Get Ready for Taxes: Safekeeping tax records helps for future filing, amended returns, audits

Get ready for taxesGet Ready for Taxes!

WASHINGTON — With the tax filing season quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers to understand how long to keep tax returns and other documents.

This is the seventh in a series of reminders to help taxpayers Get Ready for the upcoming tax filing season. The IRS has recently updated its
Get Ready page with steps to take now for the 2019 filing season.

The IRS generally recommends keeping copies of tax returns and supporting documents at least three years. Employment tax records should be kept at least four years after the date that the tax becomes due or paid, whichever is later. Tax records should be kept at least seven years if a return claims a loss from worthless securities or a bad debt deduction. Copies of previously-filed tax returns are helpful in preparing current-year tax returns and making computations if a return needs to be amended.
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Nonprofit Organizations: Charity Registration Filing Requirements with State of New Jersey

Nonprofit organizations are subject to numerous federal and state tax filing requirements, including annual tax returns. Most nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual federal tax return (Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-N); however, state filing requirements are different and vary from state to state. The State of New Jersey (NJ) requires a nonprofit organization to file an annual tax return (initial registration and renewal registration) if it has 501(c)3 tax exempt status, is domiciled in NJ, or solicits NJ residents for a charitable cause.
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Qualified Opportunity Funds: A property investment opportunity?

The 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act added something new to the tax code called Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury through their authority to the IRS. Opportunity Zones have now been designated covering parts of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

Opportunity Zones are being used to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities and in return they are providing tax benefits to investors. A Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) is formed and used for investing in eligible property that is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. A partnership or corporation can be used as an entity type.

Investors can defer tax on any prior gains invested in a QOF until the earlier of the date on which the investment in a QOF is sold or exchanged, or December 31, 2026. To defer/exclude prior capital gain, within 180 days you have to invest the gain amount in a QOF.

  • If the QOF investment is held for longer than 5 years, 10% of the deferred gain is excluded and goes away forever.
  • If the QOF investment is held for more than 7 years, the 10% becomes 15% and now that 15% deferred gain is excluded and goes away forever.
  • If the QOF investment is held for 10 years, any deferred gain recognized on the sale of your interest in the QOF is excluded forever, as long as the sale takes place before the end of 2047.

A list of Opportunity zones can be found here.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please feel free to call us.

This article was contributed by Michael J. Reynolds, CPA, CEPA

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Cannabis Business Income Taxes

cannabis taxes

Generally income tax returns are constructed to report business income, and then subtract cost of sales (the cost of producing or purchasing the product being sold) and the expenses of carrying on the business (things like employee wages, rent, and office supplies). There is an overriding provision for businesses that sell cannabis, however. Even though cannabis is legal in certain states, Section 280E of the federal income tax code states that no deduction is allowed for an amount paid or incurred in carrying on a business if the business consists of trafficking in controlled substances. Since marijuana is on the list of controlled substances, no deductions can be taken for the costs of carrying on the business of marijuana sales. Because of this, income tax represents a significant cost for these businesses.
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When to File a Gift Tax Return

Federal gift taxIf you give someone money or property during your lifetime, you may be subject to federal gift tax. The federal gift tax exists for one reason: to prevent taxpayers from avoiding the federal estate tax by giving away their money before they die. When it comes into play, the tax is owed by the gift giver and not by the recipient. You probably have never paid it and probably will never have to.
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New Jersey Tax Amnesty- Act Now for Relief

New Jersey has just announced a tax amnesty for taxpayers with liabilities for the tax years 2008-2016. The Division of Taxation has proactively contacted some taxpayers with liabilities already assessed and/or unfiled tax returns. This amnesty does not extend to liabilities with the Department of Labor or fees imposed by any other state agency.

Almost all taxpayers qualify for relief except those under criminal investigation or with debts in appeal in bankruptcy. The amnesty applies to returns due between February 1, 2009 and September 1, 2017 or for the calendar years 2008-2016.

For more information or assistance contact us. The amnesty period runs from now until January 15, 2019.

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Filing for 501c (3) Tax Exempt Status: Easing the Burden on Smaller Nonprofit Organizations

NonprofitMost organizations seeking 501c (3) tax exempt status must file an application with the IRS. Until 2014, the only means available to organizations was filing Form 1023: Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501c (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Preparing this 26 page application is a cumbersome and time consuming process as organizations are required to disclose information in regards to organizational structure, governance, charitable purpose and related activities, sources of funding, and current and prior financial statement data. In addition, organizations are also required to submit their articles of organization and bylaws with the application. The overall process of preparing the application as well as the related recordkeeping can take over 100 hours to complete, followed by an IRS approval process that can take over a year.
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Charitable Giving Strategies

Charitable GivingWhile there may be a lot of wisdom in the proverb “May your charity increase as much as your wealth,” there can also be wealth in properly planning your charitable giving. This wealth is derived from the economic benefit that can result from tax savings achieved by implementing certain charitable giving strategies.

Bunching of deductions is one such charitable contribution strategy. Because the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act limits many allowable itemized deductions beginning in 2018 and increases the standard deduction, many taxpayers will find that the standard deduction is more beneficial than itemizing, thus losing the tax benefit of making the gift.
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Non-Grantor Trust: A Tool for Estate, Asset Protection and Income Tax Planning

estate asset protection

While there are many forms and types of trust, this article highlights some of the various beneficial structures that encompass the use of non-grantor trusts.  The use of non-grantor trusts to achieve estate, asset protection and income tax planning should be customized to address specific facts, assets and needs.

Trusts are a centuries old vehicle originating from England used to allow an individual to transfer assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.  The settlor or grantor of the trust transfers the assets to a trustee to be held in trust.  The trustee is tasked with managing, preserving and growing the assets based on the intent and instructions of the grantor set out in the trust.
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