Category: Personal Taxes

Today is IRS Tax Filing Deadline Day.

How do I file a tax extension for 2019?

Today is the deadline for filing and paying 2018 federal income taxes.  Any filings after today that are not on extension will be considered late and subject to penalties and interest assessments.   Remember if you mail in your return, it must be postmarked today, so make sure that the mailing service you are using whether it be the US Postal service drop-off or other have a collection time that will meet the April 15th postmark deadline.

In the event that you cannot file your tax return by the deadline, you need to file for a tax extension, which is also subject to the above April 15th postmark deadline.  To get a filling a tax extension, you will need to submit Form 4868(Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).

The IRS also allows you to get an extension by paying all or part of your estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card.  This way you won’t have to file a separate extension form and you will receive a confirmation number for your records.

It is important to note that, an extension to file will give you six more months to file your taxes, until Oct. 15. It does not however, give you extra time to pay your taxes.  You still must estimate and pay what you owe by April 15.  You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the deadline.  Below are the 2018 Income Tax Brackets to assist you estimate how much money you will need to send (if any) along with your Form 4868.

2018 Income Tax Brackets and Standard Deduction Rates

Table 1. 2018 Income Tax Brackets and Rates

 

Table 2. 2018 Personal Exemption and Standard Deduction

The personal exemption for 2018 is eliminated

 

 

 

Understanding The New Tax Code: How It Affects You

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 22, 2017.  The TCJA has brought with it many sweeping changes to a broad part of the tax code. Some of the notable changes include:

(1) Elimination of personal exemptions – previously taxpayers were allowed to subtract $4,500 from their income as a personal exemption.

(2) Elimination of the “personal mandate” enforced by the Affordable Care Act (known more commonly by many as “Obamacare”) – it is important to note that the elimination of this penalty did not go into effect until January 1, 2019. Hence, if you failed to obtain “qualifying health coverage” in 2018, the IRS will assess the penalty.

(3) Expansion of the Child Tax Credit – the TCJA increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000. The income level at which point the tax credit phases out has been raised from $110,000 to $400,000 for married tax filers. The age cut-off stays at 17 (child must be under 17 at the end of the year for taxpayers to claim the credit).  The refundable portion (applicable to parents who do not earn enough income to pay taxes) of the credit is limited to $1,400.  This amount will be adjusted for inflation after the 2018 tax year.

(4) Standard deduction for single filers increased by $5,500 and by $11,000 for married couples filing jointly (see Table 2 below).  Most itemized deductions eliminated.

(5) Mortgage Interest Deduction Reduced (learn more).

(6) If you’re caring for an elderly parent, you can get a $500 credit for each non-child dependent.

(7)  Tax table changes (see Table 1 below)

To protect individuals that are pushed into higher income tax brackets due to reduced value from credits and deductions instead of increase in real income (known as “bracket creep”), the act also requires that the IRS adjust numerous tax provisions for inflation.

2018 Income Tax Brackets and Standard Deduction Rates

Table 1. 2018 Income Tax Brackets and Rates

 

Table 2. 2018 Personal Exemption and Standard Deduction

The personal exemption for 2018 is eliminated

 

 

 

Small Business Stock Loss Deduction (Sec. 1244)

What is Section 1244 ?

Section 1244 is the IRS provision enacted to allow shareholders of  small business corporations (corporation’s equity may not exceed $1,000,000 at the time the stock was issued) to dispose  their stock as an ordinary loss, which is likely to be a significant impact difference on a shareholder’s personal return from stock being treated as a capital asset and hence losses being deducted as capital losses, provided the qualifications and limits found below are met.  If you own stock in a small “domestic corporation” (note: as LLCs are state created entities that are taxed differently than corporations the membership interest in the LLC cannot be treated as section 1244 stock as defined in Title 26) and you plan to dispose of it for a given tax year, certain qualification requirements must be met.

Meeting the Sec. 1244 Requirement

  • The corporation must be a domestic small business corporation.  A domestic corporation (including an S corporation) qualifies as a small business corporation if, when the stock is issued, its aggregate capital does not exceed $1,000,000.
  • The stock must have been issued in exchange for money or property (other than stock and securities) and not inheritance or gift.  Therefore, stock issued for services or other does not qualify under Sec. 1244.
  • Only the original owner of the stock is entitled to claim a Sec. 1244 stock loss.  If a partnership purchases Section 1244 stock of another company, and later disposes of the stock at a loss, the partnership entity may pass the resulting loss through to its partners.  However, to be allowed to claim the loss as an ordinary loss instead of a capital loss, the partner must have been a partner when the stock was issued and have remained so until the time of the loss.
  • Section 1244 is available only for losses sustained by shareholders who are individuals.  Losses sustained on stock held by a corporation, trust or estate do not qualify for 1244 treatment.  In limited cases, a partnership can qualify as a shareholder of 1244 stock.  Generally, all transfers of 1244 stock by the shareholder, whether in a taxable or nontaxable transaction, whether by death, gift, sale or exchange revoke 1244 status.

Sec. 1244 Limits

Provided all of the requirements listed above are met, ordinary loss treatment for losses that arise for stock disposition are allowed.  However, there are limits to the the amount of ordinary loss that an individual taxpayer may realize by reason of the small business stock provision.  Any amount of Sec. 1244 loss in excess of this limitation is treated as a capital loss (there is no carry-forward). For losses incurred by unmarried individuals, the maximum amount they may claim as an ordinary loss for all losses sustained on Sec. 1244 stock in a taxable year is $50,000.  For married individuals filing a joint return, up to $100,000 of the loss on Section 1244 stock may be claimed as an ordinary loss even if only one spouse owns the stock.

Recordkeeping

It is important that records are maintained for a minimum of five(5) years, and the records must show that the corporation’s stock qualifies as Section 1244 stock.

  • The corporate minutes/by-laws, should make reference to the issuance of Section1244 stock.
  • Keep records of gross receipts for the past five(5) years.

Understanding and unearthing all the caveats in the IRS tax code can be a daunting task for even the most sophisticated business owners and taxpayers, therefore it is always a good idea to consult a tax professional like those found at TaxPM who can help you review, and if necessary revise your tax filings.

 

Don’t be misinformed in 2018 regarding ACA (Affordable Care Act)

 

One of the biggest benefits (besides adjusting income tax brackets and their respective percentages) of the Tax Cut Jobs Act (TCJA) Trumpeted by the Trump administration was the repeal of the “individual mandate penalty”.  However, although other provisions of the tax bill took effect in 2018, the individual mandate penalty, which penalized taxpayers that did not carry health insurance for at least 9 months out of the year, will not be eliminated until the 2019 tax year.

Despite strong opposition to the penalty as being extremely unfair to the poorest of taxpayers (80% of those who paid the penalty earned less than $50,000/yr.), the penalty has increased steadily since it’s 2014 debut.

The Individual Mandate Penalty Started Out Small But Has Grown Over Time

•     In 2014, the punishment was $95 per uninsured adult ($47.50 per child), up to $285 per family, OR 1 percent of household income. The IRS released statistics that among filers who owed a penalty for the tax year ending 2014, the average penalty was $210.

•     In 2015, the penalty would be raised to $325 per uninsured adult ($162.50 per child), up to $975 per family, OR 2 percent of household income. The IRS released statistics that among filers who owed a penalty for the tax year ending 2015, the average penalty rose over 125% year-to-year to $470.

•     In 2016, the penalty was again significantly raised to $695 per uninsured adult ($347.50 per child), up to $2,085 per family, or 2.5 percent of household income.

The 2.5 percent of household income penalty has remained constant since 2016, and in 2018 will remain at $695 per uninsured adult ($347.50 per child), up to $2,085 per family, or 2.5 percent of household income.

In closing, it is important to remember that although the individual mandate penalty was eliminated as part of the tax cut legislation passed in December 2017, this penalty assessed by the IRS will still be in effect for the tax year 2018.

IRS confirmed it will process tax returns beginning Jan. 28

Despite the ongoing government shutdown, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought issued a statement yesterday that tax refunds will go out as scheduled, unlike in previous shutdowns.  The Internal Revenue Service has given the green light to processing returns as it set the date to being accepting returns beginning Jan 28th.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said on Monday, “we are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period.” The IRS doesn’t normally issue refunds during a shutdown, however Rettig said the IRS has “consistently been of the view that it has the authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations.”

The IRS closure during the partial government shutdown couldn’t have come at worse time for taxpayers looking for answers to the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20, 2017.  With almost 90% of the IRS workforce on furlough it’s unlikely that many taxpayers will be able to reach the IRS for help during the ongoing shutdown.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15 for most taxpayers.  Taxpayers in in Maine and Massachusetts are granted a couple of extra days due to the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15, likewise those residing in the District of Columbia where Emancipation Day holiday is being observed on April 16 also do not have to file until April 17th.