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Insights & Alerts

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July 17, 2014
Tax Flash - Connecticut Legislates Tax Changes for 2014
The State of Connecticut is facing some difficult economic times in the near future. The state maintains its budgets on a biennial basis and the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 were approved during 2013. Due to a reduction in the projected budgeted surplus, together with a projected deficit of approximately $2.8 billion for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, the Income Tax Rebate program proposed by the Governor was withdrawn from consideration.
July 14, 2014
How to Treat Same-Sex Spouse Health Premiums Erroneously Included in W-2 Income
The IRS has recently provided guidance on how an employee should treat amounts erroneously included in W-2 income for the premiums paid by the employer for a same-sex spouse's health insurance. The IRS advises the employee to request a corrected W-2 from the employer or, if unable to obtain a corrected W-2, to take specific steps to report the correct amount of taxable income.
July 7, 2014
Saving for Higher Education: Investing in Your Child's Future
Navigating the world of investments can be daunting to say the least, but when your child’s future is at stake, it can be downright unnerving. Saving money for college is one of the most important investments you will make in your lifetime.
June 30, 2014
Beware IRS Imposter Phone Scams
In recent months, the Marcum Tax Professionals have warned our readers related to many of these IRS phone scams. Federal law enforcement (FBI, Homeland Security, IRS Criminal Investigation, and Treasury Inspector General or TIGTA) are jointly investigating the “boiler rooms” that originate these calls. The TIGTA believe these operations are located in India and they are pursuing aggressively.
June 27, 2014
Tax Flash - Rhode Island Budget Bill Reduces Corporate Income Tax Rate, Repeals Franchise Tax, and Requires Combined Reporting Among Other Changes
On June 19, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the state’s fiscal year 2015 budget bill. The bill enacts sweeping changes to the RI tax landscape across a number of taxes. The most significant changes will be to the corporate income tax but changes were also made that affect personal income, sales and use taxes and estate tax.
June 25, 2014
Tax Flash - 'Kinder, Gentler IRS' Finally Arrives at the Doorstep of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Or Does It?
Not since Congress demanded a 'kinder gentler IRS' in 1998, has the individual owner of bank accounts and other financial assets maintained outside the US, seen that side of the Internal Revenue Service.
June 16, 2014
10 Things to Consider Before Filing Your Organization’s Next Form 990
Every year, Tax Exempt Organizations go through the frustrating task of filing their annual Organization Exempt from Income Tax Return (Form 990). Below is some useful information for organization executives and board members to consider carefully before filing their next Form 990 so the organization can benefit from this public record of disclosure.
June 16, 2014
Final Regulations on Estate and Trust 2% Expenses
On May 8, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations regarding the treatment of administrative costs for non-grantor trusts and estates. These final regulations are similar to the 2011 proposed regulations but provide some clarifications, and are effective for tax years beginning on or after May 9, 2014.
June 10, 2014
Comparative Effectiveness Fee Reminder
The Research Fee filing deadline is July 31, 2014 for all selffunded medical plans and HRAs.
June 9, 2014
New Rules for Filing 2013 Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs)
If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a non-U.S. financial account, you're probably familiar with Form TD F 90-22.1. Starting with the 2013 tax year, U.S. tax filers must instead file new FinCEN Form 114. Normally referred to as the FBAR (or Foreign Bank Account Report), it is due June 30th of each year, for the previous calendar year. This form does not have an extension of time to file and there could be substantial penalties for the failure to timely file.
June 5, 2014
Tax Flash - This is Good News: Important Changes to Research Credit
On June 2, 2014, the IRS announced changes to the Research and Development Tax Credit allowing the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) calculation methodology to be utilized on amended returns.
May 5, 2014
Full Time Real Estate Agent Did Not Establish Material Participation
The recent Tax Court decision in Charles Gragg and Delores Gragg v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, stressed the importance of taxpayers correct determination of material participation in rental real estate activity to avoid passive loss treatment. Only participation on the rental real estate activities may be considered when determining if the taxpayer materially participates.
April 28, 2014
The Importance of Using Proper Dates for Assets Placed in Services
The 2013 Tax Court decision in Michael D. Brown and Mary M. Brown v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, stressed the importance of ensuring the proper date is used for placing an asset in service. The Court disallowed the bonus depreciation and regular MACRS depreciation claimed on a plane the taxpayer acquired and used in December of 2003.
April 7, 2014
Tax Flash - New York State Enacts Broad and Significant Tax Reform in New Budget
On March 31, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a Budget Bill that contains broad and sweeping tax reform provisions that impact both businesses and individuals. These new laws include changes which will impact tax base, tax rates, apportionment methodology, nexus, tax credits and estate tax reform. Except where noted, the changes below are effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2015. 
April 4, 2014
Tax Flash - Senate Finance Committee: First Step To Tax Extenders
This week the Senate Finance Committee approved a two-year extension of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. This is the first step towards a broader discussion on tax changes Congress will work through during the year.

Key tax extenders – include the Research and Experimentation (R&D) Tax Credit and the Energy Efficient Commercial Building (Section 179D) – were passed with bipartisan support with few adjustments.
March 31, 2014
The Aragona Trust Case: Can A Trust Be Treated as a Real Estate Professional?
During the last week of March 2014, the Tax Court, in the Frank Aragona Trust Case, held that a trust can qualify as a real estate professional under the passive activity loss rules based on the participation of trustees acting as employees of the rental activities. In its analysis, the Court addressed the issue of how a trust can determine material participation in a business. This decision becomes applicable to a broad range of businesses and not limited to real estate rentals.
March 26, 2014
Tax Flash - The Supreme Court Rules that Severance Payments can be Subject to FICA
In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, on March 25, ruled that retailer, Quality Stores Inc., a large specialty agricultural retailer, was not entitled to a refund of FICA paid on severance payments the company paid to its employees due to layoffs.
March 24, 2014
Reminder to Taxpayers to Beware of Scams!
Now that we are in the midst of a busy tax season, Marcum LLP would like to remind all readers to beware of callers demanding taxes and threatening arrest or revocation of licenses.
March 21, 2014
Tax Flash - Reminder: Annual Requirement for Maintaining Massachusetts Manufacturing Classification by April 1, 2014
In 2013, Massachusetts implemented a new procedure requiring annual certification by any entity that seeks to be included in the "Annual List of Corporations Subject to Tax in Massachusetts."
March 20, 2014
Get Tax Transcripts FAST
In mid-January 2014, the IRS introduced the ability for taxpayers to instantly view and print tax transcripts. Prior to the introduction of this new online service, taxpayers were able to request either returns or transcripts, which would take approximately 5-10 days to be delivered.
March 6, 2014
Tax Flash - The President's 2015 Budget Plan

This week, the Obama Administration issued its 2015 Budget Plan. Overall, the President’s tax plan, included in the overall budget, focuses on reducing the deficit while enforcing taxpayer compliance measures. Some of the main tax provisions call for making the research and development tax credit permanent, treating carried interest as ordinary income, reducing tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and limiting interest deductions for multinational companies.

March 6, 2014
Identity Theft Prevention & Recovery
Recent cyber-attacks involving companies such as Target and Neiman Marcus remind us that identity theft and credit card fraud occurs every day. Major companies have become victims of criminal security intrusion, which affects not only the success of their business, but their customers.
March 6, 2014
Tax Flash - New Jersey Announces Separate Voluntary Disclosure Initiatives for Corporations & Partnerships

The New Jersey Division of Taxation recently announced two limited-time voluntary disclosure initiatives. One initiative, the Intangible Asset Nexus Initiative, is for companies that hold intangible assets and derive income from the use of those assets in New Jersey. 

February 28, 2014
Tax Flash - Estate Tax Savings Opportunity for New York Residents

Governor Cuomo introduced his Executive Budget for 2014-2015 on January 21, 2014 to the New York State Legislature. The Bill provided a number of changes impacting Estates of New York Residents.

January 31, 2014
Tax Flash - IRS Issues Procedures to Obtain Automatic Consent for Accounting Method Changes Related to Final Repair Regulations
Information on the final repair / capitalization regulations issued by IRS was provided in the Marcum Tax Flash of December 16, 2013. The new rules will require most taxpayers with capitalized assets to make changes to their existing capitalization methods and policies in order to comply. There may also be opportunities for tax savings available by taking advantage of some of the elections and safe-harbors provided by the new rules.
January 22, 2014
Tax Flash - "Swinging for the Fences" New York Governor Cuomo Unveils His Executive Budget for 2014-2015
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 yesterday. The Governor's budget (the 4th of his current term) builds on the success of the prior three years of controlled spending which has turned a $10 billion State deficit into a $2 billion surplus and created 330,000 jobs. The proposed budget contains an ambitious agenda of tax cut programs (most of which were included in the recommendations recently put forth by the bi-partisan Tax Reform Commission) combined with expansion or creation of a host of new programs. In his own words, the Governor says this budget is "swinging for the fences." The Governor called for passage of this budget to provide all New Yorkers "what they deserve" from their elected state officials.
January 21, 2014
Tax Flash - New York's Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax Upheld

On January 14, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, declined to hear a challenge to the Metropolitan Commuter Mobility Tax, the payroll tax levied in counties served by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

January 20, 2014
U.S. Tax Court Denies MBA Tuition Deduction

In a recent U.S. Tax Court decision, taxpayers were denied a deduction for the cost of tuition for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program.

January 16, 2014
Tax Flash - New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 – Incentives for Development in the Garden State

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 was recently enacted into law on September 18, 2013 to attract new business development in the State of New Jersey and enhance job creation and retention efforts with the goal of strengthening New Jersey’s competitive position in the global economy.

January 13, 2014
Tax Flash - Tax Changes in New York State and New York City on the Horizon? Maybe!

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a press release on January 6, 2014 outlining a $2 Billion tax relief plan targeting businesses and individual taxpayers. The governor touts a $2 billion surplus in the state budget based on current spending estimates. This represents a turnaround from a $10 billion deficit three years ago.

January 8, 2014
Start of 2014 Filing Season Announced

The IRS recently announced the 2014 filing season will open on January 31, 2014 for individuals and on January 13, 2014 for most businesses, estates, and trusts. The January 13th start date does not apply to unincorporated small businesses that report income on Schedules C, E, or F on Form 1040. Business returns the January 13 start date applies to include, but not limited to, Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, and 1041.

January 8, 2014
Tax Flash - Major Overhaul for New York State Not-for-Profits

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 (“Act”) which is the first major sweeping change for New York’s not-for-profit entities in four decades. The intent of the new Act is to allow for an easier formation process, improve governance and operations, modernize not- for-profit corporate laws and reduce the reporting burden for smaller nonprofit organizations.

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