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IRS 2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving

The IRS recently issued the optional IRS 2017 standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

According to the IRS Rev. Proc. 2010-51, a taxpayer may use the business standard mileage rate to substantiate a deduction equal to either the business standard mileage rate times the number of business miles traveled. If he does use the IRS 2017 standard mileage rates, then he cannot deduct the actual costs items. Even if the IRS 2017 standard mileage rates are used, however, the taxpayer can still deduct as separate items the parking fees and tolls attributable to the use of a vehicle for business purposes.

It is important to note that a taxpayer does not have to use the IRS 2017 standard mileage rates. He always has the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. In such a case, all of the actual expenses associated with the business use of the vehicle can be used: lease payments, maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline (including all taxes), oil, insurance, et cetera.

The IRS 2017 standard mileage rates shall be as follows:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 54 cents for 2016);
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The IRS 2017 standard mileage rates are generally lower than last year’s mostly due to the lower price for gasoline. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

On the other hand, in some circumstances, a taxpayer cannot use the IRS 2017 standard mileage rates. For example, a taxpayer cannot use the IRS business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any MACRS depreciation method or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. Additionally, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used during the same period of time. More information about the limitations on the usage of the IRS 2017 standard mileage rates can be found in the IRS Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Same Interest Rates for the Fourth Quarter of 2014

On September 3, 2014, the IRS announced that the underpayment and overpayment interest rates for the fourth quarter of 2014 will remain the same The rates will be:

three (3) percent for overpayments (two (2) percent in the case of a corporation);
three (3) percent for underpayments;
five (5) percent for large corporate underpayments; and
one-half (0.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis.  For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.  You can trace the interest rates for the fourth quarter of 2014 directly to this calculation.

Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points.  The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points.  The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

It is important to note that the underpayment interest rates for the fourth quarter of 2014 will be used to determine the PFIC interest rate on the excess distribution for the fourth quarter of 2014.

Retirement Savings Contributions Credit 2013

You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions (other than rollover contributions) to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement.

Eligible Plans

The eligible plans for the retirement savings contribution credit include: traditional and Roth IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), governmental 457, SEP, SIMPLE, 501(c)(18)(D) and contributions to a qualified retirement plan as defined in section 4974(c) (including federal Thrift Savings Plan).

Additional Requirements and Limitations

Other important eligibility requirements and limitations include:

1. Income Limitations

You cannot exceed the following income limits in order to be able to take the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (these are 2013 numbers):

• Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $29,500

• Head of Household with income up to $44,250

• Married Filing Jointly, with income up to $59,000

2. Age Limitation

To be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit you must have been born before January 2, 1996.

3. Full-Time Students Not Eligible

You cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year if you wish to claim the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (there are some specific definitions regarding the “student” status).

4. Cannot Be a Dependent on Another Person’s Tax Return

If you were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2013 tax return, you cannot take the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit.

5. Distributions are Deducted From Contributions

When figuring the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

Credit amount

If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.

Also note that the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is a benefit in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA.

2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure

The IRS recently announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was January 21, 2014, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28.

The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Werfel said. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place.

IRS Auto Depreciation Limits Released for 2013

The IRS recently released Rev. Proc. 2013-21 detailing the updated price inflation adjustment limitations on depreciation deductions and lease inclusion amounts for passenger automobiles first placed in service during calendar year 2013. These adjustments are required under Internal Revenue Code Section 280F. If you need advice relating to these matters, or any other tax or legal issues, please contact Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC.

Relevant Definitions

According to the IRS, “Passenger automobiles are defined in section 280F(d)(5)(A) as any 4-wheeled vehicle which is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways, and which is rated at 6,000 pounds unloaded gross vehicle weight (or, in the case of a truck or van, 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight) or less. Section 280F(d)(5)(B) provides exceptions from this definition, and allows the Secretary to promulgate regulations to exclude trucks and vans from the definition of passenger automobiles” (Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2003-37).

Limits for Passenger Automobiles (Excluding Trucks and Vans)

The depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles (not including trucks or vans) first placed in service during calendar year 2013, and for which the additional bonus depreciation applies (allowing for 50% “expensing” of the cost of the automobile in the year of purchase), is $11,160 for the first tax year. The amounts for following years are: $5,100 the second tax year, $3,050 for the third year, and $1,875 for each succeeding year. Note that, for this category and for each category that follows below, any personal use of a passenger automobile, truck or van will reduce the maximum depreciation deduction that may be taken by a business.

As will be seen from the deduction amounts listed below, only the first year of depreciation is affected by the adjustments.

For passenger automobiles (excluding trucks and vans) placed in service during calendar year 2013 to which 50% bonus depreciation does not apply, the depreciation is $3,160 for the first tax year. For the following years, the amounts are: $5,100 the second tax year, $3,050 for the third year, and $1,875 for each succeeding year.

Limits for Trucks and Vans

The depreciation limitations for trucks and vans first placed in service during calendar year 2013, and to which the additional 50% bonus depreciation applies, is slightly higher than passenger automobiles, at $11,360 for the first tax year. For later years, the amounts are: $5,400 the second tax year, $3,250 for the third year, and $1,975 for each succeeding year.

The depreciation limitations for trucks and vans first placed in service during calendar year 2013, and to which the additional 50% bonus depreciation does not apply, is $3,360 for the first tax year. For later years, the amounts are: $5,400 the second tax year, $3,250 for the third year, and $1,975 for each succeeding year.

Bonus Depreciation

Rev. Proc. 2013-21 includes various factors as to why bonus depreciation may not apply, including the fact that a taxpayer, “(1) purchased the passenger automobile used; (2) did not use the passenger automobile during 2013 more than 50 percent for business purposes; (3) elected out of the § 168(k) additional first year depreciation deduction pursuant to § 168(k)(2)(D)(iii); or (4) elected to increase the § 53 AMT credit limitation in lieu of claiming § 168(k) additional first year depreciation.” If a passenger automobile, truck or van is not used at least 50% of the time for business purposes, the vehicle must be depreciated under standard straight-line ADS rules.
The Rev. Proc. also includes updated tables for the dollar amount of income inclusion for passenger automobiles (excluding trucks and vans), and separate tables for trucks and vans with a lease terms beginning calendar year 2013.