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Year-End Tax Planning: Top 10 Considerations

Posted 6:03 PM by
As 2014 draws to a close, there are many year-end tax-planning strategies that both businesses and individuals should consider. Read the top-10 list of such considerations, including updates on this week's "tax extenders" legislation, the recent changes included in the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, new repair regulations, and others.
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The Manufacturing Advisor: Tax Policy of Critical Concern to Manufacturers

Posted 2:25 PM by
Tax Policy of Critical Concern to Manufacturers: The 2014 Indiana Manufacturing Survey: Strong for Today, Concerned for Tomorrow was full of enlightening information for the Hoosier manufacturing industry, but one of the most striking pieces of information to come from the survey was this: When asked to select the most critical factor in terms of manufacturing cost and viability, property tax policy and corporate tax policy were rated extremely important by 66% of respondents, finishing . just a single percentage point behind regulatory issues and healthcare. And, in this day of 24/7 coverage of the Affordable Care Act, that’s saying something.
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The Advisor - Issue 2, 2014

Posted 10:50 PM by

In This Issue:

Managing Partner Message
It is always a pleasure to share some of the great happenings taking place at Katz, Sapper & Miller, none of which would be possible without the combination of talented, dedicated employees and wonderful clients. By David Resnick, CPA

Tax-Planning Pitfalls for Developers in Public-Private Partnerships
Public-private partnerships (P3) are a hot topic in real estate development. With many real estate developers and construction companies still experiencing a lack of liquidity coming out of the Great Recession, these cooperative agreements between government and private entities allow the building of many projects that would not happen otherwiseBy Chad Halstead, JD
 

2015 Hiring Outlook: The Year of the Contractor
It would be hard to argue the U.S. economy has not fared better in 2014 than 2013, and it certainly looks like that trend will continue into 2015. Like the economy, hiring and unemployment trends have also improved. By Mark Barnhart, CPC, CERS

Accounting Considerations with Tax Increment Financing
Among economic incentives, tax increment financing (TIF) is a common financial tool of local governments to spur growth. Essentially, TIF provides upfront funding of development efforts, which are repaid by the resulting higher incremental future tax revenues. By Matt Bishop, CPA, MBA

Amortization of Goodwill Is Back on the Table
Companies are finding opportunities for growth through acquisitions. Upon completing an acquisition, any unallocated acquisition price is presented on the balance sheet as “goodwill.” By Jason Patch, CPA

Weighing the Decision to Move to the Cloud
By now, everyone has heard about cloud computing and, likely, has at least considered use of the cloud for professional or personal needs. By Charlie Brandt

 

Katz, Sapper & Miller’s The Advisor is a bi-annual newsletter that focuses on business and tax solutions for today's entrepreneur.

 

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Congress Passes "Tax Extenders" Legislation

Posted 9:21 PM by

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, also known as the "tax extenders" legislation. This bill now goes to President Obama for signature.

The "tax extenders" legislation extends more than 50 expired tax provisions retroactively to the beginning of 2014. These provisions have only been extended for 2014.

Two of the most significant provisions that were extended are bonus depreciation and Section 179 expensing.

  • Bonus depreciation allows for taxpayers to claim an additional first-year depreciation deduction equal to 50% of the cost of new assets placed in service prior to January 1, 2015. In order to qualify for bonus depreciation, the asset placed in service must be a new piece of tangible property.
  • Section 179 allows for taxpayers to expense up to $500,000 of the cost of qualified assets with an overall investment limitation of $2 million. To qualify for Section 179 treatment the asset must be depreciable tangible property or computer software which was acquired for use in a trade or business. Assets must be placed in service prior to January 1, 2015.

Other key business provisions that have been extended include:

  • The research credit has been extended.
  • The Work Opportunity Credit has been extended for employees who began work for the employer before January 1, 2015.
  • For corporations that converted from C to S status, the built-in gain recognition period is five years.
  • For S corporations making charitable donations of appreciated property, a shareholder's basis is adjusted by the cost basis of the asset instead of the appreciated value.
  • Certain excise tax credits for alternative fuels have been extended.

Key individual provisions that have been extended include:

  • The deduction for state and local income taxes in lieu of deducting state income taxes.
  • The above-the-line deduction for qualifying tuition and fees for post-secondary education.
  • The $250 above-the-line deduction for teachers' classroom expenses.
  • The exclusion from income from cancellation of mortgage debt on a principal residence up to $2 million.
  • The ability to contribute required minimum distributions from IRAs, up to $100,000, directly to charitable organizations. These distributions are not taxable.

If you have any questions concerning how these and other provisions affect your tax situation, please contact your KSM advisor.

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New FATCA Withholding Rules

Posted 2:20 PM by

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) imposes a new layer of withholding rules on U.S. persons making payments of U.S. source income to foreign entities. The FATCA withholding rules require a 30% nonrefundable withholding tax on certain payments of U.S. source income to foreign entities that fall within specifically defined categories. Payors of U.S. source income to foreign entities need to obtain the new Form W-8BEN-E from the foreign payee in order to document the payee’s FATCA status and substantiate exemptions from this withholding obligation. 

The requirement to document the status of each payee (U.S. versus foreign) is not a new requirement and was previously satisfied using the Form W-9 (for U.S. individuals and U.S. entities) or Form W-8BEN (for foreign individuals and foreign entities). The documentation procedures for U.S. persons and foreign individuals has not changed, and the Forms W-9 and W-8BEN are still used. However, the Form W-8BEN is no longer used for payments to foreign entities. The FATCA obligations now require U.S. payors to obtain the Form W-8BEN-E (or other W-8 series form if appropriate) from payees that are foreign entities. 

FATCA Categories

All foreign payees will be classified as either a foreign financial institution (FFI) or non-financial foreign entity (NFFE). FFIs include (but are not limited to):  

  • Depository institutions (banks)
  • Custodial institutions (mutual funds)
  • Investment entities (hedge funds or private equity funds)
  • Insurance companies that offer cash value products or annuities (typically life insurance companies)

NFFEs are foreign entities that are not FFIs. 

Once the foreign payee is determined to be either an FFI or NFFE, then the categories within each classification must be determined. A description of the most common types of entities in each category are provided below along with the FATCA withholding obligation associated with each category.

Action Steps

If making payments of U.S. source passive income to foreign entities, the following must be done:

  1. Determine who is being paid (foreign or U.S. person)
  2. Get documentation to support that conclusion (either a W-9 or W-8 form)

- If paying a foreign entity, get an updated W-8BEN-E that confirms the payee’s FATCA status. If the payee is a participating FFI, check the published monthly list of participating FFIs to confirm their status. 

- Determine (based on the FATCA status) if it is necessary to withhold the 30% FATCA obligation. If not, determine if other withholding rules would apply. It is important to note that payments exempt from FATCA withholding are still subject to the long-standing withholding rules under Internal Revenue Code Sections 1441 through 1446.

If you (or a member of your consolidated group) are considered an FFI or NFFE, and such foreign entity is receiving payments of U.S. source income subject to FATCA withholding, the following must be done to ensure that you are registered and in compliance with FATCA: 

  1. FFIs need to register on the FATCA website and sign the FFI agreement. If they are in a Model 1 country, they must do so by 12/31/14. If they are in a Model 2 country or a country with no IGA, they must do so immediately. 
  2. Passive NFFEs (defined below) need to determine which category of NFFE they will be.

    - A passive direct reporting NFFE (defined below) needs to register on the FATCA website and report their substantial direct and indirect U.S. owners on Form 8966 by March 31.
     

    - A passive indirect reporting NFFE (defined below) must list their substantial direct and indirect U.S. owners on the W-8BEN-E they provide to potential withholding agents. 
     
  3. There is no action required with respect to active NFFEs (defined below).

The FATCA registration website can be found at https://sa.www4.irs.gov/fatca-rup/.

The official FFI list can be found at http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/FATCA-Foreign-Financial-Institution-List-Search-and-Download-Tool.

Common FATCA Entity Types

  • Foreign Financial Institution (FFI):

    - Exempt FFI: Exempt FFIs include most governmental entities, most non-profit organizations, certain small or local financial institutions, and certain retirement entities. No FATCA withholding is required.

    - Participating FFI: FFIs that have registered with the IRS using the online registration or through filing a Form 8957. They appear on the official FFI list (that is issued monthly) with a valid Global Intermediary Number (GIIN).  Participating FFIs have signed an FFI agreement to provide the IRS with information about U.S. account holders (name, identifying number, address, maximum balance, etc.). FFIs that are in a country that has signed a Model 2 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) are also included as a participating FFI. No FATCA withholding is required. 

    - Nonparticipating FFI: FFIs that do not register with the IRS and are subject to a 30% withholding tax on all payments of U.S. sourced income that is fixed or determinable, annual or periodic income (generally passive income such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties, etc.).  

    - Deemed Compliant FFI: Deemed compliant FFIs include certain local banks, qualified collective investment vehicles, restricted funds, retirement plans, FFIs with only low value accounts, and FFIs that are in a country that has signed a Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). No FATCA withholding is required.   
  • Non-Financial Foreign Entity (NFFE):

    - Excepted NFFE: Excepted NFFEs include publicly traded companies and their affiliates, certain entities organized in U.S. territories, and certain non-financial entities (holding companies, treasury centers, etc.). No FATCA withholding is required. 

    - Active NFFE: An Active NFFE is an NFFE where less than 50% of its gross income for the preceding calendar year is passive type income and less than 50% of its assets for the preceding calendar year are assets that generate passive type income. No FATCA withholding is required. 

    - Passive NFFE: A passive NFFE is an NFFE that isn’t excepted or active. It could fall into three different categories: 
  1. Direct Reporting NFFE: A direct reporting NFFE registers with the IRS and gets a GIIN number. It reports its direct or indirect substantial U.S. owners on Form 8966. No FATCA withholding is required.
  2. Passive indirect reporting NFFE: An NFFE that does not directly report its U.S. owners to the IRS, but does report its U.S. owners on the W-8BEN-E. No FATCA withholding is required.
  3. Passive non-reporting NFFE: A passive NFFE that does not report its direct or indirect substantial U.S. owners (directly or indirectly). These NFFEs are subject to a 30% withholding tax on all payments of U.S. source income that is fixed or determinable, annual or periodic income (generally passive income such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties, etc.). 

About the Author
Ryan Miller is a partner in Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Tax Department. Ryan provides consulting services on a variety of technical tax matters, with an emphasis on international tax, oversees tax compliance and handles tax controversies. His experience includes entity taxation, among other areas.
 

About the Author
Katherine Malarsky is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller's Tax Department. Katherine provides consulting services on technical tax matters. She has experience in cost allocation methodologies, export incentive calculations, and international earnings and profits. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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The Advisor - Issue 1, 2014

Posted 1:43 PM by

In This Issue:

Understanding the Responsibilities and Risks of Serving as a Trustee of a Trust
Being asked to serve as a trustee of a trust may be flattering; however, many factors should be considered in deciding whether to serve as a trustee of a trust. Mistakes can be costly, and trustees can be held liable for breach of fiduciary duty. By Jay Benjamin, CPA, JD

Don’t Bet Your Bottom Dollar
On Jan. 29, 2014, proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 752 were issued by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, which would preclude partners of partnerships (and members of limited liability companies) from utilizing customary guarantees of partnership debt to bolster the tax basis of partnership interestsBy John Estridge, CPA

Preventing Identity Fraud
In February 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ranked identity theft as #1 on its list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. From 2008 through May 2012, more than 550,000 taxpayers have been victims of Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF)By Aaron Brezko, CPA/CFF, CFE

Cost Reduction Strategies: What About Utilities?
In today’s challenging economic times, all businesses and organizations are looking for opportunities to reduce costs. As companies review expenditures, they should not overlook their utilities expense. By Scott Grotjan

 

Katz, Sapper & Miller’s The Advisor is a bi-annual newsletter that focuses on business and tax solutions for today's entrepreneur.

 

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PCORI Fee Due July 31

Posted 3:13 PM by

The Affordable Care Act created a fee called the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. This fee is to be used to fund research on medical treatment effectiveness. This fee is to be paid by both fully-insured and self-funded group health plans.

The fee is $2 per person enrolled in the plan. A person enrolled in the plan includes the participating employee, spouses, domestic partners and dependents. COBRA and retiree participants also must be counted. The fee is due based on the year-end of the plan. The filing will be due on or before July 31, 2014. The fee must be reported on IRS Form 720, “Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.”

If you are an employer with a fully-insured group health plan, no action is required as your health insurance carrier is required to report and pay this fee. This additional fee is most likely built into the premiums that you currently pay.

If you are an employer with a self-funded plan, you are responsible for calculating the fee, completing the Form 720 and paying the related fee.

The following plans are considered self-funded plans that are subject to the PCORI fee and the Form 720 filing requirement:

  • All self-funded group health plans, including Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs)
  • An HRA that is offered as part of a fully-insured group health plan – the fee is paid only on the HRA part of the plan
  • A stand-alone HRA plan
  • On-site medical clinics
  • Retiree-only group health plans
  • Employee Assistance Programs – only if the EAP provides significant medical benefits

The following plans are exempt from the PCORI fee:

  • Employee Assistance Programs – does not provide significant medical benefits
  • Individual Health Savings Accounts
  • Health and Dependent Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Stand-alone dental plans
  • Stand-alone vision plans

Upon determination that you have a self-funded plan, you must complete the IRS Form 720 (revised version dated April 2014). The form may be completed manually and mailed directly to the IRS (not required to be filed electronically). 

The fee is based on the average number of enrollees for the plan year. Most employers should be able to obtain this information directly from their benefit plan service provider(s). If you have to calculate the number of enrollees yourself, there are three methods that you may choose from in determining the average number of enrollees. The methods are as follows:

  1. The Form 5500 Method: If the plan is required to file Form 5500 and your 2013 Form 5500 is filed timely and before July 31, 2014, this method can be used. To use this method, add the number of participants at the beginning of the year (Part II, line 5 of Form 5500) to the total participants at the end of the year (Part II, line 6d) and divide the total by 2.Then multiply this total by $2.
     
  2. The Actual Count Method: This method uses the number of lives covered for each day of the plan year divided by the number of days in the plan year.
     
  3. The Snapshot Method: This method uses the total number of lives covered on a given date in each quarter of the plan year. The sum is then divided by 4.

The following sections of the Form 720 will need to be completed (assuming that the Form 720 is being filed only to report the PCORI fee):

  • Complete the top section of the form. The quarter ending is the second quarter, which is June 2014.
  • Go to Part II, line 133. The Applicable Self-Insured Health Plans line is going to be completed. In column (a), report the average number of lives covered. Multiply the number in column (a) by $2 and enter that amount. This calculated amount will also be entered in the tax column.
  • Go to Part III and enter the total tax on line 3. Show 0 on line 5 as no payments have been made towards this tax. Line 10 will show the amount due with the return.
  • Sign and date the return on the bottom of page 2.

The fee needs to be paid using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

  • Mail the signed and completed Form 720 to:
    • Department of the Treasury
      Internal Revenue Service
      Cincinnati, OH 45999-0009
       
  • If you want to use FedEx, UPS or DHL, the address to send your return to is:
    • IRS Processing Center
      201 W. Rivercenter Blvd.
      Covington, KY 41011

The contents of this message are for informational purposes only. If you have any questions regarding the PCORI fee and filing requirement, please contact your benefit plan service provider or any of the following KSM advisors.

Patrick Brauer, Partner
317.844.4873         

Bernadette Fletcher, Director
317.580.2134

Karen Noel, Director
317.844.4879

Jolaine Hill, Director
317.580-2446

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IRS Notice 2014-21 on Virtual Currencies

Posted 8:33 PM by

The use of virtual currencies, especially Bitcoin, has increased significantly in recent years. This increased use has raised questions regarding the proper tax treatment of these currencies. In an attempt to clarify many of the uncertainties, the IRS has recently released Notice 2014-21, which provides answers for 16 frequently asked questions surrounding virtual currencies.

The IRS defines virtual currencies as digital representations of value that function as a medium for exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value. In other words, the virtual currency acts like “real money” even though it is not legal tender in any country or jurisdiction. A virtual currency is considered to be “convertible” if it has an equivalent value with an established currency, or if it can be easily substituted or exchanged for a legal tender. Bitcoin is probably the most well-known and widely used example of a convertible virtual currency today. Bitcoin can be easily traded and exchanged amongst users and can also be bought or sold for various real currencies, such as U.S. dollars and Euros. The IRS notice deals only with convertible virtual currencies and does not address any virtual currency which is not convertible.

In Notice 2014-21, the IRS starts off by stating that virtual currencies like Bitcoin are considered property, not currency, for tax purposes. Since virtual currencies are considered property, accepting virtual currencies in exchange for goods and services requires the recipient to measure their gross income by using the fair market value of the virtual currency in U.S. dollars as of the date payment was received. Additionally, when virtual currency is used to purchase an item, the taxpayer is required to report gain or loss on the disposition of the virtual currency. In order to do this, the taxpayer must first determine the basis of the virtual currency in U.S. dollars at the time of the exchange. The character of the gain or loss will be determined based on whether the virtual currency is held by the taxpayer as a capital asset. Therefore, if the taxpayer holds the virtual currency as an investment asset then it will be taxed as a capital gain or loss on its disposition. However, if the taxpayer holds the virtual currency as inventory then it will be taxed as ordinary income upon its disposition.

Some virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, allow people to “mine” the currency. This involves users discovering new Bitcoins by solving complex math problems. When a taxpayer successfully mines virtual currency, the fair market value of the mined currency is includable in the taxpayer’s gross income for the taxable year. Furthermore, if the taxpayer is mining the virtual currency as part of a trade or business, the net earnings from the activity is considered self-employment income and is subject to the self-employment tax. Similarly, if a taxpayer is paid in virtual currency for services rendered as an independent contractor, the fair market value of the virtual currency received is subject to self-employment tax. In the case of an employer-employee relationship, the fair market value of the currency paid as wages to the employee is subject to federal income tax withholding, FICA tax and FUTA tax, and is required to be reported on Form W-2.

The IRS went on to state that when certain property payments which require information reporting to the IRS – such as rent, salaries, wages, premiums, annuities and compensation – are subject to the same information reporting standards when virtual currency is used to complete the payment. Furthermore, when a Form 1099-MISC is used to report payments of virtual currency, it should be reported using the fair market value of the virtual currency as of the date of the payment.

Finally, the IRS dictated that taxpayers who have not treated past virtual currency transactions in a manner that is consistent with Notice 2014-21 may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with tax laws. For example, underpayments attributable to virtual currency transactions and failure to report virtual currency transactions in a correct and timely manner may be subject to accuracy-related and information reporting penalties. However, the IRS does note that penalty relief may be available to taxpayers who can show that the underpayment or failure to properly file information on returns is due to reasonable cause. 

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Time is Running Out: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee Due July 31

Posted 9:05 PM by
The PCORI fee is due July 31, 2014, from health insurers and the plan sponsors of self-insured plans. The fee is paid annually using Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return. Please note that electronic filing is available, but not required. Payment will be due at the time the Form 720 is due.
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Proper Tax Treatment of Ambulatory Surgery Center Income - A Complicated Matter

Posted 9:53 PM by
How do you determine whether a physician's income from an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) should be treated as passive income or active income on an individual income tax return? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to treat ASC income, but below are some of the key issues to think about when considering whether ASC income should be passive or active.
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