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Tax Blog
“Taxing” is a word synonymous with “onerous” and “wearing.”  Bond Beebe, Accountants & Advisors, have created a user friendly blog called “It’s Taxing” to inform and educate our clients and business associates on timely topics related to tax, estates, accounting and finance.  We hope our blog answers your questions and alleviates the heavy burden and anxiety related to understanding complicated tax laws and related matters.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter that is contained in this document.

 

Estate Tax Exemption Likely to Increase in Maryland

marylandLate last week, the Maryland Senate passed a measure that will gradually raise Maryland’s $1 million estate tax exemption to match the much-higher federal exemption. The measure has already passed the House. If signed into law by Governor O’Malley, in 2015 the exemption will be $1.5 million and in 2016, it will be raised to $2 million. The increase will continue to rise to $3 million in 2017 and $4 million in 2018 before matching the federal exemption in 2019. The federal exemption is currently at $5.34 million for 2014, and indexed to inflation each year.

Changing Menu: Cafeteria Plan Elections Available for Same-Sex Couples

fsaA few months ago, the IRS released changes to the flexible spending accounts (FSAs) under cafeteria plans targeting the “Use-it-or-Lose-it” provision. We highlighted these changes and shortly thereafter, the IRS issued further guidance on FSAs for same-sex married couples, in light of the Windsor decision.

In brief, same-sex married couples are now eligible for certain employee benefits under §125 of the Internal Revenue Code, particularly for cafeteria plans. This eligibility begins with the plan year that includes the effective date of the Windsor case (June 26, 2013).

There are three key points raised and answered by IRS Notice 2014-1 (PDF):

Senate Report Reveals 'Gaping Holes' In US Effort to Curb Offshore Tax Evasion

We’ve invited Davis Burroughs of JD Katz, a Bethesda-based law firm, to share some tax law insights with our readers.  This post reviews the latest developments in offshore reporting requirements in advance of FATCA’s implementation later this year.  For more information on JD Katz, visit www.jdkatz.com.  If you are interested in guest-posting for It's Taxing, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. foreign-reporting

A new report (PDF) from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (SPSI) ripped into several ongoing endeavors by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to punish and collect from foreign tax dodgers. The report was released in advance of the Senate’s March 6 hearing, which focused on holding Swiss banks and their U.S. clients accountable for failing to pay taxes on billions of dollars in hidden assets.

The SPSI report focuses heavily on the government’s handling of Credit Suisse Group AG, a Swiss holding company which has helped around 20,000 U.S. based clients evade taxes between 2008 and now. Over 95% of the company’s American accounts were hidden from U.S. authorities through a series of exit projects conducted to shield its clients from prosecution. To date, the DOJ has received less than 1% of the identities of Credit Suisse account holders.

6 Strategies for Your 2013 Tax Filing

fsaFor many people, there is nothing as dreadful as dealing with income taxes each year. When you first sit down with all the forms and receipts, you may feel overwhelmed; our goal is to simplify the process while keeping you in compliance with the tax codes so you can preserve, grow & protect your assets.

A lot has changed for 2013 – there are a number of new taxes and tax increases. If you are just sitting down to review your forms and filing your taxes has you scratching your head this year, here are 6 important strategies that will help you make the most of your tax situation:

Protecting Yourself from Tax-Related Identity Theft

tax-related-identity-theftLast week the IRS released its annual “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014 as a reminder to be on the lookout for fraud and take steps to protect sensitive information as you file your taxes. Not surprisingly, identity theft tops this list. 

Tax-related identity theft continues to grow – last year 1.6 million Americans were victims within the first half of the year. It is essential to be on the lookout for scams and take the necessary precautions with your social security number and other personal information.

Estate Planning and the Basics of Portability

estate planningThe estate tax landscape has a ‘permanent’ playing field now; the current Federal legislation exists in such a way that the rules will remain consistent for the foreseeable future. Back in 2010, estate tax was in a period of uncertainty due to the expiration of the Bush-era tax rules. Then the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 created permanent estate and gift transfer tax laws, thereby providing a standard, predictable set of rules for estate planning.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act made the federal estate tax exemption permanent at $5 million, indexed for inflation, which now stands at $5,340,000 for individuals who pass in 2014. A federally-taxable estate is one above the current exemption where the decedent’s gross assets exceed allowable deductions, including those assets transferring to the surviving spouse. In other words, a decedent’s estate would not pay estate tax (40%) until the estate’s net assets exceeded $5,340,000.

Final Comprehensive Repair/Capitalization Regulations Take Effect: Theory Becomes Practice

New-Tools-for-Business-OwnersThe IRS released the much anticipated “repair and maintenance” regulations for Sections 162(a) and 263(a) in September of last year, providing guidance regarding the deduction and capitalization of costs related to tangible property. The final regulations replace the temporary regulations issued in 2011.

Much was written about these changes when they first came out, however, since these regulations will affect virtually everyone who has a business (as most businesses have tangible property) and just took effect at the beginning of 2014, we wanted to remind you of some of the regulation’s highlights.

2014 Expired Tax Provisions

expired-taxes
As of December 31, 2013, a number of tax provisions affecting both individuals and businesses expired. Currently, it is unclear whether Congress will retroactively extend any of the provisions, but the possibility remains. A few of the notable expired provisions are outlined below:

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