As we have been discussing these past several weeks, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) drastically changed the Federal income tax landscape. The TCJA also triggered a sea of change in the income tax laws of states like Oregon that partially base their own income tax regimes on the Federal tax regime. When the Federal tax laws change, some changes are automatically adopted by the states, while other changes may require local legislative action. In either case, state legislatures must decide which parts of the Federal law to adopt (in whole or part) and which parts to reject, all while keeping an eye on their fiscal purse.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) adopted a new 20% deduction for non-corporate taxpayers. It only applies to “qualified business income.” The deduction, sometimes called the “pass-through deduction,” is found in IRC § 199A. There has been a significant amount of media coverage of this new deduction. Rather than repeat what you have undoubtedly already read or heard, we chose to focus this blog post on the not so obvious aspects of IRC § 199A—the numerous pitfalls and traps that exist for the unwary.
Faris Fink, Commissioner of the Small Business/Self-Employed Division of the Internal Revenue Service, announced at the AICPA National Tax Conference on November 5, 2013, that his division is moving its audit focus from corporations to pass-through entities (i.e., S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships).
Fink was candid when he said his employees do not currently have the skills and knowledge to conduct these examinations. In anticipation of its new focus, however, the Service is developing pass-through entity examination strategies and is training its audit staff to conduct the exams. Practitioners should expect to see significantly more pass-through entity examinations in 2014. One would suspect these examinations, especially early on, will be challenging for taxpayers and their advisors.
Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder in Garvey Schubert Barer, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; New York, New York; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
- "Evaluating the Built-in Gains Tax for C to S Conversions After TCJA," New York University Summer Institute in Taxation – Advanced Conference on Subchapter SNew York, NY, 7.26.18
- "S Corporation Distributions – The Ins and Outs," New York University 77th Institute on Federal TaxationNew York, NY, 10.21.18-10.26.18
- "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What It May Mean to Your Clients," Estate Planning Council of Portland Mini-SeminarPortland, OR, 11.7.18
- "S Corporation Distributions – The Ins and Outs," New York University 77th Institute on Federal TaxationSan Diego, CA, 11.11.18-11.16.18