning practices.  Often complex tax law and regulations are explained in clear, understandable language.  Pertinent planning points are provided throughout.

2014 Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, concise answers to often complex tax questions concerning investments.  2014 expanded sections on Limitations on Loss Deductions, Charitable Gifts, Reverse Mortgages, and REITs.


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U.S. History of Non-Profit Tax Exemption and Deduction for Donations

Posted by William Byrnes on August 20, 2013

“. . . [w]hen the Finance Committee began public hearings on the Tax Reform Act of 1969 I referred to the bill as ‘368 pages of bewildering complexity.’  It is now 585 pages  . . . . Much of this complexity stems from the many sophisticated ways wealthy individuals – using the best advice that money can buy – have found ways to shift their income from high tax brackets to low ones, and in many instances to make themselves completely tax free.  It takes complicated amendments to end complicated devices.” Senator Russell Long, Chairman, Finance Committee

Download this entire article at > William Byrnes’ full-lenth articles on SSRN <

From the turn of the twentieth century, Congress and the states have uniformly granted tax exemption to charitable foundations, and shortly thereafter tax deductions for charitable donations.  But an examination of state and federal debates and corresponding government reports, from the War of Independence to the 1969 private foundation reforms, clearly shows that politically, America has been a house divided on the issue of the charitable foundation tax exemption.  By example, in 1863, the Treasury Department issued a ruling that exempted charitable institutions from the federal income tax but the following year, Congress rejected charitable tax exemption legislation.  However thirty years later, precisely as feared by its 1864 critics, the 1894 charitable tax exemption’s enactment carried on its coat tails a host of non-charitable associations, such as mutual savings banks, mutual insurance associations, and building and loan associations.

Yet, the political debate regarding tax exemption for the non-charitable associations did not nearly rise to the level expended upon that for philanthropic, private foundations established by industrialists for charitable purposes in the early part of the century.  But the twentieth century debate upon the foundation’s charitable exemption little changed from that posited between the 1850s and 1870s by Presidents James Madison and Ulysses Grant, political commentator James Parton and Dr. Charles Eliot, President of Harvard.  The private foundation tax exemption evoked a populist fury, leading to numerous, contentious, investigatory foundation reports from that of 1916 Commission of Industrial Relations, 1954 Reece Committee, 1960 Patman reports, and eventually the testimony and committee reports for the 1969 tax reform.  These reports uniformly alleged widespread abuse of, and by, private foundations, including tax avoidance, and economic and public policy control of the nation.  The private foundation sector sought refuge in the 1952 Cox Committee, 1965 Treasury Report, and 1970 Petersen Commission, which uncovered insignificant abuse, concluded strong public benefit, though recommending modest regulation.

During the charitable exemption debates from 1915 to 1969, Congress initiated and intermittently increased the charitable income tax deduction while scaling back the extent of exemption for both private and public foundations to the nineteenth century norms.  At first, the private foundation’s lack of differentiation from general public charities protected their insubstantially regulated exemption.  But in 1943, contemplating eliminating the charitable exemption, Congress rather drove a wedge between private and public charities.  This wedge allowed the private foundation’s critics to enact a variety of discriminatory rules, such as limiting its charitable deduction from that of public charities, and eventually snowballed to become a significant portion of the 1969 tax reform’s 585 pages.

This article studies this American political debate on the charitable tax exemption from 1864 to 1969, in particular, the debate regarding philanthropic, private foundations.  The article’s premise is that the debate’s core has little evolved since that between the 1850s and 1870s. To create perspective, a short brief of the modern economic significance of the foundation sector follows.  Thereafter, the article begins with a review of the pre- and post-colonial attitudes toward charitable institutions leading up to the 1800s debates, illustrating the incongruity of American policy regarding whether and to what extent to grant charities tax exemption.  The 1800s state debates are referenced and correlated to parts of the 1900s federal debate to show the similarity if not sameness of the arguments against and justifications for exemption.  The twentieth century legislative examination primarily focuses upon the regulatory evolution for foundations.  Finally, the article concludes with a brief discussion of the 1969 tax reform’s changes to the foundation rules and the significant twentieth century legislation regulating both public and private foundations.

Download this entire article at > William Byrnes’ full-lenth articles on SSRN <

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The Not-So-Irrevocable Trust: Unlocking Trust Assets

Posted by William Byrnes on July 18, 2013

The “irrevocable” label might have some clients feeling like they are locked into previously established irrevocable trusts for life, which might not always be the case. There are many reasons why a client might remain interested in preserving an irrevocable trust, but after the fiscal cliff deal made the generous $5 million estate tax exemption and spousal portability permanent, there are equally strong reasons why a client might prefer to terminate. …

The choice to terminate will force clients to reevaluate insurance and other trust held assets and lead to what are often long overdue replacement or reallocation discussions.

When Can an Irrevocable Trust Be Terminated?

Read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisorhttp://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/17/the-not-so-irrevocable-trust-unlocking-trust-asset


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The ticking estate tax time bomb

Posted by William Byrnes on November 21, 2012

For your clients who have been playing the wait-and-see game in estate planning this year, the time for waiting is over.   Absent congressional action, the current $5.12 million exemption will revert to $1 million in less than three months, and the current 35% maximum estate tax rate will jump to 55%.  The entire article is available at http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/10/17/the-ticking-estate-tax-time-bomb-less-than-90-days


Posted in Estate Tax, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Trusts, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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How To File for a Non-Profit Status

Posted by William Byrnes on February 4, 2011

What are the tax procedures for requesting exempt status recognition?

Generally, an organization seeking recognition of an exempt status is required to submit the appropriate application.  Specifically, an organization seeking recognition of exemption under § 501(c)(3) \ must submit a completed Form 1023.

What fees are required by those requesting an exempt status?

Generally, an application for exemption under § 501(c)(3) includes a $400 fee for organizations that have had annual gross receipts averaging not more than $10,000 during the preceding four years, or new organizations that anticipate gross receipts averaging not more than $10,000 during the first four years.

Application for exemption under § 501(c)(3) includes an $850 fee for organizations whose actual or anticipated gross receipts exceed $10,000 averaged annually.  For those seeking the $400 fee, the Service also requires the organization to sign a certification with their application that the receipts are or will be not more than the indicated amounts.

Read the full analysis and on similar issues – http://www.advisorfyi.com

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Tax-Exempt State and Local Municipal Bonds

Posted by William Byrnes on October 18, 2010

Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?   Discuses one alternative investment wealth managers are continuing to explore in consideration of uncertain tax law changes.  Provides general background as well as analysis and comparison to show the benefits available through the purchase of tax-exempt bonds.     

Interest received from bonds is generally taxed at ordinary income rates.  This includes both government and corporate bonds unless otherwise excluded by the tax code.  Dividends though are taxed at capital gains rates, which for the meanwhile can provide significant tax benefits.  See our previous AdvisorFYI blogticle of September 13th Bush Tax Cuts Set to Expire. 

However, some state and local municipal bonds often called “muni” bonds, produce tax—exempt interest income under Internal Revenue Code § 103. The general obligation interest on state or local bonds fall into this category as distinguished from private activity bonds.  

A detailed discussion of private activity bonds in comparison to general obligation bonds can be found at AdvisorFX Tax Facts: Q 1123. Is interest on obligations issued by state and local governments taxable? (sign up for a free trial subscription if you are not a subscriber). 

To read the remainder of this blogticle that deals with general obligation bonds, and offers a comparison between tax-exempt and taxable income bonds with illustrated rates of return, please see AdvisorFYI

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