With more than 350 combined years of experience in tax and tax-related fields, our experts share their practical insights on the latest topics affecting taxpayers.
Divorce and taxes: Dividing retirement savings when love hurts
When retirement plan assets are divided after a divorce, taxes can hurt. Learn how qualified domestic orders and post-divorce property transfers can help.
Navigating the new Form 1040
After introducing a new Form 1040 in 2018, the IRS redesigned it again in 2019, consolidating six schedules into three and adding back some items on the 1040.
Can unmarried parents living together use Form 8332?
Question of the week: Can unmarried parents who live together use Form 8332 to release their child’s tax benefits from one parent to the other?
Showtime: Taxes in the movies
This awards season, take a look back at movies that feature taxes in their plots. Warning: potential decades-old spoilers ahead.
The New Form W-4
The finished Form W-4 redesign incorporates new withholding tables and uses more of the taxpayer’s information to determine an accurate withholding amount.
Can 529 plan funds pay for a college student’s off-campus room and board?
Can a college student living off-campus pay for it with qualified 529 plan distributions since the room and board payments aren’t for on-campus housing?
Payments to visiting research scientist exempt under Russian treaty
The Tax Court found that a special provision of the U.S.-Russia treaty allowed a visiting researcher who was paid a “salary” to treat the payments as “similar” to an exempt grant.
Relief for taxpayers with discharged student loans
Learn about new safe harbor tax relief for taxpayers with discharged federal or private student loans taken out to attend nonprofit or for-profit schools.
Can a client take an HSA distribution for prior-year expenses?
Question of the Week: Can a client reimburse herself from her HSA for expenses she paid out-of-pocket in 2019? Yes—if she meets certain rules.
The People vs. Al Capone
Full of betrayal, bribery, and bootleggers, explore the events leading up to the tax evasion trial that brought down Al Capone on the 100th anniversary of Prohibition.
Medicaid waiver payments may now be used to claim tax credits
Medicaid waiver payments to care providers may be used to calculate the EITC and other tax benefits, but only if the payments are included in gross income.
Does foreign real property qualify for a like-kind exchange?
Question of the Week: Does U.S. property exchanged with foreign property qualify for like-kind exchange treatment?
Extended tax provisions for individual taxpayers
These provisions for individuals were extended by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act.
The Bachelor and Taxes: A One-on-One Date
Can the new Bachelor (and pilot) Peter Weber deduct expenses related to two-on-one dates? Can he claim Chris Harrison as a dependent? Hint: It's a no on both.
Retirement rules for savers change significantly under SECURE Act
The SECURE Act modifies the rules for retirement plan participants and employer-sponsors starting in tax year 2020. Learn how these changes impact certain taxpayers.
Congress provides relief for 2018 and 2019 disasters
New law provides relief with certain tax benefits for taxpayers affected by 2018 and 2019 disasters.
New laws extend tax provisions and repeal certain ACA rules
New laws extend certain expired and expiring tax provisions through 2020 and repeal certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions.
Ancillary personal property and like-kind exchanges
The TCJA altered the types of property that qualify as like-kind property. Personal and intangible property used in business no longer qualifies for like-kind exchanges completed after Dec. 31, 2017.
QOTW: Contributions to SEP-IRA and traditional IRA
A self-employed taxpayer contributed $5,000 each to a SEP-IRA and a traditional IRA. Is either contribution limited by the other?
Paid family and medical leave credit for employers
Qualifying employers can benefit by claiming a credit for paid family and medical leave in 2018 and 2019. A new IRS fact sheet summarizes the requirements.
Transitional relief for ACA health coverage reporting
Large employers and health insurance issuers must furnish ACA health coverage forms 1095-B and 1095-C to individuals by Mar. 2, 2020 the extended due date.
QOTW: Claiming a child who no longer lives with them?
Question of the Week: An absent child who moves out may still be a qualifying relative if all of the qualifications, including the support test, are met.
Updated QBI FAQs rental real estate
Learn more about the IRS’ expanded QBI FAQs with additional guidance on the safe harbor requirements mean for rental real estate owners.
Taxes and working remotely
Employees working remotely could face issues with their taxes, including double state tax on wages depending on their state of residence and location of their employer.
QOTW: Donating groceries to food bank
Taxpayers who donate groceries can deduct the donation if made directly to a qualified organization, but generally not if donating at checkout.
Standard mileage guidance updated
Updated standard mileage guidance reflects TCJA changes like the suspension of employee business expenses and the moving expense deduction for most employees
New checkbox for virtual currency
IRS offers guidance on hard forks and air drops of virtual currency and released a Schedule 1 draft with a new checkbox for virtual currency transactions.
QOTW: Preserve refund when one spouse owes child support?
Question of the Week: Can a spouse file a tax return to preserve a share of a refund that would otherwise go to pay the other spouse’s back child support?
Tax Court: No deductions for marijuana business
The Tax Court upheld the IRS’s denial of all deductions for a medical marijuana business--federal deductions aren’t allowed for marijuana businesses.
Innocent spouse relief and IRS collections
In these four situations, taxpayers facing IRS collection activity can claim innocent spouse relief.
The Earned Income Credit rules, explained
Overview of the rules for the earned income credit (EIC)
ITIN renewal and how to prepare
New rules call for expiration, deactivation, and ITIN renewal for millions of taxpayers. Here's how to prepare for ITIN renewal.
Taxes and flipping houses as a business
Flipping houses as a business has significant tax implications.
TAX in the News
The Tax Institute proudly presents TAX in the News, your source for tax law updates, court cases, and news for tax practitioners.
How to protect one spouse’s share of a joint tax refund when the IRS can take it
The spouse who doesn’t owe a debt may be able to claim his or her share of the tax refund using an injured spouse claim.
Earnings tax survey of local tax systems
Seventeen states and D.C. allow cities, counties, schools, and other municipal entities to levy local earnings tax on individual wages and business income.
When the IRS says taxpayers owe money
What are the options when taxpayers owe the IRS money? Offers in compromise, installment agreements, and changing to uncollectible status could help.
Rental property and the qualified business income deduction
Some rental property owners can claim a qualified business income deduction for their rental property. Find out how to determine when rental income is qualified business income.
Back to basics: Classifying workers as independent contractors or employees can be tricky
How do taxpayers know if they’re self-employed? Often, it comes down to employee versus independent contractor classification.
Putting a Cap Back on the SALT Deduction
The IRS caps state-level SALT deduction limitation workarounds involving charitable donations in exchange for state tax credits.
Back to basics: Family and dependent tax rules, Part One
How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made the rules for family and child tax benefits and credits (even more) challenging.
Tax: The Final Frontier? Foreign earned income exclusion and space travel
Astronauts, taxes, and the foreign earned income exclusion—why NASA space travel doesn’t exempt taxpayers from U.S. taxes
Qualified opportunity funds provide investors long-term tax benefits
Investors consider long-term investments in qualified opportunity funds because of their potential tax benefits: gain deferral and exclusion.
Tax benefits of tidying up: Noncash charitable contributions
Based on Marie Kondo’s decluttering method and Netflix show, people are donating their belongings, but how does donating noncash items save money on taxes?
When is a state refund taxable? The TCJA raises some questions.
State tax refunds can be fully or partially taxable, or not at all. The introduction of the $10,000 SALT deduction limit can affect the results.
Back to basics: U.S. taxes for international students
Learn more about the tax rules for international nonresident students on different visas.
Tales from the Tax Court: The Wayfair decision changes the standard for sales tax on remote sellers
States now have Supreme Court guidance on when they can require sellers to collect sales tax on internet sales.
Back to basics: Education tax benefits help taxpayers pay for college
Tax benefits for students can help families pay and save for college.
Education benefits & tax reform: What’s changed, what hasn’t, and what we don’t know yet
The TCJA changed some of the rules for education tax benefits.
Back to basics: The effects of federal tax changes on state law
How states respond to federal tax law changes depends on several factors
Spoiler alert: Television families demonstrate complex tax situations
How would the fictional families of Modern Family file returns?
Back to basics: Tax for families caring for aging parents
The tax effects of caring for family vary depending on the situation
Tales from the Tax Court: An Ohio sales tax curveball
A recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court demonstrates how bobblehead dolls led to a pickle of a court case.
The Gift of Knowledge: Tax implications of giving through 529 plans (qualified tuition plans)
Funding a child’s qualified tuition plan for holidays and birthdays can have tax effects
TAX in the News: Qualified Business Income Deduction Digest
All parts of the TAX in the News series on the §199A qualified business income (QBI) deduction.
Back to basics: What small employers need to know when withholding taxes for an employee
A guide to payroll taxes and a helpful checklist for employers.
Revisiting the de minimis safe harbor tangible property regulations
The de minimis safe harbor election allows businesses to expense items which are usually depreciated.
Partnerships, Part III: Partnership Audit Procedures
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed partnership audit procedures in several ways.
Tales from the Tax Court: What is reasonable compensation for S corporation employee-shareholders?
“Reasonable compensation” doesn’t always mean what you think it means
Employees and the self-employed – a comparison under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Employees should weigh the pros and cons of self-employment under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made favorable tax changes for businesses.
Partnerships, Part II: How the TCJA changed the net operating loss deduction
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made several changes to the net operating loss deduction
Breaking down the TCJA: The future of personal casualty losses
The TCJA suspended personal casualty and theft losses, except in federally declared disaster areas
Parents of K-12 students face state-tax uncertainties under new 529 plan rules
Not all states have decided how they’ll treat K-12 distributions from education savings plans after tax reform changed federal rules
What happens beyond full retirement age
Many people wait until “full retirement age” or later to start getting Social Security benefits. Here are some points to consider – Social Security, health benefits, taxes – to help with their decision-making.
Tales from the Tax Court: You can’t do that. ‘Frivolous’ tax arguments won’t stand up to IRS scrutiny
Most of these creative arguments are dispelled by a single IRS publication you may not know existed
Partnerships, Part I: Carried interest and the loophole
How carried interest works -- and the rules before and after the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Tails from the Tax Court: Horse racing and breeding as a business? The IRS says “Whoa, there!”
Deducting losses for horse-related activities can be a divisive topic
How to help taxpayers displaced by Hurricane Maria
Many Puerto Ricans were temporarily or permanently displaced by Hurrican Maria. Here are the tax implications.
When businesses don’t make federal tax deposits, the IRS will look for ‘responsible persons’
Taxpayers should never use withheld payroll taxes for other reasons. Here’s why.
Tales from the Tax Court: Artwork value is in the eye of the beholder – and the IRS
Owners of artwork should be prepared to prove the value of their pieces before reporting sales and other transfers on their tax returns
Post-death tax planning for the unprepared, Part 3: Who reports post-death income, and for how long?
The personal representative must make determinations and take action on assets before terminating the estate
Health savings accounts win the triple crown of tax benefits
Some investment experts say an HSA can help supplement retirement income, too
Like-kind exchanges and how they work
Follow four rules to make sure that taxable gains are deferred in like-kind exchanges.
The best time for tax check-ups – and why they matter
Tax pros can help clients make changes before the end of the year to avoid underwithholding and underpayment penalties
Debunked: Four myths about retirement plans and foreign workers
Workers who temporarily live in the U.S. will owe U.S. taxes when they transfer their retirement funds between foreign and domestic plans
Estates of the rich and famous
A look at David Bowie and Prince -- and the lessons we can all learn about estate planning
The most common business entity changes and why people make them: Sole proprietorship to LLC
The choice of business entity is not a ‘set it and forget it’ proposition
Post-death tax planning for the unprepared, Part 2: What are the personal representative’s responsibilities?
Tax filing requirements continue after a taxpayer’s death, and it’s the personal representative’s job to make sure those requirements are met.
How to distribute the wealth during retirement
Considerations for individuals with different sources of retirement income
Back to basics: How to understand the differences among tax statutes, regulations, and other official guidance
Making sense of the U.S. Tax Code can be a challenge without a full understanding of these resources
Tales from the Tax Court: Tax Court opinions and how to make sense of them
Tax Court decisions help taxpayers and tax professionals shed light on complicated issues
Debts that make tax refunds disappear
The government takes refunds to collect five types of debt. Here’s how it happens.
“Childless” taxpayers and the Earned Income Credit
Taxpayers who were previously excluded from the earned income credit because of their living situations may now be able to claim it
Donor-advised funds: What are they and why are they growing?
Taxpayers get immediate tax deductions for giving cash or property to charities using donor advised funds
Share and share alike: When employees get part ownership in a company, they take the bad with the good
Owners don’t always understand what happens when they make employees into partners
Why clergy returns can get complicated
Completing a return for a “minister of the gospel” can be a mess of biblical proportions without a full understanding of how these special taxpayers are treated
Stolen identity refund fraud may be down, but it’s not out
States are getting creative in the fight against stolen identity refund fraud
Back to basics: Tried and true tax savings represent an opportunity for millennials
It doesn’t take advanced tax planning to combine commonly available tax savings to reduce effective tax rates
How taxpayers can tap retirement funds early without penalty
A special method called substantially equal periodic payments allows early access to funds, but it comes with tight restrictions
Post-death tax planning for the unprepared, Part 1: Who is responsible for managing tax issues?
The personal representative should identify the deceased person’s assets and notify payers
Taxing the gig economy, Part 4: Artists, musicians, and makers who cross borders should be proactive to avoid major tax pitfalls
Multistate and international tax rules could apply to movers and shakers in the gig economy
The trouble with PTPs: These attractive investments can lead to major tax headaches
Get a basic understanding of publicly traded partnerships, and how to spot and plan for potential tax traps
Settlements and court judgments: taxable or not?
How the IRS taxes three types of damage awards, and how to proactively mitigate the tax consequences
Getting multiple Forms 1095 for health insurance isn’t always cause for concern
Taxpayers can receive combinations of A, B, and C versions of the Form 1095. Here are some common scenarios.
Taxing the gig economy, Part 3: The unintended consequences of being a small business
More tax responsibilities and potentially more IRS problems
Taxing the gig economy, Part 2: Nontraditional home rentals aren’t always a perfect fit with the tax law
Defining a rental for tax purposes can be difficult – potentially involving rules for small business, vacation homes, and passive activity losses
Taxing the gig economy, Part 1: ‘Interesting tax situations’ create gray areas for on-demand drivers
Here’s what we know and what we don’t know about business mileage deductions for drivers using ride-sharing apps
Three tax benefits for families making elder care decisions
Families should understand the pros and cons of tax-exempt Medicaid waiver payments, itemized medical expense deductions, and the dependent care credit
Certifying Acceptance Agents can help taxpayers apply for ITINs and keep their original documents
CAAs can attest to taxpayers’ documents and identities, help navigate the application process, and address any IRS issues resulting from the application
When taxpayers see a side hustle, the IRS may see a hobby
The difference matters, because the tax bill can be substantial. Here are the nine factors the IRS uses to determine whether a business is really a hobby.
Here come the private tax debt collectors … again
Seven things taxpayers and their advisors need to know about the IRS private debt collector program
Income generated from virtual worlds is still taxable in the real world
People who make money on Pokemon Go! or other virtual games might catch a tax bill with the IRS
Deferred compensation for athletes and high earners can be a financial win-win
It’s important to consider federal and state tax implications on payments that could stretch well into the future
Timing is everything: The date taxpayers get an SSN or ITIN now affects whether they’re eligible for refundable tax credits
Learn what happens when taxpayers don’t receive their tax identification numbers quickly, or when they switch to an SSN
Misconceptions abound in the realm of Native American tribal income taxation
Benefits for individual Native Americans are taxable, but some specific and fairly common exclusions can apply
Form 1099-B: The basis is probably wrong for employees who exercised nonqualified stock options
Most of the time, employees will need to adjust their reported basis to avoid being taxed twice on nonqualified stock options
State taxes and the military: What servicemembers and their advisors need to know
Servicemembers and their spouses may owe taxes in one state, multiple states, or no states at all. Avoid common points of confusion by knowing the basic rules.
Look no further: Tax-reduction opportunities start with the return
A mid-year review can reveal countless opportunities for all types of taxpayers and their advisors to plan ahead for next year
Those giving up U.S. citizenship shouldn’t forget tax obligations
There are essential tax rules that covered expatriates and their advisors need to know to stay in compliance before, during, and after an individual exits the U.S.
Green upgrades: Three financial incentives for taxpayers looking to make energy-efficient improvements
Tax breaks, special financing, and private-sector programs can help individuals and businesses make the switch to greener updates
Annuities are popular, varied – and complicated when it comes to taxes
Determining tax treatment for annuities doesn’t have to be a mystery. Here’s a guide.
When divorce decrees and federal tax law aren’t on the same page, taxpayers can lose dependent benefits
A cautionary tale about how one taxpayer was – and wasn’t – following all the rules
The adoption tax credit – What’s the catch?
There are three “catches” with the adoption credit: timing, qualifying, and post-filing activity.
IRS impersonator scams feel real if you don’t understand the real IRS
Taxpayers can avoid phone scams by knowing how the IRS really works
Surfing the SIRF: States are taking measures to keep taxpayers’ refunds afloat in a sea of identity theft
With Stolen Identity Refund Fraud on the rise, states are taking new approaches to help taxpayers stay ahead of the break or recover from a refund wipeout
The ABCs of ACA, Part 2: Forms 1095-B and -C will help taxpayers spell out their insurance coverage
Part 2 of this series explains two forms 1095-B and 1095-C
The ABCs of ACA, Part 1: Form 1095-A will help taxpayers spell out their insurance coverage
Part 1 of this series outlines why the Form 1095-A is important for many taxpayers
Can the IRS audit taxpayers year after year?
While the IRS has discretion to audit taxpayer returns for the same issues on subsequent years, taxpayers can invoke an IRS policy to try to suspend the repetition
What taxpayers should do when they inherit something they don’t want
Prevention is best – but taxpayers can take specific steps when inherited assets cause more problems than they’re worth
Cross-border workers sometimes pay into one or more Social Security systems with no future benefit
Some – but not all -- nations are signing special agreements to solve this problem
U.S. taxpayers with foreign investments should be proactive
Taxpayers and their advisors should closely examine how multiple layers of international tax law and new U.S. requirements could affect taxpayers’ investments and tax liabilities
Collecting and delaying Social Security benefits will no longer be an option for married couples
In light of new law that will eliminate two popular strategies, married couples retiring in the future need to rethink how to maximize payouts
Crowdfunding: One platform with many tax results
Despite lack of IRS guidance in this emerging area, taxpayers and their advisors should be aware that different tax rules apply to various types of income and donations made through online fundraising
Parking space sharing apps create new source of revenue for property owners and the IRS
Individuals who are auctioning or leasing parking spaces should look into the tax implications
Putting stock in the future: How startup employees can navigate their options
Employees with restricted stock should evaluate the company’s outlook – and consult with an experienced tax advisor when deciding on the right tax treatment
The ‘safe harbor’ home office deduction: Easier may not be better
Self-employed taxpayers should run the numbers both ways on how to calculate the home office deduction
Directly reimbursing employees for Affordable Care Act health coverage can be risky
The good news is, small businesses have several options to help their employees get insurance and comply with the ACA
Keeping property in the family can get complicated
What a father’s stock portfolio, an aunt’s house, and a mother’s antique collection can teach us about family property transfers
As economy recovers, ‘unlikely landlords’ may be looking to donate rental property to charity
Despite the attractive tax breaks, taxpayers and their advisors should understand three common scenarios that can reduce or negate any benefit from donating rental property
Four things taxpayers need to know before opening an ABLE account
Potential tax consequences, heavy recordkeeping, and complications with other government benefits could surprise some families with ABLE accounts, if they’re not prepared