Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tax-Free Transfers to Charity Renewed For IRA Owners 70½ or Older; Rollovers This Month Can Still Count For 2012

From IRS: WASHINGTON — Certain owners of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) have a limited time to make tax-free transfers to eligible charities and have them count for tax-year 2012, the Internal Revenue Service said today.

IRA owners age 70½ or older have until Thursday, Jan. 31 to make a direct transfer, or alternatively, if they received IRA distributions during December 2012, to contribute, in cash, part or all of the amounts received to an eligible charity.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, enacted Jan. 2, extended for 2012 and 2013 the provision authorizing qualified charitable distributions (QCDs)—otherwise taxable distributions from an IRA owned by someone, 70½ or older, paid directly to an eligible charitable organization. Each year, the IRA owner can exclude from gross income up to $100,000 of these QCDs. First available in 2006, this provision had expired at the end of 2011.

The QCD option is available regardless of whether an eligible IRA owner itemizes deductions on Schedule A. Transferred amounts are not taxable and no deduction is available for the transfer. QCDs are counted in determining whether the IRA owner has met his or her IRA required minimum distributions for the year.

For tax-year 2012 only, IRA owners can choose to report QCDs made in January 2013 as if they occurred in 2012. In addition, IRA owners who received IRA distributions during December 2012 can contribute, in cash, part or all of the amounts distributed to eligible charities during January 2013 and have them count as 2012 QCDs.

QCDs are reported on Form 1040 Line 15. The full amount of the QCD is shown on Line 15a. Do not enter any of these amounts on Line 15b but write “QCD” next to that line. Details are on IRS.gov.

IRS Announces Simplified Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Starting This Year; Eligible Home-Based Businesses May Deduct up to $1,500

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses and some home-based workers may use to figure their deductions for the business use of their homes.

In tax year 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home (commonly referred to as the home office deduction).

The new optional deduction, capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, will reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually.

“This is a common-sense rule to provide taxpayers an easier way to calculate and claim the home office deduction,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “The IRS continues to look for similar ways to combat complexity and encourages people to look at this option as they consider tax planning in 2013.”

The new option provides eligible taxpayers an easier path to claiming the home office deduction. Currently, they are generally required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions.  Taxpayers claiming the optional deduction will complete a significantly simplified form.

Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method.

Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible.

Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the new option. 

The new simplified option is available starting with the 2013 return most taxpayers file early in 2014. Further details on the new option can be found in Revenue Procedure 2013-13, posted today on IRS.gov. Revenue Procedure 2013-13 is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013.

Estate tax free amounts and gift tax free amounts protected under American Taxpayer Relief Act

Estate and gift tax planning just become simpler with the “Fiscal Cliff” legislation passed on New Years Day.  The estate tax exemption and gift tax exemption are now set at $5,120,000 for 2012 and $5,250,000 for 2013, indexed for inflation.  Also becoming permanent is the estate tax “portability” election, allowing a surviving spouse to increase his/her estate tax exemption by the amount of the deceased spouse’s unused exemption. This applies for predeceased spouse who died after 2010 and whose federal estate tax return (IRS form 706) was filed. The top estate tax rate was increased from 35% to 40% for taxable estates larger than the above estate tax free amounts.

Because of the large federal deficit and political uncertainties, there can be no guarantees that these estate tax free amounts and gift tax free amounts will not be lowered in the future.

For more information, read the article linked here to the Journal of Accountany: http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/News/20137097.htm