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Weekly IRS Roundup January 11 – January 15, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of January 11, 2021 – January 15, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

January 11, 2021: The IRS released TD 9948 containing final regulations relating to the excise taxes imposed on certain amounts paid for transportation of persons and property by air.

January 11, 2021: The IRS released TD 9938 setting forth final regulations related to the excise tax on remuneration in excess of $1 million and any excess parachute payment paid by certain tax-exempt organizations to covered employees.

January 12, 2021: The IRS released TD 9946 containing final regulations related to the deduction and reporting of certain fines, penalties and other amounts.

January 13, 2021: The IRS released TD 9949 providing final regulations concerning the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions and certain nondiscrimination rules to health reimbursement arrangements and certain other health plans.

January 14, 2021: The IRS released Rev. Proc. 21-11 providing methods for calculating W-2 wages for purposes of the wage limitation for the section 199A(g) deduction.

January 14, 2021: The IRS released Rev. Proc. 21-12 extending, in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the expiration date relevant to the application of certain safe harbors protecting the tax status of certain real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) and investment trusts.

January 15, 2021: The IRS released Rev. Rul. 21-03 providing tables of covered compensation related to the contribution and benefit bases under the Social Security Act.

January 15, 2021: The IRS released Notice 21-12 providing temporary relief, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, from certain requirements for qualified low-income housing projects and qualified residential rental projects.

January 15, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

January 15, 2021: The IRS released Internal Revenue Bulletin 2021-3, dated January 19, 2021, containing the following highlights: Notice 2021-7 (Administrative, Employment); TD 9932 (Employee Plans, Income Tax); REG-114615-16 (Excise Tax); Notice 2021-2 (Income Tax); Notice 2021-5 (Income Tax); Rev. Proc. 2021-9 (Income Tax); TD 9939 (Income Tax); TD 9941 (Income Tax); and TD 9942 (Income Tax).

Special thanks to Brian Moore in our Washington, DC, office for this week’s roundup.

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Reasonable Cause for E-Filing Errors?

Tax return filing season is fast approaching, and taxpayers big and small are preparing to file their returns. A recent US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision, Haynes v. United States, No. 17-50816 (5th Cir. Jan. 29, 2019), indicates that many of those taxpayers will face uncertainty if their returns are late due to preparer errors or technological issues when electronically filed (e-filed).

The court in Haynes declined to rule on whether the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Boyle, 469 US 241 (1985), applied to e-filing a tax return. The court instead remanded the case to resolve factual issues. In declining to examine the application of Boyle, the decision leaves in place uncertainty for many taxpayers who e-file their returns.

Internal Revenue Code Section 6651(a)(1) excuses a taxpayer from penalties for failure to file a return on time if they show the failure was “due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect.” In Boyle, an estate executor hired an experienced lawyer to prepare estate tax returns, but the lawyer failed to put the filing date on the calendar. Nevertheless, the court held that determining a deadline and meeting it did not require any special skills, and therefore relying on an agent was unreasonable. Accordingly, the Court in Boyle did not excuse late filing, and the taxpayer was subject to penalty. (more…)

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