Curt Wm. Penwell
Certified Public Accountant
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Tax reform legislation widely known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The TCJA brought forth the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in over 30 years. However, widespread efforts to implement the TCJA amidst ongoing tax-related global developments continue to this day. Now, two years following its enactment, Treasury, the IRS, and the tax community remain steadfast in working toward understanding and communicating congressional intent under the new law.


On February 11, the White House released President Donald Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget proposal, which outlines his administration’s priorities for extending certain tax cuts and increasing IRS funding. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) on February 12 regarding the FY 2021 budget proposal.


House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, "Moving Forward Framework"; House Ways and Means Committee, January 29 hearing witnesses’ testimony


House Democratic and Republican tax writers debated the effects of tax reform’s corporate income tax cut during a February 11 hearing convened by Democrats. Democratic lawmakers have consistently called for an increase in the corporate tax rate since it was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent in 2017 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97).


The IRS will allow a farmer that is exempt from the uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules by reason of having average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less to revoke a prior election out of the UNICAP rules made under Code Sec. 263A(d)(3) with respect to pre-productive plant expenditures. The guidance also explains how a farmer may make an election out under Code Sec. 263A(d)(3) in a tax year in which the farmer is no longer exempt from the UNICAP rules as a qualifying small business taxpayer with $25 million or less in average annual gross receipts.


Taxpayers claiming the low-income housing credit should apply the "average income" minimum set aside test by reference to the "very low-income" limits calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for purposes of determining eligibility under the HUD Section 8 program. HUD determinations for very low-income housing families are currently used to calculate the low-income housing credit income limits under the alternate "20-50" and "40-60" minimum set-aside tests.



The IRS has provided guidance on qualifying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is intended to be a financial boost for families with low to moderate incomes.


The IRS has proposed regulations with guidance for employers on withholding federal income tax from employee’s wages.


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.