Curt Wm. Penwell
Certified Public Accountant
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"A thumb goes up, a car goes by…" Tax extenders remain a top contender for "hitching a ride" on November’s must-pass government funding bill.


The IRS has issued a revenue procedure with a safe harbor that allows certain interests in rental real estate to be treated as a trade or business for purposes of the Code Sec. 199A qualified business income (QBI) deduction. The safe harbor is intended to lessen taxpayer uncertainty on whether a rental real estate interest qualifies as a trade or business for the QBI deduction, including the application of the aggregation rules in Reg. §1.199A-4.


The IRS has released cryptocurrency guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency.


A district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by four states’ against the federal government, ruling that the $10,000 state and local taxes (SALT) federal deduction cap is not unconstitutionally coercive.


New final regulations that address the allocation of partnership liabilities for disguised sale purposes revert back to prior regulations. Under the final regulations:


The IRS has released final regulation on the election to take a loss resulting from a federally declared disaster in the year preceding the disaster. The final regulations adopt proposed regulations substantially without change.


Proposed regulations provide guidance on the potential tax consequences of replacing the London interbank offered rates (LIBORs) with a new reference rate in contracts and agreements.


Education tax incentives are often underutilized because the rules are so complex. Some of the incentives are tax credits; other deductions. There are also savings plans for education costs. Making things even more complicated is the on-again, off-again nature of the education tax incentives.  Under current law (as of June 2012), several taxpayer-friendly features of the incentives are scheduled to expire.


Proposals to reform retirement savings plans were highlighted during an April 2012 hearing by the House Ways and Means Committee.  Lawmakers were advised by many experts to move slowly on making changes to current retirement programs that might discourage employers from sponsoring plans for their workers.  Nevertheless, it is clear that Congress wants to make some bold moves in the retirement savings area of the tax law and that likely it will do so under the broader umbrella of general “tax reform.” While tax reform is gaining momentum, it is unlikely to produce any change in the tax laws until 2013 or 2014. Considering that retirement planning necessarily looks long-term into the future, however, now is not too soon to pay some attention to the proposals being discussed.