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April 20, 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 and the Treasury Department have automatically extended the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year, from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.


On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Some of the tax-related provisions include the following:


The IRS needs to issue new rules and guidance to implement the American Rescue Plan, experts said on March 11 as President Joe Biden signed his COVID-19 relief measure.


Strengthening tax breaks to promote manufacturing received strong bipartisan support at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 16.


IRS Commissioner Charles "Chuck" Rettig told Congress on February 23 that the backlog of 20 million unopened pieces of mail is gone.


The Tax Court ruled that rewards dollars that a married couple acquired for using their American Express credit cards to purchase debit cards and money orders—but not to purchase gift cards—were included in the taxpayers’ income. The court stated that its holdings were based on the unique circumstances of the case.


The IRS Office of Chief Counsel has embarked on its most far-reaching Settlement Days program by declaring the month of March 2021 as National Settlement Month. This program builds upon the success achieved from last year's many settlement day events while being shifted to virtual format due to the pandemic. Virtual Settlement Day (VSD) events will be conducted across the country and will serve taxpayers in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.


An individual who owned a limited liability company (LLC) with her former spouse was not entitled to relief from joint and several liability under Code Sec. 6015(b). The taxpayer argued that she did not know or have reason to know of the understated tax when she signed and filed the joint return for the tax year at issue. Further, she claimed to be an unsophisticated taxpayer who could not have understood the extent to which receipts, expenses, depreciation, capital items, earnings and profits, deemed or actual dividend distributions, and the proper treatment of the LLC resulted in tax deficiencies. The taxpayer also asserted that she did not meaningfully participate in the functioning of the LLC other than to provide some bookkeeping and office work.


A married couple’s civil fraud penalty was not timely approved by the supervisor of an IRS Revenue Agent (RA) as required under Code Sec. 6751(b)(1). The taxpayers’ joint return was examined by the IRS, after which the RA had sent them a summons requiring their attendance at an in-person closing conference. The RA provided the taxpayers with a completed, signed Form 4549, Income Tax Examination Changes, reflecting a Code Sec. 6663(a) civil fraud penalty. The taxpayers declined to consent to the assessment of the civil fraud penalty or sign Form 872, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax, to extend the limitations period.


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