Inherited IRAs Are Not Exempt From Bankruptcy

In Bankruptcy, General, Tax by Coolidge Wall

When filing for bankruptcy, a person may exempt “retirement funds” from the bankruptcy estate. However, last week the Supreme Court decided that the term “retirement funds” does not include funds in an inherited IRA. An inherited IRA is a traditional or Roth IRA that a person has inherited from the original owner. Inherited IRAs are different from traditional or Roth IRAs. First, the person who inherited the IRA must withdraw the funds within five years of the original owner’s death or take annual minimum distributions regardless of the age of the person. Additionally, the person can withdraw funds at any …

U.S. Supreme Court holds that severance payments are subject to FICA

In Business Law, General, Tax by Coolidge Wall

In a case decided earlier this year, United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a split among the circuits and held that severance payments that are not linked to the receipt of state unemployment benefits are “wages” subject to FICA withholding. This decision overturned the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which had concluded that the taxpayer, Quality Stores, Inc., was entitled to a refund of FICA taxes paid with respect to severance payments. While not a favorable decision for the taxpayer, it does offer employers some certainty that severance payments, not linked to the …

Federal Government Delays ACA Employer Mandate

In Healthcare Reform, Tax by Coolidge Wall

The federal government recently issued final regulations that apply to the “employer mandate” or “play or pay” provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These provisions require employers with 50 or more employees to offer full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in an adequate and affordable employer-sponsored health plan or pay a penalty. Last year, the government postponed enforcement of the new mandate until 2015. Now, the government has provided a further delay for employers with 50 to 99 employees and modified for one-year the coverage requirement that applies to employers with 100 or more employees: Employers …

Facing an Excessive Property Valuation as Tax Season Approaches? Fear Not! A Tax Appeal May Lessen Your Tax Burden

In Real Estate, Tax by Coolidge Wall

As the deadline to pay real estate taxes for the first half of 2013 rapidly approaches, property owners may suddenly question the County’s valuation of their property. Why is valuation important? Because a property’s valuation is a significant factor relative to determining the real estate taxes associated with that property. Disagree with the County’s valuation? You may wish to consider whether filing a Complaint Against the Valuation of Property (also known as a real estate tax appeal or real estate tax complaint) makes sense for you and your property. There are several critical points to consider before filing a tax …

Payroll Reporting in Asset Acquisitions: Revenue Procedure 2004-53

In Tax by Coolidge Wall

With the flurry of activity that occurs during an asset purchase transaction, it is not uncommon to overlook the details involved with coordinating the payroll reporting for employees that are acquired or hired by the purchaser. As with most issues in an asset purchase transaction, it is preferable for the parties to address the issue directly in the asset purchase agreement. Planning ahead reduces the chances for missed filing deadlines and associated penalties and interest. Internal Revenue Service Revenue Procedure 2004-53 provides the two methods by which a predecessor (seller) and successor (buyer) employer can report payroll in the year …

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Internet Sales Tax Cases

In Business Law, Tax by Coolidge Wall

New York implemented a law that imposes sales tax collection duties on some out-of-state retailers that are not physically present in the state. The law requires out-of-state retailers engaged in “affiliate marketing” to collect sales tax. Affiliate marketing occurs when the retailer enters a contract with a third party (the affiliate) who operates an independent website. Under the contract, the affiliate agrees to provide on its website a link that directs readers to the retailer’s website in exchange for a percentage of the sales made to readers who use the link. Overstock.com and Amazon.com sued the New York State Department …

IRS Finalizes Regulations Governing De Minimis Safe Harbor Expensing

In Business Law, Tax by Coolidge Wall

The IRS has released final regulations governing when taxpayers must capitalize expenditures and when they can deduct expenditures related to the acquisition of tangible property. These regulations are effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. Importantly, the final regulations provide for a de minimis safe harbor election that allows taxpayers to immediately deduct the cost of acquiring certain items of tangible property, provided that specific requirements are satisfied. The election is made annually by attaching a statement to a timely filed income tax return. Very generally, taxpayers making the safe harbor election can immediately deduct the …

New 3.8% Medicare Tax Law Provides Some Exceptions for Real Estate Industry

In Tax by Coolidge Wall

Medicare Tax law generally. The new Medicare Tax law (I.R.C. § 1411) was added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, in part to offset some of the costs of Obamacare. Very generally, the tax is imposed on an individual’s unearned income (i.e., net investment income including, in part, net income from rents and a trade or business that is a passive activity with respect to the taxpayer). The tax does not apply to an individual who either (1) has no net investment income for the year, or (2) has modified adjusted …