Jul 16, 2021
As we are heading into the second half of 2021, individuals are now starting to receive their advance Child Tax Credits payments as a result of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The law, signed in March, increases the overall child tax credit, expands it to include children turning 17 this year, and adds another annual $600 benefit per child under six years old. While the advance payment on the credit may be a welcomed windfall, there are some important aspects of this tax credit individuals should be aware of when receiving these payments.
Individuals with dependent children started receiving monthly payments on July 15th which are estimated to total half of the amount of their estimated 2021 Child Tax Credit. The other half of the Child Tax Credit will be received when the 2021 Tax Return is filed in 2022. Individuals are required to reconcile the payments received on their 2021 Tax Return so they should keep track of the payments received throughout the year and include that information with their tax documents.
If an individual receives more than what is due to them, they will be required to pay back the difference. This differs from the stimulus payments, where individuals were allowed to keep the additional funds. This primarily applies to those with a dramatic increase in income during 2021. An example of this scenario:
- If your income level qualified you to receive additional Child Tax Credits in 2020, and your new income level in 2021 does not, you will have to pay back the money received in regards to the additional Child Tax Credit you no longer qualify for.
Increase in Tax Due
The advance child tax credit received will be in lieu of claiming the tax credit on the 2021 income tax return. Since half of this credit will be received by the time the 2021 income tax return will be due, the amount of the child tax credit will be halved on the 2021 Return. This means that there will be fewer credits to offset against the tax due, which may cause a higher-than-normal tax due, or decrease the potential refund some are used to receiving. This holds especially true for those with a dramatic increase in income for 2021.
Opting Out of Advanced Payments
If taxpayers do not wish to receive the advanced payments of the Child Tax Credit, they can elect out of them. Typical reasons for opting out of the advanced payment are as follows:
- An individual normally has a balance due to the IRS after filing their taxes
- An individual doesn’t claim a dependent every year due to shared custody arrangements
- An individual’s dependent(s) is(are) aging out of the range of the credit
- An individual prefers having a large tax refund
Anyone wishing to elect out of the advanced payments, you may do so by clicking this link and following the instructions provided.
Changing Bank Account Information
If taxpayers would like to learn how to change/update their banking or direct deposit information, click here.
New IRS Portal
The IRS is currently developing a portal in which a user can enter updated information impacting the amount of payment an individual will receive. A user can do all of the following in this portal:
- Update marital status
- Enter in children born in 2021
- Re-enrollment into the Child Tax Credit if you were previously unenrolled
- Adjust your income for the calculation of the Child Tax Credit
As previously stated, this portal is still in development but the IRS is looking to release this portal in the coming months. Reach out to your WVC professional for questions on your specific situation.
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Categories: Tax Planning
Jul 09, 2021
On June 30, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law Ohio’s 2022-23 budget. One of the key items in the law was the clarification of a municipal income tax withholding dilemma that has been ongoing since virtually the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this clarification means good news for many employees, it may also be a massive headache for employers.
The Good News
Earlier this year, we penned a blog outlining how a temporary “Pandemic” law change intended to ease municipal income tax withholding burdens on employers was, in fact, having unintended negative consequences on remote workers. Many were left paying taxes to municipalities they did not live in and did not physically work in either, due to stay-at-home orders.
The 2022-23 budget bill extends the temporary law noted above through December 31, 2021, and clarifies that it applies only to employer withholding requirements and not to the actual liability an employee has to a given city. This means, for 2021 only, employees can request a tax refund for any days they neither lived nor physically performed work in a municipality. It is important to note an employee may still owe tax to the municipality in which they live.
The Bad News
Yes, the temporary law is extended to the end of 2021, but that means, beginning in 2022 “pre-pandemic” law will be back in place.
While the ever-expanding world of technology was leading us down a road where remote work would become the norm, the COVID-19 pandemic put us in a Lamborghini and sped us there in a matter of a year. Employers have realized their workforce can get work done remotely, and employees are becoming accustomed to more time with their families and much less time commuting while continuing to be productive in their work. Remote work is here to stay, and absent any future, permanent law changes, the reversion in 2022 back to pre-pandemic rules has the potential to be a huge problem for two reasons.
- First, pre-pandemic law included a 20-day municipal withholding rule, only requiring employers to withhold if an employee physically worked in a municipality for more than 20 days. Unfortunately, this rule will not align very well with a remote work environment. Even if a business is modestly flexible, allowing employees to work remotely just two days a month, this would trip the 20-day rule, requiring withholding from wages for every municipality within which their employees reside.
- Second, although many employers offer courtesy withholding so may already be withholding taxes for those cities, tripping this 20-day rule will now require those wages to be allocated to that municipality for purposes of the net profits (income) tax, subjecting the company to Income tax in each of those municipalities.
To ease into the 2022 transition, employers could consider formalizing hybrid work arrangements and creating an internal system to easily track days worked remotely.
We will be keeping our eyes peeled for any future legislation that may alter municipal tax rules for 2022 and beyond. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your William Vaughan Company advisor.
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Apr 28, 2021
While the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit has been around for some time, it remains one of the best opportunities for manufacturing and distribution companies to minimize their tax liability and leverage an immediate source of cash. The credit was designed to provide a tax incentive for U.S. companies to increase spending on research and development in the U.S.
How to qualify
What constitutes as R&D is much broader than manufacturers realize. Applying to not only the development of products, but also activities and operations, such as new manufacturing processes, environmental improvements, software development, and quality enhancements. The R&D credit is available to any business that incurs expenses while attempting to develop new or improved products or processes while on U.S. soil. A four-part test has been established to help manufacturers determine if they qualify:
- An activity that creates a new or improved business component of function, performance, reliability, or quality;
- Technological in nature and related to physical or biological science, engineering, or computer science;
- Intended to discover information to eliminate uncertainty in capability, method, or design;
- An activity that includes a process of experimentation, or evaluating one or more alternatives to achieve a result. This might include modeling, simulation, or systematic trial-and-error.
How to claim the credit
Since the credit may be claimed for both current and prior tax years, manufacturers should document their R&D activities to ensure they are positioned to claim the credit in both situations. You will be required to factually provide the number of qualified research expenses (QREs) paid with documentation such as payroll records, general ledge expense detail, project lists, and notes, etc. Qualified research expenses are defined as:
- Wages paid to people directly working on, supervising, or directly supporting the development process
- Supplies used or consumed during the development process
- Contract research expenses paid to a third party for performing qualified research activities on behalf of the company
- The cost of cloud service providers or leasing computers used in research activities
It is important to note that research doesn’t have to lead to a successful product or process for the expenses to count. Even if the project or research failed, you can still claim the credit.
Additional tax benefits
- Alternative Minimum Tax – Eligible small businesses with an average of $50 million or less in gross receipts over the past three years may claim the federal R&D tax credit against their alternative minimum tax liability beginning in 2016.
- Payroll Tax – Eligible startups can use the credit to offset payroll withholding taxes. Startups using the provision must have gross receipts of less than $5 million and no gross receipts prior to the five taxable years ending in the then-current tax year. The credit towards payroll withholding taxes is limited to $250,000 in one year, but companies can carry forward excess credits to apply to future payroll withholding taxes.
How we can help
For more information about R&D credits or reducing your company’s risk of facing penalties, contact our Manufacturing & Distribution Practice Leader below.
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Robert Bradshaw, CPA
Manufacturing & Distribution Practice Leader
email@example.com | 419.891.1040
Mar 23, 2021
Statistics show that a mere 8% of employers offer some kind of student loan repayment option. While this is not a new phenomenon, bigger corporations like Google and Hulu recognize the value-add of such offering to attract and retain top talent. Recent changes to a CARES Act provision providing employers tax incentives if they offer student loan repayments has been making news. Similar to employer-sponsored retirement and health care plans, employers can contribute up to $5,250 toward an employee’s student loan balance (principal or interest) and the payment will be free from payroll and income tax under Section 2206 of the CARES Act. This temporary tax-free provision has now been extended for at least five years, and employers are starting to take notice.
Due to the pandemic, many employers are focusing efforts on employee wellbeing and financial stability. This opportunity benefits both sides: the employee doesn’t have to pay income tax on the $5,250 and the employer gets a tax deduction. Some employers have evaluated the benefit of providing annual raises or offering a contribution to student loan debt. Given the economic impact of the pandemic, some may prefer the latter. Especially with student loan interest suspended until September of this year.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this tax-free provision, employers who already maintain an educational assistance program will need to amend their program, and employers who do not already maintain such a program will need to adopt one. Developing a written plan that outlines: 1) how to notify employees of the program, 2) eligibility and, 3) benefits is a good place to start. If you have questions, please contact your William Vaughan Company advisor today.
Mar 18, 2021
Yesterday, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year to Monday, May 17, 2021. “This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.” While the deadline has been extended, there are some items worth noting:
- The delay applies to individuals filing Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.
- The postponement does NOT apply to first-quarter estimated tax payments for 2021. The deadline for such remains April 15. After that date, interest and penalties on unpaid amounts will apply.
- The extension also does NOT include fiduciary (trust) income tax return
- It does NOT change the deadlines for corporate, partnership, or nonprofit tax returns.
- The deadline to file the 2020 tax return remains Oct. 15 for taxpayers who file Form 4868 to request an automatic extension. The deadline to submit this form is now May 17, not April 15.
- Recent law changes allow an exemption of up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation. If you received unemployment compensation last year and already have filed your 2020 tax return, the IRS strongly urges you not to file an amended return from federal tax but the IRS hasn’t announced what steps to take but plans to do so soon. For those who haven’t yet filed their 2020 returns, the IRS released guidance on March 16 that includes a worksheet and instructions to claim the exemption
Some state agencies have followed suit in extending the deadline. We expect more states to push back their tax filing deadlines but recommend each taxpayer check with their state agency for any state tax deadline extensions.
Finally, while the deadline has been extended, we highly recommend taxpayers get their documents to their CPA and file as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to. If you have any questions, please reach out to your William Vaughan Company advisor at 419.891.1040 or check out the IRS news release here.