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December 2020

IRS Releases 2021 Inflation-Adjusted Tax Tables, Standard Deduction, AMT and Other Amounts

The IRS has released the annual inflation adjustments for 2021 for the income tax rate tables, and for over 50 other tax provisions. The IRS makes these cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) each year to reflect inflation.

2021 Income Tax Brackets
For 2021, the highest income tax bracket of 37 percent applies when taxable income hits:

$628,300 for married individuals filing jointly and surviving […]

2021 Inflation Adjustments for Pension Plans, Retirement Accounts Released

The IRS has released the 2021 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions.

Key Unchanged Amounts
The 2021 contribution limit remains unchanged at $19,500 for employees who take part in:

401(k) plans,
403(b) plans,
most 457 plans, and
the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in these […]

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in ACA Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California v. Texas, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA expanded insurance coverage, and includes popular provisions such as required coverage of preexisting medical conditions.

Three major issues are at play in this case:

Do the plaintiff challengers of ACA—two individuals, the Trump Administration, and a number of states led […]

Guidance for Applying New, Proposed Bonus Depreciations Regs

The IRS has provided guidance to taxpayers that want to apply either Reg. §1.168(k)-2 and Reg. §1.1502-68, or want to rely on proposed regulations under NPRM REG-106808-19, for:

certain depreciable property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, by the taxpayer during its tax years ending on or after September 28, 2017, and before the taxpayer’s first tax year that begins on […]

Life Expectancy and Distribution Period Tables for RMDs Updated

The IRS has issued final regulations to update the life expectancy and distribution period tables under the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. The tables reflect the general increase in life expectancy. The tables would apply for distribution calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, with transition relief.

RMDs apply to qualified plans, including 401(k) plans and profit sharing plans. […]

Guidance on Form W-2 Reporting of Deferred Employee Tax

The IRS has released guidance on its website for employers and employees regarding deferral of employee Social Security tax under Notice 2020-65, I.R.B. 2020-38, 567.

In August, the IRS issued Notice 2020-65 in response to a Presidential Memorandum that allowed deferral of the withholding, deposit, and payment of certain employee payroll tax obligations. The Notice allows employers the option to defer the employee portion […]

Proposed Regs Address State and Local Tax Payments by Partnerships, S Corporations

The IRS intends to issue proposed regulations to clarify that state and local income taxes imposed on and paid by a partnership or an S corporation are deductible by the partnership or S corporation in computing non-separately stated taxable income for the year of the payment. The proposed regulations are intended to provide certainty to individual partners and S corporation […]

November 2020

Social Security Wage Cap and Benefit Amounts Increase for 2021

For 2021, the Social Security tax wage cap will be $142,800, and Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 1.3 percent. These changes reflect cost-of-living adjustments to account for inflation.

2021 Wage Cap
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax on wages is 7.65 percent each for the employee and the employer. FICA tax has two components:

a […]

IRS Finalizes 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation Regulations

The IRS has adopted previously issued proposed regulations ( REG-106808-19) dealing with the 100 percent bonus depreciation deduction. In addition, some clarifying changes have been made to previously issued final regulations ( T.D. 9874). Changes to the proposed and earlier final regulations are largely in response to various comments submitted by practitioners, and generally relate to:

the definition of qualified used property;
[…]

Final Regulations Reflect TCJA Changes to Entertainment and Meal Deductions

Final regulations reflect the significant changes that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) made to the Code Sec. 274 deduction for travel and entertainment expenses. These regulations finalize, with some changes, previously released proposed regulations, NPRM REG-100814-19.

Changes to Code Sec. 274 under the TCJA
For most expenses paid or incurred after 2017, TCJA:

repealed the “directly related to a trade or […]

Final Regulation Addresses Tax Withholding on Certain Periodic Retirement and Annuity Payments

The IRS has issued a final regulation addressing tax withholding on certain periodic retirement and annuity payments under Code Sec. 3405(a), to implement amendments made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97) (TCJA). The regulation affects payors of certain periodic payments, plan administrators that are required to withhold on such payments, and payees who receive such payments. The final […]

IRS Issues Final Regulations on Wage Withholding, Redesigned W-4

The IRS has issued final regulations that provide guidance for employers on federal income tax withholding from employees’ wages. The final regulations:

address the amount of federal income tax that employers withhold from employees’ wages;
implement changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97); and
reflect the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, and related IRS publications.

TCJA […]

Final Regulations Released on Qualified ABLE Programs and Accounts

The Treasury and IRS have released final regulations that provide guidance for Achieve a Better Living Experience (ABLE) programs under Code Sec. 529A to help eligible individuals pay for qualified disability expenses. The regulations provide guidance on:

the requirements for ABLE programs,
requirements for establishing and contributing to an ABLE account for a designated beneficiary,
rules regarding changes in the designated beneficiary […]

Final Regulations Clarify Deductions Allowed to Estates, Non-Grantor Trusts

The IRS has released final regulations clarifying that the following deductions allowed to an estate or non-grantor trust are not miscellaneous itemized deductions:

costs paid or incurred in connection with the administration of an estate or non-grantor trust that would not have been incurred if the property were not held in the estate or trust;
the personal exemption of an […]

Final Regulations on Foreign Person’s Transfer of Partnership Interest

The IRS has issued final regulations that address the gain or loss of certain foreign persons on the sale or exchange of an interest in a partnership that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States. The regulations provide guidance on determining the amount of gain or loss treated as effectively connected income under Code Sec. 864(c)(8), as […]

October 2020

Guidance Released on Employee Payroll Tax Deferral

The Treasury and IRS have issued guidance on the recent order by President Trump to defer certain employee payroll tax obligations on wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Under the guidance:

the due date for the withholding and payment of the employee’s portion of the 6.2-percent old-age, survivors and disability insurance (OASDI) tax (Social Security tax) […]

2020-2021 Special Per Diem Rates Released

The IRS has released the 2020-2021 special per diem rates. Taxpayers use the per diem rates to substantiate the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. These special per diem rates include the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IEs) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and […]

Final Regulations Limit Dividends Received Deduction

The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations that limit the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the Code Sec. 954(c) exception on distributions supported by certain earnings and profits not subject to the integrated international tax regime created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). Proposed regulations and temporary regulations, issued on June 18, 2019, are adopted and removed, […]

Distributions by Terminated S Corporations Addressed in Final Regs.

Treasury has issued final and amended regulations on the rules for distributions made by terminated S corporations during the post-termination transition period (PTTP). These regulations apply after an S corporation has become a C corporation.

Generally, the regulations are applicable as of the date they are published in the Federal Register.

Eligible Terminated S Corporation (ETSC) Under Section 481
In the case of […]

Final Regs. Clarify Ratable Rehabilitation Credit is Still a Single Credit

Final regulations clarify that the amount of the rehabilitation credit for a qualified rehabilitated building (QRB) is determined as a single credit in the year the QRB is placed in service. This is the case even though the credit is allocated ratably over a five-year period. The final regulations adopt without modification proposed regulations released earlier this year ( NPRM REG-124327-19).

TCJA […]

Final Regulations Update Definition of Qualifying Relative

The IRS has released final regulations that clarify the definition of a “qualifying relative” for purposes of various provisions for tax years 2018 through 2025. These regulations generally affect taxpayers who claim federal income tax benefits that require a taxpayer to have a qualifying relative.

Effective Date
These regulations are effective on the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Exemption Amount
On June 9, 2020, […]

Medicaid Coverage of COVID Testing Is Not Minimum Essential Coverage

The IRS has announced that Medicaid coverage of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing and diagnostic services is not minimum essential coverage for purposes of the premium tax credit under Code Sec. 36B.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), certain taxpayers who obtain their coverage through an Exchange may claim a premium tax credit under Code Sec. 36B. However, taxpayers are only allowed the […]

IRS Clarifies Provisions of the SECURE and the Bipartisan American Miners Acts

The IRS has released guidance in the form of questions and answers with respect to certain provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act), and the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 (Miners Act).

Business Credit
The SECURE ACT added a new Code Sec 45T, which provides a business credit to an eligible employer that establishes […]

Final Regulations Provide Additional BEAT Guidance

Final regulations provide additional guidance on the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) under Code Sec. 59A. The regulations also address certain aspects of the BEAT under Code Secs. 1502 and 6031.

The final regulations retain the basic approach and structure of the 2018 proposed regulations ( NPRM REG-112607-19), with certain revisions. The final regulations generally provide rules addressing the following:

the determination of a taxpayer’s […]

September 2020

AICPA Urges IRS, Treasury to Issue Guidance on Payroll Tax Deferral

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has urged the IRS and Treasury in an August 12 letter to issue guidance on President Trump’s payroll tax deferral memorandum. The executive action signed by the president on August 8 instructs Treasury to defer the collection and payment of payroll taxes from September 1 through years-end for eligible employees.

The presidential memorandum to defer […]

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