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2012 Taxpayer Relief Act For Business & Investments

After weeks of negotiation, Congress has passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act to avert the tax side of the “Fiscal Cliff” and bring some certainty to the Tax Code. Almost all taxpayers are affected by the numerous extensions and modifications. Many popular but temporary tax extenders relating to businesses are included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act. Among them is Code Sec. 179 small business expensing, bonus depreciation, the research tax credit, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This letter provides some highlights of the American Taxpayer Relief Act as it applies to investments and business taxpayers.

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2017 Year-End Tax Planning for Businesses

As year-end approaches, each business should consider the many opportunities that might be lost if year-end tax planning is not explored. A business may want to consider several general strategies, such as use of traditional timing techniques for delaying income recognition and accelerating deductions. A business should also consider customized strategies tailored to its particular situations.

For the 2017 tax year, taxpayers have relative clarity with respect to available credits and deductions. With the exception of a handful of industry specific tax credits and deductions that expired at the end of 2016, most temporary credits and deductions were permanently extended by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). A few others were extended for 5-years through 2019. Far less clear, however, is the possibility of the enactment of tax reform legislation by year’s end. The final scope of such legislation, if enacted, remains unknown. At a minimum, tax reform legislation is expected to result in a reduction of corporate and individual tax rates. However, whether such reductions would apply to 2017, as well as to 2018, will remain uncertain, likely until late November or early December. Nevertheless, much of the preparation for these contingencies should begin now.

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Employer Health Care Mandate Postponed Until 2015

The Obama Administration has announced that it is postponing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA<) mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements for one year. As a result, the administration also announced that it will waive the imposition of any employer-shared responsibility penalty payments for 2014. This effectively means that employers with 50 or more employees will not be required to provide health insurance to their employees or face a penalty until 2015.

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IRS Depreciation Deduction Limitations & Lease Inclusion Amounts - 2013

The IRS has issued the depreciation deduction limitations and lease inclusion amounts for vehicles purchased or leased in 2013. In general, there are two methods for computing vehicle expenses, the standard mileage rate (56.5 cents per mile for 2013; 55.5 cents per mile for 2012) or the actual expense method. If you use the standard mileage rate method you may not depreciate your car or deduct lease payments. If you use the actual cost method, you may take deductions for depreciation or lease payments, registration fees, licenses, gas, insurance, oil, repairs, garage rent, tolls, tires and parking fees.

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Proposed Regulations on Research and Experimental Procedures

The IRS has proposed regulations to amend the definition of “research and experimental procedures” in order to clarify the treatment of amounts paid or incurred in connection with the development of tangible property, including pilot models.

Research and experimental expenditures are those that are paid or incurred in connection with your trade or business that represent research and experimental (development) costs in the “experimental or laboratory sense.” Expenditures are research and development costs in the “experimental or laboratory sense” if they are for activities undertaken to eliminate uncertainty concerning the development or improvement of the product. Generally, all costs incident to the development or improvement of a product (pilot model, process, formula, invention, technique, patent, or similar property) are considered research and experimental procedures.

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Rethink Insurance: The Huge Small Business Health Care Credit

Huge Health Insurance Tax Credit

If you are a small employer with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year, and pay at least half of your employee health insurance premiums then you may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.

An enhanced version of the credit will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The IRS is expected to issue additional information about the enhanced version as it becomes available. In general, on Jan. 1, 2014, the rate will increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

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