November 1, 2021 - Think Outside the Tax Box

November 1, 2021

Finally – SALT Cap Workarounds to Bypass Schedule A Limits

Ever since TCJA passed, taxpayers in high income tax states have been wincing each time they see the $10,000 limitation appearing on Schedule A. But while the law included this $10,000 state tax deduction limit for individuals , it did not include a limit for partnerships, S, or C corporations. To clarify the deduction’s limitation, the IRS issued a notice blessing an entity-level tax and accordingly, many states have implemented such a tax. This allows you the ability to bypass the $10,000 limit on Schedule A and deduct the state taxes paid as a business expense. As of this writing, 19 states have passed what are known as “pass-through entity taxes,” but there are pros and cons to using this loophole. If you are the owner of a pass-through entity and pay more than $10,000 each year in state taxes, this workaround may increase the state tax deduction beyond the limit. Keep reading to learn how.

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To the Moon: Tax Saving Strategies for Meme Stocks

Think back to January 2021. A new President was sworn in; Twitter was obsessed with “Bean Dad,” and the term “Meme Stock” entered popular culture. A previously obscure subreddit called “Wall Street Bets” began making front page headlines. Average Americans took their “Stimmies” and invested them into unpopular companies, some on the verge of failure, and started making double digit percentage gains per day by pitting their collective holdings to short squeeze institutional investors. Companies that no analyst listed as a good buy, such as a retail video game store (retail is still a thing?), a movie theater chain (in the middle of a pandemic) and multiple cell phone companies (that don’t produce Apple or Android phones) all began to skyrocket overnight. As of this writing, GameStop Corp. ($GME) was up nearly 2000 percent in the last year. It’s likely while riding the adrenaline rollercoaster, most investors were not thinking about taxes. There are no taxes on the moon, but it’s not too late to plan for tax consequences here on Earth.

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Even an Existing Business Can Claim the $100,000 of COVID Relief Money for Startups

You might be a startup without even knowing it. If you are not a startup business today, you could be shortly. The incentive to start a business and hire employees is especially high now due to the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). With a special rule specifically for startups, the government will pay 70 percent of the first $10,000 of an employee’s wages in both the third and fourth quarters of 2021. This means it’s possible a business with as few as eight employees can claim the maximum $100,000 under the Recovery Startup Business rules (RSB). Even an existing business may qualify as a startup to claim RSB ERC. There are steps a business can still take today to qualify. A new business activity, reorganization, change in ownership, related company, business purchase, or even a more detailed review of the average receipts calculations could trigger a qualification. Read on to learn more about this planning opportunity and the rules to do it well.

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Tax Court Allows Defense Contractor to Claim Afghanistan as Tax Home

Question: We have a client who is moving out of the country, can they qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion? Answer: Deborah C Wood owned a house in Texas but was able to convince Judge Lauber of the United States Tax Court to rule that her true home was Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. This saved her most of the $95,301 in additional tax that the IRS was seeking for the years 2012-2016, not to mention penalties and interest. The narrative that allowed her to win the case is worthy of study by those who represent expatriates who may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. There is another lesson in the case, though and that is to seek good tax advice sooner rather than later.

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