J. Michael Grinnan, CPA
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The House on April 18 approved the two largest bills of a bipartisan IRS reform package. On April 17, the House approved seven other bills, by voice vote, which are also part of the larger bipartisan package. Its aim is to restructure the IRS for the first time in 20 years. The entire package of bills was approved by the Ways and Means Committee several weeks ago.


The IRS provided an additional day for taxpayers to file and pay their taxes, following system issues that surfaced early on April 17. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 had until midnight on Wednesday, April 18, to file returns and pay taxes. Taxpayers did not need to take extra actions to receive the extra time.


The White House and Republican lawmakers are continuing discussions focused on a second round of tax reform, according to President Trump’s top economic advisor. National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow said in an April 5 interview that Trump and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., spoke earlier in the week again about a "phase two" of tax reform


Certain proposed regulations issued by Treasury will now be subject to additional oversight by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Treasury and OMB released on April 12 specifies terms under which the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within OMB will review future tax regulations.


The IRS is already working on implementing tax reform, according to IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter. Speaking at a Tax Executives Institute event in Washington, D.C., Kautter discussed current IRS efforts toward implementing tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97).


Technical corrections to the partnership audit rules were included in the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2018 ( P.L. 115-141), which was signed by President Trump on March 23. The omnibus spending package, which provides funding for the government and federal agencies through September 30, contains several tax provisions, including technical corrections to the partnership audit provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015 ( P.L. 114-74).


Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, several key requirements for employers have been delayed, including reporting of health coverage offered to employees, known as Code Sec. 6056 reporting. As 2015 nears, and the prospects of further delay appear unlikely, employers and the IRS are preparing for the filing of these new information returns.


Taxpayers that plan to operate a business have a variety of choices. A single individual can operate as a C corporation, an S corporation, a limited liability company (LLC), or a sole proprietorship. Two or more individuals can form a partnership, a corporation (C or S), or an LLC.


Taxpayers who are self-employed must pay self-employment tax on their income from self-employment. The self-employment tax applies in lieu of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes paid by employees and employers on compensation from employment. Like FICA taxes, the self-employment tax consists of taxes collected for Social Security and for Medicare (hospital insurance or HI).


Code Sec. 162 permits a business to deduct its ordinary and necessary expenses for carrying on the business. However, Code Sec. 274 restricts the deduction of entertainment expenses incurred for business by disallowing expenses of entertainment activities and entertainment facilities. Many expenses are totally disallowed; other amounts, if allowed under Code Sec. 274, are limited to 50 percent of the expense.

In January, the U.S. Tax Court threw a curve ball in many retirement planning strategies. The court held that a taxpayer could make only one nontaxable rollover contribution within each one-year period regardless of how many IRAs the taxpayer has. The court found that the one-year limitation under Code Sec. 408(d)(3)(B) is not specific to any single IRA owned by an individual but instead applies to all IRAs owned by a taxpayer. The court's decision was a departure from a long-time understanding of IRS rules and publications and, for several weeks after, it was unclear what approach the IRS would take. Now, the IRS has announced that it will follow the court's decision and revise its rules and publications. Everyone contemplating an IRA rollover needs to be aware of this important development.

One of the most complex, if not the most complex, provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the employer shared responsibility requirement (the so-called "employer mandate") and related reporting of health insurance coverage. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Obama administration has twice delayed the employer mandate and reporting. The employer mandate and reporting will generally apply to applicable large employers (ALE) starting in 2015 and to mid-size employers starting in 2016. Employers with fewer than 50 employees, have never been required, and continue to be exempt, from the employer mandate and reporting.

The IRS's final "repair" regulations became effective January 1, 2014. The regulations provide a massive revision to the rules on capitalizing and deducting costs incurred with respect to tangible property. The regulations apply to amounts paid to acquire, produce or improve tangible property; every business is affected, especially those with significant fixed assets.