If you exchange real property after January 1, 2014 in California, you are now required to file Form 3840 each year to track your deferred gains and provide other information concerning any non-California replacement property. The new form will be available on the FTB's website in a few weeks to allow for public comment. The new form must be filed not only in the year the exchange is compete, but each year the gain or loss is deferred. A failure to file the form may result in a Notice of Proposed Assessment adjusting the taxpayer's income for the previously deferred gains.
Owners of Canadian retirement plans received good news today when the IRS announced that taxpayers with registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) will now automatically qualify for tax deferral similar to that available to participants in IRAs and 401(k) plans in the U.S. To qualify, U.S. citizens and resident aliens can receive this treatment so long as they did file and continue to file, income tax returns in the U.S reporting distributions as income. Form 8891 will no longer be required by taxpayers, and retroactive relief is available for qualified taxpayers as well.
Today the IRS issued a fraud alert to foreign financial institutions warning them that scam artists posing as IRS agents may call to request client and account information allegedly as part of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requirements. The IRS reminds the financial institutions that the IRS never calls requesting information on a specific account or accountholder.
In a decision dated August 27, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that FedEx had a "right to control" the activities of 2,300 of its drivers. Normally, in the logistics and delivery business, this would not be exceptionally important news, except for the fact that FedEx has litigated this issue extensively in the past, and has gone to great lengths to devise an independent contractor based business model which would comply with California law.
When it's time to close a business in California, there are many important steps that must be followed to ensure the requirements of the IRS and the California tax agencies are met. Failing to do so can result in the tax agencies coming back years later to collect tax on income you may not have earned, or tax on workers you no longer employed. Different rules apply depending on the type of entity and whether there are shareholders, assets to distribute and employee benefit or retirement plans in place. In addition to filing final income tax returns, business owners should also be sure to file other applicable final tax returns including sales and use tax returns and employment tax returns. The IRS, California Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization and Employment Development Department each provide guidance on the steps to following when closing a business.
In Wade v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2014-169, the Court found that the taxpayers, a husband and wife who owned stock in two S corporations, had materially participated in the activities the corporations, which finding enabled the taxpayers to take a loss deduction in excess of $3 million.
The California Franchise Tax Board announced that with the 0.5 percent increase in inflation over the last fiscal year, adjustments have also been made to income tax brackets, filing requirement thresholds, the standard deduction and certain credits for tax year 2014.
In her mid-year report, the Taxpayer Advocate identified top priorities as issuing refunds to victims of return preparer fraud, continuing to make improvements in the Exempt Organizations area and expanding the recently announced voluntary return preparer certification program to include competency testing.
Many people enjoy hobbies and even earn money as a result. That income is reportable and business related to the income may be deductible so long as the activity is not truly a hobby. The way the activity is treated is important in determining whether the government will recognize the activity as a business. The IRS will analyze whether the activity is conducted in a businesslike manner, whether the taxpayer intends to make a profit, the amount of profit, current employment, efforts to increase profit and the causes of losses, along with other criteria.
Recently the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky upheld the imposition of a penalty under I.R.C. sec. 6656(a), which provides a penalty in the case of any failure to deposit a tax payment on the due date unless that failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect. Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company v. United States, Civ. No. 3:13-CV-01204-CRS (July 3, 2014). At first glance, the ruling may seem peculiar in that it upholds the imposition of a failure-to-deposit penalty even though the taxpayer made full, timely payments to the IRS. However, the Treasury Regulations require that taxpayers who deposit more than $200,000 in taxes must use electronic funds transfer (EFT) to make deposits of these taxes. Treas. Reg. sec. 31.6302-1(h)(2)(ii).