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The Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 ("the Act" or "ACA") prohibits doctor-owned hospitals from expanding, and prevents new doctor-owned hospitals at all, if they are going to serve Medicare or Medicaid patients. The law, passed in 2010, blocked building any new physician owned hospitals and prevented existing ones from adding beds or operating/procedure rooms in order to qualify for Medicare payments.

Hospitals with physician ownership as of March 23, 2010, are grandfathered for the same percentage of physician ownership they had on that day. For example, if a hospital had 20% physician ownership on March 23, 2010, the ACA allows it to keep 20% physician ownership without violating the law, but the percentage of physician ownership cannot increase beyond 20 percent. If the hospital was not yet enrolled in Medicare as of March 23, 2010, it had until December 31, 2010, to enroll and whatever percentage of physician ownership it had at that time was the maximum amount it could have in the future. The ACA bars any new physician ownership in hospitals after December 31, 2010.  

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The Tax Increase Prevention Act (“TIPA”), enacted on December 19, 2014, retroactively extends several tax incentives that expired at the end of 2013. Among the key features of TIPA is a provision extending benefits to eligible investors in Qualified Small Businesses.

Originally enacted in 1993, Internal Revenue Code Section 1202, which covers the Qualified Small Business rules, was intended to encourage investment in small businesses by providing a 50% exclusion of gain resulting from the sale of a qualified small business stock (“QSBS”) held for more than five years.  In order to qualify, the corporation must use at least 80% of the value of its assets in an active conduct of a qualified trade or business, and its aggregate gross assets cannot exceed $50 million after the stock is issued. 

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The Supreme Court yesterday delivered its much anticipated decision in the case of King v Burwell, upholding premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for taxpayers residing in states which have federal or federal-state Partnership Exchanges. For many, this case presented the strongest argument to upset the ACA, since it was based on the text of the law.

Only 14 states and the District of Columbia have established state Exchanges. Under the law, a state which does not establish its own health Exchange becomes subject to a federal-state partnership or federal-run health insurance Exchange. The statutory language specifically provides that premium tax credits, which help make the health insurance affordable, apply to eligible persons purchasing coverage from their local state Exchange. Since this language does not reference a federal or federal-state partnership Exchange, those opposed to the law argued tax credits could not be provided for insurance purchased from these Exchanges. This position effectively raises the cost of Exchange-based insurance for residents of these states and significantly impacts the overall economic structure of the ACA. 

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As we approach June 30, we are reminded, again, that any U.S. person who has a financial interest in or signature authority over any foreign-based financial accounts is required to file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank Account - FINCEN Form 114). The FBAR Reporting, which covers any foreign-based bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, must be received by the U.S. Treasury on or before June 30, 2015.

Since 2009, when the IRS established the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) and 2014, when the IRS established the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure (SFCP), it is believed that most U.S. persons with undisclosed offshore accounts have taken advantage of the options to become compliant with FBAR rules. 

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The recent breach of more than 100,000 tax accounts through the IRS’s “Get Transcript” application serves as a reminder that in today’s digital society, protecting our personal information is more important than ever. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 16.6 million people were affected by identity theft in 2012, with financial losses of $24.7 billion -- $10 billion more than any in other form of property crime.

As technology advances and becomes ever more integrated into our everyday lives, it becomes easier for identity thieves to obtain personal information. Once this information is stolen, it can then be used for many nefarious purposes, such as unauthorized purchases, opening new accounts or even filing false federal or state Income Tax Returns to generate and cash fabricated refunds.  

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a final notice establishing the methodology for determining federal funding for the Basic Health Program in program year 2016. The Basic Health Program provides states with the option to establish a health benefits coverage program for lower-income individuals as an alternative to Health Insurance Marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This voluntary program enables states to create a health benefits program for residents with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid through Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, but are in the lower income bracket to be eligible to purchase coverage through the Marketplace. This final notice is substantially the same as the final notice for program year 2015.

Overview
Section 1331 of the Affordable Care Act provides states with a coverage option, the Basic Health Program, for individuals who are citizens or lawfully present non-citizens, who do not qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other minimum essential coverage and generally have income between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  

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In a recent Tax Court case, the Court reinforced existing Internal Revenue Service Regulations related to the substantiation rules for noncash charitable contributions. The Court denied the taxpayer’s claimed $37,000 of charitable deductions and subjected him to accuracy-related penalties and interest.  

At various times during the year, the taxpayer contributed various household items to nationally recognized charities that operate thrift stores for charitable purposes.  The Court did not question that he made the contributions.  However, the taxpayer failed to substantiate the value of the contributions and to meet the requirement for necessary contemporaneous written acknowledgement from the charities to support the deduction.   

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In a brief statement from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General the government has tried to clarify their position on physician compensation arrangements and the need for them to truly reflect commercially reasonable rates. As Marc Raspanti of Pietragallo Gordon Alfanso Bosick & Raspanti, a former prosecutor, said: “the OIG has simply made clear what we all know; it takes two parties to cement a successful kickback arrangement. In health care, physicians are almost always the most pivotal and important party!” 

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On June 4, 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly passed budget bill H7061 which encompasses a wide range of controversial tax changes to all facets of Connecticut taxation including corporate income tax, personal income tax, and sale and use taxes.

Highlights of the bill are as follows:  

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Data serves as a rich resource to clearer look into Parts A and B costs, services, and trends

As part of the Administration’s efforts to promote better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, today CMS is posting the third annual release of the Medicare hospital utilization and payment data (both inpatient and outpatient) and the second annual release of the physician and other supplier utilization and payment data. The announcement was made at the annual Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, DC.

“These data releases will give patients, researchers, and providers continued access to information to transform the health care delivery system,” said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “It’s important for consumers, their providers, researchers and other stakeholders to understand the delivery of care and spending under the Medicare program.” 

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