The IRS issued proposed regulations for the 3.8% Obamacare tax on investment income Friday. I will do detailed posts on the in the coming days as I study them.
I’ll note two important items from my first overview of the proposed rules:
- The rules allow taxpayers a free opportunity to redo their activity “grouping” elections for the passive loss rules for 2013. “Passive” business activities are subject to the the 3.8% tax. Because “passive” status often depends on how much time a taxpayer spends working in a business, how different operations or locations are grouped can determine whether they are passive.
- The rules appear to allow you to pro-rate state income taxes in determining “net” investment income. That’s taxpayer-friendly, but it adds another level of complexity.
For an initial take on the rules, see Anthony Nitti at Forbes.
Related: Obamacare: it’s a tax!
David Brunori of Tax Analysts on the fiscal cliff discussion:
Everyone knows that taxing the very rich will have no perceptible effect on the deficit. It’s all for show. The president and Democrats in Congress can say they stuck it to the millionaires and billionaires. Fairness will abound. The Republicans can tell the world that they are reasonable people willing to compromise on issues as important as taxes. But Americans will still get more government than they are willing to pay for.
Some liberals have called for us to go over the cliff and to raise taxes across the board. Like Norquist, they are miscalculating. If everybody had to start paying more, there would be a lot more questioning of massive defense spending, egregious subsidies for industries, and entitlements run amok. But for now, we must be content with the rich paying more so we can get more than we deserve from our government.
You can’t pay for mass welfare benefits with a class tax. The mania for taxing “the rich” is a distraction from the enormous tax increases on everybody that will be required. The Rich Guy’s not buying.
Why the fiscal cliff is such a big fall. The Bush Tax Cut Issue in One Chart (Ed Krayewski, Hit and Run):
And for those who would say “well of course the government has to spend more when the economy is hurting” only one question applies: has it helped? If you think so, I’ve got a tiger-repellant rock to sell you.
Related: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ follies: Why it may pay to take deductions early. My latest post at IowaBiz.com, the Des Moines Business Record blog for entrepreneurs.
Nobody’s serious I: No ‘fiscal cliff’ deal without higher rates, Geithner says (CNN via Going Concern)
Nobody’s serious, II: Grassley and King push for extension of Wind Energy Tax Credit
Iowa admits its capital gain forms were a mess. A protest rejection released by the Iowa Department of Revenue highlights how badly the Iowa 1040 has been designed with respect to the Iowa deduction for capital gains on the sale of businesses an business real estate.
The taxpayer had excluded regular capital gains from a brokerage account on her tax return. Iowa properly rejected the deduction, but admitted her mistake was understandable:
Your position relies on the Department’s instructions for completing the tax return. We found that you are not the only one that made this mistake, so our instructions now clarify that these types of capital gains do not qualify for the deduction as shown above. In any event, the instructions are not controlling.
Iowa now has better wording on the deduction line and a flow chart to walk taxpayers through whether they should claim the deduction. It’s a big improvement, but it should be better. There should be a separate form to compute the deduction, with a checklist to complete to demonstrate eligibility.
The state examines every capital gain exclusion claim. Taxpayers should be able to submit the information the state asks for with their returns to preclude the examination; even if it would have to be paper-filed, it would save the state the time and money spent on unneeded exams.
A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.
The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.
It’s a chump’s game, and we taxpayers are the unwilling chumps. These things are to economic growth what steroids are to long-term fitness.
When you don’t remit withheld taxes, it might not just be a matter of getting your payments caught up. A New Jersey couple that ran an engineering firm failed to remit over $500,000 in withheld taxes to the IRS. They were sentenced last week to 44 months in prison after being convicted of charges arising out of the nonpayment. From the Department of Justice Press Release:
Evidence was also introduced that the DeMuros converted withheld funds for their business and personal use, including more than $280,000 in purchases from QVC, Home Shopping Network and Jewelry Television.
No doubt it was of the best-quality. Oh, and the couple still has to pay over $1.3 million in restitution to the IRS.
Doug Shulman is no longer IRS Commissioner, but his legacy remains:
Dayton Daily News, IRS says tax fraud attempts up 39 percent
Greg Mankiw, Some Advice on Tax Planning
Richard Morrison, The Tax Rate Paid by the Top 1% Is Double the National Average (Tax Policy Blog)
The Critical Question: Will the Payroll Tax Cut Fall Silently Off the Cliff? (Elaine Maag, TaxVox)
Jim Maule, Passing the Tax Responsibility Buck
Peter Reilly, Who Should Be Accelerating Income Into 2012?
Patrick Temple-West, Most Americans face lower tax burden than in 1980, and more (Tax Break)
Robert D. Flach, DAMNED IF THEY DO AND DAMNED IF THEY DON’T.
Tragedy: Lindsay Lohan Has Yet To Settle Tax Bills With IRS, Faces Account Seizures (TaxGrrrl)