When Does an Estate Fiduciary Income Tax Return Need to be Filed

The estate must file a 1041 fiduciary income tax return if the estate has income or property sales over $600 during the tax year. So if the executor receives a 1099 under the Estate Tax Identification Number for over $600 of interest or dividend income, or real estate is sold in a subsequent year after death, a fiduciary income tax return will have to be filed. The federal estate fiduciary 1041 income tax return is due 3½ months after the close of the tax year.

Normally, estate fiduciary returns result in “excess deductions on termination”, which can be divided equally among all the beneficiaries, and used by them as itemized deductions on their personal federal income tax returns to increase their income tax refund.

There is no income tax on inheritances except to the extent that such items represent tax deferred items such as pension plans, annuities, IRA’s, and accrued E bonds or to the extent that they represent income earned after death, there is no inheritance tax on such post-death income. Income tax on such tax deferred items is due by the beneficiaries in the year they receive the income. A final federal income tax return for your loved one must be filed, assuming he met the filing threshold which for the 2014 tax year is $11,700, excluding social security for a decedent over the age of 65. In addition, if federal income tax was withheld, you would file to get the federal income tax refund regardless of the income earned.

There is never any Pennsylvania income tax due on inherited property including tax deferred property such as pension plans, IRA’s or annuities.

If there are U.S. Savings Bonds, the significant factors are: (a) the turnover date; and (b) income tax on accrued interest. The turnover date means that since bonds increase in value every six months, there is a loss of up to five months interest if cashing is not made in one of the two months in each year in which value increases. There are three choices with respect to reporting accrued interest on Savings Bonds: (1) Report it on the decedent’s final 1040 return; if he owes no tax, even with the interest included, this is the clear choice; (2) Report it on the estate’s fiduciary 1041 return, if this is done, ensure you have sufficient estate deductions to offset against the bond interest; or (3) Transferring the bonds without cashing, which makes sense if the beneficiary is in a low tax bracket.

If you were named as a beneficiary of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), then you should consider the possibility of electing to stretch the pay-out over your own life expectancy if the plan administrator permits it. If not then you can take distributions over 5 years or elect to withdraw the entire balance. However, you must pay federal income tax on any distributions you receive in the year received.

Real estate, like stock, takes a stepped up basis at death, so that original cost to the decedent is irrelevant for income tax purposes. If you decide to sell a house and do not need the aid of a real estate agent to find a buyer, we can handle all the paperwork from the agreement of sale to closing for an additional fee. Keep in mind if you do not sell the property within fifteen months after the date of death we must value the property using the common level ratio or based on an appraisal.

Contact Gregory J. Spadea of Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604 if you need help administering an estate or find yourself being appointed as an Executor.

Is My Property Exempt From Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax?

A house

If you own a property that is regularly used by a charity or falls into one of the 8 categories below you may be exempt from paying real estate tax. To qualify for an exemption your property must be:

  1. Zoned in your Current Municipality for a Real Estate Tax Exemption
  2. An actual place of regular religious worship;
  3. A non-profit burial place;
  4. Property used regularly for public purposes;
  5. Owned Occupied and used by any branch or post of honorably discharged service persons and regularly used for charitable or patriotic purposes;
  6. Actually and regularly used by an institution of purely public or private charity for the purpose of the institution;
  7. A Hospital or institution of learning (schools) or charity including fire and rescue station founded and maintained by public or private charity; or
  8. A Public Library, museum, art gallery or concert music hall provided and maintained by public or private charity.

If your organization falls into any one of the seven categories listed above you can apply for an exemption from real estate tax in the county you are located. If you have any questions call Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604.

Wrongful Death Proceeds Are Not Subject to Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax or Federal Income Tax

The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death statute allows the personal representative of an estate to bring an action for the benefit of a decedent’s spouse, children or parents to recover damages for the death of the decedent caused by the wrongful act, neglect, unlawful violence of another. The statute entitles a plaintiff to recover damages for pain and suffering, loss of earning power, medical and hospital bills, funeral expenses and certain estate administration expenses.

Wrongful death proceeds are not taxable for Pennsylvania Inheritance purposes or for federal income tax purposes. On the other hand survival action proceeds are subject to Pennsylvania inheritance tax. Since Pennsylvania taxes survival actions but not wrongful death actions, you, through your attorney want to maximize the wrongful death recovery amount. The court tends to allocate the proceeds of wrongful death actions and survival actions based upon the facts of the case and the evidence presented by your attorney.

Under the Pennsylvania Probate, Estate and Fiduciary code the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is an interested party in any orphan’s court proceeding. Therefore your attorney must get written consent from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue regarding the proposed allocation since its interests will be adversely affected by the amount allocated to the wrongful death action.

Survival Actions are valued at the decedent’s date of death for Pennsylvania Inheritance tax purposes. Any unpaid Inheritance tax is due within thirty days after the estate receives the proceeds. If there is any tax due beyond thirty days the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue begins charging interest on the unpaid balance which is currently 6%.

Contact Gregory J. Spadea

If you have a question about a wrongful death action or survival action please contact Spadea & Associates, LLC online or at 610-521-0604, located in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

What Business Expenses Are Deductible?

Coffee cup and tax forms

If you are a self-employed sole proprietor or operate an LLC taxed as an S-corporation, any expense that your business incurs that is ordinary and necessary is deductible under Section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, list the total spent on each of the expense categories listed below:

  • Accounting, legal and professional fees;
  • Advertising;
  • Car expense – indicate total annual miles driven, then break out total annual business miles plus parking and tolls including business log with date, miles driven, business purpose and destination or
    total annual miles driven, actual fuel invoices, auto insurance, repairs and total miles driven and total annual business miles plus parking & tolls;
  • Fixed Assets – If you bought a vehicle, computer, equipment, office furniture or placed it in service during the tax year, even if you already owned it. Also provide a copy of the purchase invoice so the total cost can be expensed it under IRC Sec. 179;
  • W-3 – Salaries that your company paid to others. List officer and shareholder salary separately;
  • Employer share of employment taxes like FICA and FUTA;
  • Commissions or fees paid to other contractors. Have them fill in form W-9 if they were not incorporated so a 1099 can be issued by February 1;
  • If you already issued them a 1099, please provide the 1096 showing total independent contractors paid.
  • Professional Liability Insurance, Workmans Compensation Insurance and Health insurance;
  • Office Supplies;
  • Materials or Purchase of inventory for resale;
  • Travel, Hotel, Airfare and Car Rental;
  • Meals – keep track of date, place, person entertained and business purpose. If you do not have a digital calendar (such as Outlook or Google Calendar) then you need a receipt for everything If you have a digital calendar then you only need receipt if you pay more than $75.00;
  • Telephone including local, long distance, fax, land lines and mobile;
  • DSL, cable and internet charges;
  • Postage including shipping costs like Fed Ex and UPS;
  • Continuing education and business seminars and conferences;
  • Interest expense paid on business loans and provide year end balances;
  • Rent for office space or equipment;
  • Utilities like electricity, fuel oil, water or gas.
  • Prior year PA franchise (Capital Stock) tax from Page 2 of the PA RCT-101;
  • Prior Year Local Income Tax paid;
  • Total State sales tax paid if you included it in gross sales revenue.

Never pay any personal expenses from your business bank account. Instead take draws from your business account and transfer money to your personal account and pay the personal bills directly from your personal account. Contact Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604, if you have any questions or need your tax returns prepared.

Your IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Stop, pay your taxes!

Stop, pay your taxes!

The Internal Revenue Service announced on June 10, 2014, the adoption of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that will become a cornerstone document to provide the nation’s taxpayers with a better understanding of their rights. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes the multiple existing rights embedded in the tax code and groups them into 10 key categories, making them more visible and easier for taxpayers to understand. The rights will be sent to millions of taxpayers this year when they receive IRS notices on issues ranging from audits to collection. The rights will also be publicly visible in all IRS facilities as well as online at IRS.gov.

The IRS released the Taxpayer Bill of Rights following extensive discussions with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office inside the IRS that represents the interests of U.S. taxpayers. I have given my opinion after each provision of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights on how I feel the IRS is doing with respect to each provision.

The Taxpayer Bill Of Rights are as follows:

  1. The Right to Be Informed. The IRS tries really hard to keep taxpayers informed but sometimes stops communicating for various reasons. Therefore, it is very important for you to follow up if you do not hear back from the IRS after 90 days of responding to a notice.
  2. The Right to Quality Service. The IRS is not delivering quality customer service. Whenever I call the IRS on behalf of a client, I am on hold for 30 to 60 minutes due to budget constraints and poor management. The IRS funding and employee headcount has decreased significantly since 2010, while its workload has increased due to health care reform and foreign account reporting rules.
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax. The IRS does a good job with this right and gives refunds when taxpayers file amended returns as well as billing taxpayers who fail to pay the correct amount of tax.
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard. and
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum. Both these rights can be read together. The IRS does a good job giving taxpayers several ways to challenge or appeal its position either through the Taxpayer Advocate service, Appeals including fast track mediation, US Tax Court and the Court for Federal Claims.
  6. The Right to Finality. The IRS does not always provide a written report at the conclusion of a correspondence audit. Therefore, I always request a written report or statement from the IRS at the conclusion of an audit or when payments are applied from different years.
  7. The Right to Privacy. The IRS does a good job of protecting taxpayer privacy.
  8. The Right to Confidentiality. The IRS does a good job keeping your information confidential although it does share information with other federal agencies and state governments.
  9. The Right to Retain Representation. This is your most important right as a taxpayer. I personally know several clients that were not represented at the audit stage and paid more tax than clients I have represented at the audit stage with the same issues. I would never recommend a client go to an IRS audit by themselves.
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System. I think this right is the responsibility of Congress since they pass all the tax laws which are not always fair.

If you receive an IRS Notice or have any questions about your taxpayer rights feel free to contact Gregory J. Spadea online or at 610-521-0604. Gregory J. Spadea is a tax attorney, former IRS Agent and founding member of the Law Offices of Spadea & Associates, LLC located in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

What Should I Do if I Receive an IRS CP2000 Notice Stating I have Unreported Income

Sign on IRS Building in Washington, DC, United States

After you file your tax return the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will match your return information with third parties who issued you W-2’s or 1099’s. If a discrepancy occurs the IRS will issue you a CP2000 notice assessing you additional tax on any unreported income. I always tell my tax clients to email or fax me any IRS correspondence they receive immediately, because the IRS typically gives you 30 days to respond.

However, if you ignore the notice, you receive a 90 day letter to petition the tax court. I always recommend petitioning that tax court to preserve your appeal rights. However in the event you fail to petition the tax court within the 90 days, you can still apply for audit reconsideration.

The first thing I do when a client calls me is to review the CP2000 notice and make sure it is accurate because the IRS sends lots of inaccurate notices to taxpayers. In addition I verify that is actually from the IRS and not from an identity thief. I typically will file an amended return if my client has additional expenses relating to the unreported income or has basis in securities sold that generated the CP2000 in the first place. If the IRS is disallowing a deduction I will send in the documentation to substantiate it. I always try to get the accuracy related penalty abated and am successful most of the time, especially if only one year is involved.

If you receive a notice from the IRS under-reporter unit do not panic. Just contact Gregory J. Spadea at 610-521-0604 from Spadea & Associates, LLC in Ridley Park.

What is a Section 83(b) Tax Election?

Stop, pay your taxes!

Stop, pay your taxes!

Founders typically purchase stock pursuant to restricted stock purchase agreements that allow the company to repurchase “unvested” stock upon termination of employment. Similarly, employees may want exercise options subject to the company’s ability to repurchase “unvested” shares upon termination of employment.

Internal Revenue Code Section 83(b) election Code allows employees to change the tax treatment of a restricted stock grant. Normally, employees pay regular income tax when the stock vests (the restrictions lapse) and no tax when the restricted stock is granted.

The Section 83(b) tax election allows employees to pay income tax on the initial grant instead of paying tax when the stock vests. More specifically, they pay tax on the difference between the amount they paid and the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the stock. Typically the purchase price of the stock and the Fair market value of the stock are the same.

If the employees file a Section 83(b) tax election, they end up paying no tax at the time of purchase because the purchase price for the stock and the fair market value are the same. They also pay no tax when the stock vests in the future. They will only pay capital gains tax when the stock is sold. Keep in mind Section 83(b) election only applies to restricted stock and it only deals with the recognition of income on stock that has restrictions that lapse.

Therefore the tax benefits of a Section 83(b) election include starting the one year long term capital gain holding period and freezing ordinary income (or alternative minimum tax) recognition back to the purchase date of the stock.

If the employee does not make the Section 83(b) election, then he or she may have income at the stock vesting date. The income will be substantial if the value of the shares increases substantially between the grant date and the vesting date.

Let’s use an example to illustrate the effect of making or not making the Section 83(b) election. We’ll consider an employee that is subject to a 4 year annual vesting schedule:

At formation, the company stock is determined to have a FMV of $0.001 per share and he is granted 100,000 shares. The firm grows and the FMV increases to $.10 in Year 1, $1.00 in Year 2, $10 in Year 3, $100 in Year 4. Assume a 40% regular income tax.

Initial Stock Purchase: $100
Value of stock that vests in Year 1: $2,500
Value of stock that vests in Year 2: $25,000
Value of stock that vests in Year 3: $250,000
Value of stock that vests in Year 4: $2,500,000

Section 83(b) election timely filed
Taxes Due at Purchase: $0
Taxes Due at Vesting Intervals: $0
At the end of the 4 years, the founder owns all of his stock outright and has paid no taxes on it. Should he sell the stock, he would be subject to long-term capital gains taxes.

No Section 83(b) election made
Taxes Due at Purchase: $0
Taxes Due at Vesting Intervals: Y1: $1000, Y2: $10,000, Y3: $100,000, Y4: $1,000,000
Total taxes paid: $1,111,000

And these taxes had to be paid before the company ever had a liquidating event since the employee never received cash for his stock. Even worse, if the company collapses in Year 5, the employee will have paid over $1.1 million in taxes and never received any cash for his stock.

In order for a Section 83(b) election to be effective, the individual must file the election with the IRS prior to the date of the stock purchase or within 30 days after the purchase date. There are no exceptions to this timely filing rule. The last possible day for filing is calculated by counting every day (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) starting with the next day after the date on which the stock is purchased. The official postmark date of mailing is deemed to be the date of filing.

If you have any questions about filing a Section 83(b) tax election please contact Gregory J. Spadea of Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604, located in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

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