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President signs bill that provides more PPP flexibility

Posted by Admin Posted on June 11 2020

President signs bill that provides more PPP flexibility

 

 

H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

On June 5, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act (PPPFA) of 2020 (H.R. 7010) which provides more flexibility for participants in the PPP program, including allowing those participants to defer the payment of certain payroll taxes that the CARES Act prevented them from deferring.

Background. The PPP is a provision included in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136, the Act) that authorizes a certain amount of forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CARES Act contains a provision, Act Sec. 2302, that defers the payment of 50% of certain payroll taxes until Dec. 31, 2021 and defers payment of the remaining 50% until Dec. 31, 2022. The Act provides an exception to the above rule; under that exception, these deferrals don't apply to any taxpayer which has had indebtedness forgiven under Act Sec. 1106 with respect to a loan under Small Business Act Sec. 7(a)(36), as added by Act Sec. 1102 (PPP loans), or indebtedness forgiven under Act Sec. 1109.  

New law provides tax deferral relief. PPPFA eliminates the above exception and thus would allow taxpayers with these forgiven loans to defer payment of the payroll taxes.

Non-tax provisions in new law. The following are among the non-tax provisions in the new law:

 

  • In the original CARES Act, PPP loans were forgiven if a business spent 75% of the loan money on payroll. PPPFA lowers that to 60%.

  • PPPFA allows businesses 24 weeks, instead of the 8 weeks contained in the original CARES Act, to use the loan money. PPPFA also does not require businesses to wait for 24 weeks to apply for forgiveness; they can still do so after eight weeks if they prefer.

  • PPPFA pushes back a June 30 deadline to rehire workers to December 31, 2020.

  • The CARES Act required a business to rehire the same number of full-time employees or full-time equivalents by June 30, 2020. It provided one exception to that requirement. PPPFA provides additional exceptions if an employer is unable to rehire the required number of employees. For example, there is an exception if the employer Is able to demonstrate an inability to hire similarly qualified employees on or before December 31, 2020

  • For any PPP loan that is not forgiven, a business will have five years to repay the loan.

With over $100 billion left in the program as of June 8th, 2020, businesses that have not yet taken advantage of the PPP loan can consider doing so - especially since the forgiveness terms have been eased. PPP Loans can be made to eligible businesses (including self-employed individuals) until June 30th. 

 

 

Tax rule changes for improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings.

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 21 2020

Tax rule changes for improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings.

At long last, a beneficial change in the tax rules for many improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings (“qualified improvement property” or “QIP”) was tackled by the CARES Act. You may recall that following the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), any QIP placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017 was not considered to be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation. Therefore, the cost of QIP had to be deducted over a 39-year period instead of entirely in the year the QIP was placed in service. That result was due to an inadvertent drafting error by Congress.

The 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law on Mar. 27, 2020. The CARES Act corrects the TCJA drafting error for QIP. Thus, most businesses are now allowed to claim 100% bonus depreciation for QIP, as long as certain other requirements are met. What also is helpful is that the correction is retroactive, and it reaches back to apply to any QIP placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017. Unfortunately, improvements related to the enlargement of a building, any elevator or escalator, or the internal structural framework continue to be outside of the definition of QIP.

In the current business climate, you may not be in a position to undertake new capital expenditures, even if needed as a practical matter and even if the substitution of 100% bonus depreciation for a 39-year depreciation period significantly lowers the true cost of QIP. But it s good to know that when you are ready to undertake qualifying improvements, the generous subsidy of 100% bonus depreciation will be available.

And, the retroactive effect of the CARES Act presents favorable opportunities for qualifying expenditures you've already made. We can revisit and add to documentation that you've already provided me to identify QIP expenditures.

For not-yet-filed returns, we can simply reflect the favorable treatment for QIP on the return.

If you've filed returns that didn't claim 100% bonus depreciation for what may prove to be QIP, we can investigate based on available documentation as discussed above. If there is QIP that was in fact eligible for 100% bonus depreciation, note that IRS has, for past retroactive favorable depreciation changes, provided taxpayers with detailed guidance for how the benefit is claimed. That is, IRS clarified how much flexibility taxpayers have in choosing between a one-time downward adjustment to income on their current returns or an amendment to the return for the year the QIP was placed in service. We will be monitoring what options exist as anticipated IRS guidance for the QIP correction is released.

 

In-depth look at Economic Impact Payments

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 21 2020

 Individual recovery rebate/credit. 

Under the CARES Act, an eligible individual is allowed an income tax credit for 2020 equal to the sum of: (1) $1,200 ($2,400 for eligible individuals filing a joint return) plus (2) $500 for each qualifying child of the taxpayer, as defined under Code Sec. 24(c) for purposes of the child tax credit. (Code Sec. 6428(a), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a)) The credit is refundable. (Code Sec. 6428(b), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a))

Checkmark Observation For purposes of the child tax credit, the term “qualifying child” generally means a dependent child of the taxpayer under age 17.

Checkmark Illustration A married couple with two children under 17 and adjusted gross income below the $150,000 phaseout threshold (below) would receive a credit of $3,400.

Checkmark Observation There's no minimum income requirement. Individuals with no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable benefit programs such as SSI, are eligible for the credit and the advance rebate. (CARES Section-by-Section Summary, p. 10).

Eligibility for credit. For purposes of the credit, an “eligible individual” is any individual other than a nonresident alien or an individual for whom a dependency deduction is allowable to another taxpayer for the tax year. Estates and trusts aren't eligible for the credit. (Code Sec. 6428(d), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a))

Checkmark Observation Children who can be claimed as dependents by their parents aren't eligible for the credit, even if they have enough income to be required to file a return.

Phaseout of credit. The amount of the credit is reduced (but not below zero) by 5% of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI) in excess of: (1) $150,000 for a joint return, (2) $112,500 for a head of household, and (3) $75,000 for all other taxpayers. (Code Sec. 6428(c), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a))

Checkmark Observation Under these rules, the credit is completely phased-out for a single filer with AGI exceeding $99,000 and for joint filers with no children with AGI exceeding $198,000. For a head of household with one child, the credit is completely phased out when AGI exceeds $146,500. (CARES Section-by-Section Summary, p. 10)

Advance payment of credit during 2020. Each individual who was an eligible individual for 2019 is treated as having made an income tax payment for 2019 equal to the advance refund amount. The “advance refund amount” is the amount that would have been allowed as a credit for 2019 had the credit provision been in effect for that year.

IRS will refund or credit any resulting overpayment as rapidly as possible. No interest will be paid on the overpayment. IRS calls these payments “economic impact payments.”

Checkmark Observation In other words, even though the credit is technically for 2020, the law treats a hypothetical credit for 2019 as an overpayment that IRS will rebate as soon as possible during 2020.

Checkmark Observation An individual who wouldn't qualify for a credit in 2019 because of too much income may turn out to be entitled to a credit for 2020. IRS won't send an advance rebate to such an individual, because advance rebates are generally based on information on the 2019 return. However, the individual will be able to claim the credit when filing the 2020 return.

The vast majority of people won't need to take any action to receive an advance payment. IRS will calculate and send the payment automatically to those who are eligible.

If an individual hasn't yet filed a 2019 income tax return, IRS will determine the amount of the rebate using information from the taxpayer's 2018 return.

If no 2018 return has been filed, IRS will use information from the individual's 2019 Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, or Form RRB-1099, Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement. This applies to social security recipients and railroad retirees who aren't otherwise required to file a tax return. Those individuals will receive a $1,200 payment.

IRS may make the rebate by direct deposit to any account to which the payee authorized, on or after Jan. 1, 2018, the delivery of a refund of federal taxes or of a federal payment. IRS is developing a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information, so that they can receive direct payments instead of receiving checks by mail.

UPDATE: The IRS has launched this portal here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

No later than 15 days after IRS distributes a rebate payment, it must mail a notice to the taxpayer's last known address indicating how the payment was made, the amount of the payment, and a phone number for reporting any failure to receive the payment to IRS.

No advance rebate will be made or allowed after Dec. 31, 2020. (Code Sec. 6428(f), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a); IR 2020-61, 3/30/2020)

Advance rebate reduces credit allowed for 2020. The amount of credit that is allowable for 2020 must be reduced (but not below zero) by the aggregate advance rebates made or allowed to the taxpayer during 2020.

Checkmark Observation If the taxpayer received an advance rebate during 2020 that was less than the credit to which the taxpayer is entitled for 2020, the taxpayer will be able to claim the balance of the credit when filing the 2020 return. If, on the other hand, the advance rebate received was greater than the credit to which the taxpayer is entitled, the taxpayer won't have to pay back the excess. That's because the 2020 credit can't be reduced below zero.

If an advance rebate was made or allowed for a joint return, half of the rebate is treated as having been made or allowed to each spouse who filed the joint return.

Checkmark Observation Thus, if taxpayers filed a joint return for 2019 and received an advance rebate, but were divorced or filed separate returns for 2020, each individual will take into account half of the advance rebate when reducing the credit allowed for 2020.

Identification number requirement. No credit will be allowed to an eligible individual who doesn't include the individual's valid identification number on the tax return for the tax year. A “valid identification number” means a social security number, as defined in Code Sec. 24(h)(7).

Checkmark Observation Under Code Sec. 24(h)(7), a “social security number” must be issued by the Social Security Administration to a U.S. citizen or to an alien who is eligible to be employed in the U.S. Also, the number must have been issued by the due date of the return.

On a joint return, the valid identification number of the individual's spouse must be included. But this requirement doesn't apply if at least one spouse was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at anytime during the tax year and at least one spouse's valid identification number is included on the joint return.

If a qualifying child is taken into account in figuring the credit, the child's valid identification number must also be included on the return. For a qualifying child who is adopted or placed for adoption, the child's adoption taxpayer identification number is a valid identification number.

An omission of a correct valid identification number is treated as a mathematical or clerical error that can be summarily assessed without using the deficiency procedures. (Code Sec. 6428(g), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a))

U.S. territories. The rebates are fully available to residents of U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico. (Act Sec. 2201(c))

Regulations. IRS is to prescribe regs and other guidance as necessary to carry out the purposes of the credit provision, including appropriate measures to avoid allowing a taxpayer to receive multiple credits or rebates. (Code Sec. 6428(h), as added by Act Sec. 2201(a))

Taxability of payment. In FAQs posted to the IRS website, IRS clarified that the payment is not taxable as income and that recipients will not owe tax on it. IRS further stated that it will not “reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year” or “affect your income for purposes of determining eligibility for federal governmental assistance or payment programs.”

(https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center)

 

 

Tax Relief provided by the CARES Act

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 07 2020

CARES Act Summary

Recovery rebates for individuals.  To help individuals stay afloat during this time of economic uncertainty, the government will send up to $1,200 payments to eligible taxpayers and $2,400 for married couples filing joints returns. An additional $500 additional payment will be sent to taxpayers for each qualifying child dependent under age 17 (using the qualification rules under the Child Tax Credit).

Rebates are gradually phased out, at a rate of 5% of the individual’s adjusted gross income over $75,000 (singles or marrieds filing separately), $112,500 (head of household), and $150,000 (joint). There is no income floor or ‘‘phase-in’’—all recipients who are under the phaseout threshold will receive the same amounts. Tax filers must have provided, on the relevant tax returns or other documents (see below), Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for each family member for whom a rebate is claimed. Adoption taxpayer identification numbers will be accepted for adopted children. SSNs are not required for spouses of active military members. The rebates are not available to nonresident aliens, to estates and trusts, or to individuals who themselves could be claimed as dependents.

The rebates will be paid out in the form of checks or direct deposits. Most individuals won’t have to take any action to receive a rebate. IRS will compute the rebate based on a taxpayer’s tax year 2019 return (or tax year 2018, if no 2019 return has yet been filed). If no 2018 return has been filed, IRS will use information for 2019 provided in Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, or Form RRB-1099, Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement.

Rebates are payable whether or not tax is owed. Thus, individuals who had little or no income, such as those who filed returns simply to claim the refundable earned income credit or child tax credit, qualify for a rebate.

To check payment status with the IRS and update limited information, please visit:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Waiver of 10% early distribution penalty. The additional 10% tax on early distributions from IRAs and defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) is waived for distributions made between January 1 and December 31, 2020 by a person who (or whose family) is infected with the Coronavirus or who is economically harmed by the Coronavirus (a qualified individual). Penalty-free distributions are limited to $100,000, and may, subject to guidelines, be re-contributed to the plan or IRA. Income arising from the distributions is spread out over three years unless the employee elects to turn down the spread out. Employers may amend defined contribution plans to provide for these distributions. Additionally, defined contribution plans are permitted additional flexibility in the amount and repayment terms of loans to employees who are qualified individuals.

Waiver of required distribution rules. Required minimum distributions that otherwise would have to be made in 2020 from defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) and IRAs are waived. This includes distributions that would have been required by April 1, 2020, due to the account owner’s having turned age 70 1/2 in 2019.

Charitable deduction liberalizations. The CARES Act makes four significant liberalizations to the rules governing charitable deductions:

(1) Individuals will be able to claim a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions made, generally, to public charities in 2020. This rule effectively allows a limited charitable deduction to taxpayers claiming the standard deduction.

(2) The limitation on charitable deductions for individuals that is generally 60% of modified adjusted gross income (the contribution base) doesn’t apply to cash contributions made, generally, to public charities in 2020 (qualifying contributions). Instead, an individual’s qualifying contributions, reduced by other contributions, can be as much as 100% of the contribution base. No connection between the contributions and COVID-19 activities is required.

(3) Similarly, the limitation on charitable deductions for corporations that is generally 10% of (modified) taxable income doesn’t apply to qualifying contributions made in 2020. Instead, a corporation’s qualifying contributions, reduced by other contributions, can be as much as 25% of (modified) taxable income. No connection between the contributions and COVID-19 activities is required. 

(4) For contributions of food inventory made in 2020, the deduction limitation increases from 15% to 25% of taxable income for C corporations and, for other taxpayers, from 15% to 25% of the net aggregate income from all businesses from which the contributions were made.

Exclusion for employer payments of student loans. An employee currently may exclude $5,250 from income for benefits from an employer-sponsored educational assistance program. The CARES Act expands the definition of expenses qualifying for the exclusion to include employer payments of student loan debt made before January 1, 2021. 

Break for remote care services provided by high deductible health plans.  For plan years beginning before 2021, the CARES Act allows high deductible health plans to pay for expenses for tele-health and other remote services without regard to the deductible amount for the plan.

Break for nonprescription medical products. For amounts paid after December 31, 2019, the CARES Act allows amounts paid from Health Savings Accounts and Archer Medical Savings Accounts to be treated as paid for medical care even if they aren’t paid under a prescription. And, amounts paid for menstrual care products are treated as amounts paid for medical care. For reimbursements after December 31, 2019, the same rules apply to Flexible Spending Arrangements and Health Reimbursement Arrangements.

Business only provisions 

Employee retention credit for employers. Eligible employers can qualify for a refundable credit against, generally, the employer’s 6.2% portion of the Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax (or against the Railroad Retirement tax) for 50% of certain wages (below) paid to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The credit is available to employers carrying on business during 2020, including non-profits (but not government entities), whose operations for a calendar quarter have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. The credit is also available to employers who have experienced a more than 50% reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis relative to the corresponding 2019 quarter, with the eligible quarters continuing until the quarter after there is a quarter in which receipts are greater than 80% of the receipts for the corresponding 2019 quarter.

For employers with more than 100 employees in 2019, the eligible wages are wages of employees who aren’t providing services because of the business suspension or reduction in gross receipts described above.

For employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees in 2019, all employee wages are eligible, even if employees haven’t been prevented from providing services. The credit is provided for wages and compensation, including health benefits, and is provided for the first $10,000 in eligible wages and compensation paid by the employer to an employee. Thus, the credit is a maximum $5,000 per employee. 

Wages don’t include (1) wages taken into account for purposes of the payroll credits provided by the earlier Families First Coronavirus Response Act for required paid sick leave or required paid family leave, (2) wages taken into account for the employer income tax credit for paid family and medical leave (under Code Sec. 45S) or (3) wages in a period in which an employer is allowed for an employee a work opportunity credit (under Code Sec. 51). An employer can elect to not have the credit apply on a quarter-by-quarter basis. 

The IRS has authority to advance payments to eligible employers and to waive penalties for employers who do not deposit applicable payroll taxes in reasonable anticipation of receiving the credit. The credit is not available to employers receiving Small Business Interruption Loans. The credit is provided for wages paid after March 12, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Delayed payment of employer payroll taxes. Taxpayers (including self-employeds) will be able to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Taxes that can be deferred include the 6.2% employer portion of the Social Security (OASDI) payroll tax and the employer and employee representative portion of Railroad Retirement taxes (that are attributable to the employer 6.2% Social Security (OASDI) rate). The relief isn’t available if the taxpayer has had debt forgiveness under the CARES Act for certain loans under the Small Business Act as modified by the CARES Act (see below). For self-employeds, the deferral applies to 50% of the Self-Employment Contributions Act tax liability (including any related estimated tax liability).

Net operating loss liberalizations. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the 2017 Tax Law) limited NOLs arising after 2017 to 80% of taxable income and eliminated the ability to carry NOLs back to prior tax years. For NOLs arising in tax years beginning before 2021, the CARES Act allows taxpayers to carryback 100% of NOLs to the prior five tax years, effectively delaying for carrybacks the 80% taxable income limitation and carryback prohibition until 2021.

The Act also temporarily liberalizes the treatment of NOL carryforwards. For tax years beginning before 2021, taxpayers can take an NOL deduction equal to 100% of taxable income (rather than the present 80% limit). For tax years beginning after 2021, taxpayers will be eligible for: (1) a 100% deduction of NOLs arising in tax years before 2018, and (2) a deduction limited to 80% of taxable income for NOLs arising in tax years after 2017.

The provision also includes special rules for REITS, life insurance companies, and the Code Sec. 965 transition tax. There are also technical corrections to the 2017 Tax Law effective dates for NOL changes.

Deferral of noncorporate taxpayer loss limits.  The CARES Act retroactively turns off the excess active business loss limitation rule of the TCJA in Code Sec. 461(l) by deferring its effective date to tax years beginning after December 31, 2020 (rather than December 31, 2017). (Under the rule, active net business losses in excess of $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) are disallowed by the 2017 Tax Law and were treated as NOL carryforwards in the following tax year.)

The CARES Act clarifies, in a technical amendment that is retroactive, that an excess loss is treated as part of any net operating loss for the year, but isn’t automatically carried forward to the next year. Another technical amendment clarifies that excess business losses do not include any deduction under Code Sec. 172 (NOL deduction) or Code Sec. 199A (qualified business income deduction).

Still another technical amendment clarifies that business deductions and income don’t include any deductions, gross income or gain attributable to performing services as an employee. And because capital losses of non-corporations cannot offset ordinary income under the NOL rules, capital loss deductions are not taken into account in computing the Code Sec. 461(l) loss and the amount of capital gain taken into account cannot exceed the lesser of capital gain net income from a trade or business or capital gain net income.

Acceleration of corporate AMT liability credit. The 2017 Tax Law repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) and allowed corporations to claim outstanding AMT credits subject to certain limits for tax years before 2021, at which time any remaining AMT credit could be claimed as fully-refundable. The CARES Act allows corporations to claim 100% of AMT credits in 2019 as fully-refundable and further provides an election to accelerate the refund to 2018.

Relaxation of business interest deduction limit. The 2017 Tax Law generally limited the amount of business interest allowed as a deduction to 30% of adjusted taxable income (ATI). The CARES Act generally allows businesses, unless they elect otherwise, to increase the interest limitation to 50% of ATI for 2019 and 2020, and to elect to use 2019 ATI in calculating their 2020 limitation. For partnerships, the 30% of ATI limit remains in place for 2019 but is 50% for 2020. However, unless a partner elects otherwise, 50% of any business interest allocated to a partner in 2019 is deductible in 2020 and not subject to the 50% (formerly 30%) ATI limitation. The remaining 50% of excess business interest from 2019 allocated to the partner is subject to the ATI limitations. Partnerships, like other businesses, may elect to use 2019 partnership ATI in calculating their 2020 limitation.

Technical correction to restore faster write-offs for interior building improvements. The CARES Act makes a technical correction to the 2017 Tax Law that retroactively treats (1) a wide variety of interior, non-load-bearing building improvements (qualified improvement property (QIP)) as eligible for bonus deprecation (and hence a 100% write-off) or for treatment as 15-year MACRS property or (2) if required to be treated as alternative depreciation system property, as eligible for a write-off over 20 years. The correction of the error in the 2017 Tax Law restores the eligibility of QIP for bonus depreciation, and in giving QIP 15-year MACRS status, restores 15-year MACRS write-offs for many leasehold, restaurant and retail improvements.

Accelerated payment of credits for required paid sick leave and family leave. The CARES Act authorizes IRS broadly to allow employers an accelerated benefit of the paid sick leave and paid family leave credits allowed by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by, for example, not requiring deposits of payroll taxes in the amount of credits earned.

Pension funding delay. The CARES Act gives single employer pension plan companies more time to meet their funding obligations by delaying the due date for any contribution otherwise due during 2020 until January 1, 2021. At that time, contributions due earlier will be due with interest. Also, a plan can treat its status for benefit restrictions as of December 31, 2019 as applying throughout 2020.

Certain SBA loan debt forgiveness isn’t taxable. Amounts of Small Business Administration Section 7(a)(36) guaranteed loans that are forgiven under the CARES Act aren’t taxable as discharge of indebtedness income if the forgiven amounts are used for one of several permitted purposes. The loans have to be made during the period beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020.

Suspension of certain alcohol excise taxes. The CARES Act suspends alcohol taxes on spirits withdrawn during 2020 from a bonded premises for use in or contained in hand sanitizer produced and distributed in a manner consistent with FDA guidance related to the outbreak of virus SARSCoV- 2 or COVID-19.

Suspension of certain aviation taxes. The CARES Act suspends excise taxes on air transportation of persons and of property and on the excise tax imposed on kerosene used in commercial aviation. The suspension runs from March 28, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 

IRS information site. Ongoing information on the IRS and tax legislation response to COVID- 19 can be found at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

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