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COVID Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses

Posted on December 23rd, 2020
Posted by Muhammad Akram, CPA

Congress used the 2021 governmental funding legislation as the vehicle to pass much needed COVID-19 relief, and more.  Spanning 5593 pages, the mammoth $2.3 trillion legislation contains some $900 billion COVID relief including most popular PPP loans for small businesses. The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (COVIDTRA) and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (TCDTR), both part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), contains provisions related to businesses, individuals, and energy related extenders.

Businesses Income Tax Provisions

i) PPP Loan Deductions Are Allowed

COVIDTRA clarifies taxpayers whose PPP loans are forgiven are allowed deductions for otherwise deductible expenses paid with the proceeds of a PPP loan, and that the tax basis and other attributes of the borrower’s assets will not be reduced as a result of the loan forgiveness. This is effective as of the date of enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct qualified expenses on their 2020 income tax returns which IRS disallowed earlier in the year.

ii)            $10,000 EIDL Advance is Not Gross Income

The CARES Act expanded access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and established an emergency grant to allow an EIDL applicant to request a $10,000 advance on that loan. The CARES Act also provided loan repayment assistance for certain recipients of CARES Act loans.

COVIDTRA clarifies that gross income does not include forgiveness of EIDL loans, emergency EIDL grants, and certain loan repayment assistance. The provision also clarifies that deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with the amounts not included in income, and that tax basis and other attributes will not be reduced as a result of those amounts being excluded from gross income.

iii) Extension of Certain Deferred Payroll Taxes

Under a Presidential Memorandum issued on August 8, 2020, the Treasury was directed to defer the withholding, deposit and payment of certain payroll taxes paid from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 through Notice. The IRS issued implementing guidance.  Specifically, the deferral applied to the employee portion of the old age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI) tax (6.2%) for any employee whose pre-tax wages or compensation payable during any bi-weekly pay period generally was less than $4,000 (or the equivalent with respect to other pay periods).  This was a deferral and not a tax holiday.  Thus, for those employees whose payroll taxes were in fact deferred, the obligation to pay was postponed until the period beginning January 1, 2001 and ending April 30, 2021, during which time the deferred taxes were to be withheld and collected ratably from wages paid (in addition to the normal payroll taxes on those wages).  Interest, penalties and additions to tax would begin to accrue on May 1, 2001.  The Act extends the due date for that deferral to be repaid to December 31, 2021, with interest, etc. to begin accruing as of January 1, 2022.

iv)           Temporary Allowance of Full Deduction for Business Meals

Taxpayers may generally deduct the ordinary and necessary food and beverage expenses associated with operating a trade or business, including meals consumed by employees on work travel. The deduction is generally limited to 50% of the otherwise allowable amount. The Act provides certain exceptions to this 50% limit. However, under pre-Act law, there was no exception for meals provided by a restaurant.

Under the Act, the 50% limit won’t apply to expenses for food or beverages provided by a restaurant that are paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2023.

v)           Waive Form 1099-C Reporting Requirements

A lender that discharges at least $600 of a borrower’s indebtedness is required to file a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, with IRS, and to furnish a payee statement to the borrower.

The COVIDTRA provision allows the Treasury Department to waive information reporting requirements for any amount excluded from income by the exclusion of covered loan amount forgiveness from taxable income, the exclusion of emergency financial aid grants from taxable income or the exclusion of certain loan forgiveness and other business financial assistance under the CARES act from income.

Vi)        Work Opportunity Credit Extended Through 2025

The Code provides an elective general business credit to employers hiring individuals who are members of one or more of ten targeted groups under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program. Under pre-Act law, the credit, which is based on qualified first-year wages paid to the hire, applied to hires before Jan. 1, 2021.

The Act extends the credit through 2025 and applies to individuals who begin work for the employer after Dec. 31, 2020.

vii)        Expensing Rules for Certain Productions

Under pre-Act law, taxpayers could claim a deduction for qualified film, television, and theatrical productions beginning before Jan. 1, 2021, of up to $15 million of the aggregate cost ($20 million for certain areas) of a qualifying film, television, or theatrical production in the year the expenditure was incurred. 

The Act extends this deduction through 2025 for productions commencing after Dec. 31, 2020.

viii)       Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Under pre-Act law, for tax years beginning before Jan. 1, 2021, the Code provides an employer credit for paid family and medical leave, which permits eligible employers to claim an elective general business credit based on eligible wages paid to qualifying employees with respect to family and medical leave. The credit is equal to 12.5% of eligible wages if the rate of payment is 50% of such wages and is increased by 0.25 percentage points (but not above 25%) for each percentage point that the rate of payment exceeds 50%. The maximum amount of family and medical leave that may be taken into account with respect to any qualifying employee is 12 weeks per tax year.

The Act extends this credit through 2025, applying to wages paid in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2020.

Individual Income Tax Provisions

i) Additional $600 Recovery Rebates

The CARES Act provided for direct payments/rebates to certain individual taxpayers are referred to as Economic Impact Payments (EIP). The COVIDTRA contains a new program, which it refers to as “additional 2020 recovery rebates.”

The provision provides a refundable tax credit to eligible individuals in the amount of $600 per eligible family member. The credit is $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married filing jointly), in addition to $600 per qualifying child. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly) at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income. The term “eligible individual” does not include any nonresident alien, anyone who qualifies as another person’s dependent, and estates or trusts.

Taxpayers without an eligible Social Security number are not eligible for the payment. However, married taxpayers filing jointly where one spouse has a Social Security Number and one spouse does not are eligible for a payment of $600, in addition to $600 per child with a Social Security Number.

Additional $600 recovery rebate is in dispute by President Trump before signing the Act and he wants Congress to increase EIP to $2,000.

ii) Charitable Contributions deduction by Non-Itemizers

For 2020, individuals who normally do not itemize deductions may take up to a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions to qualified charitable organizations (deduction limits of $300 also applied to married filers). A 20% penalty applies to tax underpayments attributable to any overstated cash contribution by non-itemizers.

The TCDTR extends the above rule through 2021, allowing individual cash contributions of up to $300, ($600 for married filers) to be deducted above-the-line for cash contributions to qualified charitable organizations.

An increased penalty of 50% applies to tax underpayments attributable to any overstated cash contribution by non-itemizers.

iii) $250 Educator Expense Deduction Applies to PPE

Eligible educators are allowed a $250 above-the-line deduction for certain otherwise allowable trade or business expenses paid by them. COVIDTRA provides that, not later than February 28, 2021, the IRS must, by regulation or other guidance, clarify that personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

iv)           Emergency Financial Aid Grants

An individual taxpayer may claim the American opportunity tax credit and/or the Lifetime Learning credit for higher education expenses at accredited post-secondary educational institutions paid for themselves, their spouses, and their dependents. However, under higher education expenses paid for by tax exempt income can’t be used to claim either of these credits.

COVIDTRA excludes certain CARES Act emergency financial aid grants from the gross income of college and university students. This provision also holds students harmless for purposes of determining their eligibility for the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits.

Energy-Related Tax Provisions

TCDTR contains numerous tax extenders related to energy credits. A summary of the energy-related extenders and excise tax provisions is below.

i)             Electricity Produced from Certain Renewable Resources

An income tax credit is allowed for the production of electricity from qualified energy resources at qualified facilities (the “renewable electricity production credit”). Qualified energy resources mean wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy, small irrigation power, municipal solid waste, qualified hydropower production, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy. Qualified facilities are, generally, facilities that generate electricity using qualified energy resources.

The Act extends the date by which construction of a qualifying facility must begin, to before Jan. 1, 2022, for the following facilities: wind facilities, qualifying closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal energy, land fill gas and trash, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities

ii) Wheeled Plug-in Electric Vehicle Credit

The Code provides a 10% credit for highway-capable, two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles (capped at $2,500). Battery capacity within the vehicles must be greater than or equal to 2.5 kilowatt-hours. The Act extends this credit so that it applies to vehicles acquired before Jan. 1, 2022.

iii) Energy-Efficient Homes Credit

The Code provides a credit for manufacturers of energy-efficient residential homes. An eligible contractor may claim a tax credit of $1,000 or $2,000 for the construction or manufacture of a new energy efficient home that meets qualifying criteria.

The Act extends the credit for energy-efficient new homes by one year, to homes acquired before Jan. 1, 2022.

iv) Other Energy Credits are Extended through 2021

Second generation Biofuel Producer credit ($1.01 for each gallon), Non-business Energy Efficient Property Credit ($50 to $300), and Qualified Fuel Cell refueling property credit ($4,000 to $40,000) are extended through 2021.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Second Draw Loans

Posted on December 22nd, 2020
Posted by Muhammad Akram, CPA

Congress has passed its spending bill, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021” on December 21, 2020 which includes Additional Coronavirus Response and Relief (ACRR). The President Trump has signaled he will sign the bill. ACRR includes a provision that provides $284 billion for paycheck protection program second draw loans. 

Eligibility Criteria for Second Draw PPP Loans

Prior PPP borrowers must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the second draw loans

  • Fewer than 300 eligible employees, on an affiliated company basis (or fewer than 500 eligible employees for businesses with multiple locations).
  • Have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan; and
  • Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021 are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.

Eligible Entities

Eligible entities include for-profit businesses, certain non-profit organizations, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-operatives. Specifically excluded are public companies, lobbying entities, entities with China-based ownership and venue operators receiving aid under the venue grant section of the Act.

PPP Loan Criteria and Improvements

The maximum loan amount an eligible entity can receive is the lesser of $2 million- or 2.5-times monthly payroll costs incurred during the one-year period before the loan is made, or during calendar year 2019 (3.5 times monthly payroll if the entity’s NAICS code is 72: Accommodation and food Services). ACRR maintains the 60% payroll (40% non-payroll) expense requirement of the PPP Flexibility Act.

ACRR also makes the following improvements that can be retroactively applied to all PPP loans:

  1. Tax deductibility of all qualified expenses paid with PPP funds is allowed.
  2. PPP allowable and forgivable expenses are expanded to include operating expenses, property damage costs (caused by acts of civil unrest), supplier costs and worker protection costs (both operating and capital costs).
  3. Borrowers can now choose any 8- to 24-week period as their loan forgiveness covered period.
  4. Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants will no longer reduce PPP forgiveness.
  5. A simplified forgiveness application for PPP loans of less than $150,000 will be limited to borrower certifications.
  6. Forgiven PPP loan funds will be considered tax-exempt income and will increase owners’ basis in pass-through entities.

Application of exemption based on employee availability.

ACRR extends current safe harbors on restoring full-time employees and salaries and wages. Specifically, applies the rule of reducing loan forgiveness for the borrower reducing the number of employees retained and reducing employees’ salaries in excess of 25%.

CAA also modifies or extends other individual and business-friendly provisions, including the employee retention tax credit, business meal deductions, retirement plan distribution relief and more.


2020 Tax Planning Strategies to Consider

Posted on November 24th, 2020
Posted by Gias Khan, CPA

2020 tax planning strategies have been difficult to advise. The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a year of uncertainty. To top it off the election results, on January 5, 2021 for run off senate seats in Georgia, may bring future tax changes. Before the close of the tax year there are effective steps to take now to save on your income taxes. These strategies can help for current and future returns, maximize retirement funds, reduce future estate taxes, and aid in cash flow management.

CARES Act

Firstly, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, CARES, Act made changes for both individuals and businesses.

  • Postponement of the required minimum distribution, RMD, in 2020
  • Changes to deductible charitable contributions in 2020
  • Waiver of 10% Penalty for early distribution for anyone under age 59½ for those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 experiencing adverse financial consequences resulting from quarantine, inability to work due to lack of child care, reduction of work, furlough, lay-off, or owner or operation of business forced to reduce hours due to COVID-19
  • Changes to certain retirement plan loans applying to those impacted by COVID-19

SECURE Act

Secondly, Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, SECURE, Act also made change.

  • Increased required minimum distribution in 2020 to 72
  • Repealed maximum age for contributing to a traditional IRA
  • Repealed Kiddie tax rules from Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, TCJA, of 2017

TCJA

Thirdly, the TCJA brought many changes to individuals and businesses.

Changes for individuals includes:

  • lower tax rates
  • no personal exemptions
  • higher standard deduction
  • reduced alternative minimum tax (AMT)
  • increased child tax credit

Business changes include:

  • reduced corporate tax rate of 21%
  • limits on business interest deductions
  • no corporate AMT
  • overly generous depreciation and expensing rules. A special 20% deduction rate for non-corporate taxpayers who had qualified business income from a pass-through entity

2020 Year End Tax Strategies

For this unusual year 2020 tax planning strategies we advise clients to be aware of the tax uncertainty that is possible. The uncertainty with a new president in office and the senate status left unknown may cause higher tax rates in the coming years than for tax year 2020. Here are other actions to take in order to reduce 2020 tax liabilities.  

  • Prepaying mortgage payment to accelerate the interest deduction
  • Accelerate purchases of business equipment and place in service for intended year
  • Pay any margin interest, at year end is only deductible if paid
  • Take advantage of the 20% deduction for qualified business income
  • Convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, especially if loss of value with hopes to increase again
  • Best tax use of capital gains and losses, taxable gains apply $3,000 against ordinary income and carry forward the balance
  • Year-end gifts of appreciated property in order to shift taxable gain to lower bracket family
  • Gift money today to reduce future estate tax
  • Maximize health savings account, HSA, by contributing can lower your taxes
  • Dispose of passive activities for suspended losses
  • Increase withholding on salaries and wages to avoid estimated tax underpayment penalties
  • Planning for beneficiaries of qualified retirement plans and IRAs
  • Gift money in 2020 rather than later, probability of eliminating the at-death step-up in the basis of inherited assets, gift and estate tax exemption reduction possible as well
  • Strategize qualified charitable distributions, CARES Act raised limit of charitable donations to public charities from 60% to 100% of AGI
  • Donate proceeds of depreciated investments to offset realized gains, if itemize add to charitable contributions

Conclusion

These planning moves should be made by year-end to achieve maximum overall tax savings for 2020 and later tax years. Please reach out to us before the year end to see how we can help you!


PPP Loan Deductions

Posted on November 23rd, 2020
Posted by Gias Khan, CPA

Recently, the IRS released Revenue Ruling 2020-27 and Revenue Procedure 2020-51. The IRS provides guidance regarding the tax deduction of expenses in relation to PPP loan forgiveness.

Revenue Ruling 2020-27 Scenarios of Disallowance

Two scenarios where disallowance can occur. Taxpayers receive the PPP loan and incur eligible expenses within the proper time period previously mentioned.

  1. A taxpayer applies to the lender for forgiveness of the PPP loan. By the end of 2020 the lender does not communicate with the taxpayer the status of the loan’s forgiveness.
  2. A taxpayer did not apply for forgiveness in 2020.  However, the taxpayer expects to qualify in 2021 for forgiveness.

Since both taxpayer situations expect to receive full loan forgiveness in both of the above scenarios. Deduction of the expenses is not allowed in 2020. This is in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, CARES, Act provisions. Taxpayers who receive PPP loans and incur or pay expenses eligible for forgiveness are non-deductible if expect to receive forgiveness of the loan. Does not matter if the taxpayer submitted the loan forgiveness application by the end of the table year or not.

Revenue Procedure 2020-51 Provides Safe Harbor

This procedure provides a safe harbor for taxpayers. It allows them to claim those expense as deductions in the following year. On 2021 tax return, if the PPP loan forgiveness is denied. If original income tax return for 2020 is filed in a timely manner, including extensions, the below taxpayers described can deduct some of all of the eligible expenses on the return. To meet the criteria for safe harbor a taxpayer must meet the following requirements:

  1. Eligible expenses the taxpayer incurs or pays in 2020 with no deductions on return because expectation is to receive forgiveness of the PPP loan.
  2. PPP loan forgiveness application submitted prior to end of 2020 or intends to with year end of 2020 in the following year.
  3. In the following year the taxpayer is notified by the lender that the PPP loan forgiveness was denied.

If a taxpayer meets the first two criteria but decides not to apply for PPP loan forgiveness in the following year, they are eligible under the safe harbor. The taxpayer can deduct a portion or all of the eligible expenses for the original 2020 income tax return, amended 2020 or following year return.


How PPP Forgiveness Could Impact 2020 Taxes

Posted on November 13th, 2020
Posted by Iris Wang, CPA

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness left many unanswered questions. Businesses were left with questions on how the PPP loan forgiveness will affect borrowers’ 2020 tax obligations. The key challenges are the timing of income recognition and deductibility of expenses.

Forgiveness Application Timeline

Each borrower can choose a covered period of 8 or 24 weeks or a cutoff date between that range. From the end of their chosen covered period, borrowers have 10 months to apply for forgiveness. The entire decision-making progress can take up to 150 days. Then the lender has 60 days to complete the review of the application and issue a decision to SBA. From that point, the SBA has 90 days to remit the forgiveness amount plus any interest accrued through the payment date back to the lender. It’s the lender’s responsibility to notify the applicant of the forgiveness amount received from the SBA. Then the borrower has 30 days to notify the lender that they requested the SBA review. The SBA does not have to accept the application in review, if the forgiveness application is denied by the lender.

It’s possible, considering this timeline, that borrowers will not know until 2021 how much of their loan will be forgiven.

Forgiveness in 2020 & 2021

The IRS issued Notice 2020-32 stated that the allowed expenses funded by PPP loan forgiveness are not tax-deductible because it would create a “double tax benefit”. The 2020 income tax return can reflect these expenses if the PPP loan forgiveness is denied. If you are able to apply and receive forgiveness in 2020, you have nontaxable income and nondeductible expenses in the same period for federal tax purposes. However, If you cannot get your final forgiveness notification before filing your 2020 tax return, questions on when these non-deductible expenses should hit the tax return are still unanswered. If you have deducted those expenses in 2020, you may need to file a 2020 amended tax return when you receive forgiveness as nontaxable income in 2021.

2020 Estimated Tax

In addition, 2020 estimated tax for pass-through entity owners should be based on 110% of their 2019 income taxes. For C Corporations, their 4th quarter estimated tax will be calculated and paid according to the calculated amounts.

We’re Here to Help

Lastly, we suggest taxpayers to refrain from filing their tax returns by the original due date. The IRS has not finalize the rule on how non-deductible expenses should be treated. For more information on your tax implications or if you have any PPP questions, please contact us.


Tax Tips on Making IRA Contributions

Posted on October 14th, 2020
Posted by Iris Wang, CPA

If you made IRA contributions or you’re thinking of making them, you may have questions about IRAs and your taxes. Here are some important tips about saving for retirement using an IRA.

1. You must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year in order to contribute to a traditional IRA. There is no age limit to contribute to a Roth IRA.

2. You must have taxable compensation to contribute to an IRA. This includes income from wages and salaries and net self-employment income. It also includes tips, commissions, bonuses and alimony. If you’re married and file a joint return, generally only one spouse needs to have compensation.

3. You can contribute to an IRA at any time during the year. To count for 2020, you must make all contributions by the due date of your tax return. This does not include extensions. That means you usually must contribute by April 15, 2021. If you contribute between Jan. 1 and April 21, make sure your plan sponsor applies it to the right year.

4. In general, the most you can contribute to your IRA for 2014 is the smaller of either your taxable compensation for the year or $5,500. If you were age 50 or older at the end of 2014, the maximum you can contribute increases to $6,500.

5. You normally won’t pay income tax on funds in your traditional IRA until you start taking distributions from it. Qualified distributions from a Roth IRA are tax-free.

6. If you contribute to an IRA you may also qualify for the Saver’s Credit. The credit can reduce your taxes up to $2,000 if you file a joint return. Use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to claim the credit. Write your thoughts


How to apply Discounts for Lack of Control and Marketability in Business Valuations?

Posted on September 25th, 2020
Posted by Gias Khan, CPA

Business owners are knowledgeable of the facts and circumstances surrounding a business interest. They take a close look at what they are buying before they make an offer.

Like most entrepreneurs, they like to be in charge, and they prefer investments that they can readily convert into cash should they so desire.

Therefore, business owners are generally not willing to pay the pro-rata value for a minority interest in a business when the interest lacks control and marketability.

To assess appropriate discounts for lack of control and marketability, call Akram & Associates CPAs resources such as those in this discussion, then ensure the selected discounts are appropriate based on the factors specific to the company and interest being valued.


Payroll Taxes Were Deferred by President Trump

Posted on September 10th, 2020
Posted by Annie Kelsey

The IRS issued guidance, (Notice 2020-65) , on August 28, 2020 and  implemented President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum on the deferral of the withholding, deposit and payment of the employee share of social security tax for the period from Sep 1, 2020 through Dec 31, 2020.

We anticipate further guidance from the IRS on the matter of this Notice.

The relief described in the Presidential Memorandum is confirmed by the Notice that it is a deferral, NOT a tax break.

Payroll Taxes are Deferred until April 30, 2021

The responsibility to pay payroll taxes for wages paid from September 1 – December 31, 2020 are postponed until January 1, 2021 ending April 30, 2021.

The deferred taxes on wages are to be withheld and collected from wages paid, including normal payroll taxes on their wages during the beginning period of 2021.

Penalties, interest, and additions to tax are to begin accruing on May 1, 2021 on any unpaid payroll taxes.  The burden remains on the employer to pay the deferred tax before May 1, 2021.

The payroll tax deferral is applicable to any employee’s pre-tax wages payable on a pay date within the period of September 1- December 31, 2020 for a bi-weekly pay period that is less than $4,000 or equivalent amount with regard to other pay periods.

Eligibility

The eligibility for this deferral is prepared on a pay period-by-pay period basis.  An employee can qualify for one period and not the next. This can occur for instance if an employee receives a bonus that places the employee above the threshold, but can be eligible again in a subsequent period.

It seems employers can regulate whether or not to partake in this payroll tax deferral initiative. It is left unclear if employees can opt out if their employer implements the program.

The Notice, however, is not intuitive of what occurs to employees which leave their employer. If needed, it does note employers can make agreements to collect on deferred taxes from employees.

The Trump administration wants these deferred taxes to ultimately be forgiven, this is reliant on the upcoming Presidential and Congressional election.


The SEC Expands the Accredited Investor Definition

Posted on September 4th, 2020
Posted by Iris Wang, CPA

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expands the “accredited investor” definition on August 26, 2020. Individual investors who did not meet net worth or income tests, no matter their financial situation, were denied investment opportunities.  

In other words, investors will qualify as accredited investors established on professional knowledgeexperience, or certifications to the existing tests for net worth or income.

These amendments are a way for the SEC’s effort to improve and simplify the investment offering structure. In doing so, the SEC wanted to expand investment opportunities while retaining sufficient investor protections and promote capital formation.

Therefore, expanding the accredited investor definition added new categories to qualifying natural persons and entities. The amendments and order become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The amendments revise Rule 215, Rule 501(a), and Rule 144A of the Securities Act.

The amendment to Rule 215 replaces the existing definition with a cross reference to the definition in Rule 501(a).

Amendments to the accredited investor definition in Rule 501(a):

  • new category that permits natural persons to qualify as accredited investors based on certain professional certifications, designations or credentials. Holders in good standing of the Series 7, Series 65, and Series 82 licenses as qualifying natural persons. This approach provides the SEC with flexibility to reevaluate or add certifications, designations, or credentials in the future.
  • included natural persons who are “knowledgeable employees” with respect to investments in a private fund
  • added to the list of entities that may qualify were LLCs with $5 million in assets can be accredited investors and add SEC and state-registered investment advisers, exempt reporting advisers, and rural business investment companies (RBICs)
  • add a new category for any entity, including Indian tribes, governmental bodies, funds, and entities organized under the laws of foreign countries, that own “investments” in excess of $5 million, and that was not formed for the specific purpose of investing in the securities offered
  • included “family offices” with at least $5 million in assets under management and their “family clients,” as each term is defined under the Investment Advisers Act
  • introduce the term “spousal equivalent” so that spousal equivalents may pool their finances for the purpose of qualifying as accredited investors.

Additionally, the amendments expand the definition of “qualified institutional buyer” in Rule 144A. Now include LLCs and RBICs if they meet the $100 million in securities owned and invested threshold in the definition. 

The Amended Rule will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register (the “Effective Date”).

In conclusion, investment managers should update the subscription agreements to reflect the expanded accredited investor definition on the effective date.

Please reach out to your legal counsel for amending the subscription documents.


Home Office Deductions During COVID-19

Posted on August 28th, 2020
Posted by Annie Kelsey

COVID-19 has greatly impacted how we work. Under this new normal, millions of people started working from home.

Are you qualified for the Home Office Deduction? if yes, can you get tax benefits under the Home Office Deduction?

Who Qualifies?

Historically, the home office deduction has been available to anyone who has to work from home. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) of 2017 had limited office deduction.

You need to have self-employment income to take advantage of home office deduction. Home office deduction is not available for W-2 employees.

Some companies are reimbursing their W-2 employees’ home office expense.

There are two basic requirements for your home to qualify as a deduction: (i) used regularly and exclusively for work and (ii) your principal place of business.

What Qualifies as Exclusive Use & Principal Place of Business?

The home office must be a separately identifiable space and taxpayer use exclusively and regularly for business and it cannot be used for personal purposes. 

A home office is the principal place of business. It is possible to have a home office and conduct business at a location outside the home. Taxpayer should conduct all the business activities there.

If you have in-person meetings with customers or clients in your home as a normal course of business, you can deduct your expenses for the part of your home used exclusively and regularly for business.

Home office Expenses

Expenses that are deductible include: real estate taxes, home mortgage interest, mortgage insurance premiums, and casualty losses attributable to a federally declared disaster.

There are two methods you can use to calculate the home office deduction-Regular Method and Simplified Option.

Regular Method

The home office deduction is computed based on the “business percentage” square footage used for the business divided by the total square footage of the home.

Simplified

$5 will be deducted for every square foot used for business up to 300 square feet under the simplified option.

Conclusion

Sole proprietors and independent contractors report home office deduction on Schedule C and Partners from pass-through entities report on Schedule E.

Remember to keep all records that may help you to calculate your home office deduction. Consult Akram regarding the specific circumstances.


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