Category Archives: Tax Services

U.S. Department of Treasury Expands Income Tax Filing and Payment Relief

In an official pronouncement released Thursday, April 9, the U.S. Department of Treasury expanded on the income tax filing extension and payment relief efforts in response to the current COVID-19 situation.  Effectively, any “income” tax filing or payment that would normally be due during the months of April through June of 2020 has now been automatically extended until July 15, 2020.  As a supplement to the prior income tax filing and payment extensions granted, this new announcement delays the need to remit any quarterly estimated tax payments until July 15th without incurring any penalty or interest charges.  As a result, any business or individual with 2020 quarterly estimated tax payments needs is able to delay both the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 payments (normally due April 15th and June 15th, respectively) until July 15, 2020.  Also extended are any fiscal year-end income tax return filings (and corresponding tax payments) for businesses (corporate, LLC, partnerships or trusts), gift and estate tax filings, nonprofit organization income tax filings that would have been due in April, May, or June of 2020.  Note that these enhanced extension relief rules do not pertain to Employment Tax Reporting and Payments (including all payroll-related tax returns and deposit requirements).  Finally, as reaffirmation of the recommendations we have previously provided for any business, organization or individual taxpayers that will require additional time to file their respective 2020 income tax returns, the standard extended due dates of September 15 and October 15 may still be requested via filing of the applicable extension form prior to July 15, 2020.

We trust you will find the highlights we have provided on this new pronouncement helpful, but should you have further questions please contact us.

SBA loans may be more difficult than we thought

Small businesses looking to get some relief from the Payroll Protection Program may run into a snag or two.  Because this stimulus package was passed so quickly, the banks are not necessarily prepared to handle the loans like the media initially described.  This article from Fortune provides some additional insight.

If you are a small business looking to apply for one of these loans, here is a link to help you find a lender along with a sample application.

We understand how difficult this time is for you.  If we can be of any assistance, we will be happy to help!  Please contact our office if you have questions or would like to know more about other COVID-19 relief options.

PRESS RELEASE: NC Deferring Interest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Contact: Joseph Kyzer<mailto:joseph.kyzer@ncleg.net>

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

 

North Carolina Leaders Announce Shared Support for Deferring Interest on Income Tax Until July 15

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina leaders announced shared bipartisan support for deferring the accrual of interest on state income taxes filed before July 15, 2020, in a joint statement released by General Assembly lawmakers and Governor Cooper on Tuesday.

View on SpeakerMoore.com<http://speakermoore.com/north-carolina-leaders-announce-shared-support-deferring-interest-income-tax-july-15/>

The deadline for state and federal tax filings were recently delayed to July 15, 2020, and penalties for late payments were also waived.

However, the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor must approve legislation to defer accrual of interest on income taxes, an action that state leaders announced shared support for approving retroactively on Tuesday.

State Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), and House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) released a joint statement with Governor Cooper on Tuesday.

“One of the biggest questions we are getting on economic issues is whether families and businesses will be responsible for paying interest on their income taxes now that the filing deadline is delayed,” the five state leaders said in a joint statement Tuesday.

“Today, we can announce our shared support for retroactively waiving the accrual of those interest payments to provide further tax relief for North Carolinians amid the COVID-19 crisis, an important step to offer certainty and recovery assistance for millions of our state’s residents.”

Under North Carolina law, the liability for failure to pay estimated income tax on time is the accrual of interest. The Secretary of the Department of Revenue is not authorized to waive interest and the agency is required to charge interest on any unpaid tax.

Therefore, the General Assembly and Governor must approve legislation to ensure taxpayers are not liable for such interest between April 15, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the extended deadline.

____________________________________________________________________________________

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Legislative Building | 16 West Jones Street | Raleigh, NC 27601 | 919-733-4111

 

COVID-19 Links

In an effort to streamline the ever-changing world we live in with the COVID-19 virus, here are some links that are all related to updated tax changes, small businesses, individual sick leave, and other filing requirements.  As more information is released, it will be added at the top of this list.

 

 

 

Have you been using zoom?  https://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2020/04/13/500000-hacked-zoom-accounts-given-away-for-free-on-the-dark-web/#58a7fbc858c5

US Dept of Treasury Grants Additional Income Tax Filing and Payment Relief https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-23.pdf

New NonProfit Extensions https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm970

CDC Recommendations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

COVID-19 Relief Tracker https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannegarrett/2020/03/20/small-business-relief-tracker-funding-grants-and-resources-for-business-owners-grappling-with-coronavirus/#1e1e001bdd4c

There’s hope for Small Businesses! https://www.wraltechwire.com/2020/04/03/bank-of-america-accepting-virus-crisis-loan-applications-receives-10000-in-first-hour/

Key Highlights of the CARES Act and the FFCRA Relief Provisions https://www.langdoncpa.com/?p=4717&preview=true

SBA loans more difficult than we thought https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/04/03/sba-loans-may-be-more-difficult-than-we-thought/

Employer tax credits, and more https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/apr/irs-new-employer-tax-credits-form-employee-retention-credit-guidance-coronavirus.html

More Assistance for Nonprofits https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/trends-policy-issues/loans-available-nonprofits-the-cares-act-public-law-116-132

NC Press Release: Deferred Interest https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/04/01/press-release-nc-deferring-interest/

Applications for Small Business Paycheck Protection Program https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/paycheck-protection-loan-for-small-businesses-coronavirus-pandemic.html

Employer questions answered! https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/employers

SBA debt relief related to COVID-19 https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-4

Gift tax returns extended too! https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/gift-gst-tax-returns-postponed-filing-deadlines-coronavirus-pandemic.html

Assisted Living Resources for COVID-19 https://www.ncala.org/covid-19.html

How much COVID-19 stimulus will I receive? https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/the-stimulus-payment-calculator-tells-you-how-much-money-you-could-get.html

Possible Increase for VA Nursing Facilities https://www.vhca.org/publications/careconnection/march-26-2020/vhca-vcal-seeking-additional-funding-for-nf-care-under-covid-19-emergency/

COVID-19 Resources for Non-Profits https://www.ncnonprofits.org/resources/pandemicresources

The CARES Act questions answered https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/cares-act-economic-relief-coronavirus-tax-provisions.html?utm_source=mnl:alerts&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=25Mar2020&utm_content=headline

NC DHHS provides additional COVID-19 support https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/nc-medicaid-increases-support-protect-those-most-risk-serious-illness-covid-19

Clarification on NC Tax Deadlines https://www.ncacpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Frequently-Asked-Questions-COVID-final.pdf?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=NCACPA&_zs=fG9HX&_zl=MMK22

Employers using Payroll Tax Credits for Paid Leave due to Coronavirus https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/employers-can-begin-using-payroll-tax-credits-for-paid-leave-for-coronavirus

CMS extends Cost Report Deadlines https://www.palmettogba.com/palmetto/providers.nsf/ls/JM%20Part%20A~BMYLSN5443?opendocument&utm_source=J11AL&utm_campaign=JMALs&utm_medium=email

Small Business Q&A https://sbshrs.adpinfo.com/covid19-faqs

IRS push back tax FILING deadline https://abc11.com/business/tax-day-pushed-back-amid-viral-outbreak-mnuchin/6031749/

Bill to address paid sick leave related to COVID-19 (FFCRA) https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomspiggle/2020/03/17/the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-what-it-does-for-employees-who-need-paid-sick-leave/#615dd2f06f1a

HUD and Single Audit Extension https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-17.pdf?utm_medium=email&SubscriberID=111017000&utm_source=GAQC20&Site=AICPA&LinkID=8741972&utm_campaign=GAQC_AlertMAR20&cid=email:GAQC20:GAQC_AlertMAR20:https%3a%2f%2fwww.whitehouse.gov%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2020%2f03%2fM-20-17.pdf:AICPA&SendID=266068&utm_content=A20MAR400_GAQC_Alert401

IRS Press Release “Payment Relief” https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/03/19/official-guidance-for-tax-deadlines/

Single Audit Submission Info https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-11.pdf

US Department of Labor defines FMLA related to COVID-19 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic

IRS extends PAYMENT deadline https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/treasury-and-irs-to-delay-tax-deadline-by-90-days.html

https://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21129660/2020-tax-season-payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-as-nation-fights-coronavirus-irs-news?utm_source=CPA+Other+Communications&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CCSN200317002&o_eid=9442A3978623C7T&rdx.ident=[object+Object]

 

Official Guidance for Tax Deadlines

From IRS Press Release:

March 18, 2020

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.

This payment relief includes:

Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.

Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.

This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. If you file your tax return or request an extension of time to file by April 15, 2020, you will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

The IRS reminds individual taxpayers the easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses must file Form 7004.

This relief only applies to federal income tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

401(k) plan highlights of the SECURE Act

Late last year, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Among its most notable rule changes are those pertaining to 401(k) plans. Here are some key highlights.

New tax credit

Starting in 2020, the new rules create a tax credit of up to $500 per year to employers to defray startup costs for new 401(k) plans and SIMPLE IRA plans that include automatic enrollment.

The credit, available for three years, is in addition to an existing plan startup credit. Employers who convert an existing plan to a plan with an automatic enrollment design may also claim this tax break.

Auto-enrollment safe harbor plans

An annual nondiscrimination test called the actual deferral percentage (ADP) test applies to elective deferrals under a 401(k) plan. The ADP test is deemed satisfied if a 401(k) plan includes certain minimum matching or nonelective contributions under either of two safe harbor plan designs and meets certain other requirements. (Certain other required rights and features must also be met, as well as a notice requirement.)

One of the safe harbor plans is an automatic enrollment safe harbor plan. Starting in 2020, the new rules increase the cap on the default rate under an automatic enrollment safe harbor plan from 10% to 15%, but only for years after the participant’s first deemed election year. For the participant’s first deemed election year, the cap on the default rate is 10%.

Other safe harbor plan enticements

Under another type of 401(k) safe harbor plan, the plan either:

  • Satisfies a matching contribution requirement, or
  • Provides for a nonelective contribution to a defined contribution plan of at least 3% of an employee’s compensation on behalf of each nonhighly compensated employee who’s eligible to participate in the plan.

Starting in 2020, new rules eliminate the safe harbor notice requirement but maintain the requirement to allow employees to make or change an election at least once per year.

The rules also permit amendments to nonelective status at any time before the 30th day before the close of the plan year. Amendments after that time are allowed if the amendment provides a nonelective contribution of at least 4% of compensation (rather than at least 3%) for all eligible employees for that plan year. Also, the plan must be amended no later than the last day for distributing excess contributions for the plan year (in other words, by the close of following plan year).

Widespread impact

These are only some of the provisions of the SECURE Act that might affect your organization. The law’s provisions address not only 401(k) plans, but also defined benefit plans, IRAs and 529 plans. Contact us for help determining precisely how the act may affect your existing retirement plan or any you’re considering.

© 2020

Congress rolls back burdensome UBIT on transportation benefits

A much-hated tax on not-for-profit organizations is on the way out. At the end of 2019, Congress repealed a provision of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that triggered the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) of 21% on nonprofit employers that provide employees with transportation fringe benefits. Unequipped to handle the additional administrative burdens and compliance costs, thousands of nonprofits had complained — and legislators apparently listened.

Same benefits, new costs

At issue is the TCJA provision saying that nonprofits must count disallowed deduction amounts paid for transportation fringe benefits such as transit passes and parking in their UBIT calculations. UBIT applies to business income that isn’t related to the organization’s tax-exempt function. Thus, simply by continuing to provide some of the same transportation benefits they’ve always provided employees, nonprofits were liable for additional tax.

For example, employers were forced to assign a value to parking spaces provided to employees. Such activities were time-consuming and burdensome, and the additional costs forced nonprofits to divert funds from pursuing their missions. Nonprofit coalition Independent Sector estimates that the transportation tax and related administrative costs set back nonprofits by an average $12,000.

Fortunately, the repeal of the UBIT provision will be retroactive. Although the details haven’t yet been hammered out, nonprofits that paid the tax on applicable transportation benefits in 2018 and 2019 are expected to get their money back.

Other developments

Repealing the UBIT on certain transportation benefits isn’t the only recent legislation of interest to nonprofits. Last month, Congress also streamlined the foundation excise tax. The current two-tiered tax that many foundations protested will be replaced with a 1.39% revenue-neutral tax.

Congress is likely to address other nonprofit demands — for example, for the introduction of a universal charitable deduction — in future sessions. We can help you stay current with the latest tax developments affecting nonprofits. Contact us.

© 2020

Employers can truncate SSNs on employees’ W-2s

 

The IRS recently issued final regulations that permit employers to voluntarily truncate employee Social Security Numbers (SSNs) on copies of Forms W-2 furnished to employees. The purpose of the regs is to aid employers’ efforts in protecting workers from identity theft.

Proposals and comments

On September 20, 2017, the IRS issued proposed regs on the truncation concept. A truncated taxpayer identification number (TTIN) displays only the last four digits of a taxpayer identifying number and uses asterisks or “Xs” for the first five digits.

Seventeen comments were submitted on the notice of proposed rulemaking and many recommended adopting the rules. Some disagreed and noted concerns of employees not being able to verify whether the SSN filed with the Social Security Administration and IRS is correct. Other comments indicated concerns that it would be more difficult for tax return preparers to verify the employee has provided the correct SSN.

But the IRS and U.S. Department of the Treasury determined that the benefit of allowing truncation outweighs the risk that unintended consequences could occur. Moreover, the agencies believed problems could be mitigated. For example, tax return preparers can use Forms W-2 containing truncated SSNs to verify employee information by using the last four digits of the SSN and the employee’s name and address.

Other considerations

Another objection noted an increased administrative burden on employers with employees who work in multiple states because the employer will have to determine the requirements for each state. (Some state and local governments may not allow truncation.) This, too, was rejected by the IRS and Department of the Treasury. The agencies explained that the rules accommodate potential burdens on employers by making truncation optional.

It was also suggested that a better way to protect employees’ identities is to require employers to furnish the employee copy of Form W-2 electronically. But this was outside the scope of the rule and, under existing rules, employers are permitted to furnish Form W-2 electronically if the employee consents.

Final regs

The final regulations amend existing regs to permit employers to voluntarily truncate employees’ SSNs on copies of Forms W-2 that are furnished to employees so that the truncated SSNs appear in the form of IRS TTINs. The final regs also:

  • Amend the regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 6109 (supplying of identifying numbers) to clarify the application of the truncation rules to Form W-2,
  • Add an example illustrating the application of these rules, and
  • Delete obsolete provisions and update cross references in the regs under Sec. 6051 (receipts for employees) and Sec. 6052 (returns regarding payment of wages in the form of group term life insurance).

The final regulations took effect on the date of publication in the Federal Register: July 3, 2019.

Important role

Employers play an important role in the fight against identity theft. Consider whether truncation of employees’ SSNs on W-2s is a feasible step for you. Contact us for further information and assistance.

© 2019

Employer Shared Responsibility Penalties

by Tony Pandiscia

The Internal Revenue Service “IRS” has recently been issuing “226J Letters” to businesses to conduct inquiry into whether compliance was properly maintained under the Affordable Care Act [“ACA”] for the 2016 Tax Year.  While the IRS has been authorized to issue this correspondence in the past, the 2016 Tax Year is significant because it marks the first year following the sunset of favorable “transitional relief” rules that had been available in prior years for businesses that were not in compliance with the ACA.  When a business is not in compliance with the ACA healthcare mandate, the result is exposure to the “employer shared responsibility penalty” [or “ESRP”].

A business may incur the “ESRP” under the ACA when it is an applicable large employer [“ALEs”] whom fails to offer:

  • “minimum essential” health insurance coverage to its full-time employees and their children, or
  •  insurance coverage that is “considered affordable”.

Technical rules help determine exactly whom is an ALE [i.e. how to properly count the “full-time equivalent” employees], what would be considered “minimum essential” [health insurance coverage], as well as whether the premiums charged employees were “considered affordable”.  Most businesses confronted the myriad of health insurance options designed to meet ACA compliance beginning back in 2013 when the law was initially announced, although various provisions of the law effectively delayed the assessment of penalties until after January 1, 2015 to give businesses ample time to implement suitable health insurance programs and permit the IRS opportunity to develop adequate record keeping and tracking mechanisms.

It is important to understand that receipt of a the 226J Letter is not the actual assessment of the liability.  Instead it is a notification from the IRS that based on certain records in its database, the business may be subject to the ESRP and the business now has the responsibility to formally contest or confirm the assertion.  [Typically the records the IRS has analyzed include Forms 1094, 1095, W-2 along with the Premium Tax Credit database that is populated through the “Exchange” where individuals obtained coverage through “Healthcare.gov”.]  The formal response to the 226J Letter must be submitted to the IRS using Form 14764, plus attachments.  Included in the 226J Letter will be a “response deadline” [generally 30 days from the date of the letter] for which a business owner must submit the response or by default the IRS will assume no additional evidence is available to refute the ESRP assertion.

Due to the complexity and time-constraints involved, upon receipt of a 226J Letter a business owner should immediately contact a Tax Professional to assist with the response process.  The format of the Form 14764 allows for submission of explanations and substantive documentation that may help update or correct the IRS’ records, as well as counter (if applicable) the government’s ESRP assertion.  As with other IRS dispute resolution matters, reliance on a qualified Tax Professional will permit the business owner to avail him/herself of all applicable ESRP response strategies (including extensions of time, available exemptions, review of formula computations and ratios, and even installment payment plan negotiation attempts, as necessary).  Langdon & Company LLP is well-versed in ESRP issues, so feel free to connect with us if you have any questions.

IRS raises valuation limit for employer-provided vehicles

One of the most popular fringe benefits for employees at many organizations isn’t an insurance plan or a health club membership; it’s shiny chrome and steel — a vehicle. Providing a car, van or truck that an employee can use for both work and personal purposes can attract better job candidates or just make sense practically. If your organization offers such a fringe benefit, you should know that the IRS recently updated its valuation limit for employer-provided vehicles.

Read the Notice

Generally, you must include the value of an employer-provided vehicle that’s available for personal use in an employee’s income and wages. The personal use may be valued using the cents-per-mile or fleet-average valuation rules for the 2019 calendar year.

Because of tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the maximum dollar limitations on the depreciation deductions for passenger automobiles significantly increased and the way inflation increases are calculated changed. In Notice 2019-8, issued early this year, the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department noted their intention to amend regulations to incorporate a higher base value of $50,000 to be adjusted annually.

Sure enough, in May the IRS issued Notice 2019-34. It provides that, for 2019, the maximum fair market value of a vehicle (including cars, vans and trucks) for use with the vehicle cents-per-mile and fleet-average valuation rules is $50,400.

Expect revisions

Because current regulations haven’t yet been updated to reflect the changes under the TCJA, the IRS provides relief to taxpayers in the form of interim guidance for 2019 in the notice. The agency (along with the Treasury Department) intends to revise the rules for the 2018 and 2019 tax years.

One example of the intended revisions addresses what an employer should do if it didn’t qualify to adopt the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule on the first day on which a vehicle was used by an employee for personal use because, under the rules in effect before 2018, the vehicle had an FMV more than the maximum permitted. In such cases, the employer will be allowed to first adopt the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule for the 2018 or 2019 tax year based on the maximum FMV of a vehicle for purposes of the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule.

Another intended revision noted in Notice 2019-34 will permit an employer to adopt the fleet-average valuation rule for the 2018 or 2019 tax year if the employer didn’t qualify to use the fleet-average valuation rule before January 1, 2019, because the maximum value limitation before 2018 couldn’t be met.

Rely on the guidance

Until revised final regulations are published, taxpayers may rely on the interim guidance provided in Notice 2019-34. Our firm can help you fully understand both the interim guidance and any future revisions to the rules for employer-provided vehicles. Contact us today with any questions you may have!

© 2019