Walton Rahal
Certified Public Accountants
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The IRS has issued the luxury car depreciation limits for business vehicles placed in service in 2021 and the lease inclusion amounts for business vehicles first leased in 2021.


The IRS has issued guidance for employers claiming the employee retention credit under Code Sec. 3134, enacted by section 9651 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), P.L. 117-2, which provides a credit for wages paid after June 30, 2021, and before January 1, 2022. The guidance amplifies previous notices which addressed the employee retention credit under section 2301 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), P.L. 116-136, as amended by sections 206 and 207 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, P.L. 116-260.


The Treasury and IRS have provided an optional safe harbor allowing employers to exclude the following amounts from their gross receipts solely for determining eligibility for the employee retention credit.


The IRS issued transition relief for certain employers claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) under Code Sec. 51. This would apply for certain employees beginning work after December 31, 2020, in response to legislation permitting the designation of an Empowerment Zone under Code Sec. 1393(b) to be extended from December 31, 2020, through December 31, 2025. Specifically, section IV of this notice provides transition relief by extending the 28-day deadline for employers to request certification from a designated local agency that an individual who begins work on or after January 1, 2021, and before October 9, 2021, is a member of the Designated Community Resident targeted group or the Qualified Summer Youth Employee targeted group.


The U.S. Small Business Administration ( SBA) is launching a streamlined application portal to allow certain borrowers to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan forgiveness directly through the SBA. The SBA also is explaining why it discontinued use of Loan Necessity Questionnaires for PPP borrowers.


The IRS stated that families should use the Child Tax Credit (CTC) Update Portal to confirm their eligibility for the payments. If eligible, the tool also indicates whether taxpayers are enrolled to receive their payments by direct deposit. More information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.


The IRS provided additional guidance on the application of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) ( P.L. 117-2) relating to temporary premium assistance for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) continuation coverage. This notice supplements Notice 2021-31, I.R.B. 2021-23, and addresses additional issues.


The foreign tax credit did not apply against the net investment income tax (NIIT). The structure of the Internal Revenue Code made the credit inapplicable to the NIIT, and tax treaties did not override that fact.


A missing or unknown federal gift tax return could constitute reasonable cause for the late filing of an estate tax return.


U.S. citizens and resident aliens working abroad may exclude up to $91,400 of their foreign earned income for 2009. Additionally, expatriates may deduct or exclude their foreign housing costs in excess of a base amount. The housing exclusion is for reimbursed expenses while the deduction is for unreimbursed costs.

Although taxes may take a back seat to the basic issue of whether refinancing saves enough money to be worthwhile, you should be aware of the basic tax rules that come into play. Sometimes, you can immediately deduct some of the costs of refinancing.


If you want to withdraw funds from either your company retirement plan or your individual retirement account, there is a 10% additional tax (penalty) if you make withdrawals before the age of 59 ½. There is an exception to this rule if you make withdrawals from your account of a series of "substantially equal periodic payments."


Apart from wages, one of the most common sources of taxable income is from investments. While investment income from non-exempt sources is generally fully taxable to individuals under the Internal Revenue Code, many of the expenses incurred in producing that income are deductible. Knowing the rules governing investment expenses can reduce -- sometimes significantly -- the tax impact of investment income.


When it comes to legal separation or divorce, there are many complex situations to address. A divorcing couple faces many important decisions and issues regarding alimony, child support, and the fair division of property. While most courts and judges will not factor in the impact of taxes on a potential property settlement or cash payments, it is important to realize how the value of assets transferred can be materially affected by the tax implications.


Q. Each year when it comes time to prepare my return, I realize how little I think about my tax situation during the rest of the year. I seem to lack any sort of common sense when it comes to dealing with my taxes. Do you have any general advice for people like me trying to "do the right thing" in any tax situation that may arise during the year?


Stock options have become a common part of many compensation and benefits packages. Even small businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and now provide a perk previously confined to the executive suites of large publicly held companies. If you are an employee who has received stock options, you need to be aware of the complicated tax rules that govern certain stock options -- several potential "gotchas" exist and failing to spot them can cause major tax headaches.


A number of charities use the Internet to solicit funds, allowing potential donors to make contributions online. You can even create an account in a special type of planned giving instrument: a donor-advised fund. What are these funds, and are they right for you?


If you are considering selling business property that has substantially appreciated in value, you owe it to your business to explore the possibility of a like-kind exchange. Done properly, a like-kind exchange will allow you to transfer your appreciated business property without incurring a current tax liability. However, since the related tax rules can be complex, careful planning is needed to properly structure the transaction.


For homeowners, the exclusion of all or a portion of the gain on the sale of their principal residence is an important tax break.