Walter & Shuffain - Certified Public Accountants & Business Advisors

Key tax provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has been signed into law by President Biden and makes significant updates to several tax provisions to alleviate some of the pandemic's financial burdens for individual taxpayers and businesses. Updates include expansions and extensions of various tax credits such as the employee retention credit (ERC), COBRA continuation coverage, Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, and more. The bill also includes $1.46 billion for the IRS to manage the additional responsibilities on top of the annual tax filing season. Here are the critical tax updates.

IRS clarifies employee retention credit eligibility for PPP loans and 2020 claims

The IRS has released additional guidance in Notice 2021-20 on the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) with clarifications on the retroactive changes for expanded eligibility applicable to 2020. Employers who received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan have been waiting on guidance on claiming the credit in combination with forgiveness of their loan. The provisions outlined here apply to retroactive claims for 2020 as well as providing a plan for those yet to seek forgiveness.

Recordkeeping best practices are good for taxes

Have you ever tried to claim a new tax deduction, but in the process of compiling supporting documents, you found you were missing critical information and therefore missed out on the opportunity? Or, have you ever faced an IRS audit and struggled to come up with documentation supporting your tax return data? How about this currently familiar experience, your records are in your brick and mortar office, but your staff is working remotely. Or you need to gather documents for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. As you can see, good recordkeeping is more than a storyboard for your business; it’s a valuable tool for tax preparation and in today’s climate, loan forgiveness.

Business meals and entertainment expenses: What’s deductible?

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 made many significant changes for business tax deductions including the disallowing of the business deductions for most entertainment expenses. The IRS has since released final regulations for the treatment of meals and entertainment deductions, and businesses should be apprised of these changes.

Massachusetts and PPP Loan Forgiveness

When Federal Laws change, in Mass. there is an automatic mandate that Corporations will follow current Federal rules.   However, for individuals whose business income comes from a Schedule C or a pass through entity, Massachusetts generally follows the Code as amended and in effect on January 1, 2005.  Therefore, for a borrower subject to Massachusetts personal income tax, any amount forgiven under Section 1106 of the Act is includable in gross income and subject to tax, and there is no disallowance of deductions attributable to the payment of expenses resulting in the forgiveness of the loan.  

IRS announces 2021 standard mileage rates for business, charitable, medical, and moving purposes

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates. These rates, which adjust every year to account for inflation of fuel costs, vehicle cost and maintenance, and insurance rate increases, will once again affect the way a company reimburses their mobile workers. 

Everything you need to know about the expanded ERTC

The employee retention tax credit (ERTC) is intended to provide liquidity to employers during the pandemic and was greatly expanded in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 thanks to Sections 206 and 207 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act portion, opening the doors to more businesses to be able to qualify for and receive this credit who are facing significant hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many changes from the original credit were enacted including an expansion in the amount of credit and business eligibility, and how it plays with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  

Work-from-home tax implications: What employers and employees need to know

The pandemic created by the novel coronavirus has drastically changed the way we live and work. As more businesses are forced to send their employees home, work-from-home life has become a mainstay especially in knowledge-based jobs (jobs that do not require physical labor), and many of these industries are not going back to the workplace anytime soon. This can create wrinkles for both employers and employees when it comes to their tax situations. Here’s what employers and employees need to know about remote work and the impact it can have on taxes.  

Guidance issued on deductibility of expenses with a PPP loan

On Nov. 18, the IRS and Treasury issued Revenue Ruling 2020-27 which provides long-awaited guidance on the tax treatment of expenses related to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The guidance states that the expenses listed in section 1106(b) of the CARES Act that would otherwise be deductible will not be allowed in the taxable year that the expenses were paid or incurred and covered under a PPP loan that is forgiven or expected to be forgiven. 

2020 tax planning considerations for businesses, individuals

This year has been unique and beyond comparison in many ways, and tax planning is just one of the implications of current events. Both individual and business taxes have the potential to be significantly impacted by the various legislation that has passed like the FFCRA and the CARES Act, the loan programs made available like the PPP and the EIDL, and the unemployment/stimulus programs that touched many Americans. It’s imperative that we take into account all these potential factors when implementing your tax plan for 2020. In this article, we’ll take a look at the main areas to consider, both common and pandemic-related, when planning for 2020 year-end taxes. 

Tax planning considerations: Election results, sunset provisions

According to news outlets, as of this writing, Joe Biden has been named the president-elect of the U.S. Vote counting is still ongoing and election results have not yet been certified, but this news may have some taxpayers wondering what changes, if any, they should make in their tax planning to close out an eventful tax year.  

PPP loans of $50,000 or less get simplified rules from the SBA

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury announced on October 8 that a simplified application (Form 3508S) for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness is now available for borrowers whose loans fall in the $50,000 or less threshold. As more and more businesses begin filing for PPP loan forgiveness, this change outlined in a new interim final rule greatly simplifies the process for borrowers with smaller loans. However, it is important to note that this simplified form is not equal to automatic forgiveness.   

Latest update to PPP provides guidance on owner-employee compensation, non-payroll costs

On Aug. 24, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury issued the latest interim final rule update to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that seeks to clarify guidance related to owner-employee compensation and non-payroll costs. This guidance has been long-awaited and clears up several questions borrowers have had about forgiveness. Here are the main points: 

Sales Tax Nexus – What it Means in Massachusetts

Consumers who were once limited to their local storefronts to browse for goods are now able to shop and make purchases globally. Consumers aren’t the only ones benefitting from these digital shopping cart advancements. Businesses are now able to target a market well beyond their physical location, but these tempting multi-state customers come with challenges. 

Meals and Entertainment Deductions See BIG Changes in 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) offers many taxpayers a break through corporate and individual tax rate reductions. However, the new legislation comes with a few thorns. One of the biggest surprises to business owners is the elimination of the entertainment deduction.

Congress Approves Sweeping Tax Reform

On December 20, 2017, Congress approved sweeping tax reform. The President is expected to sign the bill next week in its current form. 

What is a 1031 Exchange and Who Can Benefit from One?

The opportunity to defer tax is music to the ears of many. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of 1031 exchanges and the potential benefits for each.

New Revenue Recognition – 5 Steps You’ll Need to Know

Not familiar with revenue recognition? An often-misunderstood principle, revenue recognition determines the conditions under which revenue is received. The new standards emphasize that revenue should be recorded when goods and services are transferred, or a customer takes control.  Control is identified as the ability to direct the use of and reap the benefits of the goods or services performed under the contract. The guidance provides five steps to implementing the new standards.

Understanding How the R&D Tax Credit Can Offset Payroll Taxes

Start-ups and small businesses customarily incur expenditures that may qualify for Research & Development (R&D) tax credits, but generally, these businesses don’t have the taxable profit needed to take advantage of the credit. The IRS issued guidance earlier this year that explains how qualifying small businesses can now apply all or a portion of the credit against their payroll tax liability, including social security taxes. Below we’ve answered some of the key R&D questions and whether your business is eligible for offsetting payroll tax.