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Your Questions Answered
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.
Question: I run a virtual business with no employees, but independent contractors perform all the work. I heard about that case in California. Should I be doing something different in my business? Do I owe any penalties for how I’ve done it in the past?
Answer: Effective January 1, 2020, AB 5, later AB 2257, radically changed the rules and criteria for determining whether a worker’s classification is independent contractor or employee.
The so-called “gig law” was effective based on a California Supreme Court case from 2018. The significance of the ruling is that it changed the criteria of worker classification and held that workers are presumptively employees and the burden is on the hiring entity to establish that a worker is an independent contractor not subject to wage order protections in California.
Although this is a change impacting California employers, the rest of the country has eagerly watched and hoped to cash in on the changes that would generate billions in employment taxes.
Businesses that prefer to work with independent contractors such as Uber and Lyft were quick to propose a ballot initiative in 2020 that the voters passed and now drivers are exempt from the new criteria (insert eyeroll here).
Want to know how to get your own exemption from AB-5? Continue reading.
Question: Bitcoin being treated as property by the IRS was partially related to not being “legal tender in any nation.” Does the fact that El Salvador is now using cryptocurrency have any cascading ramifications for tax/currency treatment of bitcoin in the U.S.?
Answer: The Department of Justice recently issued a news release to strike terror in the hearts of anyone attempting to execute cryptocurrency tax shenanigans. Similarly, the federal court for the Northern District of California entered an order authorizing a John Doe’s summons on Payward Venture Inc. and subsidiaries d/b/a Kraken. The IRS wants to look at the records of U.S. taxpayers who conducted at least the equivalent of $20,000 in transactions in cryptocurrency during the years 2016 to 2020.
What’s with all the sudden interest in crypto, and why are the feds looking to snoop around retroactively? If you’re curious to find out why and how to stay off its radar, keep reading.
Question: Can I increase my business tax deductions with interest the Small Business Administration (SBA) paid during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Answer: In short, yes. But it depends on the type of loan, forgiveness options, and loan status. We here at Think Outside the Tax Box sure like the way you’re thinking!
One of the benefits created through the CARES Act included payments on existing SBA loans. In addition, new SBA loans created through the PPP and EIDL programs included deferred payments for the first six months of the loan.
Depending on your current situation, you may actually qualify for the interest deduction, even if the SBA paid it on your behalf!
To learn how to qualify, continue reading.
The tax hikes on wealthy Americans included in President Biden’s economic recovery plan last spring have been a battleground for bipartisan debate for most of 2021. Now, the Senate Republicans have pushed aside the administration’s proposal to increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service, for the moment. We will take a closer look at the proposed IRS funding, the reasons it is necessary, and how the same wealthy Americans could end up the most impacted by the proposal.
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.