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S Corporation Losses May NOT Be Deductible

Have you ever heard of the term “basis” as it relates to S Corporation stock ownership?  If you’re not familiar with the term, you should be, especially as it relates to potentially deducting your share of losses allocated to you by an S Corporation.

Let me give you a common scenario when a new business is formed, and an S Corporation election is made:

  1. New business started up 1/1/17
  2. Business borrows $100,000 from the bank to buy equipment, furniture, etc.
  3. Owners do NOT contribute money personally to the business
  4. Business shows $50,000 loss (on paper) due to accelerated depreciation (write offs)

How much of the $50,000 loss described above can the shareholders deduct?  Answer… ZERO!!

Why?  S Corporation losses are limited to your BASIS.  There’s that word again.  What is basis?  Basis is the cumulative amount of income (or losses) less distributions plus capital contributed.

In the example above, the shareholders borrowed money from the bank (i.e. didn’t contribute personally) and proceeded to lose $50,000 for the year.  Their basis at the end of the year is ZERO and NONE of the losses are allowed.  Essentially, based on tax law, the government is saying that YOU (Mr. Shareholder) haven’t lost anything.  You borrowed the money.

Let’s change the scenario a bit and say that the shareholders contributed $100,000 instead of borrowing the $100,000.  The $100,000 of capital contributed gives the shareholders BASIS.  Now the losses become deductible because the shareholders have, in effect, lost something.  They’ve depleted (by way of losing money) their capital so to speak.

The moral of the story is this:  Be careful when you borrow money in an S Corporation especially in the start-up years.  You may be banking on tax losses that aren’t available to you.

A better way to organize your business (from the start-up phase) might be as an LLC that is taxed as a partnership.  Partnerships can deduct losses (related to borrowed money) because partnership basis (as opposed to S Corporation basis) IS increased by debt if the partners personally guarantee the debt.  The losses described above would have been deductible in a partnership assuming the partners guaranteed the $100,000 debt.

Above said, this is the reason you should consult with a tax adviser BEFORE organizing your business.  I’d love to help you avoid this trap!

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Form 1099 Filing Requirements

Form 1099 Filing Requirements

If you made a payment during the calendar year **as part of your trade or business**, you are likely required to file a 1099 or Information Return with the IRS.

Form 1099-MISC would be issued for payments, in the course of your trade or business for:

  • Services performed by independent contractors or others that are not your employees (to individuals or other businesses) of $600 or more to each payee
  • Prizes and awards of $600 or more
  • Rent of $600 or more
  • Royalties $10 or more
  • To physicians, physicians’ corporation or other supplier of health and medical services of $600 or more
  • For a purchase of fish from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish of $600 or more
  • Substitute dividends or tax exempt interest payments and you are broker of $10 or more
  • Crop insurance proceeds of $600 or more
  • Gross proceeds of $600 or more paid to an attorney

Form 1099-MISC would also be used to report direct sales of $5,000 of consumer products to a buyer for resale anywhere other than a permanent retail establishment.

Form 1099-INT is used to report interest you paid on a business debt to someone of at least $10.

Form 1099-DIV is used to report dividends or other distributions to a company shareholder.  The minimum amount to be reported is $10.

Form 1099-R is used to report distributions from retirement plans.

**Trade or business**

If you are not engaged in a trade or business, you are not required to file 1099 forms.  A question that sometimes arises is, “do I need to give my lawn care service a 1099.”  It depends…if you pay a lawn care service to take care of your personal residence, then you are not required to issue a 1099 because there is no trade or business.  If you pay that same lawn care service to tend to your business property, then you are required to issue a 1099 unless an exception applies.

Owning a rental property constitutes a trade or business.  Paying someone over $600 for the upkeep or maintenance of your property could create a filing requirement.

Exceptions to general rule for issuing 1099s

You do not have to issue 1099s to companies that are incorporated unless it is for medical or legal services.  A company is incorporated if it is established as a C Corporation or an S Corporation.  You must issue a 1099 to a partnership or an LLC unless the business is taxed as a Corporation.  See W-9 Forms below.

If you paid someone under $600, you also are not required to issue a 1099 to that vendor.

W-9 Forms

It is a best practice for you to have a W-9 Form on file for each of your vendors.  The W-9 Form, prepared and signed by the vendor, provides information to the company that is necessary to prepare 1099 Forms.  Information includes the vendor’s name, address, tax identification number or social security number, and type of business.  If the W-9 form indicates that the company is a corporation or an S Corporation, you do not need to file a 1099 form unless they provide medical or legal services.  If the IRS questions why you did not issue a 1099 to XYZ LLC (an LLC taxed as an S Corporation), the signed W-9 Form is your proof that the company certified to you that they were incorporated.

Due Dates and Penalties

1099s are due to the recipients and to the IRS by January 31st this year if you are reporting nonemployee compensation in box 7.  Penalties for failure to file 1099s vary but are anywhere from $50 to $260 per 1099.

More info…

Most companies are required to prepare 1099s…are you ready to do so?  The due dates for filing with the IRS have been pushed up this year so get ready now for filing those 1099s in January!  The information presented above is a summary of some important 1099 facts; however, should you need to see the detailed rules, click below to access the IRS Instructions – 2016 General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.

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New Due Dates for 2016 Tax Returns

 

Are you ready for the new due dates for 2016 tax returns due in 2017?  Recently enacted legislation has changed some due dates in order to facilitate a more logical flow of information, allowing taxpayers and preparers more ability to timely prepare and file returns.

Individual tax return (Form 1040) due date of April 15th and extended due date of October 15th did not change!  These dates are said to be “cut in stone”!  See below regarding FinCen Form 114, if applicable.

Partnership and LLC return (Form 1065) due dates have moved up a month…they are now due on March 15th.  If an extension is filed, the due date will be September 15th.

S Corporation return (Form 1120S) due dates remain the same…they are due on March 15th.  If an extension is filed, the due date will be September 15th.

Trust returns (Form 1041) original due date remains the same (April 15th); however, the extended due date is now September 30th.

Corporation return (Form 1120) due dates have been pushed back a month to April 15th for calendar-year returns. If an extension is filed, returns are due Sept. 15th until 2026, see note below.  For fiscal year companies, in most cases, returns will be due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the year-end.

Note:  Calendar­year C corporations can get extensions until Sept. 15 until tax years beginning after 2025, when the extended due date will be Oct. 15. June 30 fiscal­ year­end C corporations (returns due Sept. 15) can get extensions to April 15 until tax years beginning after 2025; after 2025, June 30 fiscal­year­end C corporations will have an Oct. 15 due date and can get extensions until April 15.

FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) due date has changed from June to April 15th.  An extension can be filed now to grant additional time (until October 15th).

State Returns –  Many states are likely to follow the above federal due date changes but may need to enact legislation in order to make those changes.  Louisiana has not made those changes yet…stay tuned.

Forms W-2 and 1099 Series – Acceleration of Due Dates for Filing Information returns

W-2 and 1099 Forms have generally been due to recipients by January 31st and due to the IRS/SSA by February 28th (or March 31 if filed electronically). For the 2016 Forms due in 2017, returns will be due to the IRS/SSA by January 31st, the same day they are due to the recipients.

Businesses should review accounting records now in order to verify that vendor information is complete and ready to file 1099 forms at the end of the year.

Why change the due dates now? 

If you are wondering why these changes have been implemented and how they will be helpful, continue reading below:  The partnership Form 1065 is now the first return due (March 15th).  All other entities and individuals can be partners in a partnership and may need information from Schedules K­1 from partnerships to complete their tax returns. For this reason, it is both logical and helpful to many that it be completed first.

Once partnership and S corporation returns have been filed by March 15, individuals, trusts, and C corporations will have the information (K-1s) they need from their pass-through entities to file timely returns. Trusts will have two more weeks after receiving extended partnership and S corporation Schedules K­1 to finalize their extended returns and issue their Form 1041 Schedules K­1 to beneficiaries, who will have an additional two weeks to complete their personal returns. Taxpayers with foreign accounts will have all the information needed to complete FinCEN Form 114 at the same time as the individual tax return due date and extension.

C corporation new due dates of April 15 (or the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the tax year for most fiscal­year corporations).  Many C corporations previously needed to extend their returns because they were waiting on audited financial statements.  Audited financial statements are typically complete by the end of March. These corporations may no longer need to extend the income tax return.

It makes logical sense…only a tax season will tell whether the new dates truly make a difference in the hectic, fast-paced busy season!

For a quick-reference guide on the new due dates, click the link below to access the AICPA Federal Due Date Chart

http://www.aicpa.org/Advocacy/Tax/DownloadableDocuments/Federal-Due-Date-Chart-1-22-2016.pdf

 

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Employ your children and get a tax deduction

Business owner clients often ask me about putting their children on the payroll.  It’s a common strategy that can really save money depending on the number of children you can employ and how much you can reasonably pay them.  Self-employed individuals and partnerships, including LLCs filing as partnerships where the only partners (LLC members) are husband and wife, reap the biggest benefits by employing children.

The beauty of this strategy is the shifting of taxable income from parent (who typically is in a much higher tax bracket) to child.  Depending on the amount of wage paid to the child, the child could pay $0.00 tax.  See example below.

Applicable info to consider

  1. Wages paid to children are exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding as well as employer matching in a parent’s unincorporated business (example = self-employed consultant), a partnership (or LLC filing as a partnership) in which each partner (LLC member) is a parent of the child, or a single-member LLC filing as a sole proprietorship.
  2. A dependent’s (child’s) standard deduction ($6,300 for 2016) can be used to offset wages paid to the child.  Simply stated, paying a child wages of $6,300 will go untaxed to the child.
  3. Since earned income (i.e. wages) is the prerequisite for making traditional or Roth IRA contributions, the funds paid to your child could be invested for future growth
  4. Wages paid by a parent’s business to a child are deductible by the parent’s business if the work is done by the child in connection with the parent’s trade or business.
    1. Caution: Wages paid to a child must be reasonable in relation to the services rendered.  The business owner should keep detailed records of the child’s employment, including payroll records, in case Federal or state taxing authorities or labor departments seek verification.

Let’s take a look at an example:

John is a self-employed geologist operating his business as a sole proprietorship.  His marginal Federal tax rate is 28% and his state tax rate is 6%.  John has a 16 year old son name Carter.  John hires Carter to handle various computer tasks including technical data entry as well as administrative tasks.  Carter works 15 hours per week throughout the year earning $6,000.  John may deduct the $6,000 as wage expense from his business income.  The wages are exempt from BOTH Social Security and Medicare tax and Carter pays $0.00 income tax.

Carter’s tax return calculation:

Wages                                                    $6,000

Less:  Standard Deduction             ($6,300)

Taxable Income                                     $-0-

The beauty of this scenario is that John saves approximately $2,800 between Federal and state income tax as well as self-employment tax while Carter pays $0.00.  To sweeten the deal, Carter could contribute $5,500 (max for individuals under 50) to a Roth because he has earned income, wages.

John could increase Carter’s pay to $11,800 and Carter would still owe $0.00 Federal income tax assuming Carter made a $5,500 maximum traditional IRA (contrast that to a Roth contribution where you do not get a tax deduction) contribution.

Carter’s tax return calculation:

Wages                                                  $11,800

Less:  IRA Deduction                       ($5,500)

Less:  Standard Deduction            ($6,300)

Taxable Income                                    $-0-

As always, the above examples do not illustrate all of the possible measures that can be used to save a few dollars by employing your children and paying them a reasonable wage.  If you have any questions about this technique, feel free to contact us.

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IRS First-time Penalty Abatement PRM CPA Lafayette, LA

Did you receive an IRS notice assessing penalties?

If so, time out.

You may qualify for the IRS’ first­-time penalty abatement (FTA) waiver.  The FTA is an administrative waiver that the IRS grants to taxpayers providing relief from failure ­to ­file, failure to ­pay, and failure to ­deposit penalties if certain criteria are met.  The policy behind this procedure is to reward taxpayers for having a clean compliance history; everyone is entitled to one mistake.  Individuals and businesses may request FTA for any failure ­to­ file, failure to ­pay, or failure ­to ­deposit penalty.  FTA does not apply to other types of penalties such as the accuracy ­related penalty.

To qualify for the FTA waiver a taxpayer must meet the following criteria:

  1. Filing compliance:  Must have filed (or filed a valid extension for) all required returns and can’t have an outstanding request for a return from the IRS.
  2. Payment compliance:  Must have paid, or arranged to pay all tax due (can be in an installment agreement as long as the payments are current).
  3. Clean payment history:  Has no prior penalties (except an estimated tax penalty) for the preceding three years.
    1. Note:  If the taxpayer received reasonable cause relief in the past, he/she is still eligible for FTA

Another thing to consider is that the penalty notice may be erroneous which happens often.  We may not need to request the FTA.  Simply sending a letter to the IRS detailing specific items might resolve the issue.  So, before you move forward or make a payment, give us a call at 337.406.1099 or contact us today and we’ll review the penalty.  We’ve been successful in requesting waivers and getting penalties abated.

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Can I claim a loss due to the flooding?

Casualty Losses 

Personal Property

Those affected by the recent floods may qualify for casualty loss deductions.  These losses are reported on Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts.  The loss is limited to the lesser of cost or decrease in FMV of property, less insurance proceeds or other reimbursements.

There are various methods to determine the amount of the loss or decrease in fair market value.   The first method is an appraisal of the property (before and after the loss).  Secondly, one could use the cost of cleaning up or making repairs to property.  The following conditions must be met in order to use the “cost of cleaning up or making repairs”:

  • Repairs are actually made
  • Repairs are necessary to bring the property back to its condition before the casualty
  • Amount spent for repairs isn’t excessive
  • Repairs take care of the damage only
  • The value of the property after the repairs is not, due to the repairs, more than the value of the property before the casualty.

The deductibility of losses on personal-use property is limited to the following amount for each loss event:

Loss – $100 – (10% X Adjusted Gross Income)

For example:

Your loss after insurance reimbursement is $10,000.  Your AGI for the year of the loss is $85,000.  Your first apply the $100 rule and then the 10 % rule.

  • Loss after insurance                      $10,000
  • Subtract $100 per incident             (  100)
  • Loss after $100 rule                       9,900
  • Subtract 10% * $85,000 AGI           ( 8,500)
  • Casualty Loss Deduction         $ 1,400

 If 10% of your AGI exceeds your loss after insurance reimbursement, you do not have a deductible casualty loss.

Business or Income Producing Property – Casualty Loss

Property completely destroyed

For business or income-producing property, including rental property, that is completely destroyed, the decrease in fair market value is not considered.  Your loss is figured as follows:

Your adjusted basis in the property

Less any Salvage Value

Less any insurance or other reimbursement you receive or expect to receive

Loss of Inventory

If you have a loss of items held for sale to customers, you can deduct the loss through an increase in cost of goods sold, including any insurance reimbursements related to the lost inventory in gross income.

Business property – not completely destroyed

If your business property was damaged but not completely destroyed, your casualty loss would be the smaller of the decrease in Fair Market Value (FMV) of the property or the adjusted basis in the property before the casualty less any insurance reimbursement.  For example:  a truck used for business sustained damage from flooding; the insurance company reimbursed $3,000 (the cost to repair the truck (the assumed decrease in FMV), less the deductible of $1,000);the basis of the vehicle was $10,000.

  • Adjusted basis in the truck before the flooding             $10,000
  • Decrease in FMV                                                                      $ 4,000
  • Amount of loss (lesser of line 1 or 2)                                   $ 4,000
  • Less insurance reimbursement                                            ( 3,000)
  • Business Casualty Loss Deduction                                      $ 1,000

If a single casualty involves more than one item of property, you must figure the loss on each item separately.  Then combine the losses to determine the total loss from that casualty.

Gains from Casualties

Please be aware that gains can result if insurance proceeds exceed the adjusted basis of the property before the casualty.

When can I claim this loss? 

The President has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Louisiana due to the recent flooding events. This declaration allows you to claim casualty losses on either your 2015 tax return or on your 2016 tax returns.  If you filed your 2015 return already, you can file an amended return to claim the losses.  See the link below for more information.

 https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc515.html

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance with tax matters related to the recent flooding.

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Tax Relief to Louisiana Storm Victims

Louisiana storm victims will have until January 17, 2017

to file certain Federal individual and business tax returns and make certain Federal tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced Monday.  All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief.  Taxpayers in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Acadia, Ascension, East Feliciana, Iberia, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, Vermillion, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Washington, and West Feliciana parishes will receive this and other special tax relief.

The Federal tax relief

postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on August 11, 2016.  As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until January 17, 2017 to file Federal returns and pay any Federal taxes that were originally due during this period.  This includes the September 15, 2016 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments.  For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until October 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns (see more on this below) were originally due on April 18, 2016, they are not eligible for this relief.  A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the September 15, 2016 deadline for corporation and partnership returns on extension and the October 31, 2016 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.

In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after August 11, 2016 and before August 26, 2016 if the deposits are made by August 26, 2016.  Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area.  Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area.  Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.

What does this mean for you?

  • Any 2015 individual or business tax return (including trusts) with an extended due date ON OR AFTER August 11, 2016 will now be extended until January 17, 2017 (Federal tax returns)
    • This includes 2015 individual income tax returns originally due April 18, 2016 but on extension until October 17, 2016. 
    • This includes S Corporations and C Corporations originally due March 15, 2016 but on extension until September 15, 2016 as well as partnerships and trusts originally due April 18, 2016 but on extension until September 15, 2016.
    • This includes 2016 3rd quarter estimated (quarterly) tax payments due September 15, 2016.
    • This includes 2016 3rd quarter payroll tax returns due October 31, 2016
  • CAUTION:  This relief does not apply to Federal taxes owed prior to August 11, 2016.
    • What do we mean by this?
      • Consider your 2015 Federal individual income tax return originally due April 18, 2016.  If you filed for an extension but did not pay ALL of the tax due, any penalty/interest accruing from April 18, 2016 will continue to accrue.  The individual extension extends the time to file the return (originally until October 15, 2016, now until January 17, 2017 based on the info above) but does NOT extend the time to pay your tax.

In addition to the Federal relief detailed above, the Louisiana Department of Revenue has also granted relief.  Individual and corporate tax returns as well as estimated payments due on or after August 11, 2016 (including returns on extension) will have an extended deadline of January 17, 2017.  This new due date mirrors the Federal extended due date.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.  We are here to help! CONTACT US TODAY!

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Tax Season can also be Scam Season

Recently a few PRM clients have been the target of some very brash and sinister scam artists posing as IRS affiliates. In over 40 years as a CPA it is easy for me to recognize an IRS scam, but the sophistication of the latest scams is alarming.

Tax-related fraud plays on your natural inclination to avoid trouble with official agencies. A practiced con artist armed with a script and the element of surprise can often create understandable confusion and fear, but it is important to consider these points:

Tip-offs to an IRS scam:

An unexpected phone call. The IRS makes initial contact regarding tax issues in a written letter, sent to you via U.S. postal mail.

The threat of arrest. Warnings of arrest or other police action are designed to frighten you into agreeing to send money or disclose personal financial information such as your social security number. Local police departments will not threaten to arrest you for federal tax- related issues.

Request for immediate payment. If you actually owe money for any type of federal tax, payment options are available. You’ll receive notices in the mail detailing the amount due and you’ll have time to respond.

Payment via prepaid debit card. The IRS does not require you to purchase prepaid cards to pay any tax you may owe, and will not call to ask for personal identification numbers.

It is important to know that the IRS is aware and concerned about the many varieties of tax fraud and therefore operates in a predictable manner.  It is essential to consider the following points when in contact with the IRS:

• The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail or social media to request financial information. The IRS never asks taxpayers for detailed personal financial information.  So if you receive what looks like an official IRS e-mail, you should forward it to phishing@irs.gov. Do not reply to the sender, and do not open any attachments.

• The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov; don’t be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org, or anything else.

• If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS or directing you to an IRS site, do not reply to the message, open any attachments, or click on any links.

• To help the IRS fight identity theft and refund fraud, report any bogus correspondence and forward any suspicious e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

How can you protect yourself?

• Advance warning gives you an advantage. Being aware of tax fraud schemes makes it likely you’ll recognize common techniques used by fraudsters, such as threats, multiple calls, and repeated demands for an immediate decision.

• If you choose to contact the IRS directly concerning the call, do not use the phone number the caller gave you. Why? In this latest scam, the number provided will connect you with another con artist in the same organization.

• Be assertive. You have no obligation to answer your phone, engage in conversation, or provide information to anyone who calls you. Let contacts from unknown numbers go to voicemail. If you do answer and the caller’s requests make you uncomfortable, disconnecting immediately is neither rude nor impolite.

PRM is here to keep you safe and informed, our Partners and staff are available to assist you any time you are contacted about your tax information.

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Almost Time to File

As income tax filing season begins, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • On December 29, the IRS announced that the 2015 filing season of 2014 returns will begin on January 20, 2015, a week and a half earlier than the start dates for 2013 and 2012. On that day the IRS will open electronic filing and begin processing paper returns.
  • The IRS expects the number of taxpayers eFiling their returns will continue to grow. Taxpayers expecting a refund who eFile returns should anticipate receiving their refunds within 3 weeks of IRS acknowledgement of the return, whereas paper filers generally must wait 6 to 8 weeks from the time the return is filed.
  • In late December, Congress decided to extend many provisions of the tax law that expired at the end of 2013, including many deduction provisions, valuable for many businesses and individuals.
  • Be on the lookout for new Form 1095-B’s that will be coming from your insurance provider indicating your insurance coverage for 2014. Your tax preparer will need this form to verify coverage so you will not be subject to penalties required under the Affordable Car Act for individuals without health insurance.
  • Get your information in early. Most documents should be available to you by the end of January. As soon as you have all of the documents together you should give them to your tax preparer to get your return preparation underway.

If you have questions about the extender provisions, the Affordable Care Act, or other questions about your income taxes, I would be more than happy to spend a few minutes discussing them with you.

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