Author Archives: Jared R. Rogers, CPA

8 Ways To Deal With A IRS Notice

Most people tend to panic when they receive a notice from the IRS. Many, many people think that by stuffing that notice under the mattress, the problem will go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The best way to address a notice from the IRS is to deal with it immediately and head on. Here are some tips for what to do when you receive an IRS notice.

1. Don’t panic, and don’t shred it. Most IRS notices can be dealt with pretty simply. Not quickly, but simply.

2. Be sure you understand WHAT the notice is for. The IRS sends all sorts of notices — bills for overdue taxes, requests for you to file a missing tax return, to request additional information about something, notify you of a pending deadline, etc. When the IRS sends a letter via certified mail, it’s giving you legal notice that they intend to levy you, file a lien against you, or that they will examine or audit you or your business.  The notice will ALWAYS thoroughly explain why you are receiving it. READ IT.

3. Every notice from the IRS will explain what you need to do with it. If they want extra information from you, it will explain what information they need. If it’s a bill, well, then they just want your money.

4. If you receive a notice about a correction to your tax return, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return.

5. If you agree with the correction to your account, usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due. The IRS will just “fix” the issue and then send you a bill (if one is needed).

6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. IRS notices are typically time bound and failing to respond in time can cause you to forfeit some of your rights/options. Respond to the IRS in writing to explain why you disagree. Include any documents and information you wish the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the lower left corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days (sometimes it can take up to 90 days) for a response from the IRS.

7. Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right corner of the notice. When you call, have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available.

8. Keep copies of any correspondence with your tax records. Also keep record of who you talk to, including their IRS employee ID number (they’re required to give it to you), and detailed notes of your conversation.

Don’t understand your notice?

If you receive a notice that you don’t understand or don’t agree with, then obviously consider speaking to a professional (such as ourselves). Feel free to email us via the address below in the footer. We can review a copy of your IRS notice, tell you what it means, and tell what you need to do about it, in simple terms.

Understanding The “New” Form 1040

So, when lawmakers vowed in 2017 to simplify the tax code, one of their targets was the good ‘ol IRS Form 1040 pictured above. There was much hoopla about making it so taxpayers could file their taxes on something about as big as a post card. Well, the new Form 1040 is smaller than it’s predecessors. But will it make the filing process more simplified? We don’t think so. Read on to see why.

More Schedules. The new Form 1040 replaces the former Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. The new Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach, in which the tax return is reduced to a simple form. That form can be supplemented with additional schedules if needed. Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations would only need to file this new 1040 with no additional schedules. But what if you do need one of the additional schedules? Well, just know that there are six new schedules to accommodate this approach. What are these new schedules?

Schedule 1 Additional Income and Adjustments to Income. This schedule is used to report all of the income that was reported on lines 10 and 21 of the 2017 form. This includes income from Schedule C (business income), Schedule D (capital gains and losses), Schedule E (supplemental income and loss from rental real estate) and Schedule F (farm and ranch income). It also includes the reductions to income that that were formerly reported on lines 23 to 35 of the 2017 form.

Schedule 2 Tax. This schedule reports lines 45 to 47 of the 2017 form 1040, including the tax, alternative minimum tax and any excess premium tax credit.

Schedule 3 Non-Refundable Credits. This schedule contains lines 48 to 55 of the 2017 form, including education expenses, child and dependent care credit, foreign tax credit, retirement savings plan credit and child tax credit.

Schedule 4 Other Taxes. This schedule contains lines 57 to 63 of the 2017 form, including self-employment tax, additional tax on IRA and retirement plan withdraws, household employment tax and the individual responsibility payment for not having health care.

Schedule 5 Other Payments and Refundable Credits. This schedule contains lines 65 to 74 of the 2017 form, including estimated tax payments and amounts applied to the next year’s return, earned income credit, additional child tax credit, American opportunity credit (the amount of the education credit that is refundable), amount paid with a request for extension and several other credits.

Schedule 6 Foreign Address and Third-Party Designee. This schedule is used to report your foreign address or if you would like the IRS to be able to discuss the return with a third party (e.g. your paid preparer).

Why Was This Done? Keeping politics out of the conversation, we believe that this switch was done to fulfill a campaign promises. Why so?

  • The new building block approach doesn’t actually simplify anything. If anything, it makes one have to look at additional forms/pages when one only had to formerly look at a two page document (i.e. the old “long form” 1040) to see it all.
  • Only around 13% of tax returns are file via paper as opposed to being e-filed according to the IRS statistics. With that being said, who really cares if the Form 1040 is the size of a postcard? Most people who file are using software!
  • Schedules 1 through 6 are additional to the ones that existed prior to 2018 (e.g. Schedules A, C, D, E, F, H, SE and 8812). While taxpayers can ignore them if they don’t have any lines on those schedules to fill out, they still might have to review them to determine if they are required. Simplification? We’re not so sure.

The Result? While the new form is shorter, we can’t say that it will be easier for taxpayers to understand. We have already started preparing 2018 returns and we can say that it makes it “slightly” more challenging to review. Most professional software has a view/comparison mode/worksheet that allows us to analyze variances to ensure nothing is missed. But we can say that the building block scheme takes a little extra work.

To that end, don’t expect it to cost you any less to have your “simplified” tax return prepared when compared to years past. Most paid preparers, if anything, are actually raising their prices to accommodate the extra forms and other changes such as the 20% QBI deduction.

Should I Hire a Tax Professional For My Small Business?

Do I really need a tax professional?

For taxpayers with the simplest income tax returns, do-it-yourself software and websites often seem like the way to go.  These individuals often have only one source of income (i.e. W2 from their employer),  may have a home mortgage with interest, some student loan debt and maybe some childcare credits.  But for those with more complex situations, such as revenue from businesses, income from interest and dividends, capital gains on a home sale or foreign assets, seeking the expertise of a professional can save time, money and potential legal complications.

For small business owners, and many other taxpayers, there are several reasons why seeking a tax professional might be better than going it alone.  In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common and influential drivers that typically signal it’s time to make the switch.

Types of Tax Advisors
The first thing to know is that anyone can claim to be a tax expert.  Furthermore, there is no requirement that people who prepare tax returns have to be licensed by the IRS.  With that being said, note that there are (generally) three designations when it comes to tax professionals:

  • Enrolled agent (EA).  An EA is licensed by the IRS and has either passed a difficult test or has at least five years of experience working for the IRS.  EAs are “generally” the least expensive of the tax pros and often offer bookkeeping and accounting assistance.
  • Certified public accountant (CPA) and other accountants.  CPAs are licensed and regulated by each state.  They perform sophisticated accounting and business-related tax work and prepare tax returns.  Larger businesses or businesses with complex business tax returns often use CPAs. The larger CPA firms (e.g. The Big 4) are expensive.  Smaller CPA firms and practitioners can be less expensive and may be better suited for the typical small business.
  • Tax Attorneys.   Tax Attorneys are lawyers with a special tax law degree (called an L.L.M. in taxation) or a tax specialization certification from a state bar association.  Tax attorneys can be expensive, but you should consult one if you have a tax problem, are in criminal trouble with the IRS, need legal representation in court, or need business and estate planning.

Reasons to Hire A Tax Professional
So when is the right time to hire one of the individuals listed above? Typically, it’s once one of the following items below occurs:

  • Your tax situation exceeds your expertise or your software.  Even what may seem like a “straightforward” situation can quickly turn into more than one bargained for.  For example, let’s say that you drive for one of those ride share companies.  At tax time, you receive a Form 1099-K, a Form 1099-MISC and a Yearly Summary.  Some of the documents include numbers from one of the other documents, and some documents appear to have totally different numbers.  Some have fees that “may be deductible” but you aren’t sure which ones to include.  Do you add them all?  Do you only include some?  What if you leave a number off that should have been reported?  A tax professional can help ensure everything is reported correctly and that you don’t wind up getting an IRS Automated Adjustment Notice for under reporting your income.
  • Your time is valuable and you’re spending too much of it preparing your return.  While you may be able to prepare your taxes yourself for $100 or less online, many do-it-yourself filers spend an enormous amount of time when doing so.  According to the 2018 Form 1040 Instructions per the IRS, the average taxpayer will spend 11 hours preparing their return. 
    Average Taxpayer Burden for Individuals
    Average Time (Hours)
    Type of TaxpayerPercentage
    of Returns
    Completion &
    All taxpayers100%115241$200
    Estimated Average Taxpayer Burden for Individuals by Activity per 2018 Form 1040 Instructions
    This number jumps to 19 hours if you have a business!  Hiring a professional can reduce that to the time it takes to gather your tax documents and forward them to their office, go over a few items with them and then review the final return for accuracy.  If your time is better spent closing sales deals, running your business or spending it with family and friends, then hiring a tax professional can make perfect cents (pun intended).
  • You could be missing out on valuable deductions.  In addition to saving you countless hours of painfully boring and costly tax guessing, experienced preparers know the deductions that you may qualify for, and which items are tax deductible if you own a business.  They can also easily tell you if it’s more beneficial to itemize or take the standard deduction.  Even if you just earn only a little income on the side, a professional may be able to find you deductions or credits that will more than pay for their services and keep more of your hard earned money out of the pockets of Uncle Sam.  Lastly, the cost of having your taxes prepared by a professional can also be tax deductible as a professional fee if you have a business.
  • The tax law is constantly changing.  Adding to the complexity, new tax laws are enacted every year that affect virtually everyone, making it tough to keep up with changes and how they might affect you.  For example, the new 20% Qualified Business Income Deduction will no doubt cause some frustration for those this tax year (especially if you in the “phase in” range for a partial deduction).  For small businesses that have to manage income tax withholding and reporting for their employees, taxes are even more complex.  While tax software can help, an experienced professional that “has seen it all before,” and also keeps up with tax law changes through educational courses, can make the process easy peasy lemon squeezy!
  • A mistake was made in the past.  If you do your taxes yourself, you are much more likely to make a mistake.  Mistakes happen, but when they happen to you, it may feel like they are costing you big time.  A simple math error can cause a return to be inaccurate, leaving you liable for unpaid taxes and interest.  For errors the IRS believes are not accidental, such as failing to report income, taxpayers can also face large fines and even criminal prosecution.  A skilled tax professional can not only help ensure that your returns are accurately prepared, but they often can help you rectify a past mistake.
  • You want peace of mind.  The only people that look forward to an IRS audit are IRS auditors!  The best way to avoid their scrutiny is to make sure your tax return is in compliance with the tax laws.  To do that, why not hire a professional who lives, works and breathes taxes every day (or at least a lot more frequently than you do)?  There is still a chance than any taxpayer will get audited, but if you use the services of a professional CPA, Enrolled Agent or Tax Attorney, and your return is selected for further inspection by the IRS, those professionals can typically help represent you on your behalf before the IRS.  Don’t go before a court without a lawyer, and don’t go before the IRS without a professional.

How much does it cost to hire a tax professional? 
According to the 2018 survey by the National Society of Accountants, the average federal tax return in the U.S., including the tax return for the person’s state of residence, cost $294 for a professional preparer to handle if the taxpayer itemizes and $188 if they don’t.  If you own a business that needs to file a Schedule C (for business income and expenses) that will tack on $187 more.  But as outlined above, there are numerous reasons why this cost can be well worth it.

Do you need help with your business taxes this year?
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle and headache of navigating the new tax law, or simply don’t have the time, we’d be happy to assist you!  Call the office now to schedule your appointment or request your complementary tax situation analysis (valued at $197 but free if you mention this blog post).  We are a year round practice and can even help you file your state taxes no matter where you are located.

What is the 20% QBI Deduction?

In late 2017 with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a new 20% deduction for pass through businesses was created.  This deduction is also known as the section 199A deduction, the deduction for qualified business income (QBI), the 20% deduction and the pass-through deduction.  In this post, we’ll discuss who can take the deduction, how it is calculated and provide some examples to aid in ones understanding.

Who may take the section 199A deduction? Generally speaking, individuals, trusts and estates with QBI, qualified REIT dividends or qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income may qualify for the deduction.  This income must be derived from a qualified trade or business operated directly or through a pass-through entity.  From an “entity” standpoint, the following are those that may be able to take the deduction:

  • Partnerships
  • S-Corporations
  • Sole proprietorship’s (i.e. Schedule C filers)
  • LLCs
  • Real estate investors
  • Trusts, estates, REITs and qualified cooperatives

So as you can see, the deduction is intended for those entities that are not classified as C-Corporations.  Why?  We’ll since the TCJA cut the corporate income tax rate to a flat 21%, this was the way to replicate a similar treatment for those entities that were not structured as such.

What is QBI?  QBI is the net amount of qualified income, gain, deduction and loss from any qualified trade or business. Only items included in taxable income are counted. In addition, the items must be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. Items such as capital gains and losses, certain dividends and interest income are excluded.

What is not QBI?  QBI is not items used in determining net long-term capital gain or loss, dividends, interest income, reasonable compensation, guaranteed payments or amount paid or incurred by a partnership to a partner who is acting other than in his or her capacity as a partner for services

What is a qualified trade or business?   It is any trade or business other than one of the following:

  • One that is defined as a specified service trade or business (SSTB), which includes those that involve the performance of services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, investing and investment management, trading, dealing in certain assets or any trade or business where the principal asset is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees.
  • One that involved performing services as an employee (i.e. one in which you receive a W2)

What information should my K1 have on it for me to take the QBI deduction?  If a K1 fails to report any item below, the IRS will presume that the QBI, W-2 wages and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition (UBIA) of qualified property are equal to zero:

  1. Whether the business is an SSTB.
  2. Whether there is more than one trade or business.
  3. QBI for each trade or business.
  4. W-2 wages and UBIA of qualified property.
  5. Any REIT dividends.
  6. Any PTP income.

How is the deduction for QBI calculated?  Now this is where things “can” get complicated.  In the simplest application, the deduction is equal to 20% of domestic QBI from a qualified trade or business.   The deduction is taken on an individuals personal return and “below the line.” Thus, it reduces taxable income and not adjusted gross income (AGI).  The following 199A Calculator will give you a quick idea of how it works and what a QBI deduction might look like for your situation.

The calculation itself, is dependent on the taxable income reflected on the taxpayers return:

Below threshold:  If a taxpayer’s taxable income is below $315,000 for a married couple filing a joint return and $157,500 for all other taxpayers; the deduction is the lesser of:

  1. 20% of the taxpayer’s QBI, plus 20 percent of the taxpayer’s qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified PTP income or
  2. 20% percent of the taxpayer’s taxable income minus net capital gains.

So basically, the deduction will never be greater than 20% of the taxpayers QBI or their taxable income. Now what happens if the income is above the amounts specified above?

Between threshold:  If the taxpayer’s taxable income is between thresholds (i.e., between $315,000 and $415,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly; between $157,500 and $207,500 for others), the QBI deductible amount for the business is subject to a limitation based on W-2 wages and/or UBIA.  In these instances, the deduction is calculated as:

  1. 20% of QBI for that trade or business less,
  2. An amount equal to the reduction ratio multiplied by the excess amount.
    • The “reduction ratio” is calculated as (Taxable income – $315,000)/$100,000 for those filing MFJ and (Taxable income – $157,500)/$50,000 for all other taxpayers
    • The “excess amount” is the amount by which 20% of QBI exceeds the greater of:
      • 50% of Form W-2 wages paid by the business, or
      • 25% of Form W-2 wages paid by the business plus 2.5% of the UBIA

Above threshold:  If the taxpayer’s taxable income is above the thresholds (i.e., $415,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $207,500 for others), the deduction is:

  1. the lesser of
    • 20% of QBI for that trade or business OR
  2. the greater of
    • 50% of W-2 wages for that trade or business OR
    • 25% of W-2 wages for that trade or business PLUS 2.5% of the UBIA of all qualified property

I have income from a SSTB. How does that affect my deduction?   Your ability to take the deduction will depend on your taxable income and will be calculated as follows:

  • The limitation does not apply to any taxpayer whose taxable income is below the $315,000/$157,500 threshold amounts.
  • For taxpayers whose taxable income is within the phase-in range ($315,000 to $415,000 for joint filers and $157,500 to $207,500 for all other filing statuses), the taxpayer’s share of QBI, W-2 wages and UBIA of qualified property related to the SSTB may be limited/reduced (see Example 5  below)
  • If the taxpayer’s taxable income exceeds the phase-in range (i.e. greater than $415,000 for joint filers and $207,500 for all other filing statuses), no deduction is allowed with respect to any SSTB.

I am a visual person.  Do you have a flowchat to illustrate what all of the above means?
Ask and you shall receive.  Take a look at the graphic below (absent some of the calculations).

Calculation examples using various ranges and business types.  On August 8, 2018, the IRS released proposed regulations on §199A, providing guidance on their interpretation of provisions regarding the new 20% deduction for pass-through entities. The proposed regulations span 184 pages and provide numerous definitions, examples, and anti-abuse provisions.  As such, it’s a good idea to review the examples in the link (see page 114/184) as the IRS has outlined computations for many scenarios.

The examples shown below are designed to help you gain a general understanding of how the information presented above comes into play.

Income below threshold examples

Example 1  In 2018, Pilar, an unmarried individual, operated an accounting and tax business (a SSTB) as a sole proprietor and earned a net Schedule C income of $100,000. She did not have any capital gains or losses. She claimed the standard deduction of $12,000 so her taxable income was equal to $88,000.

Pilar’s QBI deduction is $17,600, the lesser of 20% of her QBI ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) or her taxable income minus long-term capital gain ($88,000 x 20% = $17,600). Because she is in the lowest range, the fact that she operates SSTB is irrelevant.

Example 2  Assume the same facts as above except that Pilar had $7,000 in long term capital gains.  Pilar’s QBI deduction is $16,200, the lesser of 20% of her QBI ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) or her taxable income minus long-term capital gain ($88,000 – 7,000 = $81,000 x 20% = $16,200).

Example 3  Popeye and Olive Oyl are married and file a joint individual income tax return.  Popeye earned $300,000 in wages as an employee for the Department of Defense in 2018. Olive Oyl owns 100% of the shares of Alessi, an S corporation that manufactures olive oil.  Alessi generated $100,000 in net income from operations in 2018.  Alessi paid Olive Oyl $150,000 in wages in 2018.  Neither Popeye or Olive Oyl have any capital gains or losses. After allowable deductions not related to Alessi (i.e. personal itemized deductions) , Popeye and Olive Oyl’s total taxable income for 2018 is $300,000.

Popeye and Olive Oyl’s wages are not considered to be income from a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction.  Because Alessi is an S corporation, its QBI is determined at the S corporation level.  Alessi’s QBI is $100,000, the net amount of its qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss. The wages paid by Alessi to Olive Oyl are considered to be a qualified
item of deduction for purposes of determining Alessi’s QBI.

The QBI deduction with respect to Alessi’s QBI is then determined by Olive Oyl, Alessi’s sole shareholder, and is claimed on the joint return filed by Popeye and Olive Oyl.  Their QBI deduction is equal to $20,000, the lesser of 20% of Olive Oyl’s QBI from the business ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) or 20% of Popeye and Olive Oyl’s total taxable income for the year ($300,000 x 20% = $60,000).

Income within threshold examples

These limitations are phased in for joint filers with taxable income between $315,000 and $415,000, and all other taxpayers with taxable income between $157,500 and $207,500.

Example 4  Bonnie and Clyde are married and file a joint individual income tax return. Bonnie is a shareholder in Public Enemy, an entity taxed as an S corporation for Federal income tax
purposes that conducts a single trade or business (freight operations). Public Enemy holds no qualified property.

Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI is $300,000 in 2018.  Bonnie’s share of the W-2 wages from Public Enemy in 2018 is $40,000. Clyde earns wage income from employment by an unrelated company.  After allowable deductions unrelated to Public Enemy, Bonnie and Clyde’s taxable income for 2018 is $375,000.  Bonnie and Clyde are within the phase-in range because their taxable income exceeds the applicable threshold amount, $315,000, but does not exceed the threshold, or $415,000.  Consequently, the QBI component of Bonnie and Clyde’s QBI deduction may be limited by the W-2 wage and UBIA limitations but the limitations will be phased in.

The UBIA of qualified property limitation amount is zero because Public Enemy does not hold
qualified property.  Bonnie and Clyde must apply the W-2 wage limitation by first determining
20% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI.  This amount equals $60,000 ($300,000 x 20%). Next, Bonnie and Clyde must determine 50% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy ’s W-2 wages. This amount is $20,000 ($40,000 x 50%).

Because 50% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s W-2 wages ($20,000) is less than 20% of her share of Public Enemy’s QBI ($60,000), Bonnie and Clyde must determine the QBI component of deduction by reducing 20% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI by the reduction amount.

Bonnie and Clyde are 60% through the phase-in range (that is, their taxable income of $375,000 exceeds the threshold amount by $60,000 and their phase-in range is $100,000). Bonnie and Clyde must determine the excess amount, which is the excess of 20% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI, or $60,000, over 50% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s W-2 wages, or $20,000. Thus, the excess amount is $40,000.  The reduction amount is equal to 60% of the excess amount, or $24,000 ($40,000 x 60%).

Thus, the QBI component of Bonnie and Clyde’s  deduction is equal to $36,000, 20% of Bonnie’s $300,000 share Public Enemy’s QBI (that is, $60,000), reduced by $24,000. Bonnie and Clyde’s QBI deduction is equal to the lesser of (i) 20% of the QBI from the business as limited ($36,000) or (ii) 20% of Bonnie and Clyde’s taxable income ($375,000 x 20% = $75,000). Therefore, Bonnie and Clyde’s  deduction is $36,000 for 2018.

Example 5  Assume the same facts as in Example 4, except that Public Enemy was engaged in a SSTB (consulting). Because Bonnie and Clyde  are within the phase-in range, Bonnie must reduce the QBI and W-2 wages allocable to Bonnie from Public Enemy to the applicable percentage of those items as a proportion to the phase out range.  Furthermore, she must apply a reduction amount to the calculation.

The applicable percentage equals 100% minus the percentage obtained by dividing (a) the pre-QBI deduction taxable income of the taxpayer in excess of the applicable threshold amount by (b) $100,000 for joint-return filers or $50,000 for other filers.  Reduction amount means, the excess amount multiplied by the applicable percentage.  It is calculated as 20 percent of QBI over the greater of 50 percent of W-2 wages or the sum of 25 percent of W-2 wages plus 2.5 percent of the UBIA of qualified property.

For Bonnie and Clyde’s applicable percentage, their taxable income ($375,000) exceeds their threshold amount ($315,000) by $60,000.  A ratio of 60% (i.e. $60,000/$100,000) is what is used to find their applicable percentage of 40% (i.e. 100% – 60% = 40%).  Accordingly, in computing the QBI deduction, the couple would only be allowed to take into account 40% of the QBI, W-2 wages, and qualified property with respect to the trade or business.

Thus Bonnie’s QBI is “adjusted” to $120,000 ($300,000 x 40%) and her share of W-2 wages is “adjusted” to $16,000 ($40,000 x 40%).  These “adjusted”  numbers must then be used to determine how Bonnie’s QBI deduction is limited.  The deduction will be limited to the lesser of:

  • (i) 20% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI or
  • (ii) the greater of the W-2 wage or UBIA of qualified property limitations.
  1. Twenty percent of Bonnie’s share of QBI of $120,000 is $24,000.
  2. The W-2 wage limitation equals 50% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s wages ($16,000 x 50%) or $8,000.
  3. The UBIA of qualified property limitation equals $0

To calculate the reduction amount Bonnie and Clyde must first determine the excess amount.  This is calculated as the excess of 20% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s QBI, as adjusted ($24,000), over 50% of Bonnie’s share of Public Enemy’s W-2 wages, as adjusted ($8,000). Thus, the excess amount is $16,000. The reduction amount is equal to 60% of the excess amount or $9,600. Thus, the QBI component of Bonnie and Clyde’s QBI deduction is equal to $14,400 ($24,000 – $9,600).

As Bonnie and Clyde’s QBI deduction is equal to the lesser of (i) 20% of the QBI from the business as limited ($14,400) or 20% of Bonnie’s and Clyde’s taxable income ($375,000 x 20% = $75,000), their QBI deduction is $14,400 for 2018.

Income above threshold examples

Example 6   Ernie, an unmarried individual, is a 30% owner of Bert LLC, which is classified as a partnership for Federal income tax purposes. In 2018, Bert LLC has a single trade or business (landscaping) and reported QBI of $3,000,000.  Bert LLC paid total W-2 wages of $1,000,000, and its total UBIA of qualified property is $100,000.  Ernie is allocated 30% of all items of the partnership.  For the 2018 taxable year, Ernie reports $900,000 of QBI ($3,000,000 x 30%) from Bert LLC . After allowable deductions unrelated to Bert LLC (i.e. personal itemized deductions), Ernie’s taxable income is $880,000.

Because Ernie’s taxable income is above the threshold amount, the QBI component of Ernie’s QBI deduction will be limited to the lesser of:

  • (i) 20% of Ernie’s share of Bert LLC’s QBI or
  • (ii) the greater of the W-2 wage or UBIA of qualified property limitations.

So while it might not be clear, there are three calculations related to the two bullets above:

  1. Twenty percent of Ernie’s share of QBI of $900,000 is $180,000.
  2. The W-2 wage limitation equals 50% of Ernie’s share of Bert LLC’s wages ($1,000,000 x 30% = $300,000 x 50%) or $150,000.
  3. The UBIA of qualified property limitation equals $75,750, the sum of:
    • (i) 25% of Ernie’s share of Bert LLC’s wages ($1,000,000 x 30% = $300,000 x 25%) or $75,000 plus
    • (ii) 2.5% of Ernie’s share of UBIA of qualified property ($100,000 x 30% = $30,000 x 2.5%) or $750.

For items 2 and 3 above, the greater of the limitation amounts ($150,000 and $75,750) is $150,000.

The QBI component of Ernie’s QBI deduction is thus limited to $150,000, the lesser of (i) 20% of QBI ($180,000) and (ii) the greater of the limitations amounts ($150,000).  Ernie’s QBI deduction is equal to the lesser of (i) 20% of the QBI from the business as limited ($150,000) or (ii) 20% of Ernie’s taxable income ($880,000 x 20% = $176,000). Therefore, Ernie’s QBI deduction is $150,000 for 2018.

Ready to get help?  As you can tell, the computations involved in taking the deduction get more complicated depending on the taxpayers income.  If you don’t want to go through the mechanics of calculating your QBID and ensuring it is correct, why not let a professional do the work?  Feel free to give us a call or drop us an email and we’d be happy to assist you ensure that everything is done correctly.  Plus, you won’t have to spend the time doing it!

IRS “Expanded” Installment Agreement

Complete this form to set up your IRS payment plan!

When a person owes the IRS money that they can’t pay in full, they typically will qualify to deal with the debt via a payment plan.  This payment plan is called an “installment agreement” in IRS terminology.  Simply stated, an installment agreement is a contract with the IRS to pay the taxes you owe within an extended time frame.  There are many types of installment agreements, but two of the most common are the guaranteed and streamlined variety.

Guaranteed & Streamlined Installment Agreements
We discuss the guaranteed installment agreement at length in this blog post.  But what exactly is a streamlined installment agreement?  For individual taxpayers who have filed all required returns and have an assessed balance of tax, penalties and interest of $50,000 or less, they can enter into an installment agreement with “relaxed” criteria.  Basically, they don’t have to go through as many hoops or submit as much documentation.  The following criteria apply to those who wish to apply for a streamlined installment agreement:

  • Payment Terms  Up to 72 months – or – the number of months necessary to satisfy the liability in full by the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED), whichever is less
  • Collection Information Statement (financials) Not required.
  • Payment Method Direct debit payments or payroll deduction is preferred, but not required.
  • Notice of Federal Tax Lien
    • Determination not required for assessed balances up to $25,000.
    • Determination is not required for assessed balances of $25,001 – $50,000 with the use of direct debit or payroll deduction agreement.  If taxpayer does not agree to direct debit or payroll deduction, then they still qualify for Streamlined IA over $25,000, but a Notice of Federal Tax Lien determination will be made.

The criteria discussed above also apply to business taxpayers, but only for income tax debts up to $25,000.

So what if you owe more than $50,000 as an individual or $25,000 as a business?  Well, this is where the “expanded installment agreement” comes into play.

Expanded Installment Agreements
From late 2016 through late Fall of 2018, the IRS tested “expanded” criteria for the streamlined processing of taxpayer requests for installment agreements.  During the test, taxpayers who owed more than $50,001 but less than $100,000 were allowed to use most of the criteria outlined under the streamlined installment agreement.  Well, based on test results, the expanded criteria for streamlined processing of installment agreement requests were made permanent.  If you are a practitioner, you can find the “new” criteria in IRM (09-26-18 update).

So, for individual taxpayers who have filed all required returns and have an assessed balance of tax, penalties and interest between $50,001 and $100,000, you can use the following criteria to apply for an expanded installment agreement:

  • Payment Terms Up to 84 months – or – the number of months necessary to satisfy the liability in full by the Collection Statute Expiration date, whichever is less
  • Collection Information Statement (financials) Not required if the taxpayer agrees to make payment by direct debit or payroll deduction
  • Payment Method Direct debit payments or payroll deduction is not required; however, if one of these methods is not used, then a Collection Information Statement is required.
  • Notice of Federal Tax Lien
    • Determination is required.

The criteria discussed above also applies to all out of business sole-proprietorship debts between $50,001 and  $100,000.

Do you owe the IRS and need to enter into a resolution option?
Check out this page of our website where you can receive our special report entitled 5 Questions To Ask Any Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them A Dime, a comprehensive 30-minute Tax Debt Settlement Analysis AND your personalized Tax Resolution Plan (a package valued at $175, but FREE to you for a limited time).  You can also visit this page to read about how you can find out the date (i.e. CSED) the IRS will write off your tax debt!

New Book – How To Slash Your Taxes!

Filled with 111 proven topics to help you slash your tax bill!

Let’s face it, no one likes to pay more in taxes than they should.  In our office, we typically tell taxpayers that they should aim to be within +/- $1,000 with regards to their refund or having a balance due.  A balance due of $1,000 while not pleasant, is manageable for most people when it comes to paying it outright or setting up a payment plan.  Getting a refund of $1,000 or less you means that you didn’t give Uncle Sam too much of an interest free loan for a year.  Hey, it’s not called a “refund” for no reason; it’s your own money they are giving you back!

But what happens when people (i.e. taxpayers or tax preparers) push the limits to cut a tax bill?  Well, since we deal with the consequences fairly often, let’s just say that it’s usually not good.  Furthermore, it’s totally unnecessary and who has the time to keep looking over their shoulder wondering if the big, bad IRS is going to come knocking?

The point of this book is to show you that there are hundreds of ways that you can achieve tax savings while doing it both legally and ethically.  This is largely due to the complexities of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and all of the loopholes that have been incorporated into it over time.  This book highlights 111 topics that can help you capitalize on this fact and in turn slash your tax liability.

So no matter if you are a parent, homeowner, investor, landlord, retiree or business owner, this book has something for everyone!  Check out the video below to hear more and look below the video on ways that you can place an order.

You can also view this video on our YouTube Channel here.

How To Order Your Copy

Order directly from our office.  You can order via credit card by clicking the “Buy Now” button below.  If you select the “autographed with my custom message” option, you will be contacted post order to obtain your message.  Please note that payment processing is performed via PayPal and if you do not have an account, you can simply select the option to pay with credit or debit card at the bottom.  All orders processed via this method include Illinois sales tax as well as priority shipping via USPS.

Don’t have a credit card or simply want to pay via check?  Then please complete this HTSYTLE Order Form and return it to our office.

Please select author autograph type

Order via Amazon.  If you do not want an autographed copy, or do not want to order via our office, you can order your copy via Amazon.  Simply visit the author page for Jared R. Rogers, CPA  and complete your order that way.  You will have the choice of ordering either the paperback or Kindle edition.

Welcome To Wilson Rogers & Company!

Welcome video with Wilson Rogers & Company CEO Jared Rogers, CPA.  Learn about the services our company offers, how Jared got started in the business and what he likes best about his job.

You can also view this on our YouTube Channel here.  If you want to know more about Jared (or his crazy escapades) then check out the Who’s The Boss category from out blog.


The Ultimate Black Friday Tax Prep Deal

What, a tax preparation Black Friday deal?  How is that even possible?  Isn’t tax season in like April?  Yes, tax preparation may be the farthest thing from your mind given that yesterday most of us stuffed our tummies to the max.  However, tax season IS just around the corner.  But what’s even better is that we are going to give you several was to save some dinero IF you take advantage of our deal.  So what’s included?

As if all of the above wasn’t good enough, how would you like to get some extra money during the 2016 tax filing season?  Well, if you send us your friends, family and co-workers and they become a client, we’ll give you $40 for EACH person you send us.  While the details for tax year 2015 aren’t final just yet, it will operate very similar to our 2014 Referral Program.  And the best part is that you DON’T have to be a client to earn referral commissions (you just have to tell your friends to mention that YOU sent them when they meet with us and we’ll do the rest).

How To Get This Deal

  • Go back to the home page
  • Enter in your email above the green “Get Guide” button
  • Check your email account for a message with next steps and further instructions (it will be sent with 6-12 hours)

Instead of offering separate deals for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, this deal will cover them all.  As such, you must submit your email before it expires at 11:59PM on Tuesday December 1, 2015.

Chicago Minimum Wage Increase


In December 2014, the City of Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019.  The ordinance raises the minimum wage in steps, beginning with an increase to $10 per hour July 1, 2015.  The minimum wage then increases to $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018, and $13 in 2019. Over the five year phase in, the increase is projected to raise the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers and lift 70,000 workers out of poverty.

Key Highlights

  • The ordinance requires all employers to pay the new minimum wage of $10 per hour for all employees beginning July 1st 2015, subject to certain limitations.  You can read more about the covered and non-covered employers/employees via this post.
  • All businesses operating within Chicago and/or employing persons working within Chicago are required to comply.
  • All employers are required to post this Notice to Employers and Employees in each place of business beginning July 1st and include the Notice in each employee’s first paycheck following the July 1st implementation date.
  • The full text of the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance can be found here.
  • The Chicago wage increase follows several other recently passed increases. For a list of the wage in effect in other states, check out this link.
  • This increase is for the City of Chicago ONLY.  The proposed wage increase for the State of Illinois appears to be on hold as of the time of this posting.

First Time Homebuyer 10% IRA Penalty Exception

If you withdraw amounts from your 401(k) plan or IRA before you are 59 1/2, the amount will be subject to income tax and a 10% early-distribution penalty. But what if you use those funds to purchase your first home? Well, if done properly, you may be able to avoid the 10% penaly.

Avoiding the penalty.  The IRS allows taxpayers to avoid the 10% early distribution penalty from a retirement account under certain circumstances. One of those exceptions is if IRA monies are used to purchase a taxpayer’s first home. The maximum amount that may be distributed from the IRA on a penalty-free basis for the purpose of buying a first home is $10,000. This is a lifetime limit.

Qualified expenses defined. Per the IRS, the funds must be used in the following manner to qualify:

  • It must be used to pay qualified acquisition costs (defined later) before the close of the 120th day after the day you received it.
  • It must be used to pay qualified acquisition costs for the main home of a first time homebuyer (defined later) who is any of the following.
    • Yourself.
    • Your spouse.
    • Your or your spouse’s child.
    • Your or your spouse’s grandchild.
    • Your or your spouse’s parent or other ancestor.
  • When added to all your prior qualified first-time homebuyer distributions, if any, total qualifying distributions cannot be more than $10,000.
  • If both you and your spouse are first time homebuyers each of you can receive distributions up to $10,000 for a first home without having to pay the 10% additional tax.

Qualified acquisition costs include the following items.

  • Costs of buying, building, or rebuilding a home.
  • Any usual or reasonable settlement, financing, or other closing costs.

Coordination of IRS Form 1099R with your plan administrator. Whenever one takes money out of a retirement plan, the plan administrator will report it to you and the IRS on Form 1099R. The codes in Box 7 will help one report what type of distribution was made and if there were any exceptions. If you are under 59 1/2 an will be using the amounts to purchase a home, while not required, it may be a good idea to let the plan administrator know. That way they can report the amounts with Code 2 on the 1099-R, which indicates that there is an exception to the 10% penalty.

How to make 401(k) funds penalty free. Even if a distribution form your 401(k) will be used towards the purchase of your first home, the first-time homebuyer exception does not apply to distributions from qualified plans such as a 401(k). Furthermore, if the amount you receive is rollover eligible, your employer is required by law to withhold 20% of it for federal income tax.

Assuming you are eligible to receive the distribution and the amount is rollover-eligible, you can instruct the 401(k) plan to process your distribution as a direct rollover to an IRA. You would have to open the IRA before the rollover occurs and tell them to deposit the funds to this new account (or your existing IRA). This will ensure that the 20% federal tax withholding is not applied to the amount. Additionally, you can then withdraw the amount from your IRA for use towards the purchase of your first home, thereby avoiding the 10% early-distribution penalty.

Properly reporting exceptions that were incorrectly reported. Sometimes despite letting the plan administrator know that the IRA funds will be used to purchase your first home, they may still be reported incorrectly on Form 1099R. Typically, this will result in Box 7 of the form indicating Code 1 – Early distribution, no known exception (in most cases, under age 59½).

However, if the funds were used to purchase your first home, there is a fix. One would need to use IRS Form 5329 Part I to report the exception. Specifically, one would list the amount reported on the Form 1099R on line one. You would then list the amount that was used to purchase the home (up to $10K during your lifetime) on line two and enter in exception Code 09 – IRA distributions made for the purchase of a first home, up to $10,000. For more details and specifics on the steps, see the Form 5329 Instructions.