Newsletters

Tax Alerts
February 26, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

The IRS has issued guidance clarifying that taxpayers receiving loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) may deduct their business expenses, even if their PPP loans are forgiven. The IRS previously issued Notice 2020-32 and Rev. Rul. 2020-27, which stated that taxpayers who received PPP loans and had those loans forgiven would not be able to claim business deductions for their otherwise deductible business expenses.


The IRS has waived the requirement to file Form 1099 series information returns or furnish payee statements for certain COVID-related relief that is excluded from gross income.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain employers and employees who use the automobile lease valuation rule to determine the value of an employee’s personal use of an employer-provided automobile may switch to the vehicle cents-per-mile method.


Estimated tax underpayment penalties under Code Sec. 6654 are waived for certain excess business loss-related payments for tax years beginning in 2019. The relief is available to individuals, as well as trusts and estates that are treated as individuals for estimated tax payment penalty purposes.


The IRS has extended the time period during which employers must withhold and pay the employee portion of Social Security tax that employers elected to defer on wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.


The IRS has issued guidance that provides partnerships with relief from certain penalties for the inclusion of incorrect information in reporting their partners’ beginning capital account balances on the 2020 Schedules K-1 (Forms 1065 and 8865). The IRS has also provided relief from accuracy-related penalties for any tax year for the portion of an imputed underpayment attributable to the inclusion of incorrect information in a partner’s beginning capital account balance reported by a partnership for the 2020 tax year.


Final regulations provide guidance related to the limitation on the deduction for employee compensation in excess of $1 million.


The IRS has issued final regulations providing additional guidance on the limitation on the deduction for business interest under Code Sec. 163(j). The regulations finalize various portions of the proposed regulations issued in 2020 with few modifications. They address the application of the limit in the context of calculating adjusted taxable income (ATI) with respect to depreciation, amortization, and depletion. The regulations also finalize rules on the definitions of real property development and redevelopment, as well as application to passthrough entities, regulated investment companies (RICs), and controlled foreign corporations.


The IRS has released final regulations that address the changes made to Code Sec. 162(f) by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97), concerning the deduction of certain fines, penalties, and other amounts. The final regulations also provide guidance relating to the information reporting requirements for fines and penalties under Code Sec. 6050X.


The IRS has provided a safe harbor allowing a trade or business that manages or operates a qualified residential living facility to be treated as a "real property trade or business" solely for purposes of qualifying to make the Code Sec. 163(j)(7)(B) election. This guidance formalizes the proposed safe harbor issued in Notice 2020-59, I.R.B. 2020-34, 782. Taxpayers may apply the rules to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.


The IRS has released final regulations addressing the post-2017 simplified accounting rules for small businesses. The final regulations adopt and modify proposed regulations released in August 2020.


Gross income is taxed to the person who earns it by performing services, or who owns the property that generates the income. Under the assignment of income doctrine, a taxpayer cannot avoid tax liability by assigning a right to income to someone else. The doctrine is invoked, for example, for assignments to creditors, family members, charities, and controlled entities. Thus, the income is taxable to the person who earned it, even if the person assigns the income to another and never personally receives the income. The doctrine can apply to both individuals and corporations.


The mortgage interest deduction is widely used by the majority of individuals who itemize their deductions. In fact, the size of the average mortgage interest deduction alone persuades many taxpayers to itemize their deductions. It is not without cause, therefore, that two recent developments impacting the mortgage interest deserve being highlighted. These developments involve new reporting requirements designed to catch false or inflated deductions; and a case that effectively doubles the size of the mortgage interest deduction available to joint homeowners. But first, some basics.


Many federal income taxes are paid from amounts that are withheld from payments to the taxpayer. For instance, amounts roughly equal to an employee's estimated tax liability are generally withheld from the employee's wages and paid over to the government by the employer. In contrast, estimated taxes are taxes that are paid throughout the year on income that is not subject to withholding. Individuals must make estimated tax payments if they are self-employed or their income derives from interest, dividends, investment gains, rents, alimony, or other funds that are not subject to withholding.


A business operated by two or more owners can elect to be taxed as a partnership by filing Form 8832, the Entity Classification Election form. A business is eligible to elect partnership status if it has two or more members and:


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


An employer must withhold income taxes from compensation paid to common-law employees (but not from compensation paid to independent contractors). The amount withheld from an employee's wages is determined in part by the number of withholding exemptions and allowances the employee claims. Note that although the Tax Code and regulations distinguish between withholding exemptions and withholding allowances, the terms are interchangeable. The amount of reduction attributable to one withholding allowance is the same as that attributable to one withholding exemption. Form W-4 and most informal IRS publications refer to both as withholding allowances, probably to avoid confusion with the complete exemption from withholding for employees with no tax liability.