The Importance of a ‘Paycheck Checkup’

The Importance of a Paycheck CheckupThe Internal Revenue Service is urging taxpayers to do a “paycheck checkup.”

To help understand the implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS unveiled several new features to navigate the issues affecting withholding in their paychecks. The effort includes a new series of plain language Tax Tips which detail the importance of reviewing withholding as soon as possible.

The new tax law could affect how much tax you should have your employer withhold from your paycheck. To help with this, taxpayers can use the IRS’ Withholding Calculator. The Withholding Calculator can help prevent you from having too little or too much tax withheld from their paycheck. Having too little tax withheld can mean an unexpected tax bill or potentially a penalty at tax time next year. With the average refund topping $2,800, some taxpayers might prefer less tax withheld up front and receive more in their paychecks.

Individuals can use the Withholding Calculator to estimate their 2018 income tax. The Withholding Calculator compares that estimate to your current tax withholding and can help you decide if you need to change your withholding with your employer.  When using the calculator, it’s helpful to have a completed 2017 tax return available.

Those who need to adjust their withholding must submit a new Form W-4 to their employer. If you need to adjust your withholding, doing so as quickly as possible means there’s more time for tax withholding to take place evenly during the rest of the year. If you wait until later in the year, it could have a bigger impact on each paycheck and your 2018 return.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the standard deduction, removed personal exemptions, increased the child tax credit, limited or discontinued certain deductions, and changed the tax rates and brackets. Those who should especially check their withholding are:

  • Two-income families
  • People working two or more jobs or who only work for part of the year
  • People with children who claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit
  • People with older dependents, including children age 17 or older
  • People who itemized deductions in 2017
  • People with high incomes and more complex tax returns
  • People with large tax refunds or large tax bills for 2017

We’ve got your back

At KRS, we’re working to help our clients understand and navigate these tax law changes. We strongly encourage all taxpayers to do a paycheck checkup to ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their unique personal situation. Contact managing partner Maria Rollins at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and Section 199A

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and Section 199AFor taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers (individuals, trusts, and estates) may take a deduction equal to 20 percent of Qualified Business Income (QBI) from partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships.

QBI includes the net domestic business taxable income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to any qualified trade or business.

The deduction is available without limitation to individuals as well as trusts and estates where taxable income is below $157,500 if single and $315,000 if married filing jointly. There is a phase-out when taxable income from all sources exceeds $157,500 to $207,500 for single filers and $315,000 to $415,000 if married filing jointly. The deduction is 20 percent of the qualified business income, further limited of 20 percent of taxable income.

For example: Amy is a small business owner and files a schedule C.

  • Amy made $100,000 net income from her business in 2018.
  • Amy files a single return and her taxable income is $70,000.
  • Amy’s Sec. 199A deduction is 20% of $70,000, or $14,000.

QBI is determined for each trade or business of the taxpayer. The determination of accepted trades takes into account these items only to the extent included or allowed in the taxable income for the year. This figure cannot be deducted on the business return. There are two different categories in which trades and business can classified, Specified Service and Qualified.

Specified service means any trade or business involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, including investing and investment management, trading, or dealing in securities, partnership interests, or commodities, and 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. Engineering and architecture, originally included as specified service trades or businesses, were omitted in the final version of the TCJA.

Qualified means any trade or business other than a specified service trade or business and other than the trade or business of being an employee. Industry types include manufacturing, distribution, real estate, construction, retail, food and restaurants, etc.

The Section 199A deduction for individuals above the taxable income threshold is limited to the greater of either:

  • 50 percent of the taxpayer’s allocable share of W-2 wages paid by the business, or
  • 25 percent of the taxpayer’s allocable share of W-2 wages paid by the business plus 2.5% of the taxpayer’s allocable share of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of all qualified property

Taxpayers should run the numbers through both provisions to ensure they received the best possible deduction.

We’ve got your back

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different – so don’t go it alone! Contact Simon Filip at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss your situation.

2018 Pension Plan Limitations Not Affected by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

2018 Pension Plan Limitations Not Affected by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 does not affect the tax year 2018 dollar limitations for retirement plans announced in IR 2017-177 and detailed in Notice 2017-64.

The tax law provides dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans, and it requires the Treasury Department to annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases. Those adjustments are to be made using procedures that are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under the Social Security Act.

As the recently enacted tax legislation made no changes to the section of the tax law limiting benefits and contributions for retirement plans, the qualified retirement plan limitations for tax year 2018 previously announced in the news release and detailed in guidance remain unchanged. This is good news for individuals contributing to their qualified retirement plans.

Cost of living adjustments

The tax law also specifies that contribution limits for IRAs, as well as the income thresholds related to IRAs and the saver’s credit, are to be adjusted for changes in the cost of living using procedures that are used to make cost-of-living adjustments that apply to many of the basic income tax parameters.

Although the new law made changes to how these cost of living adjustments are made, after taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2018 in the news release and the guidance remain unchanged.

We’ve got your back on the new tax code

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different – so don’t go it alone! Check out the New Tax Law Explained! For Individuals page, then contact KRS managing partner Maria Rollins at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss your situation.

What You Need to Know About Individual Tax Extensions

What You Need to Know About Individual Tax Extensions

Basic Rules for Individuals

For individual taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) grants a six month extension to file your taxes each year as long as you complete Form 4868.

Filing an extension does not remove a taxpayer’s obligation to pay their income tax by April 15th. Taxpayers are expected to pay income tax to the IRS on time or they will be subject to late fees, penalties, and interest. This means taxes owed should be remitted by April 15th, regardless of an extension request.

Taxpayers have a few extra days this filing season. April 15th falls on a Sunday and Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia is observed on April 16th, resulting in a due date of April 17, 2018 for 2017 returns.

The extension allows taxpayers to gather all information needed to file a complete and accurate return without being assessed a late filing penalty. Taxpayers with complicated tax returns and those who have invested in partnerships or S Corporations and do not receive their K-1s until after the original April 15th due date should request extensions. The entities may have extended their own due dates, resulting in returns not being required to file until September 15th, with extensions.

A Federal income tax extension is good for six months, which extends an individual taxpayer’s filing deadline from April 15th to October 15th.

Penalties

Regardless of when an individual files a tax return, if the tax owed is not paid by the original  filing deadline (April 15th for individuals), the IRS will assess penalties.  The IRS will charge 0.5% each month of the amount of tax owed after the deadline.

When a taxpayer fails to file a return by the extension date, the penalty increases to 5 percent per month and subject to a maximum penalty of 25 percent.

State Extensions

The rules on state extensions are similar to those of the Federal. If the taxes are not paid by the original due date, there may be late payment penalties and interest. Some states do not require a separate extension to be filed if there is no tax due. For example, New Jersey grants an automatic extension of 6 months if there is no balance due and a Federal extension is filed. New York, on the other hand, requires an extension filing even if there is not a tax due with the return.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to manage your taxes, contact KRS today for a complimentary initial consultation.

IRS 2018 Tax Myths

With the 2018 filing season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service offered taxpayers some basic tax and refund tips to clear up some common misbeliefs.

Myth 1: All Refunds Are Delayed

IRS 2018 Tax Myths
The IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Eight in 10 taxpayers get their refunds faster by using e-file and direct deposit. It’s the safest, fastest way to receive a refund and is also easy to use.

While more than nine out of 10 federal tax refunds are issued in less than 21 days, some refunds may be delayed, but not all of them. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The IRS began processing tax returns on Jan. 29.

Other returns may require additional review for a variety of reasons and take longer. For example, the IRS, along with its partners in the state’s and the nation’s tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to help protect against identity theft and refund fraud.

Myth 2: Delayed Refunds, those Claiming EITC and/or ACTC, will be Delivered on Feb. 15

By law, the IRS cannot issue EITC and ACTC refunds before mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting Feb. 27, 2018, if these taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return. The IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the part related to these credits. See the Refund Timing for Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit Filers page and the Refunds FAQs page for more information.

Myth 3: Ordering a Tax Transcript a “Secret Way” to Get a Refund Date

Ordering a tax transcript will not help taxpayers find out when they will get their refund. The IRS notes that the information on a transcript does not necessarily reflect the amount or timing of a refund. While taxpayers can use a transcript to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications, they should use “Where’s My Refund?” to check the status of their refund.

Myth 4: Calling the IRS or a Tax Professional Will Provide a Better Refund Date

Many people mistakenly think that talking to the IRS or calling their tax professional is the best way to find out when they will get their refund. In reality, the best way to check the status of a refund is online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool or via the IRS2Go mobile app. The IRS updates the status of refunds once a day, usually overnight, so checking more than once a day will not produce new information. “Where’s My Refund?” has the same information available as IRS telephone assistors so there is no need to call unless requested to do so by the refund tool.

Myth 5: The IRS will Call or Email Taxpayers about Their Refund

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.

The IRS will NEVER:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill if taxes are owed.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have people arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For more information on tax scams see Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts. For more information on phishing scams see Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft.

We’ve Got Your Back

A trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Check out the New Tax Law Explained! For Individuals page and then contact managing partner Maria Rollins at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 for a complimentary initial consultation.

The New Tax Law and Business Interest Expense

The New Tax Law and Business Interest Expense

The tax legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Act) places a new limit on the amount of interest expense businesses can deduct on their tax returns. This new limit will punish over-leveraged companies and discourage companies from becoming too leveraged.

Starting in 2018, businesses can only deduct interest based upon a formula contained within the act.

Business Interest Deduction

Under the new tax law, a business’s net interest expense deduction is limited to 30 percent of EBITDA (Earnings before Income Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization). Beginning in 2022 the net interest expense deduction limitation is 30 percent of EBIT (Earnings before Income Taxes).

Businesses with average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less for the prior three years are exempt from this provision. The amount of business interest not allowed as a deduction for any taxable year is treated as business interest paid or accrued in the succeeding taxable year. Business interest may be carried forward indefinitely, subject to certain restrictions.

Real Estate Exception

Real estate is both illiquid and capital intensive, making leverage and the ability to deduct interest important to the industry.  A real property trade or business can elect out of the net interest expense deduction limitations if they use the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS) to depreciate business-related real property.

Taxpayers electing to use the real estate exception to the interest limit must depreciate real property under longer recovery periods prescribed by ADS. Those recovery periods are 40 years for nonresidential property, 30 years for residential rental property, and 20 years for qualified interior improvements. This is compared to recovery periods of 39 years for nonresidential property, 27.5 years for residential rental property, and 15 years for qualified interior improvements.

Application to Partnerships

Most real estate investment vehicles are structured as pass-through entities. The limitations on current interest expense is applied at the operating entity level, and any allowable deduction is included in the non-separately stated income or loss on each partner’s Form K-1. However, any disallowed interest will be carried forward at the partner level.

Aggregation Rules

In groups of related entities, it appears aggregation rules will apply in determining whether the $25 million gross receipts threshold has been exceeded. Additional guidance is anticipated on calculations of the limitation as well as explanations as to how this section will interact with other sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

We’ve Got Your Back

Rather than guessing at how the business interest rules apply to your situation, why not let the experts at KRS CPAs help? Check out the New Tax Law Explained! For Real Estate Investors page and then contact partner Simon Filip at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 for a complimentary initial consultation.

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

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

The 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.