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Archive for the ‘taxes’ Category

When it comes to tax reform, the political posturing may dominate the news — What’s in? What’s out? Who wins? Who loses? — but what really matters is the math. That’s certainly the case under the current climate, where unilateral control of the White House, House and Senate gives the GOP an opportunity to pass its vision of tax reform without a single vote from a Democrat in the Senate. If, that is, the Republicans can get the math to work.

Specifically, the 2018 budget reconciliation process will allow a tax bill to pass the Senate with a simply majority — rather than the standard 60 votes — only if that bill does not provide for more than $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next ten years. Go over that amount, and the GOP will need Democratic buy-in.

But big promises have been made. President Trump declared this THE BIGGEST TAX CUT IN HISTORY. (It is not). Individual rates are going to be slashed. So is the corporate rate. And the rate on business income. The estate tax and alternative minimum tax will be no more. You get the idea…lots of big tax cuts are coming, but how do you get that to fit into a $1.5 trillion-sized box?

You start by adding back as many deductions as politically palatable. But that’s the tricky part of tax reform; for every deep-rooted preference you try to extract from the law, a powerful special interest group will tug just as hard in an effort to keep it in place.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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What a week. Last Thursday, the House released its vision for tax reform, launching a flurry of analysis by the tax geeks, hand-wringing by the middle class, and defensive measures by the GOP.

Then, late last night, just as the House Ways and Means Committee culminated a four-day mark-up of HR 1 by voting to advance the bill along party lines, the Senate decided it was time to get in the mix by releasing its plan to revise the tax law.

There’s a lot to take in, clearly. It was hard enough to fully grasp how current law compared to the House bill, but now we’ve got to layer on the Senate proposal, which varies from both current policy and the House proposal in several significant ways.

What follows is a summary of the opening week of “tax reform season,’ with an item-by-item comparison of current law, the updated House proposal, and the newly-published Senate bill.

Let’s get to it…

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Aspen, Colorado is known throughout the world for its idyllic landscape, world-class skiing, and hourly Mariah Carey sightings. It’s an amazing place to live, assuming, of course, you can afford it.

You see, the ol’ 81611 is one of the more expensive zip codes in America; if you want a piece of dirt within the city limits, it’s going to cost you well over seven digits. This is precisely why people like me are stuck living 15 miles away in a middle-class haven, content to rub elbows with the stars only as a visitor, never a neighbor.

Doing business in Aspen is no cheaper; rents are painfully high for commercial space. And when that’s the case, the best business to be in is usually that of a landlord. But being a landlord is hard work; you must constantly deal with late hours and annoying tenants.

But what if someone told you that as a landlord, you could pocket a lot more of your hard-earned money, if you’re only willing to make one concession: work less.

Well, that appears to be exactly what HR 1, the tax proposal released by House Republicans last week, is asking you to do.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Hey, you. Yes, you. Big corporation that just HAD to have a huge tax cut. Well, you got your way: of the $1.5 trillion in tax breaks in the House bill, nearly $1 trillion of it winds up right in your already-plump pockets.

But you might want to wipe that smug look off your face. Sure, the corporate rate will plummet from 35% to 20% if the bill becomes law, but the House’s proposal wasn’t ALL good news for big business. Like any tax bill, there was some give and take.
Let’s take a look:

Take: Borrowing Got More Expensive

Businesses borrow money; probably more than they should. What makes it palatable, however, is that a deduction is currently allowed for the interest expense, reducing the after-tax cost of borrowing.

The House bill would end that gravy train, however, by disallowing a businesses’ net interest expense (interest expense in excess of income) in excess of 30% of the company’s EBITDA. That’s right, you heard me…EBITDA is now factoring into tax calculations. Please give me more of that sweet, sweet simplicity.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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There are no shortage of tax preparers in this country. Most are very good. Some are very, very bad. As a student of the law with twenty years of preparation experience, I’ve developed a discriminating eye, allowing me to easily differentiate between the two ends of the spectrum.

For many of you, however, separating the solid tax pro from the scam artist may prove a touch more difficult. That’s why I’m going to lay out some basic warning signs:

  • If a preparer guarantees they can get you a refund before you’ve given them your tax information, be afraid.
  • If a preparer guarantees you the exact amount of the refund they can get you after seeing only your W-2, be very afraid.
  • If a preparer requires you to pay a fixed percentage of your projected refund over to them as their fee, walk away; and
  • If a preparer plans to generate your refund by offsetting your wages with a substantial business loss — and you, you know…don’t actually own a business, for the love of God, run away.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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It’s been a while since we did a Tax Geek Tuesday, but boy do I have a doozy planned for you today. It delves into partnership tax law, so even before we begin, you can rest assured that the subject matter is needlessly complicated and nearly impossible to communicate in any logical and practical manner.

But that’s never stopped us before; after all, we’ve previously ventured into subchapter K to take on Section 754 adjustments, technical terminations, and even partnership book-ups. So why not take a stab at Section 704(c), an area of the Code that most practitioners ignore until it becomes an immediate and important issue, at which point they have a whoooolllle lot of catching up to do.

What is Section 704(c)? It’s a provision with complex application but a simple goal: to prevent a partner from contributing appreciated property to a partnership and then shifting that pre-contribution gain to a non-contributing partner or partners.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Admit it. As the battle over the future of healthcare divided our nation throughout the past few months, you remained squarely on the sideline. It’s not that you didn’t have an opinion on whether Obamacare should remain the law of the land or be replaced by one of two Republican offerings — the American Health Care Act or the Better Care Reconciliation Act — it’s just that you felt, well…stupid.

There was so much to understand and keep up with, and when that one guy in your office would give an impassioned defense of the preexisting conditions clause or rail against Medicaid, you felt like perhaps you weren’t quite informed enough to get involved.

Well, I’ve got news for you: that guy in your office? Total fraud. Nobody understands healthcare in this country. Not the people who receive it, not the people who provide it, and certainly not the lawmakers who determine its fate. Perhaps that last great bastion of journalism in this country — The Onion — put it best with this headline:
Man Who Understands 8% of Obamacare Vigorously Defends it from Man Who Understands 5%

Continue reading on Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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