Posts

IRS 2018 Standard Mileage Rates | Tax Lawyers Twin Cities

Earlier this month, the IRS issued the option IRS 2018 standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.Earlier this month, the IRS issued the option IRS 2018 standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

The new IRS 2018 standard mileage rates are generally higher than the 2017 rates:

54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 53.50 cents for 2017)

18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (up from 17 cents for 2017)

14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (same as for 2017)

The higher IRS 2018 standard mileage rates are caused by higher 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.

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 2018 standard mileage rates, then he cannot deduct the actual costs items. Even if the IRS 2018 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 2018 standard mileage rates. He always has the option of calculating the actual costs of using his 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.

On the other hand, in some circumstances, a taxpayer cannot use the IRS 2018 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 2018 standard mileage rates can be found in the IRS Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Tax Year 2013 Changes to the Itemized Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses

US taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040 should be aware that new IRS rules are in effect for 2013 tax returns to be filed in 2014. Under the new rules, the threshold for unreimbursed medical and dental expenses paid by taxpayers for themselves, spouses or dependents have increased for most individuals.

This article will briefly explain the change in the rules; it is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax attorney if you have further questions. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs.

Taxpayers under the Age of 65 in 2014

For married couples, with both spouses under the age of 65, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses will now only be deductible provided that they exceed 10 percent of the couple’s adjusted gross income (AGI) from Form 1040, line 38.

Taxpayers over the Age of 65 in 2014

For taxpayers over the age of 65, or a married couple with one spouse over the age of 65, the existing 7.5 percent threshold is still in effect for tax year 2013. Note however, that the exemption will only apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2012, and ending before January 1, 2017, if a spouse attained age 65 during or before the tax year.

Taxpayers Turning 65 in 2014

For taxpayers who turn 65 in the year 2014, (assuming they are not married to a spouse who is already 65), the 10 percent threshold should be used for calculating allowable medical and dental expenses for their 2013 tax returns. When such taxpayers turn 65 years old in 2014, the 7.5 percent threshold may then be used for filing the next year’s tax return. (Further, as noted above, beginning with the tax year 2017 return and years following, the 10 percent threshold must be used).

Taking the Medical and Dental Expenses Deduction

Generally, taxpayers may deduct medical and dental expenses paid for themselves, their spouses and their dependents. (See IRS Publication 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses” for more information). Taxpayers should keep sufficient records for each medical expense consisting of amount and date of each payment, and the name and address of each medical care provider that received payment. Also, taxpayers are advised to keep statements and/or invoices showing who received medical treatment for the claimed expense, a description of the type of medical care received, and the nature and purpose of all medical expenses.

According to the IRS, “Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness.” Such expenses generally include, “[P]ayments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.” Accordingly, expenses that are “merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation” (as well as expenses such as teeth whitening, health club dues, and cosmetic surgery) are not deductible.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Your Tax and Estate Planning

As the new tax law changes are being implemented in 2013 and subsequent years, the necessity for proper tax planning will only increase with each year. Such planning should be conducted by an experienced tax attorney. This is why you are advised to contact the experienced tax law firm of Sherayzen Law Office to help you create a thorough tax plan aimed at taking advantages of the various provisions of the U.S. tax code.

2013 4th Quarter Underpayment and Overpayment Interest Rates

The underpayment and overpayment interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning October 1, 2013. 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.

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.

Interest factors for daily compound interest for annual rates of 0.5 percent are published in Appendix A of Revenue Ruling 2011-32. Interest factors for daily compound interest for annual rates of 2 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent are published in Tables 7, 9, 11, and 15 of Rev. Proc. 95-17, 1995-1 C.B. 561, 563, 565, and 569.

Home Office Expense and Unrecaptured Section 1250 gain

Do you take the home office expense on Schedule C for your small business? While taking the home office expense can help reduce your tax liability, you should be aware of a potential significant downside: unrecaptured Section 1250 gain on depreciation.

This article will explain the basics of unrecaptured Section 1250 gain; it is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Running a small business can involve many complex tax and legal issues, so you are advised to seek an experienced attorney in these matters. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs, and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Section 1250 Property Defined

The IRS defines Section 1250 property to include, “[A]ll real property that is subject to an allowance for depreciation and that is not and never has been section 1245 property. It includes a leasehold of land or section 1250 property subject to an allowance for depreciation.” (Section 1245 property includes a variety of specified types of property, including tangible and intangible personal property).

Treatment of Unrecaptured Section 1250 Gain

Most taxpayers are aware that when single individuals or married couples sell their primary residence, some or all of the gain may be excluded from taxation (the exclusion is $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples). Gain that exceeds the exclusion amount is then taxed at the favorable capital gains rates.

However, when taxpayers take the home office expense and depreciate their homes, the typical tax rules no longer apply. This is partly because by taking a depreciation expense on a home, a benefit is received in the form of a lower tax liability; thus it only makes sense that the IRS would want a portion of that amount back when a taxpayer finally sells a home (this is referred to as “recapturing” depreciation).

Unlike the general rule for sales or exchanges of property, if depreciable or amortizable property is disposed of at a gain, taxpayers may have to treat all, or part of, the gain (even if otherwise nontaxable) as ordinary income. Whereas the sale or exchange will allow taxpayers to pay at capital gains rates, dispositions involving unrecaptured Section 1250 gain will be taxed at a maximum of 25%, regardless of a taxpayer’s ordinary income bracket. Note that like typical capital gains transactions, dispositions involving unrecaptured Section 1250 gain will still be reported on Schedule D of Form 1040.

Does it Matter if Depreciation Expense Was Not Taken?

A frequent question arises when taxpayers take the home office expense on their Form 1040 Schedule C. Because of the disadvantage of paying tax on unrecaptured Section 1250 gain, taxpayers wonder whether they can simply take the home office expense but not take depreciation expense on their home, thereby avoiding this tax.

Unfortunately, this is not allowed under the Internal Revenue Code. As with rental real estate, taxpayers are imputed to have depreciated their business assets, regardless of whether depreciation was actually taken. As the IRS notes in Publication 946, “You must reduce the basis of property by the depreciation allowed or allowable, whichever is greater. Depreciation allowed is depreciation you actually deducted (from which you received a tax benefit). Depreciation allowable is depreciation you are entitled to deduct. If you do not claim depreciation you are entitled to deduct, you must still reduce the basis of the property by the full amount of depreciation allowable.”

IRS Issues a Proposed Regulation Regarding Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Plans

The IRS recently issued a proposed rule entitled, “Minimum Value of Eligible Employer-Sponsored Plans and Other Rules Regarding the Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit” (see, 26 CFR Part 1) regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and related rules and laws (generally, “PPACA”). In the proposed regulation, the IRS has ruled that employer-sponsored healthcare plans will be unable to include various wellness programs in order to meet minimum value (MV) coverage requirements under the PPACA and related rules. In general, large employers (typically 50 full-time employees or more) who do not meet certain minimum coverage standards under the PPACA must pay an excise tax.

Many employers sought to include wellness programs in their plans in order to reduce health care coverage costs. In general, wellness programs are often designed to reduce potential health problems for employees through various means. Certain wellness programs may even require employees to meet an established health standard.

The article will give a basic summary of a proposed rule and the MV calculation. It is not intended to constitute tax or legal advice. The new rules under the PPACA will involve many complex tax and legal issues, so you are advised to seek an experienced attorney if you have questions in these areas. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax, business-planning and legal needs, and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

MV Determinations under the Proposed Regulation

In making its proposed rule, the IRS noted:

“Commentators offered differing opinions about how nondiscriminatory wellness program incentives that may affect an employee’s cost sharing should be taken into account for purposes of the MV calculation. Some commentators noted that the rules governing wellness incentives require that they be available to all similarly situated individuals. These commentators suggested that because eligible individuals have the opportunity to reduce their cost-sharing if they choose, a plan’s share of costs should be based on the costs paid by individuals who satisfy the terms of the wellness program. Other commentators expressed concern that, despite the safeguards of the regulations governing wellness incentives, certain individuals inevitably will face barriers to participation and fail to qualify for rewards. These commentators suggested that a plan’s share of costs should be determined without assuming that individuals would qualify for the reduced cost-sharing available under a wellness program.”

The IRS stated that there are several methods for determining MV (under Notice 2012-31 and 45 CFR 156.145(a)): “the MV Calculator, a safe harbor, actuarial certification, and, for small group market plans, a metal level.” According to the proposed rule, employers may determine whether a certain plan provides MV by utilizing an HHS and IRS MV calculator, unless a safe harbor exists. Certain safe harbor plans will be specified in future guidance.

Under 45 CFR 156.145(a) and the proposed rule, “[P]lans with nonstandard features that cannot determine MV using the MV Calculator or a safe harbor” must use the actuarial certification method. Further, it is required that the actuary performing the MV calculation must be a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and perform the analysis in accordance with generally accepted actuarial principles and methodologies, and its related standards.

Exception to the Wellness Program Rule

The IRS proposed rule does provide one exception to the wellness program MV calculations for certain anti-tobacco related programs. Under the proposed regulation, “…[F]or nondiscriminatory wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use, MV may be calculated assuming that every eligible individual satisfies the terms of the program relating to prevention or reduction of tobacco use.”