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Federal Tax

No More Estate Closing Letters Unless Requested

As an executor/personal representative, you are responsible for carrying out the terms of the decedent’s will or Trust, which includes ensuring all debts are paid and each beneficiary receives his or her designated property from the estate. The estate administration process may include estate tax filings with the IRS and state jurisdictions, probate court filings, in addition to the funeral proceedings and wrapping up any outstanding personal matters of the decedent. Often times this is not a quick process despite adequate and appropriate estate planning.

When an estate is subject to tax at the federal or state level, a return is required nine (9) months (in most cases) following the date of death. Historically, the IRS would issue an estate tax closing letter upon completed review of the estate tax return. This closing letter would take an additional four to six months of processing time by the IRS to confirm the estate tax filing is accepted. Also, this estate tax closing letter is a final piece needed to close an estate with the probate court in some jurisdictions. The estate administration period can take longer than one year before the beneficiaries receive the residual estate property. If you are the one inheriting property from an estate, time ticks away ever so slowly.

New Highway Act Changes Filing Deadlines for Certain Business Tax Returns

President Obama signed into law the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act at the end of July. The Act implements due date changes for business tax returns beginning with 2016 tax returns.

Currently, partnership tax returns are due April 15 (or 3 ½ months after year-end). Under the new rules partnerships will be required to file by March 15 (or 2 ½ months after the close of its tax year). This is the same due date already in place for S Corporations. A six-month extension will be available. The new deadline will apply to returns to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015.


Each month, the IRS provides various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes. These rates, known as Applicable Federal Rates (AFRs), are regularly published as revenue rulings.

The AFRs for August 2015 are as follows:

Annual Semi-Annual Quarterly Monthly
Short-Term: 1-3 years 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48%
Mid-Term: >3 & up to 9 years 1.77% 1.76% 1.76% 1.75%
Long-Term: >9 years 2.74% 2.72% 2.71% 2.70%

OPM Data Breach Victims vs. Tax-Related Identify Theft: What to do?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to read a headline on a routine basis highlighting a private data hack (see OPM, Target, Home Depot, IRS, etc.) impacting thousands, if not millions of individuals, with each instance. More and more personal and financial data is stored electronically and this identity theft epidemic is only growing. Perhaps this is an unintended consequence to the speed and accessibility of your digital record-keeping. Although words can barely express the sense of loss when your personal and financial information is compromised or stolen. It is a frustrating experience leaving victims feeling helpless and vulnerable.

A data breach, or cybersecurity incident, as described by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is a different type of crime compared to tax-related identity theft. The OPM cybersecurity incident resulted in the theft of sensitive, personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, and Social Security numbers. Even though this data was stolen, OPM has stated “there is no information to suggest misuse of the information that was stolen from OPM’s systems.” Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone ‘uses’ your stolen Social Security number to file a false return claiming a fraudulent refund.

IRS Proposes Regulations that Would Allow Individuals with §83(b) Elections to e-File Tax Returns

BACKGROUND: Section 83 of the Internal Revenue Code states that you do not have to recognize income from owning equity in a company until that stock vests.

Section 83(b) refers to a special election you can make with the IRS to let them know that, despite the fact you have not yet vested your stock, you still want to recognize the income associated with ownership immediately.

If you file the 83(b) election before your stock has appreciated from it’s strike price there will be no income and therefore no tax owed. You have 30 days from the date of exercise to get your 83(b) election form to the IRS.

PROPOSED REGULATIONS: In order to remove obstacles to electronically filing individual tax returns, the IRS has issued proposed regulations which would eliminate the requirement that a copy of the §83(b) election be submitted with the taxpayer's tax return for the year the property is transferred.  

This change would apply as of January 1, 2016 and would apply to property transferred on or after that date.

This proposal does not eliminate the requirement to make the §83(b) election no later than 30 days after the date the property was transferred.  

We will keep you updated on any events related to this proposed regulation. Please call us at 301-272-6000 if you have any questions regarding this or any other tax matters.

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