Certified Public Accountants & Advisors

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The IRS has provided guidance regarding whether taxpayers receiving loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) may deduct otherwise deductible expenses. Act Sec. 1106(i) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ( P.L. 116-136) did not address whether generally allowable deductions such as those under Code Secs. 162 and 163 would still be permitted if the loan was later forgiven pursuant to Act Sec. 1106(b). The IRS has found that such deductions are not permissible.


Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have worked together to release the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application. According to Treasury’s May 15 press release, the application and correlating instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of PPP loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act ( P.L. 116-136). The PPP was enacted under the CARES Act to provide eligible small businesses with loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Eligible individuals who are not otherwise required to file federal income tax returns for 2019 may use a new simplified return filing procedure to make sure they receive the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ( P.L. 116-136).


To encourage businesses that have experienced an economic hardship due to COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ( P.L. 116-136) has provided several new credits for employers, including a new employee retention credit. The IRS has issued a fact sheet summarizing a few key points about the new credit.


The Treasury Department and the IRS have provided tax relief to certain individuals and businesses affected by travel disruptions arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.


The IRS and the Employee Benefits Security Administration are extending certain timeframes during the Outbreak Period for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency. The beginning of the Outbreak Period is March 1, 2020. The end date is yet to be determined.


Due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the IRS has provided increased flexibility with respect to:

  • 2020 mid-year elections under a Code Sec. 125 cafeteria plan related to employer-sponsored health coverage, health Flexible Spending Arrangements (health FSAs), and dependent care assistance programs; and
  • grace periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs to dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020.

The IRS has released proposed regulations that address changes made to Code Sec. 162(f) by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). The proposed regulations provide operational and definitional guidance on the deductibility of fines and penalties paid to governmental entities.


A partnership was denied a charitable contribution deduction because it had entered in an conservation easement that violated the perpetuity requirement of Code Sec. 170(h)(5) and its regulations. The Tax Court held that if there is a judicial extinguishment of an easement the donee receives a proportionate value of any proceeds.


The IRS has released proposed regulations clarifying that the following deductions allowed to an estate or non-grantor trust are not miscellaneous itemized deductions:


The IRS has released the 2018 optional standard mileage rates to be used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup of panel truck will be:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 53.5 cents in 2017);
  • 18 cents per mile for medical and moving expenses (up from 17 cents in 2017); and
  • 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes (permanently set by statute at 14 cents).

Comment. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate after using a depreciation method under Code Sec. 168 or after claiming the Code Sec. 179 deduction for that vehicle. A taxpayer may not use the business rate for more than four vehicles at a time. As a result, business owners have a choice for their vehicles: take the standard mileage rate, or “itemize” each part of the expense (gas, tolls, insurance, etc., and depreciation).


January 1, 2018 not only brings a new year, it brings a new federal Tax Code. The just-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes sweeping changes to the nation’s tax laws. Many of these changes take effect January 1. Everyone – especially individuals and business owners – needs to review their tax strategies for the new law. The changes are huge. However, many changes are temporary, especially for individuals.


The start of a New Year presents a time to reflect on the past 12 months and, based on what has gone before, predict what may happen next. Here is a list of the top 10 developments from 2017 that may prove particularly important as we move forward into the New Year:


Many federal income taxes are paid from amounts that are withheld from payments to the taxpayer. For instance, amounts roughly equal to an employee's estimated tax liability are generally withheld from the employee's wages and paid over to the government by the employer. In contrast, estimated taxes are taxes that are paid throughout the year on income that is not subject to withholding. Individuals must make estimated tax payments if they are self-employed or their income derives from interest, dividends, investment gains, rents, alimony, or other funds that are not subject to withholding.


Employers generally have to pay employment taxes on the wages they pay to their employees. A fine point under this rule, however, is missed by many who themselves have full time jobs and don’t think of themselves as employers: a nanny who takes care of a child is considered a household employee, and the parent or other responsible person is his or her household employer. Housekeepers, maids, babysitters, and others who work in or around the residence are employees. Repairmen and other business people who provide services as independent contractors are not employees. An individual who is under age 18 or who is a student is not an employee.


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


An employer must withhold income taxes from compensation paid to common-law employees (but not from compensation paid to independent contractors). The amount withheld from an employee's wages is determined in part by the number of withholding exemptions and allowances the employee claims. Note that although the Tax Code and regulations distinguish between withholding exemptions and withholding allowances, the terms are interchangeable. The amount of reduction attributable to one withholding allowance is the same as that attributable to one withholding exemption. Form W-4 and most informal IRS publications refer to both as withholding allowances, probably to avoid confusion with the complete exemption from withholding for employees with no tax liability.