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A "phase two" tax reform outline could be unveiled by House GOP tax writers by August. Republicans have started to increase their tax meetings related to the effort, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told reporters on June 13.


A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers have introduced companion Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) bills. The measure aims to strengthen the HTC by encouraging investment and minimizing administrative burdens, according to the lawmakers.


House tax writers have moved two bills through committee. The bills focus on IRS hiring and the tax treatment of mutual ditch irrigation companies. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measures in a June 21 markup.


The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation has expressed concerns to top Senate tax writers about certain congressional IRS reform efforts. The ABA Section of Taxation sent a June 6 letter to Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., regarding the House-approved bipartisan Taxpayer First Act (HR 5444).


The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that nonqualified employee stock options are not taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The term "money remuneration" in the Act unambiguously excludes "stock."


A member of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida had to pay federal income tax on distributions of gaming income that she and her family received from the tribe. The payments were taxable income under the Indian Gaming Revenue Act, rather than Indian general welfare benefits that were excluded from tax under Code Sec. 139E. Both the taxpayer and the tribe were bound by the decision.


An individual shareholder of an S corporation restaurant operator was not allowed to claim FICA tip credits under Code Sec. 45B that the S corporation did not claim. The shareholder could not unilaterally and retroactively nullify the S corporation’s election to deduct FICA tip taxes.


The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued final regulations that:

  • prevent a corporate partner from avoiding corporate-level gain through transactions with a partnership involving equity interests of the partner or certain related entities;
  • allow consolidated group members that are partners in the same partnership to aggregate their bases in stock distributed by the partnership for purposes of limiting the application of rules that might otherwise cause basis reduction or gain recognition; and
  • require certain corporations that engage in gain elimination transactions to reduce the basis of corporate assets or to recognize gain.

Participants in the Son of BOSS tax shelter have maintained their perfect losing record in the Tax Court. Thus, another Son-of-Boss deal has failed to produce its promised loss deductions.


The 2016 filing season has closed with renewed emphasis on cybersecurity, tax-related identity theft and customer service. Despite nearly constant attack by cybercriminals, the IRS reported that taxpayer information remains secure. The agency also continued to intercept thousands of bogus returns and prevent the issuance of fraudulent refunds.


Individual taxpayers may claim a nonrefundable personal tax credit for qualified residential alternative energy expenditures. The residential alternative energy credit generally is equal to 30 percent of the cost of eligible solar water heaters, solar electricity equipment, fuel cell plants, small wind energy property, and geothermal heat pump property. After 2016, the credit is available only for qualified solar electric property and qualified solar water heating property placed in service before 2022.


Tax reform continues to be highly touted in Congress as lawmakers from both parties call for simplification of countless complex rules, overhaul of tax rates, and more. At times this year, President Obama and Congressional Republicans seem far apart on a way forward, but at similar times in the past, agreements have quickly and often surprisingly emerged, most recently in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). As the November elections approach more closely every passing day, lawmakers from both parties and the President have a short window to agree on tax legislation. The weeks leading up to Congress’ summer recess may be decisive.


Six years ago, Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which set in motion a wave of new reporting and disclosure requirements by individuals, foreign financial institutions, and others. In response, the IRS created a host of new rules and regulations; and new forms for these reporting requirements. One key FATCA form – Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets – has seen usage steadily increase since passage of FATCA, the IRS recently reported. At the same time, more individuals are filing a related form – FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (known as the FBAR), which reached a record high in 2015.


Legislation enacted in 2015 provides new rules for IRS partnership audits. The new rules are a drastic departure from current rules and the IRS is hopeful that the rules will simplify the audit process and allow the IRS to conduct more partnership audits.


Under Code Sec. 1031, a taxpayer can make a tax-free exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment. The exchange must be made for other property that the taxpayer will continue to use in a trade or business or for investment. Ordinarily, the exchange is made directly with another taxpayer who holds like-kind property. For example, an investor in real estate may exchange a building with another person who also owns real estate for use in a trade or business or for investment.


Individuals may contribute up to $5,500 to a traditional and a Roth IRA for 2016. This is the same limit as 2015. An individual age 50 and older can make a catch-up contribution of an additional $1,000 for the year. The contribution is limited to the taxpayer’s taxable compensation for the year, minus contributions to all non-Roth IRAs.


The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) made permanent many popular but previously temporary tax breaks for individuals and businesses. The PATH Act also enhanced many incentives. These enhancements should not be overlooked in tax planning both for 2016 and future years. Some of the enhancements are discussed here. If you have any questions about these or other tax breaks in the PATH Act, please contact our office. 


Tweaks to enhanced Code Sec. 179 expensing and the high-dollar health care excise tax are two proposals in President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget that could become law before the end of his term. President Obama released his FY 2017 budget proposals in February. Other proposals that could be passed by Congress include enhancements to small business tax incentives, expanded opportunities for retirement saving, revisions to the net investment income (NII) tax, and more.