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Tax Alerts
November 30, 2020
Tax Briefing(s)

The IRS has released the annual inflation adjustments for 2021 for the income tax rate tables, and for over 50 other tax provisions. The IRS makes these cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) each year to reflect inflation.


The IRS has released the 2021 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions.


The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California v. Texas, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA expanded insurance coverage, and includes popular provisions such as required coverage of preexisting medical conditions.


The IRS has provided guidance to taxpayers that want to apply either Reg. §1.168(k)-2 and Reg. §1.1502-68, or want to rely on proposed regulations under NPRM REG-106808-19.


The IRS has issued final regulations to update the life expectancy and distribution period tables under the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. The tables reflect the general increase in life expectancy. The tables would apply for distribution calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, with transition relief.


The IRS has released guidance on its website for employers and employees regarding deferral of employee Social Security tax under Notice 2020-65, I.R.B. 2020-38, 567.


The IRS intends to issue proposed regulations to clarify that state and local income taxes imposed on and paid by a partnership or an S corporation are deductible by the partnership or S corporation in computing non-separately stated taxable income for the year of the payment. The proposed regulations are intended to provide certainty to individual partners and S corporation shareholders in calculating their state and local tax (SALT) deduction limitations.


The IRS has responded to criticism from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the National Taxpayer Advocate, among others, that resolution of identity theft accounts takes too long by increasing its measures to flag suspicious tax returns, prevent issuance of fraudulent tax refunds, and to expedite identity theft case processing. As a result, the IRS's resolution time has experienced a moderate improvement from an average of 312 days, as TIGTA reported in September 2013, to an average of 278 days as reported in March 2015. (The 278-day average was based on a statistically valid sampling of 100 cases resolved between August 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012.) The IRS has recently stated that its resolution time dropped to 120 days for cases received in filing season 2013.


Employers generally have to pay employment taxes on the wages they pay to their employees. A fine point under this rule, however, is missed by many who themselves have full time jobs and don’t think of themselves as employers: a nanny who takes care of a child is considered a household employee, and the parent or other responsible person is his or her household employer. Housekeepers, maids, babysitters, and others who work in or around the residence are employees. Repairmen and other business people who provide services as independent contractors are not employees. An individual who is under age 18 or who is a student is not an employee.


The IRS expects to receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this year and issue billions of dollars in refunds. That huge pool of refunds drives scam artists and criminals to steal taxpayer identities and claim fraudulent refunds. The IRS has many protections in place to discover false returns and refund claims, but taxpayers still need to be proactive.


The IRS requires that taxpayers substantiate their donations to charity. Whatever the donation is, whether money or a household item or clothing, the substantiation rules must be followed. The rules are complex and frequently tripped up taxpayers who had good intentions but failed to satisfy the IRS's requirements.


Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), small employers can claim a credit for providing health insurance for employees and their families. Health insurance includes not only basic medical and hospital care, but dental or vision, long-term care, and coverage for specific diseases or illness. Self-funded plans do not qualify; the insurance must be provided through a third party.


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