There are reports all over the news that some taxpayers are disappointed with the size of their federal tax refunds. Since we have a pay as you go tax system, each year we estimate the taxes we are going to owe on our income and either pay estimated taxes or have withheld the appropriate amount of taxes so that when we file our returns, we’ve come close to the tax liability. If we overestimate what will be owed, we get a refund; if we underestimate we get a bill for the remaining taxes due and possibly interest and penalty on the deficiency.
Every year some of our clients go through a mad rush getting the information needed to file 1099s timely and correctly. How does one stop this madness? A Form W-9 should be obtained from the vendor BEFORE any payments are issued. W-9s can be more easily obtained while the vendor is awaiting approval, when the vendor has more incentive to cooperate than after payment has been made.
Get 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.
The best Christmas present for your accountant is organized records. Follow these simple steps and you’ll feel the love all the way through 2019. Use Quickbooks to help:
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.
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
Photo by Pierrick Barfety on Unsplash
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.
If 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.
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.
Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash
Most 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.