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Tax Alerts
October 19, 2020
Tax Briefing(s)

The Treasury and IRS have issued guidance on the recent order by President Trump to defer certain employee payroll tax obligations on wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Under the guidance:


The IRS has released the 2020-2021 special per diem rates. Taxpayers use the per diem rates to substantiate the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. These special per diem rates include the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IEs) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. Taxpayers using the rates and list of high-cost localities provided in the guidance must comply with Rev. Proc. 2019-48, I.R.B. 2019-51, 1390.


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations that limit the Code Sec. 245A dividends received deduction and the Code Sec. 954(c) exception on distributions supported by certain earnings and profits not subject to the integrated international tax regime created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). Proposed regulations and temporary regulations, issued on June 18, 2019, are adopted and removed, respectively.


Treasury has issued final and amended regulations on the rules for distributions made by terminated S corporations during the post-termination transition period (PTTP). These regulations apply after an S corporation has become a C corporation.


Final regulations clarify that the amount of the rehabilitation credit for a qualified rehabilitated building (QRB) is determined as a single credit in the year the QRB is placed in service. This is the case even though the credit is allocated ratably over a five-year period. The final regulations adopt without modification proposed regulations released earlier this year ( NPRM REG-124327-19).


The IRS has released final regulations that clarify the definition of a "qualifying relative" for purposes of various provisions for tax years 2018 through 2025. These regulations generally affect taxpayers who claim federal income tax benefits that require a taxpayer to have a qualifying relative.


The IRS has announced that Medicaid coverage of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing and diagnostic services is not minimum essential coverage for purposes of the premium tax credit under Code Sec. 36B.


The IRS has released guidance in the form of questions and answers with respect to certain provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act), and the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 (Miners Act).


Final regulations provide additional guidance on the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) under Code Sec. 59A. The regulations also address certain aspects of the BEAT under Code Secs. 1502 and 6031.


President Trump signed into law the first two phases of the House’s coronavirus economic response package. Meanwhile, the Senate has been developing and negotiating "much bolder" phase three legislation.


"At President Trump’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a March 20 tweet. "All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties."


The Treasury Department and IRS have extended the due date for the payment of federal income taxes otherwise due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The extension is available to all taxpayers, and is automatic. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or contact the IRS to qualify for the extension. The relief only applies to the payment of federal income taxes. Penalties and interest on any remaining unpaid balance will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.


The IRS has provided emergency relief for health savings accounts (HSAs) and COVID-19 health plans costs. Under this relief, health plans that otherwise qualify as high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) will not lose that status merely because they cover the cost of testing for or treatment of COVID-19 before plan deductibles have been met. In addition, any vaccination costs will count as preventive care and can be paid for by an HDHP.


The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has requested additional guidance on tax reform’s Code Sec. 199A qualified business income (QBI) deduction.


The IRS has issued guidance that:

  • exempts certain U.S. citizens and residents from Code Sec. 6048 information reporting requirements for their transactions with, and ownership of, certain tax-favored foreign retirement trusts and foreign nonretirement savings trusts; and
  • establishes procedures for these individuals to request abatement or refund of penalties assessed or paid under Code Sec. 6677 for failing to comply with the information reporting requirements.

On February 11, the White House released President Donald Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget proposal, which outlines his administration’s priorities for extending certain tax cuts and increasing IRS funding. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) on February 12 regarding the FY 2021 budget proposal.


House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, "Moving Forward Framework"; House Ways and Means Committee, January 29 hearing witnesses’ testimony


House Democratic and Republican tax writers debated the effects of tax reform’s corporate income tax cut during a February 11 hearing convened by Democrats. Democratic lawmakers have consistently called for an increase in the corporate tax rate since it was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent in 2017 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97).


Taxpayers claiming the low-income housing credit should apply the "average income" minimum set aside test by reference to the "very low-income" limits calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for purposes of determining eligibility under the HUD Section 8 program. HUD determinations for very low-income housing families are currently used to calculate the low-income housing credit income limits under the alternate "20-50" and "40-60" minimum set-aside tests.


The IRS has provided guidance on qualifying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is intended to be a financial boost for families with low to moderate incomes.


The IRS has proposed regulations with guidance for employers on withholding federal income tax from employee’s wages.


On December 20, President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan, year-end government spending and tax package, just hours before federal funding was set to expire. Trump's signature on the over 2,000-page spending package avoided a government shutdown.


The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ( P.L. 111-148) individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power. However, the central question of whether the rest of the ACA remains valid after Congress removed the penalty for not having health insurance remained unanswered. Instead, the case was sent back to the district court to reconsider how much of the ACA could survive without the individual mandate penalty.


Proposed qualified opportunity zone regulations issued on October 29, 2018 ( REG-115420-18) and May 1, 2019 ( REG-120186-18) under Code Sec. 1400Z-2 have been finalized with modifications. The regulations. which were issued in a 550 page document, are comprehensive.


The IRS has issued final regulations that provide guidance on transfers of appreciated property by U.S. persons to partnerships with foreign partners related to the transferor. Specifically, the regulations override the general nonrecognition rule under Code Sec. 721(a) unless the partnership adopts the remedial allocation method and certain other requirements are satisfied. The regulations affect U.S. partners in domestic or foreign partnerships.


Proposed qualified opportunity zone regulations issued on October 29, 2018 ( REG-115420-18) and May 1, 2019 ( REG-120186-18) under Code Sec. 1400Z-2 have been finalized with modifications. The regulations. which were issued in a 550 page document, are comprehensive.


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations on the due diligence and reporting rules for persons making certain U.S. source payments to foreign persons. Guidance is also provided on reporting by foreign financial institutions on U.S. accounts. The regulations are effective on the date the regulations are published in the Federal Register.


The IRS has released new proposed rules related to charitable contributions made to get around the $10,000/$5,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The proposed regulations:


The IRS has issued highly anticipated final regulations on the significant changes made to the foreign tax credit rules by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). The final regulations retain the basic approach and structure of the 2018 proposed regulations ( NPRM REG-105600-18). The final regulations also eliminate deadwood, reflect statutory amendments made prior to TCJA, and update expense allocation rules not updated since 1988.


The IRS has released guidance that provides that the requirement to report partners’ shares of partnership capital on the tax basis method will not be effective for 2019 partnership tax years, but will first apply to 2020 partnership tax years.


The IRS has released final regulations that present guidance on how certain organizations that provide employee benefits must calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) under Code Sec. 512(a).


The IRS has issued Reg. §20.2010-1(c) to address the effect of the temporary increase in the basic exclusion amount (BEA) used in computing estate and gift taxes. In addition, Reg. §20.2010-1(e)(3) is amended to reflect the increased BEA for years 2018-2025 ($10 million, as adjusted for inflation). Further, the IRS has confirmed that taxpayers taking advantage of the increased BEA in effect from 2018 to 2025 will not be adversely affected after 2025 when the exclusion amount is set to decrease to pre-2018 levels.


The IRS has released cryptocurrency guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency.