Professional Accounting Blog

    Accounting For Your Prosperity

    Jonathan Ciccotelli

    Jonathan Ciccotelli is a Vice President in Meaden & Moore’s Tax Services Group. He enjoys running, cycling, and cheering on his kids at sporting events.

    Recent Posts

    Uncertainty Looms Over Some Federal Income Tax Provisions

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Apr 16, 2019 11:21:17 AM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    Congress has yet to tackle several outstanding uncertainties frustrating both businesses and individual taxpayers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), for example, contains several “glitches” requiring legislative fixes. Congress also has neglected to pass the traditional “extenders” legislation that retroactively extend certain tax relief provisions that expired at the end of an earlier year, in this case 2017.  

    TCJA glitches

    The sprawling TCJA signed into law in late 2017 contains some inadvertent glitches that range from a lack of clarity to significant drafting errors. In some cases the glitches may produce unintended and costly consequences. Here are examples of two glitches that still need to be addressed and one that has been addressed recently:

    The “retail” glitch. This prevents retailers, restaurants and other businesses from enjoying 100% bonus depreciation on certain assets. Before the TCJA’s enactment, qualified retail improvement property, qualified restaurant property and qualified leasehold improvement property were depreciated over 15 years under the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) and over 39 years under the alternative depreciation system (ADS).

    The TCJA classifies all of these property types as qualified improvement property (QIP). QIP generally is defined as any improvement to the interior of a nonresidential real property that’s placed in service after the building was placed in service.

    Congress intended QIP that is placed in service after 2017 to have a 15-year MACRS recovery period and a 20-year recovery under the ADS. Because 15-year property is eligible for bonus depreciation, Congress also intended QIP to be eligible for that break.

    Read More

    DOL Proposes Updated Overtime Rule

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Mar 27, 2019 9:23:52 AM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The Trump administration has released its long-awaited proposed rule to update the overtime exemptions for so-called white-collar workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule increases the minimum weekly standard salary level for both regular workers and highly compensated employees (HCEs). It also increases the total annual compensation requirement for HCEs that’s required to qualify them as exempt. In addition, it retains the often confusing “duties test.”  

    The Trump administration rule generally is more favorable to employers than the Obama administration’s 2016 rule, which a federal district court judge in Texas halted before it could take effect. While the latter was expected to make 4.1 million salaried workers newly eligible for overtime (absent some intervening action by their employers), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) predicts that the newly proposed rule will make 1.3 million currently exempt employees nonexempt. The DOL estimates the direct costs for employers under the proposed rule will ring in at $224 million less per year than under the 2016 rule. (It’s unclear whether these figures take into account payroll tax obligations.)

    Read More

    IRS Provides QBI Deduction Guidance

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Jan 28, 2019 11:32:14 AM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    When President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December 2017, much was made of the dramatic cut in corporate tax rates. But the TCJA also includes a generous deduction for smaller businesses that operate as pass-through entities, with income that is “passed through” to owners and taxed as individual income.

    The IRS issued proposed regulations for the qualified business income (QBI), or Section 199A, deduction in August 2018. Now, it has released final regulations and additional guidance, just before the first tax season in which taxpayers can claim the deduction. Among other things, the guidance provides clarity on who qualifies for the QBI deduction and how to calculate the deduction amount.

    Read More

    IRS Waives 2018 Underpayment for Many Taxpayers

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Jan 21, 2019 1:32:07 PM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The IRS has some good news for certain taxpayers — it’s waiving underpayment penalties for those whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments came in under their actual tax liabilities for the year. The waiver recognizes that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA’s) overhaul of the federal income tax regime made it difficult for some taxpayers to determine the proper amount to have withheld from their paychecks or include in their quarterly estimated tax payments for 2018. 

    The new tax system

    Many taxpayers started seeing more money in their paychecks in February 2018, after their employers made adjustments based on the IRS’s updated withholding tables. The revised tables reflected the TCJA’s increase in the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions, and changes in tax rates and brackets.

    Read More

    Shutdown Creates Tax Filing Uncertainty

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Jan 14, 2019 1:22:16 PM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The IRS has announced that it will begin accepting paper and electronic tax returns for the 2018 tax year on January 28, but much remains to be seen about how the ongoing shutdown of the federal government will affect this year’s filings. Although the Trump administration has stated that the IRS will pay refunds during the closure — a shift from IRS practice in previous government shutdowns — it’s not clear how quickly such refunds can be processed.

    Effects of the shutdown on the IRS so far

    An estimated 800,000 federal government workers have been furloughed since December 22, 2018, due to the impasse between President Trump and Congress over funding for a southern border wall. The most recent contingency plan published for the IRS lapsed on December 31, 2018, but it provided that only 12.5% of the tax agency’s approximately 80,000 employees would be deemed essential and therefore continue working during a shutdown.

    Read More

    IRS Issues Proposed Regs on Business Interest Expense Deductions

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Dec 12, 2018 2:27:30 PM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    In April 2018, the IRS released temporary guidance on the amended limit on deductions for business interest expense for tax years beginning in 2018. Taxpayers were allowed to rely on that guidance while waiting for regulations. The IRS has now published proposed regulations that taxpayers can rely on until final regs are released.

    The proposed regs significantly expand on the temporary guidance. They include, among other notable provisions, a broader definition of interest than businesses have applied in the past.

    Read More

    What Do the 2019 Cost-Of-Living Adjustments Mean for You?

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Dec 3, 2018 4:01:56 PM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The IRS has announced its 2019 cost-of-living adjustments to tax items that might affect you. Many of the amounts increased to account for inflation, but some remained at 2018 levels. As you implement 2018 year-end tax planning strategies, be sure to take these 2019 adjustments into account in your planning.

    Bear in mind that, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, annual inflation adjustments are now calculated using the chained consumer price index (also known as C-CPI-U). This increases tax bracket thresholds, the standard deduction, certain exemptions and other figures at a slower rate than was the case with the consumer price index previously used, potentially pushing taxpayers into higher tax brackets and making various breaks worth less over time. The law adopts the C-CPI-U on a permanent basis

    Read More

    IRS Proposes Regulations for Opportunity Zone Tax Incentives

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Oct 30, 2018 9:35:29 AM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a provision that Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said should lead to $100 billion in capital investments in distressed areas. The provision allows taxpayers to defer tax on capital gains by investing in such Opportunity Zones. And now the IRS has released proposed regulations for this tax incentive.

    The tax incentive in a nutshell

    The TCJA creates a new section of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 1400Z, that establishes Opportunity Zones within low-income communities. More than 8,700 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories have been designated as qualified Opportunity Zones. They’ll retain that designation until December 31, 2028.

    Read More

    Year-end Tax Planning for Businesses

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Oct 22, 2018 4:32:42 PM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in late 2017 brought significant changes to the tax landscape. As the first tax season under the law looms on the horizon, new year-end tax planning strategies are emerging. Meanwhile, some of the old tried-and-true strategies have changed and others remain viable.

    Fresh opportunities

    The TCJA creates several new avenues of potential tax savings for businesses. Some of these, though, may require tough decisions. For example, the new tax law has prompted some businesses to question whether they should restructure to become a C corporation or a pass-through entity. The former is subject to potential double taxation (at the entity and dividend levels) but now enjoys a corporate tax rate that has fallen from 35% to 21%. The latter faces only an individual tax rate, which can run as high as 37%, but might qualify for a new, full 20% deduction on qualified business income (QBI).

    Read More

    The Business Meal Expense Deduction Remains Allowable in Certain Circumstances

    Posted by Jonathan Ciccotelli on Oct 11, 2018 9:44:26 AM

    Topics: Tax Planning & Strategies

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was packed with goodies for businesses, but it also seemed to eliminate the popular meal expense deduction in some situations. Now, the IRS has issued transitional guidance — while it works on proposed regulations — that confirms the deduction remains allowable in certain circumstances and clarifies when businesses can claim it.

    The need for guidance

    Before the TCJA, Section 274 of the Internal Revenue Code generally prohibited deductions for expenses related to entertainment, amusement or recreation (commonly referred to as entertainment expenses). It provided exceptions, though, for entertainment expenses “directly related” to or “associated” with conducting business.

    Read More

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    New Call-to-action
    New Call-to-action
    New Call-to-action
    New Call-to-action