The IRS has released the 2019 version of Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) and instructions. Initial plans called for substantial revisions to the form to take into account provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, after considering feedback from the payroll and tax communities, the IRS decided to postpone the form’s makeover until the 2020 tax year. Therefore, the 2019 form is similar to the 2018 version. However, the Form W-4 Deductions, Adjustments, and Additional Income Worksheet has been updated to reflect the increase in the annual withholding allowance from $4,150 to $4,200 in 2019. Also, the worksheet has been updated for the increase in the standard deduction for 2019 from (1) $24,000 to $24,400 for joint filers and surviving spouses; (2) $18,000 to $18,350 for heads of household; and (3) $12,000 to $12,200 for single filers and married individuals filing separately. The 2019 Form W-4 can be accessed at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf .
Some California taxpayers are receiving erroneous late notices. Taxpayers who reside in federally declared disaster areas have been granted extra time to accomplish state tax-related tasks, such as filing tax returns and paying taxes due. The CA Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has reported that, due to a systemic issue, some taxpayers who qualify for this relief have received notices assessing late-filing penalties. While the FTB works to update its system and address this issue, taxpayers can contact the FTB on its homepage and click live chat: https://bit.ly/2MG3HMz
If you have questions, you can also contact your Linkenheimer CPA.
Does your business reimburse employees’ work-related travel expenses? If you do, you know that it can help you attract and retain employees. If you don’t, you might want to start, because changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) make such reimbursements even more attractive to employees. Travel reimbursements also come with tax benefits, but only if you follow a method that passes muster with the IRS.
The TCJA’s impact
Before the TCJA, unreimbursed work-related travel expenses generally were deductible on an employee’s individual tax return (subject to a 50% limit for meals and entertainment) as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. However, many employees weren’t able to benefit from the deduction because either they didn’t itemize deductions or they didn’t have enough miscellaneous itemized expenses to exceed the 2% of adjusted gross income (AGI) floor that applied.
For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% of AGI floor. That means even employees who itemize deductions and have enough expenses that they would exceed the floor won’t be able to enjoy a tax deduction for business travel. Therefore, business travel expense reimbursements are now more important to employees.
The potential tax benefits
Your business […]
Over the last several years, virtual currency has become increasingly popular. Bitcoin is the most widely recognized form of virtual currency, also commonly referred to as digital, electronic or crypto currency.
While most smaller businesses aren’t yet accepting bitcoin or other virtual currency payments from their customers, more and more larger businesses are. And the trend may trickle down to smaller businesses. Businesses also can pay employees or independent contractors with virtual currency. But what are the tax consequences of these transactions?
Bitcoin has an equivalent value in real currency and can be digitally traded between users. It also can be purchased with real currencies or exchanged for real currencies. Bitcoin is most commonly obtained through virtual currency ATMs or online exchanges.
Goods or services can be paid for using “bitcoin wallet” software. When a purchase is made, the software digitally posts the transaction to a global public ledger. This prevents the same unit of virtual currency from being used multiple times.
Questions about the tax impact of virtual currency abound. And the IRS has yet to offer much guidance.
The IRS did establish in a 2014 ruling that bitcoin and other convertible virtual currency should be […]
The Internal Revenue Service recently provided information to taxpayers and employers about changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that affect:
- Move related vehicle expenses
- Un-reimbursed employee expenses
- Vehicle expensing
Changes to the deduction for move-related vehicle expenses
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends the deduction for moving expenses for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and goes through Jan. 1, 2026. Thus, during the suspension no deduction is allowed for use of an automobile as part of a move using the mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03. This suspension does not apply to members of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty who move pursuant to a military order related to a permanent change of station.
Changes to the deduction for un-reimbursed employee expenses
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also suspends all miscellaneous itemized deductions that are subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor. This change affects un-reimbursed employee expenses such as uniforms, union dues and the deduction for business-related meals, entertainment and travel.
Thus, the business standard mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03, which was issued before the Tax Cuts and […]
If you received a large refund after filing your 2017 income tax return, you’re probably enjoying the influx of cash. But a large refund isn’t all positive. It also means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan.
That’s why a large refund for the previous tax year would usually indicate that you should consider reducing the amounts you’re having withheld (and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making) for the current year. But 2018 is a little different.
The TCJA and withholding
To reflect changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) — such as the increase in the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions and changes in tax rates and brackets — the IRS updated the withholding tables that indicate how much employers should hold back from their employees’ paychecks, generally reducing the amount withheld.
The new tables may provide the correct amount of tax withholding for individuals with simple tax situations, but they might cause other taxpayers to not have enough withheld to pay their ultimate tax liabilities under the TCJA. So even if you received a large refund this year, you could end up owing a significant amount of tax when you file […]
The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers who turned age 70½ during 2017 that, in most cases, they must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Sunday, April 1, 2018.
The April 1 deadline applies to all employer-sponsored retirement plans, including profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans. The RMD rules also apply to traditional IRAs and IRA-based plans such as SEPs, SARSEPs, and SIMPLE IRAs, however, they do not apply to ROTH IRAs.
The April 1 RMD deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year. For all subsequent years, including the year in which recipients were paid the first RMD by April 1, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31. A taxpayer who turned 70½ in 2017 and receives the first required distribution (for 2017) on April 1, 2018, for example, must still receive the second RMD by Dec. 31, 2018.
Affected taxpayers who turned 70½ during 2017 must figure the RMD for the first year using the life expectancy as of their birthday in 2017 and their account balance on Dec. […]
The IRS has completed updating its online withholding calculator that individual taxpayers can use to determine how many withholding allowances they should claim for 2018. The IRS also issued a new 2018 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The IRS had previously announced that taxpayers could use the old 2017 Form W-4, as modified in Notice 2018-14, until 30 days after the new form was issued.
The calculator and new Form W-4 are designed to implement changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (passed earlier this year), which increased the standard deduction, removed personal exemptions, increased the child tax credit, limited or discontinued certain deductions, and changed the tax rates and brackets, among many other changes.
To use the calculator, taxpayers should have certain information available, including an estimate of their 2018 income and other items that affect their taxes, including the number of children claimed for the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit. The IRS emphasized that the calculator is used to compute the amount of tax to be withheld in 2018, not for 2017. […]
We’ve had a number of clients ask us questions since the wildfires on tree loss and what that means in terms of determining a casualty loss on property. Below is an FAQ from the IRS which should hopefully provide some good information. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your Linkenheimer CPA.
Q: How does a taxpayer determine a casualty loss from damaged trees and other landscaping on personal-use residential property when that loss is attributable to a disaster?
A: In determining the amount of a casualty loss from damage to personal-use residential property, trees and other landscaping are considered part of the entire residential property, and are not valued separately or assigned a separate basis, even if purchased separately.
To compute your casualty loss:
Determine your adjusted basis in the entire residential property before the casualty. Your basis is generally the cost of the property, adjusted for improvements and certain other events. For more information on determining your adjusted basis, see Publication 530, Tax information for First-Time Homeowners, and Publication 551, Basis of Assets
Determine the decrease in fair market value of the entire residential property as a result of the casualty.
From the smaller of these […]