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The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA, 2021), signed into law on December 27, 2020, is a further legislative response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The CAA, 2021 includes, along with spending and other non-tax provisions, tax provisions affecting individuals and businesses.  Some of these key tax provisions are briefly summarized below:


The Tax Organizers to assist in compiling the information necessary to prepare your 2020 individual income tax return(s) were mailed mid to late January 2021. Please complete the organizer to the best of your ability. In connection with all items of income, if married, please indicate whether the income is the taxpayer, spouse or joint (TSJ).  Please contact us if you haven't received your 2020 Tax Organizer or if you would like a blank version.


Three full years have passed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law.  Over the last three years, the IRS and Treasury have released a considerable amount of guidance in the form of both proposed and final regulations.  While some of this guidance has been taxpayer friendly, not all of the proposed regulations yield favorable results.  As we approach year end, taxpayers continue to seek additional clarity about areas where temporary regulations might affect their individual returns.


When you make retail purchases of goods or services in your resident state, you usually pay sales tax to the seller if the sale of such goods or services is subject to sales tax according to the law of your resident state.  The seller in turn remits the sales tax collected to the state taxing authority.  In general, when these same types of goods or services are purchased outside of your resident state, they are subject to "use tax" when the goods are brought into your resident state.


Internal Revenue Service regulations along with the tax authorities of Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts mandate that tax preparers electronically file individual, fiduciary and business income tax returns.  We believe that trends will continue with authorities requiring the electronic filing of more information, tax returns and tax payments.  Therefore, all 2020 income tax returns filed federally and in the States of Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts are required to be filed using the Federal & State Electronic Filing Program (E-File).  The firm will voluntarily file individual returns electronically in the States of California and New Jersey.  We also reserve the right to electronically file in additional states as deemed appropriate and will encourage this method of filing. 


The IRS has issued the luxury car depreciation limits for business vehicles placed in service in 2021 and the lease inclusion amounts for business vehicles first leased in 2021.


The IRS has issued guidance for employers claiming the employee retention credit under Code Sec. 3134, enacted by section 9651 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), P.L. 117-2, which provides a credit for wages paid after June 30, 2021, and before January 1, 2022. The guidance amplifies previous notices which addressed the employee retention credit under section 2301 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), P.L. 116-136, as amended by sections 206 and 207 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, P.L. 116-260.


The Treasury and IRS have provided an optional safe harbor allowing employers to exclude the following amounts from their gross receipts solely for determining eligibility for the employee retention credit.


The IRS issued transition relief for certain employers claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) under Code Sec. 51. This would apply for certain employees beginning work after December 31, 2020, in response to legislation permitting the designation of an Empowerment Zone under Code Sec. 1393(b) to be extended from December 31, 2020, through December 31, 2025. Specifically, section IV of this notice provides transition relief by extending the 28-day deadline for employers to request certification from a designated local agency that an individual who begins work on or after January 1, 2021, and before October 9, 2021, is a member of the Designated Community Resident targeted group or the Qualified Summer Youth Employee targeted group.


The U.S. Small Business Administration ( SBA) is launching a streamlined application portal to allow certain borrowers to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan forgiveness directly through the SBA. The SBA also is explaining why it discontinued use of Loan Necessity Questionnaires for PPP borrowers.


The IRS stated that families should use the Child Tax Credit (CTC) Update Portal to confirm their eligibility for the payments. If eligible, the tool also indicates whether taxpayers are enrolled to receive their payments by direct deposit. More information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.


The IRS provided additional guidance on the application of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) ( P.L. 117-2) relating to temporary premium assistance for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) continuation coverage. This notice supplements Notice 2021-31, I.R.B. 2021-23, and addresses additional issues.


The foreign tax credit did not apply against the net investment income tax (NIIT). The structure of the Internal Revenue Code made the credit inapplicable to the NIIT, and tax treaties did not override that fact.


A missing or unknown federal gift tax return could constitute reasonable cause for the late filing of an estate tax return.


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