It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to face a multitude of unique challenges every day that can stretch their ability to stay productive, especially during the current pandemic. When you have employees relying on you and a mountain of deadlines to meet, shutting your door and curling up into a ball in the corner is not an option. Besides money and health, time is the greatest commodity an entrepreneur can have. It makes sense, then, that the most successful business owners have figured out how to work more efficiently with the time they do have. Listed below are some productivity tips that we’ve picked up along the way.

“Eat your frog” first. Wait, what?! Mark Twain said it best: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, spend your morning working on something that you don’t want to do, which requires a large amount of concentration. By doing so, you’ll get the more tedious task done, freeing yourself up to move on to the other pressing items on your to-do list.

Want to be productive? Don’t multitask. Multitasking in the morning when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and a venti-sized cup of coffee with a double shot of espresso in front of you, is tempting. However, doing so can set your whole day back. Research conducted at Stanford University confirmed that multitasking is less productive than working on one task at a time. Researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another, as well as those who complete one task at a time.

Take care of yourself. This is both the most important and the most overlooked tip for any entrepreneur to follow. All the business and productivity advice in the world won’t help you if you’re already stressed out, sleep deprived, and running yourself into the ground before you take that first sip of coffee or tea in the morning.

Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure, and execute your goals.

To learn more how Talley can help your business become more productive and profitable, contact us today.

While technologies like crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are designed to be invisible, the IRS is aware that money laundering is being carried out by some crypto users. It is leveraging data analytics technology and artificial intelligence to assist its overburdened staff. Jeff Tribiano, deputy commissioner for operations support at the IRS, believes that technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence play a large part in the future of the work that the IRS is going to be doing. Although the crypto world has been changing rapidly, the IRS has been leveraging technology to keep up with it. The IRS is continuing to address how cryptocurrency relates to the dark web and is working with firms on the potential issue of tax evasion.

Global cooperation. IRS Criminal Investigation has been working with tax authorities in four other countries, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands, through a group known as the J5 on tax cases involving cryptocurrency. Initially working with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the IRS was coming up with typologies and methodologies to help countries worldwide to address various emerging threats, and cryptocurrency was on that table. With the J5, they have taken it one step further as far as really addressing the non-compliance issues in cryptocurrency and professional enablers. Not only are they looking at cryptocurrency as an issue of digital currency, but they also have a platform where they’re looking at the technology so that countries can speak to each other.

Biden Administration proposals. In the Treasury Department’s Green Book, the Biden administration’s proposal for the IRS is to increase its tax enforcement budget to pull in more tax revenue, including requiring banks and other financial institutions to report more information about their customers’ accounts. The commissioner of the IRS’s Small Business/ Self-Employed Division, Eric Hylton, anticipates that more tax whistleblower claims will be filed relating to cryptocurrency, and the IRS will be able to trace these more with the help of tipsters. Hylton will be working with former IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller and former Senate Finance Committee senior counsel Dean Zerbe on research and development for tax credits, tax advisory services for digital currency, and whistleblower claims against taxpayers who aren’t reporting their cryptocurrency gains.

IRS Tech Hiring. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are only one part of the IRS’s digital transformation challenge. The IRS is looking to hire more tech employees to help with that effort, thanks to the streamlined “critical pay authority” it was granted in the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 for technology upgrades. On top of that, the IRS is actively fighting against the increase in fraud and non-compliance brought about by COVID-19. The IRS is hoping to hire experts who can perform complex audits, investigations, and compliance checks on cryptocurrency using data analytics and other advanced technologies. IRS Criminal Investigation is increasing its use of artificial intelligence and data manipulation tools to find connections and patterns that wouldn’t necessarily be readily identified as a human being.

Like the IRS, business owners should be looking into leveraging data analytics and technology to help them make better data-driven decisions. The availability of useful information is constantly increasing, and many companies are changing how they look at their processes. By embracing real-time metrics and real-time forecasts, business owners will gain a greater understanding of how certain actions will affect their decisions.

From technology-based accounting solutions to management information, analysis, and reporting, Talley LLP is the premier business consulting firm for entrepreneurs and their closely-held businesses. For more information on how to leverage your business’s data technology, contact Talley today.

Let’s pretend for a second that the pandemic is a thing of the past and companies are keeping their promise of allowing remote work from anywhere in the world for a few months out of the year. Now, imagine a Londoner, a New Yorker, and a Hong Konger get together somewhere in Brazil. They all make the same $100,000 salary and have been approved to work remotely from Brazil for two months. Once they have finished business in Brazil and head home, who would owe the most in taxes?

That is the one question staff and employers have been trying to determine while discussing post-pandemic work arrangements. Although there is still a lot of uncertainty, the job market is tightening in many countries. Firms, startups in particular, are eager to entice new talent with remote-work options.

A decade ago, Uber, Facebook and Instagram were able to differentiate themselves from Wall Street firms by offering free lunches, kooky office setups, and casual dress codes. Now companies all around the world are formalizing and extending their COVID-era flexible work options; many with liberal limits on where employees can commute from and how long they are able to do it for. Many believe that this is a valuable lifestyle being offered that might be one of the only ways to hire good people.

Many companies are turning to outside firms to help with a remote workforce. These firms help with different human resource functions. Payroll startup Deel has seen a surge in demand within the last year for its services of managing staff abroad with a mixture of software, local accounting experts, and foreign exchange hedging. Work-from-anywhere policies present risks for staff and companies where governments are educating themselves with cross-border commutes and are in dire need of tax revenue. Many employees that work abroad, even for a few weeks, may find themselves liable for taxes overseas even though many countries have double-taxation agreements in place which avoid excess taxation. These policies, however, only apply to federal taxes, not city or state obligations that are common in the U.S or social-security liabilities common across Europe.

All things considered, the New Yorker may face the highest bill, while the Londoner may see no change. Although, this assumes that all three can fill out their Brazilian taxes on time and according to regulations. He also warns remote workers of the possibility of filling out multiple tax forms for different countries and losing benefits from tax treaties between jurisdictions.

It is estimated that the New Yorker would be paying $1,648 more than they would have if they stayed in New York. This is because Brazil’s flat tax rate of 25% for non-residents is higher than the U.S. federal tax rate of 24% and the state of New York, as well as New York City, does not provide tax relief for Brazilian liabilities. The Hong Konger may owe $1,334 for working two months in Brazil due to higher tax rates as well. Luckily for the Londoner, the 40% U.K. tax rate for their salary is higher than Brazil and the U.K. could provide full relief for the Brazilian taxes paid.

Talley’s team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on your assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.

The IRS’ focus is now on private wealth clients, hedge fund managers, and cryptocurrency traders who are fleeing to Puerto Rico in an attempt to escape President Biden’s proposed capital gains tax increases as well as take advantage of Puerto Rico’s significant tax breaks. In late January, the country’s tax collector quietly coordinated a campaign that examined individuals, dating back to 2012, who took advantage of tax incentives that were designed to lure high net-worth individuals and corporations to Puerto Rico. This campaign showed that about 4,000 mainland US residents and firms had moved between 2012 and 2019. This led to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue for the U.S. government. The IRS is anticipating more audits now that the deadline has passed. Many tax attorneys that have advised clients on federal tax income issues with respect to Puerto Rico have already started receiving requests for information.

The taxpayers who may have excluded income subject to U.S. tax, or failed to file and report income altogether when they moved to Puerto Rico, are the biggest issue for the IRS at this moment. They are also targeting those who claim to be bona fide residents of Puerto Rico but may be claiming U.S. income to evade taxes. The IRS’ push is taking place as Biden’s proposed tax increases have triggered moves by America’s wealthiest from high-tax states such as New York and California. Hedge funds like Izzy Englander’s Millenium Management and ExodusPoint Capital Management have already moved to establish subsidiaries on the island.

Although campaigns by the IRS often take years to organize, agents can detect factual patterns that indicate a significant loss of revenue due to noncompliance. In Puerto Rico’s case, much of the focus will be on establishing whether individuals are truly island residents and whether they properly sourced income to Puerto Rico.

Unlike other IRS efforts, this campaign’s originated when Congress requested a report from the agency in their 2020 appropriations bill concerning Puerto Rico’s tax laws. The IRS’ report to Congress calculated that more than 1,924 applicants had been granted tax benefits under the Exports Services Act, formerly Act 20, as of March 2020. Act 20 offers entities a 4% corporate rate on business income and a 100% tax exemption on dividends. That provision, along with the Individual Investors Act, has now been consolidated into a new incentive law to attract individuals and investments to the island.

Individuals will have to prove their Puerto Rican residency to the IRS as a key factor in claiming the tax benefits. Meaning, taxpayers must live on the island for a minimum of 183 days annually every year to be considered a bona fide resident. Maintaining a residency in the eyes of the IRS goes beyond simply leasing an apartment in the popular Dorado Beach. It includes bringing your main possessions, joining local clubs, updating your voter registration status, moving with your spouse, and enrolling your children in the island’s schools. Although, moving doesn’t necessarily make someone exempt from filing U.S. tax returns; even if someone has qualified for tax incentives from Puerto Rico. Another detail to note is that only income from a Puerto Rico source is eligible for exemption, not a foreign source. In many of the audits, the New York Department of Taxation tries to determine an individual’s “true intentions.” This means a taxpayer must provide clear evidence that they’ve really moved to another state which includes the sale of their home in New York, closing any businesses, and relocating their belongings. Problems arise when people claim to have moved but can’t supply any supporting evidence.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provides comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on your wealth and assets to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available to you. For more information, contact us today.

To help pay for a raft of social spending that addresses long-standing inequality, President Joe Biden proposes doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individuals to 39.6%. This would be an increase from the current base rate of 20%, which means that for those who are earning $1 million or more, coupled with the existing surtax on investment income, federal tax rates could be as high as 43.4%. The 3.8% tax on investment income that funds Obamacare would still be kept in place, causing the tax rate on returns of financial assets higher than the rate on most wage and salary income.

Biden campaigned to equalize the capital gains and income tax rates for wealthy individuals, stating that it’s unfair that many of them pay lower rates than middle-class workers. The proposal could reverse this long-standing provision of the tax code where returns on investments are lower than labor. Mid-April, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that they are still finalizing the details. This proposal is expected to be discussed as a part of the tax increases to fund social spending in the forthcoming “American Families Plan.” The White House has already rolled out plans for corporate tax hikes, which will be used to fund the $2.25 trillion infrastructure-focused “American Jobs Plan.”

Biden’s proposal to equalize the tax rates for wage and capital gains income for high earners would greatly curb the favorable tax treatment on so-called carried interest, which is the cut of profits on investments taken by private equity and hedge fund managers. The plan would effectively end carried interest benefits for fund managers making more than $1 million because they wouldn’t be able to pay lower capital gains rates on their earnings. Those earning less than the million dollar mark may be able to still claim the tax break, unless Biden repeals the tax provision entirely.

The capital gains increase would raise $370 billion over a decade, according to an estimate from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center based on Biden’s campaign platform. For $1 million earners in high-tax states, rates on capital gains could be above 50 percent. For New Yorkers, the combined state and federal capital gains rate could be as high as 52.22 percent. For Californians, it could be 56.7 percent. Democrats have said current capital gains rates largely help top earners who get their income through investments rather than in the form of wages, resulting in lower tax rates for wealthy people than those they employ.

Talley’s team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on your assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.

President Joe Biden’s proposed tax hikes are forecast to bring in $3.6 trillion over the next decade, the Treasury Department announced last week, a key funding source for the $4 trillion he hopes to spend remaking the American economy and social safety net.

What taxes are increasing in Biden’s plan?
While there has been some debate regarding which tax provisions will be affected, the biggest surprise in the plan is the assumption that there will be an increase in the capital gains rate which would be retroactive to April 2021. This means high net-worth individuals will be prevented from quickly selling their assets before the end of this year to avoid the hike. Although, in its current form, the retroactive tax hike on capital gains is very unlikely to get through Congress. The plan also involves increasing the top income tax rate from 37% to 39.6%. This would affect individuals who earn $452,700 a year, married couples who earn $509,300 a year, and heads of household who earn $481,000 a year. The Greenbook proposal also assumes that the capital gains increase would be effective on the date it was announced. Biden’s reasoning for this is to prevent the acceleration of gains during a time where tax rates are temporarily low. While the proposal allows many of Trump’s temporary tax cuts for individuals and families to expire, this will still allow the administration to bank savings from higher tax rates snapping back into place on families who make less than $400,000 a year, which he has vowed to not let happen. Many of the other tax increases are projected to be put into effect on January 1, 2022.

The Greenbook proposal also includes key tax-credit proposals that many Democratic lawmakers see as a crucial component to campaign on during the 2022 midterm elections. Some proposals include, but are not limited to, an expanded child tax credit through 2025 and benefits for green energy and electric vehicles. Congress is unlikely to enact Biden’s tax ideas as they stand, but there are still many that are supported by the White House. This will allow Congress to develop policies and find votes as well as have both parties compromise on certain aspects of the plan.

The Treasury outline also omits a key priority for Democrats, an expansion of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. Many lawmakers from high-tax states reported that they would be in opposition to Biden’s economic agenda unless it also included an expansion of this write-off, which is currently capped at $10,000. The Greenbook proposal goes into detail about other provisions, such as imposing taxes at death on inherited property for large gains accrued during the prior owner’s lifetime. This would prevent private-equity as well as hedge fund managers from applying the long-term capital gains tax rate to their portion of the fund’s profit, also known as carried interest, if their overall taxable income exceeds $400,000.

A representative said that the administration is willing to work with Congress on proposals to create new research and development tax incentives to replace those created under President Trump’s administration.

Talley’s team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on your assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.

Early this month, the U.S. Tax Court published a 271-page opinion that decided the fate of Estate of Michael Jackson v. Commissioner. In a battle between valuation experts that ended in the court discounting the IRS’s expert for committing perjury, the Court found the Jackson Estate’s valuations much more accurate than those of the IRS’s experts.

Before Michael Jackson’s untimely death in 2009, the King of Pop had fallen far from grace. Before Jackson’s death, he had stopped touring due to child sexual abuse allegations and was hemorrhaging cash. He had announced a new tour that had sold out, but no shows were held, and Jackson’s team struggled to find a sponsor for his show considering his tarnished image. In a last-ditch effort, Jackson had re-hired his advisors from his “Glory days”, but they were unable to put a plan in action since Jackson died shortly after. Jackson died deeply in debt, hadn’t made a new album, had not toured, and had not made any money from his likeness or image for years.

After Jackson’s death, his advisors took action, and were extremely successful, in both restoring the value of Jackson’s image and likeness and capitalizing on that restoration. To this day, Michael Jackson is still Forbes’ highest-earning dead celebrity. He is currently the 93rd most popular artist on Spotify, even though he passed away over 11 years ago. Based largely on the post-death success of the Estate’s managers, the IRS took issue with the valuation of three “intangible” items on the Estate Tax Return. These were Jackson’s image and likeness, the value of Jackson’s interest in Sony/ATV, which is a music publishing company, and the value of Jackson’s interest in Mijac, which owns rights from various musicians, including but not limited to Jackson.

Judge Mark Holmes made clear that the court was to focus on the nature of the estate tax as a tax on the privilege of passing on the property, not a tax on the privilege of receiving the property. With this significant decision, the court was able to discern the estate was in shambles when Jackson died, and it is only through the careful and shrewd guidance of the managers that it developed into the “estate” that the Commissioner sought to tax years later. This means that since the managers had built up Jackson’s three assets after he had passed, what the Commissioner should be taxing is the value those three assets had when Jackson was alive, which was much less than now. The court decided that Jackson’s image and likeness were valued at roughly $4.1 million. This was $1 million more than what the Estate argued in trial and about $3 million more than what the estate had reported, but this value was a shocking $400 million less than what the IRS had calculated. According to the court, the IRS included, and should not have, the “intangibleness” of likeness and image, which was already counted and agreed upon elsewhere. The IRS expert also included assets that were not foreseeable at the time of Jackson’s death. While the IRS valued Jackson’s interest in Sony/ATV at about $400 million, they did not account for Jackson squeezing it dry to the $0 that the estate managers had valued it. The court agreed with the estate managers that at Jackson’s time of death his interest in Sony/ATV was $0. Lastly, the Court decided that the “Mijac revenue” was closer to the IRS’s estimate than the estate manager’s estimate. The Court determined a value of $107 million for this asset. While the IRS wanted to add penalties to the Estate’s bill for understating the value of assets, the Tax Court ultimately rejected this premise.

Although the Tax Court’s decision significantly favors the taxpayer, there will be more cases where the value of a celebrity’s image and likeliness is in dispute in an Estate Tax Case. The IRS will learn from the mistakes that were made during this case to better prepare themselves in the future.

Though your options are virtually limitless when it comes to estate planning, deciding on the “who, what, when, and how” and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.

President Biden intends to give the Internal Revenue Service an extra $80 billion and more authority over the next 10 years as he looks for ways to raise money to pay for his economic plan. Biden plans on using the recouped tax funds to pay for the cost of the American Families Plan. This plan is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion, which will fund universal prekindergarten, federal paid leave, affordable childcare, free community college, as well as tax credits to fight poverty.

Biden’s plan calls for tax increases, including raising the rate that people who earn more than a million a year pay on profits earned from the sale of stocks or other assets, as well as raising the top marginal income tax rate for wealthy Americans. Biden also wants to raise the rate on income for those who earn more than a million a year from stock dividends. Officials say that with an aggressive crackdown on tax avoidance by corporations and the wealthy, the IRS could recover $700 billion over 10 years. This proposal of $80 billion for funding also increases the original IRS funding by two-thirds.

Many administrations have discussed trying to close the tax gap, which is the amount of money that taxpayers owe but is not collected each year. In early April, the head of the IRS, Charles Retting, told congress that the agency does not have the resources necessary to catch tax cheats, which cost the government about $1 trillion a year. He also says that the agency’s funding has failed to keep up with inflation. Faced with a lack of resources and budget cuts, audits to wealthy taxpayers have declined over the years. This may change soon.

Talley’s team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on the assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.

Since the Internal Revenue Service’s systems were unable to process many quarterly payments that needed to be sent by April 15, the IRS is holding millions of tax refunds for manual processing. They are delaying about 29 million tax refunds which will be processed manually due to the complexities of recent tax laws that have been passed by Congress. COVID-19 relief packages, including the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was passed in December, and the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed in March, now require the IRS to send second and third rounds of payments to taxpayers as well as providing taxpayers with the maximum amount of their stimulus payments. These laws also required the IRS to consider expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit as well as new tax credits such as the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Some believe that the delay in refunds is largely due to the late passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. This means that the IRS was not able to adjust their tax forms and computer systems before the start of the filing season. Instead, the IRS had no choice than but to manually process corrections for the Recovery Rebate Credit to verify income for those who choose to use their 2019 income vs. 2020 to calculate EITC or ACTC. Unfortunately, this means that millions of returns are being processed by hand in the IRS’s Error Resolution System unit.

As of April 9, 2021, over 8 million individual 1040 or 1040-SR tax returns were being held in “suspense” status until it has been reviewed. Normally, the Error Resolution System unit processes returns as they come in, without putting them on hold. With those 8 million individual returns, there are about 5.3 million individual 2019 and 2020 paper tax returns, 4.7 million returns with processing errors or fraud identification issues, and 11 million businesses and other returns. The IRS has also experienced delays in its modernized e-file system when trying to process quarterly estimated tax payments, which were, insisted by the IRS, due by April 15th, despite the May 17 extension for individual returns.

The IRS urges taxpayers not to submit the payments a second time if they were worried the payments didn’t go through. The IRS also says that if you did re-submit, that you cancel the second payment by calling 1-888-353-4537 at least two business days before the scheduled payment date, no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

With the constantly changing tax laws as well as the need to send out second and third rounds of stimulus payments, the IRS has been facing an array of challenges this tax season. The computer systems are being overwhelmed as well as their call centers. Many calls are going unanswered due to how busy the IRS has become, which has made their customer service decline.

Talley’s team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on the assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 80 into law, more than three months after it was first passed in the Assembly. This bill gives businesses who have received PPP loan assistance the power to deduct expenses on their taxes. AB 80 also includes deductibility for all Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) forgivable loans due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act. To be eligible, businesses must have received at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts since 2019 and cannot be a publicly-traded company.

AB 80 went through several months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans until lawmakers decided to add selected provisions from a similar bill, SB 265. The two parties compromised on the 25% reduction in gross receipts minimum and the non-publicly traded company eligibility requirements, which makes this bill bipartisan. Many lawmakers are relieved and in favor of the outcome, as well as numerous small business owners who have been frustrated and waiting for solutions. AB 80 will allow small businesses to get back on their feet as the economy recovers.

Policymakers have embraced the spirit of SB 265 and made COVID-19 relief tax-free for small businesses. Many believe that AB 80 is a huge improvement over the $150,000 deductibility cap that legislative leaders agreed upon two months ago, which would have harmed many job creators. Many believe that there is still a lot more work that needs to be done to include those who have been left out of the AB 80 since many who applied for and received pandemic relief funds need every dollar to stay open.

Talley’s professionals have spent hundreds of hours reviewing the law, regulations and SBA PPP FAQs issued on an almost daily basis and we are happy to assist you in the process. We are available to simply answer a quick question or assist in the application and/or forgiveness audit process.

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