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Tax Alerts
May 14, 2021
Tax Briefing(s)

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 postponed the federal tax filing and payment deadlines, and associated interest, penalties, and additions to tax, for certain taxpayers who have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 


The IRS has provided guidance related to the temporary 100-percent deduction for business meals provided by a restaurant. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 ( P.L. 116-260) temporarily increased the deduction from 50 percent to 100 percent for a business’s restaurant food and beverage expenses for 2021 and 2022. All other food and beverage expenses are still subject to the 50 percent deduction limitation unless some other exception applies.


The IRS has issued guidance for employers claiming the employee retention credit under Act Sec. 2301 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) ( P.L. 116-136), as modified by Act Secs. 206 and 207 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Relief Act) (Division EE of P.L. 116-260), for the first and second calendar quarters in 2021. The guidance amplifies previous guidance which addressed amendments made by section 206 of the Relief Act for calendar quarters in 2020.


The IRS has issued guidance clarifying that amounts paid for personal protective equipment—such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes—for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 PPE) are treated as amounts paid for medical care under Code Sec. 213(d).


The U.S. Department of Labor has published a new webpage with guidance implementing the Continuation of Health Coverage premium assistance provisions of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), to provide full COBRA premium assistance to certain individuals who experienced a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment.


The IRS has announced that, under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) ( P.L. 117-2), the requirement that taxpayers increase their tax liability by all or a portion of their excess advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit (excess APTC) is suspended for tax year (TY) 2020.


The IRS has extended the penalty relief provided in Notice 2020-22, I.R.B. 2020-17, 664, for failure to deposit employment taxes, to eligible employers that reduce their required deposits in anticipation of the following credits.


Continuing an ongoing effort to help those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, the IRS has reminded people who do not have a permanent address or a bank account that may still qualify for Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and other tax benefits.


Death benefits that an S corporation provided to its sole shareholder under a split-dollar life insurance arrangement were employee compensation rather than a corporate distribution. In reaching this decision, the Tax Court firmly rejected the contrary conclusion reached by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in J.J. Machacek, CA-6, 2018-2 U.S.T.C. 50,447.


The termination date for an empowerment zone designation under Code Sec. 1391 is generally deemed to extend until December 31, 2025. However, the state or local government that nominated the zone may decline the deemed extension.


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