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October 19, 2020
Tax Briefing(s)

In a normal year, March is the busiest month in our office. The April 15th tax filing deadline means we have a full team on site working through tax returns and clients visiting us daily. This is NOT a normal year. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the world works and we have had to adjust our business operations as well. We wanted to provide an update on what we are doing to try to be there for each of you in these trying times, while also keeping everyone as safe as possible. 


The Tax Organizers to assist in compiling the information necessary to prepare your 2019 individual income tax return(s) were mailed early to mid-January 2020. 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 2019 Tax Organizer or if you would like a blank version.


Two full years have passed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law.  Over the last two 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 and New York 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 2019 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 Treasury and IRS have issued guidance on the recent order by President Trump to defer certain employee payroll tax obligations on wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Under the guidance:


The IRS has released the 2020-2021 special per diem rates. Taxpayers use the per diem rates to substantiate the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. These special per diem rates include the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IEs) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. Taxpayers using the rates and list of high-cost localities provided in the guidance must comply with Rev. Proc. 2019-48, I.R.B. 2019-51, 1390.


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations that limit the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the Code Sec. 954(c) exception on distributions supported by certain earnings and profits not subject to the integrated international tax regime created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). Proposed regulations and temporary regulations, issued on June 18, 2019, are adopted and removed, respectively.


Treasury has issued final and amended regulations on the rules for distributions made by terminated S corporations during the post-termination transition period (PTTP). These regulations apply after an S corporation has become a C corporation.


Final regulations clarify that the amount of the rehabilitation credit for a qualified rehabilitated building (QRB) is determined as a single credit in the year the QRB is placed in service. This is the case even though the credit is allocated ratably over a five-year period. The final regulations adopt without modification proposed regulations released earlier this year ( NPRM REG-124327-19).


The IRS has released final regulations that clarify the definition of a "qualifying relative" for purposes of various provisions for tax years 2018 through 2025. These regulations generally affect taxpayers who claim federal income tax benefits that require a taxpayer to have a qualifying relative.


The IRS has announced that Medicaid coverage of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing and diagnostic services is not minimum essential coverage for purposes of the premium tax credit under Code Sec. 36B.


The IRS has released guidance in the form of questions and answers with respect to certain provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act), and the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 (Miners Act).


Final regulations provide additional guidance on the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) under Code Sec. 59A. The regulations also address certain aspects of the BEAT under Code Secs. 1502 and 6031.


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