The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced changes to tax rate schedules and certain tax provisions to adjust for inflation in tax year 2020. The standard deduction for taxpayers who are married filing jointly will increase to $24,800; for taxpayers who are single or married filing separately, the deduction will increase to $12,400; and for taxpayers who are heads of households, the deduction will increase to $18,650. The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2020 will increase to $72,900 and begin to phase out at $518,400 (for married couples filing jointly, these amounts increase to $113,400 and $1,036,800, respectively).
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued guidance for taxpayers who transact in virtual currency. Revenue Ruling 2019-24 (available here) addresses when distributions of new currency following a soft or hard fork will be a taxable event to the holder of the currency. The IRS also expanded its FAQ page on virtual currency transactions (here).
The Taxpayer First Act signed into law by President Trump requires the IRS to make important changes that will benefit taxpayers and improve tax administration.
After a two-year vacancy, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a Chief Counsel again. Michael Desmond, a California tax attorney originally nominated by President Donald Trump last year, was confirmed 83-15 today by the Senate to oversee regulation drafting and provide guidance on federal tax law matters to the agency. Read more here.
California taxpayers who ceased doing business but continue to get requests for unpaid taxes or unfiled returns from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) may benefit from a new bill, AB 2503, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, and provides two options for an administrative dissolution of qualified domestic corporations and LLCs. The FTB will be able to administratively dissolve a business that has been suspended for 5 years or longer, or has ceased doing business, and meets other qualifications. Otherwise, taxpayers may request that the FTB abate unpaid, qualified taxes, interest, and penalties for years for which the entity certifies under penalty of perjury that it did not do business and has no remaining assets.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in U.S. v. King Mountain Tobacco Co., affirming that tribal manufacturers of tobacco products on land held in trust by the United States are subject to the federal excise tax on manufactured tobacco products. The case began as an issue of delinquent excise taxes, which the tribal entity paid until 2009 when it fell into arrears. In the recently decided case, the tribal entity claimed an exemption to these taxes under the General Allotment Act of 1887, 4 Stat. 388, and the Treaty of the Yakamas of 1855, 12 Stat. 951.
The 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum dates and locations are now available for this annual tax law event featuring education sessions, training, and networking for tax law professionals. Betty Williams will be speaking about "Representing the Taxpayer Without Records: How and When Can a Preparer Use Taxpayer Estimates & Reconstructions to Prepare a Return" during the forum scheduled for August 7 - 9, 2018 in San Diego. To register, click here: https://www.irstaxforum.com/index
Pursuant to IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-52, the IRS has introduced a pilot program to resume offering private letter rulings on the tax consequences of certain distributions of stock or securities of a controlled corporation under I.R.C. Sec. 355. From September 21, 2017, through March 21, 2019, taxpayers may request a transactional ruling concerning plans to create tax-free spin-offs. For more information, click here.
The IRS has issued final regulations to define terms and include same-sex marriage as a marital status for federal tax purposes. The IRS previously issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 following the Supreme Court case, Windsor v. U.S., in which the Court addressed the terms "spouse," "husband and wife," "husband," and "wife" and ruled that marriages of same-sex couples in states recognizing same-sex marriages were also recognized for federal tax purposes. The subsequent Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, made same-sex marriage legal in every state. As a result, the Treasury Department and the IRS amended the regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 7701, and provided that for federal tax purposes, the terms ''spouse,'' ''husband,'' and ''wife'' mean an individual lawfully married to another individual, and the term ''husband and wife'' means two individuals lawfully married to each other. Marriage does not include couples recognized as registered domestic partners, or joined by civil union.
On September 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of State finalized a rule that will result in the denial or revocation of passports for persons with seriously delinquent tax debts, effective immediately. A "seriously delinquent tax debt" generally means an assessment of $50,000 or more for which a lien or levy has been filed. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will certify the status of these individuals for the Secretary of the Treasury.