Tax Credits Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Tax Credits

By Amber Gray-Fenner, EA NTPI Fellow USTCP

Are Electric Vehicle Credits Really Worth It? Spoiler Alert: It Depends!

It happens all the time. A client comes in with the receipt for their new hybrid or electric vehicle and is expecting a huge tax credit to offset some of the purchase expense. It’s a fact that hybrid and electric vehicles cost more (some estimates say an average of $19K more) than their internal combustion engine (ICE) based counterparts. And, despite the fact that hybrids and fully electric vehicles continue to gain market share, it has continued to be difficult to quantify exactly how much fuel and maintenance cost savings offset the larger price tag. Often, the time span for offsetting the difference in purchase price is much longer than many taxpayers want to keep their cars. Taxpayers often hope tax credits will help them to recoup the difference in purchase price more quickly than fuel and maintenance cost savings. Do they? Are electric vehicle tax credits really worth it? Well—it depends.

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This is How to Increase Your Employee Retention Credit

Are you seeking clarity on whether employee owners can claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) tax credit for yourself? Or perhaps you want to know whether qualifying for the Recovery Startup Business bonus is really that easy. You’re in luck! On August 4, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-49 to answer our questions related to the definition of wages, majority owner wages treatment, timing of the deduction disallowance, and recovery startup businesses. The ERC has been a phenomenal tax credit getting much needed cash to qualifying businesses using qualifying wages paid between June 30, 2021, and January 1, 2022. It hasn’t been uncommon to see small businesses recovering $50,000 to $200,000 in cash refunds just by claiming the credits for wages paid during 2020. The recovery startup business element of the CARES Act incentivizes new businesses to hire employees by offering up to a possible $100,000 in refundable credits using wages paid in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. This means if you hire seven employees (who are unrelated to you) in your new business, which began after February 15, 2020, and their average earnings are $10,000 for the quarter or more, you can receive up to $100,000 in credits. Naturally, we’ve received a lot of questions related to this lucrative credit and so has the Treasury Department. If you’re wondering how the IRS weighs in on how to maximize these tax credits, keep reading because we have six clear ways to qualify for even more money!

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Owner Employee Wages – Do They Qualify For ERC?

Question: I read the recent IRS Notice, but I’m not sure I understand whether or not an employee/owner’s wages qualify for the ERC. Help! Answer: On August 4, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-49 to answer exactly this question – albeit true-to-form in the confusing way only the IRS offers as an explanation. The notice addresses full-time equivalents, how to stack the ERC with tip credits, the timing of adding back wages for tax purposes, and whether a majority owner’s wages qualify for ERC. Is it possible the IRS is favoring orphans in this notice? It certainly appears that way. The original text of the CARES Act referenced the rules for Work Opportunity Credits. Specifically, the act indicates that relationships listed in Code Section 51 apply and, while not explicitly saying only payments made to the list of related parties were ineligible, most readers assumed wages to the owners were not disqualified. Here’s what the guidance now says.

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Can I Double Dip? Qualifying for Both PPP Forgiveness and COVID-related Tax Credits

Question: Is it possible to qualify for both PPP forgiveness and COVID-related tax credits? Answer: The short answer, of course, includes, “it depends.” We were fortunate that the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in December 2020 made it so that businesses that received PPP loans may now be eligible for the Employee Retention tax credits retroactively. The tax credits are great – a dollar for dollar reduction of tax, and for 2020 the value is up to $5,000 per employee! It is a credit against the employer’s share of the Social Security tax, but it is refundable, so if the amount of the credit is more than the tax, you’ll get free cash from the IRS. In addition, we’ve discussed previously in Think Outside the Tax Box about paid leave tax credits and even how to get them if you are a small business. These credits are also applicable even if you received PPP forgiveness provided you otherwise qualify. Here’s where it gets complicated. You can stack the benefits, but you can’t double dip. While no one likes a double dipper at the snack bowl (especially during COVID) there are ways to get the benefit from forgiven PPP funds and tax credits allowing you to have your chips and “dip” them too. Keep reading to learn how to legally take these benefits.

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Coronavirus Tax Credits – How the Self-Employed Can Benefit

March 18, 2020, was a big day for tax bonuses. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The bad news is this bill requires certain employers to provide two weeks of paid leave to employees impacted by COVID-19. The good news is that when you provide it to your employees, you get a juicy tax credit to reimburse you for these benefits. If you’re self-employed, you may have noticed you tend to miss out on certain tax benefits designed for companies with employees. But in the case of FFCRA, these credits are also available when you are your own boss. Continue reading to find out how to get this cash as soon as the end of the current quarter.

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How Late Is Too Late to Request a Late S Election?

Question: How Late Is Too Late to Request a Late S Election? Answer: Late in 2020, the IRS issued a Private Letter Ruling related to a late S election request for relief. Generally, you must file a request to become an S corporation no later than the 15th day of the third month of the taxable year for which the election is to take effect. If you miss this deadline, or don’t file an election at all, the business is generally considered a C corporation or LLC. If you’re like most business owners, however, you may not have known at the time you formed your business all the tax benefits available to you by holding your business as an S corporation. Whether you were unaware, or for some other reason, it may be well past the official IRS deadline to make this request for the current or recently ended tax year. If you haven’t yet filed your tax returns at all, you may be qualified to use the relief available by following the proper procedures. You may also wonder, “How far back can I go in changing the way my business income is taxed?” To learn more about how far back and how long you can be “fashionably late,” continue reading.

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More Cash Available for Employers Under Refundable Tax Credit

As 2020 winds to a close, we have seen many beneficial programs provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). While most media coverage has focused on loans to employers such as PPP and EIDL, it is important to remember some of the lesser covered programs also included in the tax relief programs. In fact, eligible businesses may qualify to get cash back in some instances. The employee retention credit (ERC) under the CARES Act offers a refundable payroll tax credit for certain wages and health plan expenses paid by businesses during the economic hardship. However, many business owners have uncertainty as to how to qualify when they have also received a PPP loan. The paid sick leave and paid family medical leave credits also offer a refundable tax credit for qualifying wages and Medicare tax and health plan expenses. These refundable tax credits are stackable for maximum benefit when used correctly. Read on to discover how to qualify.

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