Need Help in Choosing a Tax Preparer?

Many people hire a professional when it’s time to file their tax return. If you pay someone to prepare your federal income tax return, the IRS urges you to choose that person wisely. Even if you don’t prepare your own return, you’re still legally responsible for what is on it.

Here are ten tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer: [Read more…]

Tax Season Delayed Again!

11.31_10402014 Tax Season Starts January 31st – The Internal Revenue Service announced plans to open the 2014 filing season for individual tax returns on January 31, 2014.  The delay is a result of the government shut-down back in October.  The shutdown came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season.

The April 15th deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. If the shortened tax season hinders you from filing by the April 15th deadline,  Loggins Kern & McCombs can file an extension on your behalf which will extend the deadline to October 15.

Tax Season Hours Begin

Get Ready 150 x 150Starting January 9th, Loggins Kern & McCombs extended tax season hours.  Our office will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.; Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday 8:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Tax Tips for Year-End Giving

Charity - canstockphoto16357066Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years.

Some of these changes include the following:

Special Tax-Free Charitable Distributions for Certain IRA Owners

This provision, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2013, offers older owners of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) a different way to give to charity. An IRA owner, age 70½ or over, can directly transfer tax-free up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charity. [Read more…]

QuickBooks – 1099 Printing Issue

QBPA Advanced LogoFor tax season 2013, the Internal Revenue Service has updated the 1099-MISC form layout slightly.  Anyone who prints their own 1099-MISC forms from QuickBooks, please be aware that the only QB version that will print correctly is 2014.  The IRS will not accept forms that are printed incorrectly.   [Read more…]

Tax Court Decision on Construction Worker Classification

The Tax Court has recently concluded that workers hired by a construction company to work on various residential projects were employees. Despite the fact that the workers were hired on a project-by-project basis, the overall facts of the case, including that the workers were controlled by the company’s sole proprietor and that they were an integral part of the business, indicated an employer-employee relationship. Accordingly, the company was liable for employment taxes for the year in dispute.

The case involved Mieczyslaw Kurek who was the sole proprietor of KMA Construction, a home improvement company that engaged in installing tile, sheetrock, doors, and windows, as well as painting and carpentry. Each of these factors were important during the court decision: [Read more…]

Timeline of 2013 – 2018 Tax Changes in Health Care Reform Bill

Healthcare questionClose to three years ago, Congress enacted legislation that overhauls the U.S. health care system and affects nearly all taxpayers, many employers, and many elements of the health care industry (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)), and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA). The legislation contains a host of tax changes, many of which are both complex and novel. Some already have gone into effect, some go into effect this year, and still others will be in place in 2014 and 2018.

Tax Changes Taking Effect in 2013

Increased HI tax for high-earning workers and self-employed taxpayers. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, an additional 0.9% hospital insurance (HI) tax appliesto wages received with respect to employment in excess of: $250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return; and $200,000 in all other cases.

Surtax on unearned income of higher-income individuals. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, an unearned income Medicare contribution tax is imposed on individuals, estates, and trusts.  For an individual, the surtax is 3.8% of the lesser of either (1) net investment income or (2) the excess of modified adjusted gross income over the threshold amount ($250,000 for a joint return or surviving spouse, $125,000 for a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 for all others). For surtax purposes, gross income doesn’t include excluded items, such as interest on tax-exempt bonds, veterans’ benefits, and excluded gain from the sale of a principal residence.

Higher threshold for deducting medical expenses. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, unreimbursed medical expenses are deductible by taxpayers under age 65 only to the extent they exceed 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for the tax year. If the taxpayer or his or her spouse has reached age 65 before the close of the tax year, a 7.5% floor applies through 2016 and a 10% floor applies for tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2016.

Dollar cap on contributions to health FSAs. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, for a health FSA (flexible spending account) to be a qualified benefit under a cafeteria plan, the maximum amount available for reimbursement of incurred medical expenses of an employee (and dependents and other eligible beneficiaries) under the health FSA for a plan year (or other 12-month coverage period) can’t exceed $2,500.

Deduction eliminated for retiree drug coverage. Sponsors of qualified retiree prescription drug plans are eligible for subsidy payments from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a portion of each qualified covered retiree’s gross covered prescription drug costs (“qualified retiree prescription drug plan subsidy”). These qualified retiree prescription drug plan subsidies are excludable from the taxpayer’s (plan sponsor’s) gross income for regular income tax and alternative minimum tax (AMT) purposes. For tax years beginning before 2013, a taxpayer may claim a business deduction for covered retiree prescription drug expenses, even though it excludes qualified retiree prescription drug plan subsidies allocable to those expenses. But for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, the amount otherwise allowable as a deduction for retiree prescription drug expenses is reduced by the amount of the excludable subsidy payments received.

Fee on health plans. For each policy year ending after Sept. 30, 2012, each specified health insurance policy and each applicable self-insured health plan will have to pay a fee equal to the product of $2 ($1 for policy years ending during 2013) multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the policy. The issuer of the health insurance policy or the self-insured health plan sponsor is liable for and must pay the fee.

$500,000 compensation deduction limit for health insurance issuers. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, for services performed during that year, a covered health insurance provider isn’t allowed a compensation deduction for an “applicable individual” (officers, employees, directors, and other workers or service providers such as consultants) in excess of $500,000. A health insurance provider is covered if at least 25% of its gross premium income from health business derives from health insurance plans that meet certain minimum requirements.

The are no exceptions for performance-based compensation, commissions, or remuneration under existing binding contracts. Also, in the case of remuneration that relates to services that an applicable individual performs during a tax year but that is not deductible until a later year, such as nonqualified deferred compensation, the unused portion (if any) of the $500,000 limit for the year is carried forward until the year in which the compensation is otherwise deductible, and the remaining unused limit is then applied to the compensation.

Information reporting of health insurance coverage. Employers filing 250 or more Forms W-2 for 2011, were required to report the aggregate cost of the applicable employer-sponsored health insurance coverage (provided to employees during 2012 on the Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, filed before the end of January, 2013, and then filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The reporting to employees is for their information only. It is intended to inform them of the cost of their health care coverage, and doesn’t cause excludable employer-provided health care coverage to become taxable.

Excise tax on medical device manufacturers. For sales after Dec. 31, 2012, a 2.3% excise tax applies under to sales of taxable medical devices intended for humans. The excise tax, paid by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of the device, doesn’t apply to eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and any other medical device determined by IRS to be of a type that is generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use.

Tax Changes Taking Effect in 2014

Larger employers not offering affordable health insurance coverage must pay penalty. For months beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, an applicable large employer is liable for an annual assessable payment if any full-time employee is certified to the employer as having bought health insurance through a state exchange with respect to which a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction is allowed or paid to the employee, and either the employer:

(1) fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage (MEC) under an eligible employer-sponsored plan; or

(2) offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in MEC under an eligible employer-sponsored plan that, for a full-time employee who has been certified for the advance payment of an applicable premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction, either is unaffordable or does not provide minimum value.

The payment under Code Sec. 4980H(a) is based on all (excluding the first 30) full-time employees, while the payment under Code Sec. 4980H(b) is based on the number of full-time employees who are certified to receive an advance payment of an applicable premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction. A full-time employee for any month is an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.

An applicable large employer for a calendar year is an employer who employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees on business days during the preceding calendar year. For determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer, full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), which are determined based on the hours of service of employees who are not full-time, are taken into account.

Individuals not carrying health insurance face a penalty. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, nonexempt U.S. citizens and legal residents must pay a penalty if they do not maintain minimum essential coverage, which includes government sponsored programs (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program), eligible employer-sponsored plans, plans in the individual market, certain grandfathered group health plans and other coverage as recognized by HHS in coordination with IRS.

Refundable tax credit for low- or moderate-income families buying certain health insurance. For tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2013, a new refundable tax credit (the “premium assistance credit”) applies to qualifying taxpayers who get health insurance coverage by enrolling in a qualified health plan through a State-established American Health Benefit Exchange.

“Qualified health plans” may be offered through cafeteria plans by “qualified employers.” For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, a reimbursement (or direct payment) for the premiums for coverage under any “qualified health plan” through a health insurance Exchange is a qualified benefit under a cafeteria plan if the employer is a qualified employer (generally, smaller businesses). In very broad terms, a qualified health plan is one that meets certain certification requirements, provides “an essential health benefits package,” and is offered by an insurer meeting detailed requirements. And a health insurance “Exchange” is a federally supervised marketplace for health insurance policies meeting specific eligibility and benefit criteria, to be made available not later than Jan. 1, 2014, to qualifying individuals and employer groups of graduated sizes.

New information reporting of employer-provided health coverage. For periods beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, new information reporting and related statement obligations apply  for (1) certain applicable large employers required to offer their full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and (2) offering employers (those offering minimum essential coverage to employees and paying any portion of the such coverage, but only if the required employer contribution of any employee exceeds 8% of the employee’s wages).

Excise tax on health insurance providers. For calendar years beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, an annual fee applies to health insurance providers. The aggregate annual flat fee for the industry (e.g., $8 billion for 2014) will be allocated based on a health provider’s market share of net premiums written for a U.S. health risk for calendar years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012. The fee will not apply to companies whose net premiums written are $25 million or less. For purposes of the fee, health insurance does not include: coverage only for a specified disease or illness; hospital indemnity or other fixed indemnity insurance; insurance for long-term care; or any Medicare supplemental health insurance. (PPACA Sec. 9010, as amended by HCERA Sec. 10905, as further amended by HCERA Sec. 1406)

Tax Change Taking Effect in 2018

Excise tax applies to high-cost employer provided health insurance coverage. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, a 40% nondeductible excise tax will be levied on insurance companies and plan administrators for employer-sponsored health coverage to the extent that annual premiums exceed $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. An additional threshold amount of $1,650 for single coverage and $3,450 for family coverage will apply for retired individuals age 55 and older and for plans that cover employees engaged in high risk professions.

Who Should File a 2012 Tax Return?

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If you received income during 2012, you may need to file a tax return in 2013. The amount of your income, your filing status, your age and the type of income you received will determine whether you’re required to file. Even if you’ve determined that you don’t need to file a tax return this year, you may still want to file. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Federal Income Tax Withheld.  If your employer withheld federal income tax from your pay, if you made estimated tax payments, or if you had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax, you could be due a refund. File a return to claim any excess tax you paid during the year.
  2. Earned Income Tax Credit.  If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you may qualify for EITC. EITC is a refundable tax credit; which means if you qualify you could receive EITC as a tax refund. Families with qualifying children may qualify to get up to $5,891 dollars. You can’t get the credit unless you file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant to find out if you qualify.
  3. Additional Child Tax Credit.  If you have at least one qualifying child and you don’t get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may qualify for this additional refundable credit. You must file and use new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, to claim the credit.
  4. American Opportunity Credit.  If you or someone you support is a student, you might be eligible for this credit. Students in their first four years of postsecondary education may qualify for as much as $2,500 through this partially refundable credit. Even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit as cash back for each eligible student. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits, and submit it with your tax return to claim the credit.
  5. Health Coverage Tax Credit.  If you’re receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, you may be eligible for a 2012 Health Coverage Tax Credit. Spouses and dependents may also be eligible. If you’re eligible, you can receive a 72.5 percent tax credit on payments you made for qualified health insurance premiums.

Still confused? Feel free to give us a call at 770-478-7424 whether or not you are in the Atlanta area.

Beyond the Fiscal Cliff — Tax Seminar in Fayetteville, GA

Ben TeachingWe are pleased to announce a seminar entitled “Beyond the Fiscal Cliff” presented by Ben Loggins, CPA, open to the public regarding the new tax laws that were recently passed by Congress.

This seminar will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2013 from 7:00 – 8:30pm at Grace Christian Academy in Fayetteville.  Refreshments will be served.  Grace Christian Academy is located at 355 McDonough Rd in Fayetteville.

There will be a nominal $10 per person charge to reserve your spot with all net proceeds donated to the school.

Please contact Pam at our office at 770-478-7424 to reserve your spot.

Seminar Topics include:

  • The new Healthcare regulations on Medicare surtax
  • How to avoid the Individual Mandate Penalty
  • Employer Mandate strategies
  • A Discussion of the Affordable Care Act
  • Extenders Bill
  • 2013 Planning Strategies
  • Ideas to implement to lower your total tax liability
  • How to redirect your tax dollars to help Grace

If you are unable to make this seminar, it will also be presented in Jonesboro on January 10th from 8:00 – 10:00am.

Beyond the Fiscal Cliff — Tax Seminar in Jonesboro, GA

Ben TeachingWe are pleased to announce a seminar entitled “Beyond the Fiscal Cliff” presented by Ben Loggins, CPA, open to the public regarding the new tax laws that were recently passed by Congress.

This seminar will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2013 from 8:00 to 10:00am at Arts Clayton in Jonesboro.  Refreshments will be served. Arts Clayton is located at 136 S. Main St. in Jonesboro.

There will be a nominal $10 per person charge to reserve your spot with all net proceeds donated to Arts Clayton.

Please contact Pam at our office at 770-478-7424 to reserve your spot.

Seminar Topics include:

  • The new Healthcare regulations on Medicare surtax
  • How to avoid the Individual Mandate Penalty
  • Employer Mandate strategies
  • A Discussion of the Affordable Care Act
  • Extenders Bill
  • 2013 Planning Strategies
  • Ideas to implement to lower your total tax liability
  • How to redirect your state tax dollars to help private schools in Georgia.

If you are unable to make this seminar, we’ll be presenting it again in Fayetteville on January 17th from 7:00 to 8:30pm.