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ACA FORMS WON'T BE REQUIRED FOR FILING INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS
2018 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 29, Tax Returns Due April 17
Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up from Rates for 2017
Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill
IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018
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ACA FORMS WON'T BE REQUIRED FOR FILING INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS

ACA FORMS WON'T BE REQUIRED FOR FILING INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS


Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2018, to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals, a 30-day extension from the original due date of January 31st . The IRS said that should not be an obstacle for taxpayers who want file earlier than that: "“While information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, the forms are not required to file.”Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers and applicable large employers are required by the ACA to provide statements to employees or covered individuals regarding health care coverage offered to them.This 30-day extension is automatic; employers and providers do not have to request it. The due dates for filing 2017 information returns with the IRS are not extended. For 2018, the due dates for information returns with the IRS are February 28 for paper filers and April 2 for e-filers.Because of these extensions, individuals may not receive their 1095-Bs or 1095-Cs by the time they are ready to file their 2017 individual income tax return. While information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, the forms are not required to file. Taxpayers can prepare and file their returns using other information about their health coverage.

However, the Form 1095-A, provided by the Marketplace, is still required prior to filing the tax return in order to correctly prepare the Form 8962 and the reconciliation of the advanced premium tax credit to the information on the individual income tax return.

2018 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 29, Tax Returns Due April 17

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits that refunds won’t be available before late February.

The nation’s tax deadline will be April 17 this year – so taxpayers will have two additional days to file beyond April 15.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, by law, the IRS cannot issue refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. While the IRS will process those returns when received, it cannot issue related refunds before mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018.

Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up from Rates for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill

The Senate passed its version of the tax reform bill early Saturday morning on a vote of 51-49. The vote came after last-minute negotiations between Senate leadership and key holdouts who had concerns about the treatment of pass-through entities, the state and local tax deduction, and the effect the cuts would have on the budget.
The legislation calls for a 20 percent corporate rate, a 23 percent deduction for pass-throughs, and rate cuts for individuals, though the pass-through and individual provisions are set to expire in 2026. One last-minute change retained the state and local tax deduction – up to a $10,000 property tax write-off—making the Senate bill more like the House version.

The change with respect to pass through entities means that top earning pass-through owners—those taxed at the 38.5 percent rate—would pay about 29.6 percent on their business income.

The Senate bill also included some revenue raising provisions to offset these costs. Among them is a measure to maintain the corporate alternative minimum tax, as well as the individual AMT, but with higher exemption levels than under current law.
The bill would cost about $1.45 trillion over a decade, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Last-minute changes to the Senate bill include:
  • a provision specifying that master limited partnership unit holders can claim the 23 percent pass-through deduction;
  • a provision for cash distributions for an S corporation converting to a C corporation;
  • higher repatriation rates on corporate profits held overseas— at 14.5 percent for cash and 7.5 percent for illiquid assets, up from 10 percent and 5 percent in an earlier version of the bill, two tax lobbyists told Bloomberg Tax;
  • a lower threshold for deduction of medical expenses—7.5 percent of gross income for two years.
 
The House and Senate will now begin to work out any remaining differences between their two bills, including how to approach pass-through taxation and whether the plan should include an alternative minimum tax. The final, identical version of the bill will have to pass both chambers before Trump can sign the bill into law.  Importantly, neither the House nor the Senate tax reform bills contain provisions that would impact the upcoming filing season.
 

IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018

Highlights of Changes for 2018
The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,000 to $18,500.

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2018.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a Traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) 

                        Here are the phase-out ranges for 2018:
  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $63,000 to $73,000, up from $62,000 to $72,000.
  • For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $101,000 to $121,000, up from $99,000 to $119,000.
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $189,000 and $199,000, up from $186,000 and $196,000.
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $120,000 to $135,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $118,000 to $133,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $189,000 to $199,000, up from $186,000 to $196,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $63,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $62,000; $47,250 for heads of household, up from $46,500; and $31,500 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $31,000.

Like Harvey, Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Irma

The Internal Revenue Service announced that 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Irma and members of their families. This is similar to relief provided last month to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Participants in 401(k) plans, employees of public schools and tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, as well as state and local government employees with 457(b) deferred-compensation plans may be eligible to take advantage of these streamlined loan procedures and liberalized hardship distribution rules. Though IRA participants are barred from taking out loans, they may be eligible to receive distributions under liberalized procedures.
Retirement plans can provide this relief to employees and certain members of their families who live or work in disaster areas affected by Hurricane Irma and designated for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For a complete list of eligible localities, visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters. To qualify for this relief, hardship withdrawals must be made by Jan. 31, 2018.

The IRS is also relaxing procedural and administrative rules that normally apply to retirement plan loans and hardship distributions. As a result, eligible retirement plan participants will be able to access their money more quickly with a minimum of red tape. In addition, the six-month ban on 401(k) and 403(b) contributions that normally affects employees who take hardship distributions will not apply.
This broad-based relief means that a retirement plan can allow a victim of Hurricane Irma to take a hardship distribution or borrow up to the specified statutory limits from the victim’s retirement plan. It also means that a person who lives outside the disaster area can take out a retirement plan loan or hardship distribution and use it to assist a son, daughter, parent, grandparent or other dependent who lived or worked in the disaster area.

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2013 Federal Income Tax Return

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2013 federal income tax return.To collect the money, taxpayers must file a 2013 tax return with the IRS no later than this year's tax deadline, Tuesday, April 18.

File Without 1095-B or 1095-C

According to Question 14 on the IRS Health Care Information Forms FAQ, you do not have to wait for either Form 1095-B or 1095-C from your client’s coverage provider or employer to file the individual income tax return. You can use other forms of documentation in lieu of the Form 1095 information returns to prepare the tax return. Other forms of documentation that would provide proof of a taxpayer’s insurance coverage include:
  Insurance cards
  Explanation of benefits statements from the insurer.
  W-2 or payroll statements reflecting health insurance deductions.
  Records of advance payments of the premium tax credit.
  Other statements indicating that the family had health care coverage.

6-Month Extension Period for Calendar Year C Corporations

The IRS revised the Instructions for Form 7004 allowing calendar year C corporations an automatic 6-month extension.

Previously §6081(b) granted a five-month extension for corporate returns. Section 6081(a) has been updated to allow a 6-month automatic extension. The extended due date will move to October 15 instead of the original September 15 due date.



Early Withdrawals from Retirement Plans

Many people find it necessary to take out money early from their IRA or retirement plan. Doing so, however, can trigger an additional tax on top of income tax taxpayers may have to pay. Here are a few key points to know about taking an early distribution:

  1. Early Withdrawals. An early withdrawal normally is taking cash out of a retirement plan before the taxpayer is 59½ years old.

  2. Additional Tax. If a taxpayer took an early withdrawal from a plan last year, they must report it to the IRS. They may have to pay income tax on the amount taken out. If it was an early withdrawal, they may have to pay an additional 10 percent tax.

  3. Nontaxable Withdrawals. The additional 10 percent tax does not apply to nontaxable withdrawals. These include withdrawals of contributions that taxpayers paid tax on before they put them into the plan. A rollover is a form of nontaxable withdrawal. A rollover occurs when people take cash or other assets from one plan and put the money in another plan. They normally have 60 days to complete a rollover to make it tax-free.

  4. Check Exceptions. There are many exceptions to the additional 10 percent tax. Some of the rules for retirement plans are different from the rules for IRAs.

  5. File Form 5329. If someone took an early withdrawal last year, they may have to file Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, with their federal tax return. Form 5329 has more details.