COVID Charitable CARES Contributions graphic

Business Charitable Contribution Rules Have Changed Under CARES Act

In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many businesses are interested in donating to charity. In order to incentivize charitable giving, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act made some liberalizations to the rules governing charitable deductions.

The Limit on Charitable Deductions for Corporations has Increased 

Before the CARES Act, the total charitable deduction that a corporation could generally claim for the year couldn’t exceed 10% of corporate taxable income (as determined with several modifications for these purposes).

Contributions in excess of the 10% limit are carried forward and may be used during the next five years (subject to the 10%-of-taxable-income limitation each year).

What changed? Under the CARES Act, the limitation on charitable deductions for corporations (generally 10% of modified taxable income) doesn’t apply to qualifying contributions made in 2020.

Instead, a corporation’s qualifying contributions, reduced by other contributions, can be as much as 25% of taxable income (modified). No connection between the contributions and COVID-19 activities is required.

The Deduction Limit on Food Inventory has Increased

At a time when many people are unemployed, your business may want to contribute food inventory to qualified charities.

In general, a business is entitled to a charitable tax deduction for making a qualified contribution of “apparently wholesome food” to an organization that uses it for the care of the ill, the needy, or infants.

“Apparently wholesome food” is defined as food intended for human consumption that meets all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state, and local laws and regulations, even though it may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus, or other conditions.

Before the CARES Act, the aggregate amount of such food contributions that could be taken into account for the tax year generally couldn’t exceed 15% of the taxpayer’s aggregate net income for that tax year from all trades or businesses from which the contributions were made. This was computed without regard to the charitable deduction for food inventory contributions.

What changed? Under the CARES Act, for contributions of food inventory made in 2020, the deduction limitation increases from 15% to 25% of taxable income for C corporations.

For other business taxpayers, it increases from 15% to 25% of the net aggregate income from all businesses from which the contributions were made.

CARES Act Questions

Be aware that in addition to these changes affecting businesses, the CARES Act also made changes to the charitable deduction rules for individuals.

Contact David Mills, CPA, LLC if you have questions about making charitable donations and securing a tax break for them. We can explain the rules and compute the maximum deduction for your generosity. 

2021 HSA Amounts letter blocks

IRS Releases 2021 Amounts for Health Savings Accounts

The IRS recently released the 2021 inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

HSA Basics

An HSA is a trust created or organized exclusively for the purpose of paying the “qualified medical expenses” of an “account beneficiary.”

An HSA can only be established for the benefit of an “eligible individual” who is covered under a “high deductible health plan.”

In addition, a participant can’t be enrolled in Medicare or have other health coverage (exceptions include dental, vision, long-term care, accident, and specific disease insurance).

In general, a high deductible health plan (HDHP) is a plan that has an annual deductible that isn’t less than $1,000 for self-only coverage and $2,000 for family coverage.

In addition, the sum of the annual deductible and other annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid under the plan for covered benefits (but not for premiums) cannot exceed $5,000 for self-only coverage, and $10,000 for family coverage.

Within specified dollar limits, an above-the-line tax deduction is allowed for an individual’s contribution to an HSA.

This annual contribution limitation and the annual deductible and out-of-pocket expenses under the tax code are adjusted annually for inflation.

Inflation Adjustments for 2021 Contributions

In Revenue Procedure 2020-32, the IRS released the 2021 inflation-adjusted figures for contributions to HSAs.

For calendar year 2021, the annual contribution limitation for an individual with self-only coverage under an HDHP is $3,600. For an individual with family coverage, the amount is $7,200. This is up from $3,550 and $7,100, respectively, for 2020.

For calendar year 2021, an HDHP is a health plan with an annual deductible that isn’t less than $1,400 for self-only coverage or $2,800 for family coverage (these amounts are unchanged from 2020).

In addition, annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) can’t exceed $7,000 for self-only coverage or $14,000 for family coverage (up from $6,900 and $13,800, respectively, for 2020).

Variety of Benefits

There are many advantages to HSAs. Contributions to the accounts are made on a pre-tax basis. The money can accumulate year after year tax free and be withdrawn tax free to pay for a variety of medical expenses such as doctor visits, prescriptions, chiropractic care, and premiums for long-term-care insurance.

In addition, an HSA is “portable.” It stays with an account holder if he or she changes employers or leaves the workforce.

For more information about HSAs, contact your employee benefits representative or a tax advisor at David Mills, CPA, LLC.

PPP Loan written in letter blocks

Received a PPP Loan? Forgiven Expenses Aren’t Deductible

The IRS has issued guidance clarifying that certain deductions aren’t allowed if a business has received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

Specifically, an expense isn’t deductible if both:

PPP Basics

The CARES Act allows a recipient of a PPP loan to use the proceeds to pay payroll costs, certain employee healthcare benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, and interest on other existing debt obligations.

A recipient of a covered loan can receive forgiveness of the loan in an amount equal to the sum of payments made for the following expenses during the 8-week “covered period” beginning on the loan’s origination date:

  1. Payroll costs,
  2. Interest on any covered mortgage obligation,
  3. Payment on any covered rent, and
  4. Covered utility payments.

The law provides that any forgiven loan amount “shall be excluded from gross income.”

Deductible Expenses

So the question arises: If you pay for the above expenses with PPP funds, can you then deduct the expenses on your tax return?

The tax code generally provides for a deduction for all ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on a trade or business.

Covered rent obligations, covered utility payments, and payroll costs consisting of wages and benefits paid to employees comprise typical trade or business expenses for which a deduction generally is appropriate.

The tax code also provides a deduction for certain interest paid or accrued during the taxable year on indebtedness, including interest paid or incurred on a mortgage obligation of a trade or business.

No Double Tax Benefit

In IRS Notice 2020-32, the IRS clarifies that no deduction is allowed for an expense that is otherwise deductible if payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a covered loan pursuant to the CARES Act and the income associated with the forgiveness is excluded from gross income under the law.

The Notice states that “this treatment prevents a double tax benefit.” Two members of Congress say they’re opposed to the IRS stand on this issue. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his counterpart in the House, Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal (D-MA), oppose the tax treatment.

Neal said it doesn’t follow congressional intent and that he’ll seek legislation to make certain expenses deductible.

For more tax advice or information, contact the experts at David Mills CPA, LLC.

Business man sitting at a computer thinking about 2020 taxes

Thinking About Taxes? Things to Consider in 2020

At the moment, tax rates are at historic lows. We have record deficits and are looking to add more. Where do you think tax rates will be at in 1 year? 3 years? 5 years or more? Here are a few things to consider when thinking about taxes in 2020.

While everyone’s situation is different, we believe this is a serious consideration in tax planning for many individuals.

Is this a good time to convert funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?

Most IRA fund balances are at a low point and many taxpayers may see lower income in 2020. This may be a good time to convert some or all your funds to a Roth IRA.

You can manage the tax brackets. For example, an estimate of income can be prepared to find out how much more income you can have to stay in the same tax bracket. This way you can effectively manage your tax burden.

What do you need to know about Roth IRA contributions?

If your modified adjusted gross income in 2020 for married filing jointly is $196,000 or less you can contribute directly to a Roth IRA. Income at $206,000 cannot make a Roth contribution.

Our income exceeds the Roth limits, what can be done?

You can contribute to a traditional IRA. You can then convert to a Roth IRA. There are other limitations so be sure to discuss this with your financial adviser or make an appointment with us to discuss how this works and if a conversion will help you in retirement.

For 2020 there’s a new charitable deduction available

The IRS has a $300 cash (not non-cash such as a Goodwill donation) charitable deduction for 2020 which can be used whether you itemize or not.

Required Minimum Distributions

If you have not begun taking required minimum distributions (RMD’s) in 2020 you can wait until age 72 to start. The previous rules were at age 70 ½. Note that if you have already started your RMD’s you cannot skip them until age 72-you are bound by the previous rules.

There is a COVID-19 law that allows all taxpayers to waive their 2020 Required Minimum Distributions

There are other considerations for this so it is best to consult your financial adviser.

If you have questions, please talk to the experts at David Mills, CPA, LLC, today. We would be happy to help! Contact us today.

Independent Contractor wearing mask

Make Sure Independent Contractors Are Properly Classified

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, your business may be using independent contractors to keep costs low. But you should be careful that these workers are properly classified for federal tax purposes. If the IRS reclassifies them as employees, it can be an expensive mistake.

The question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee for federal income and employment tax purposes is a complex one.

If a worker is an employee, your company must withhold federal income and payroll taxes, pay the employer’s share of FICA taxes on the wages, plus FUTA tax.

Often, a business must also provide the worker with the fringe benefits that it makes available to other employees. And there may be state tax obligations as well. These obligations don’t apply if a worker is an independent contractor.

In that case, the business simply sends the contractor a Form 1099-MISC for the year showing the amount paid (if the amount is $600 or more).

No Uniform Employee Definition

Who is an “employee?” Unfortunately, there’s no uniform definition of the term. The IRS and courts have generally ruled that individuals are employees if the organization they work for has the right to control and direct them in the jobs they’re performing.

Otherwise, the individuals are generally independent contractors. But other factors are also taken into account. Some employers that have misclassified workers as independent contractors may get some relief from employment tax liabilities under Section 530.

In general, this protection applies only if an employer:

  • Filed all federal returns consistent with its treatment of a worker as a contractor
  • Treated all similarly situated workers as contractors
  • Had a “reasonable basis” for not treating the worker as an employee. For example, a “reasonable basis” exists if a significant segment of the employer’s industry traditionally treats similar workers as contractors.

Note: Section 530 doesn’t apply to certain types of technical services workers. And some categories of individuals are subject to special rules because of their occupations or identities.

Asking For A Determination

Under certain circumstances, you may want to ask the IRS (on Form SS-8) to rule on whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee.

However, be aware that the IRS has a history of classifying workers as employees rather than independent contractors.

Businesses should consult with the staff at David Mills, CPA, LLC before filing Form SS-8 because it may alert the IRS that your business has worker classification issues — and inadvertently trigger an employment tax audit.

It may be better to properly treat a worker as an independent contractor so that the relationship complies with the tax rules. Be aware that workers who want an official determination of their status can also file Form SS-8.

Disgruntled independent contractors may do so because they feel entitled to employee benefits and want to eliminate self-employment tax liabilities. If a worker files Form SS-8, the IRS will send a letter to the business. It identifies the worker and includes a blank Form SS-8.

The business is asked to complete and return the form to the IRS, which will render a classification decision.

Contact the small business experts at David Mills, CPA, LLC if you’d like to discuss how these complex rules apply to your business.

hands discussing PPP business loan

Part of the Paycheck Protection Program? Know This

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established by the U.S. Government as part of the CARES Act is designed to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For businesses who are part of the Paycheck Protection Program, there are a few tips and guidelines to know and understand:

  • Your bank gives the final recommendation on how much of the loan is forgiven. Be sure you understand their reporting requirements for forgiveness of the loan.
  • The SBA forgiveness rules are not finalized as of this date. Further guidelines should be available in the next few days.
  • What we do know is that at least 75% of the loan must be used for payroll expenses. This is gross payroll (with exceptions for employees earning over $100K yearly), state unemployment tax, health insurance premiums and retirement plan payments.
  • There is a second requirement for payroll and that is with full-time equivalent employees. This means that certain levels of employment must be maintained to get full forgiveness.
  • If you received the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) you cannot use these funds for the same expenses as the PPP.
  • The remaining 25% of the loan can be used for rent, mortgage interest, and utilities which includes telephone and internet service. The rental agreement must be in place on or before February 15, 2020.

For more information, contact the experts at David Mills, CPA, LLC.

hand holding fanned out $100 bills

Key Things to Know About Your Stimulus Payment

To help you wade through all the information about the COVID-19 stimulus payment, also known as the Economic Impact Payment, we’re offering tips to a few key things you should know:

  • There’s a new scam around the stimulus payments. You may get a phone call or email saying they can get your Economic Impact Payment to you quicker by giving them your banking information and social security number. Never give this information to someone you don’t know. The IRS does NOT contact you for this information.
  • Did you have to pay the IRS when filing your tax return in 2018 or 2019 or have your refund applied to the next year? If so, the IRS does NOT have your banking information to direct deposit your stimulus payment. Go to this site for more information: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here
  • The stimulus payment is not taxable for the IRS and Illinois tax returns.
  • For anyone who does not get the correct amount of Economic Impact Payment there will be a reconciliation feature on the 2020 tax return (filed in 2021).
  • The $500 stimulus payment is for children under the age of 17. If your child turned 17 in either year they are ineligible for the payment.

For more information, contact the tax professionals at David Mills, CPA, LLC.

Sidewalk sign saying Sorry We're Closed Due to COVID-19

Relief From Not Making Employment Tax Deposits Due to COVID-19 Tax Credits

The IRS has issued guidance providing relief from failure to make employment tax deposits for employers that are entitled to the refundable tax credits provided under two laws passed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The two laws are the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed on March 18, 2020, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, which was signed on March 27, 2020.

Employment tax penalty basics

The tax code imposes a penalty for any failure to deposit amounts as required on the date prescribed, unless such failure is due to reasonable cause rather than willful neglect.

An employer’s failure to deposit certain federal employment taxes, including deposits of withheld income taxes and taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is generally subject to a penalty.

COVID-19 relief credits

Employers paying qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages required by the Families First Act, as well as qualified health plan expenses allocable to qualified leave wages, are eligible for refundable tax credits under the Families First Act.

Specifically, provisions of the Families First Act provide a refundable tax credit against an employer’s share of the Social Security portion of FICA tax for each calendar quarter, in an amount equal to 100% of qualified leave wages paid by the employer (plus qualified health plan expenses with respect to that calendar quarter).

Additionally, under the CARES Act, certain employers are also allowed a refundable tax credit under the CARES Act of up to 50% of the qualified wages, including allocable qualified health expenses if they are experiencing:

  • A full or partial business suspension due to orders from governmental authorities due to COVID-19
  • A specified decline in business

This credit is limited to $10,000 per employee over all calendar quarters combined.

An employer paying qualified leave wages or qualified retention wages can seek an advance payment of the related tax credits by filing Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19.

Available relief

The Families First Act and the CARES Act waive the penalty for failure to deposit the employer share of Social Security tax in anticipation of the allowance of the refundable tax credits allowed under the two laws.

IRS Notice 2020-22 provides that an employer won’t be subject to a penalty for failing to deposit employment taxes related to qualified leave wages or qualified retention wages in a calendar quarter if certain requirements are met.

Contact David Mills, CPA, LLC for more information

Contact David Mills, CPA, LLC for more information about whether you can take advantage of this relief.

Shaking hands for a PPC payment

Will Your Business Receive a PPP Payment?

During the COVID-19 health emergency, will your business receive a PPP payment?

The funds from the PPP (paycheck protection program) will hopefully be released soon. The best feature is that some or all of the loan can be forgiven.

However, please be aware, your banker will require strict documentation to have the loan forgiven.

What We Recommend

While each bank may have slightly different paperwork requirements, we recommend the following:

  1. Depending on the size of the loan you may consider opening a separate checking account for the funds. Any eligible expense is paid from this account only. This way you have a separate register of all payments.
  2. If you don’t want to change payroll bank accounts simply transfer the money from the PPP account to your regular account. Your payroll register will serve as the source document for the transaction.
  3. Understand what eligible expenses are. These include payroll (subject to $100,000 limit per person), Illinois unemployment tax, payment of employee retirement benefits, group health care benefits including insurance premiums, rent, mortgage interest and utilities (which includes telephone and internet).
  4. You must be able to prove you paid the expense. Good record keeping and receipts are critical. If you can’t prove payment you don’t get the deduction. No exceptions.

If you need assistance with QuickBooks to implement the required record keeping please contact the staff at David Mills, CPA, LLC, for an appointment.

Medical mask on top of stimulus money

IRS Site Helps Non-Filers Register for Stimulus Money

The IRS launched a new website to help those who don’t normally file a tax return register for the COVID-19 stimulus payments.

If you or a person you know doesn’t normally file a tax return, visit the newly established IRS Economic Impact Payments page.

This allows you to enter your banking information for direct deposit and register for the payment.

For more information about how the staff at David Mills, CPA, LLC can assist clients, contact us today.