Month: February 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and Code Section 1031

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and Code Section 1031The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law on December 22, 2017, and took effect on January 1, 2018. Included in the political promise of tax simplicity and historically large tax cuts to middle-income households were amendments to existing tax code, including Code Section 1031. Investment property owners will continue to be able to defer capital gains taxes using 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, which have been in the tax code since 1921.

What changes under the new tax law?

The tax law repealed 1031 exchanges for all other types of property that are not real property. This means 1031 exchanges of personal property, assets that can no longer be exchanged including collectibles, franchise licenses, and patents, aircraft, machinery, boats, livestock, and artwork.

What didn’t change for 1031 exchanges?

Real estate exchanges are subject to the same rules and requirements as prior law. Taxpayers must still identify their replacement within 45 days and exchange within 180 days. All real estate in the United States, improved and unimproved, also remains like-kind to all other domestic real estate.  Foreign real estate continues to be treated as not like-kind to real estate.

Are there timing considerations?

Pursuant to the transition rules, a personal property exchange to be completed in 2018 would be afforded tax deferral under the prior law if the relinquished property was sold or the replacement property was acquired by the taxpayer prior to December 31, 2017.

What about cost segregation?

A cost segregation study identifies and reclassifies personal property assets to shorten the depreciation time for taxation purposes, which reduces current income taxes. Taxpayers entering into a 1031 exchange who are contemplating a cost segregation study, need to consider the disallowance of personal property as like-kind to real property. Reclassifying asses to shorter recovery periods will increase annual depreciation deductions, but can potentially cause gain recognition from the exchange.

We’ve got your back

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different, especially when real estate is involved – so don’t go it alone! Check out the New Tax Law Explained! for Individuals and then contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss tax planning and your real estate investments under the TCJA.

 

New Rules for Deducting Business Meals and Entertainment Under Tax Reform

New Rules for Deducting Business Meals and Entertainment Under Tax Reform

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts, a business owner generally could deduct 50% of business related meals and entertainment expenses. Meals provided to an employee on the business premises for the convenience of the employer were generally 100% deductible.

These expenses are treated differently under the new tax law.

How will meals and entertainment expenses be affected?

Entertainment expenses are now completely nondeductible, regardless of whether they are directly related to, or associated with, the taxpayer’s business, unless an exception applies. One of those exceptions is for “expenses for recreation, social, or similar activities primarily for the benefit of the taxpayer’s employees, other than highly compensated employees.”

Under the new tax law:

  • Office holiday parties remains fully deductible.
  • Expenses for entertaining clients (including tickets for sporting, concert, and other events) were 50% deductible. The 50% deduction included the event tickets up to face value. Beginning January 1, 2018, these expenses are nondeductible.
  • Business meals and employee travel meal expenses remain 50% deductible.
  • Expenses for meals provided for the convenience of the employer generally were 100% deductible. Beginning 1/1/2018, they are 50% deductible. After 2025, they are nondeductible.

What should a business owner do to prepare for this change?

Update your general ledger to segregate expenses into accounts earmarked as 100%, 50%, or nondeductible. Having the expenses categorized at the time they are incurred will save a lot of effort come tax time. This practice will also allow your tax preparer to clearly identify which expenses are deductible and avoid errors in your tax filing.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, we’ve been tracking tax reform legislation closely and are ready to assist you in your tax planning and preparation so that you’re in compliance under the reformed tax law. Don’t lose sleep wondering what impact the new tax rules will have on you, your family, or your business. Contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

Repeal of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions – What Does This Mean for Employee Business Expenses?

Repeal of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions – What Does This Mean for Employee Business Expenses?Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, individuals who itemized their deductions could deduct certain miscellaneous itemized deductions to the extent that those deductions exceed 2% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). These deductions included unreimbursed employee business expenses, such as  unreimbursed transportation, travel, business meals and entertainment, subscriptions to professional journals, union and professional dues, and professional uniforms.

Under the new law, miscellaneous itemized deductions are disallowed after December 31, 2017.

So what does this mean for those employees who incur these costs in performing services for their employer?

They may be out of luck.  Let’s say an employee earns $60,000 in wages and incurs $2,500 in business related expenses such as travel, insurance, and subscriptions. The employee is taxed on the full $60,000 and the $2,500 out of pocket expense is not deductible.

Reimbursement under an accountable plan

Employers who don’t reimburse employees for legitimate business expenses under an accountable plan should consider the effects of this practice. Employers can generally provide employees with the same real compensation and a lower taxable income if they provide some of the compensation in the form of reimbursement of business expenses under an accountable plan. So, if the employee in the example above was paid $2,500 less (making his earnings $57,500), but was separately reimbursed for his $2,500 of business expenses under an accountable plan, he would have a lower taxable income with the same actual compensation because his $2,500 of reimbursement wouldn’t be included in income.

If you incur significant employee business expenses, talk to your employer about establishing an accountable plan. Doing so can save the employee taxes with little impact to the employer.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, we’ve been tracking tax reform legislation closely and are ready to assist you in your tax planning and preparation now that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is finally signed into law. Don’t lose sleep wondering what impact the new laws will have on you, your family, or your business. Check out the New Tax Law Explained! For Individuals page and then contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

 

The Tax Act and the Real Estate Industry

The Tax Act and the Real Estate IndustryTax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”)

On December 20, 2017 Congress passed the most extensive tax reform since 1986, which was subsequently signed into law by President Trump. Included in the TCJA are changes to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) that impact taxpayers engaged in the real estate business, and those who otherwise own real estate.

Individual tax rates

The TCJA lowers the marginal (top tax bracket) tax rate applicable to individuals from 39.6% to 37%. The net investment income tax (NIIT) and Medicare surtax of 3.8% and 0.9%, respectively, remain. The reduction in tax rates is not permanent like the corporate tax rate reduction, and is scheduled to expire after 2025. The tax rates applicable to long-term capital gains of individuals remains at 15% or 20%, depending on adjusted gross income (AGI).

Deduction for qualified business income of pass-through entities

The TCJA creates a new 20% tax deduction for certain pass-through businesses. For taxpayers with incomes above certain thresholds, the 20% deduction is limited to the greater of (i) 50% of the W-2 wages paid by the business, or (ii) 25% of the W-2 wages paid by the business, plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis, immediately after acquisition, of depreciable property (which includes structures, but not land).

Pass-through businesses include partnerships, limited liabilities taxed as partnerships, S Corporations, sole proprietorships, disregarded entities, and trusts.

The deduction is subject to several limitations that are likely to materially limit the deduction for many taxpayers. These limitations include the following:

  • Qualified business income does not include IRC Section 707(c) guaranteed payments for services, amounts paid by S corporations that are treated as reasonable compensation of the taxpayer, or, to the extent provided in regulations, amounts paid or incurred for services by a partnership to a partner who is acting other than in his or her capacity as a partner.
  • Qualified business income does not include income involving the performance of services (i) in the fields of, among others: health, law, accounting consulting, financial services, brokerage services, or any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees or owners, or (ii) consisting of investing or investment management, trading, or dealing in securities, partnership interests or commodities.
  • Qualified business income includes (and, thus, the deduction is applicable to) only income that is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States.
  • The deduction is limited to 100% of the taxpayer’s combined qualified business income (e.g., if the taxpayer has losses from certain qualified businesses that, in the aggregate, exceed the income generated from other qualified businesses, the taxpayer’s deduction would be $0).

Interest expense deduction limitation

For most taxpayers, TCJA disallows the deductibility of business interest to the extent that net interest expense exceeds 30% of Earnings before Income Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) for 2018 through 2022, or Earnings before Income Taxes (EBIT) beginning in 2022. An exemption from these rules applies to certain taxpayers with average annual gross receipts under $25 million.

A real property trade or business can elect out of the new business interest disallowance by electing to utilize the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS). The ADS lives for nonresidential, residential and qualified improvements are 40, 30, and 20 years, respectively.  All of which are longer lives, resulting in lower annual depreciation allowances.

Immediate expensing of qualified depreciable personal property

The TCJA includes generous expensing provisions for acquired assets. The additional first year depreciation deduction for qualified depreciable personal property (commonly known as Bonus Depreciation) was extended and modified. For property placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before 2023, the allowance is increased from 50% to 100%. After 2022, the bonus depreciation percentage is phased-down to in each subsequent year by 20% per year.

Expansion of Section 179 expensing

Taxpayers may elect under Code Section 179 to deduct the cost of qualifying property, rather than to recover the costs through annual depreciation deductions. The TCJA increased the maximum amount a taxpayer may expense under Section 179 to $1 million, and increased the phase-out threshold amount to $2.5 million.

The Act also expanded the definition of qualified real property eligible for the 179 expensing to include certain improvements to nonresidential real property, including:

  • Roofs
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Property
  • Fire Protection and Alarm Systems
  • Security Systems

We’ve got your back

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different, especially when real estate is involved – so don’t go it alone! Contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss tax planning and your real estate investments under the TCJA.