California’s groundbreaking Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) went into effect on Jan. 1st, becoming the standard for determining whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. All companies using independent contractors in California will be put through a three-part test to determine whether they must reclassify their workers. If they don’t pass that test, they’ll have to turn their workers into employees.

The debate that raged around the bill for months focused mainly on its effects on Big Tech and gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft and Postmates. But by the time the legislation became law last year, its scope broadened to encompass an array of industries, from transportation/trucking to journalism. Proponents of the bill say that it forces companies to replace gigs with jobs that entitle employees to state-mandated protections like paid time off, coverage for job injuries, and unemployment insurance. Critics of AB 5 say despite its good intentions the legislation has boomeranged on contractors, making it harder for tens of thousands of them to make a living in a tight economy.

The three-part AB 5 “ABC classification test” requires businesses to use the following test in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor:

(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

(B) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

(C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

If even one of the conditions is not met, then the worker is classified as an employee. As concerns grow over the new law, large companies and third-party organizations like Uber and Airbnb are looking for ways to avoid having to take on a rush of new “employees” under this classification.

Our assessment of AB 5 is that it will have major tax implications across a wide variety of businesses and industries. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss what AB 5 may mean for you and your business. For more information, feel free to contact us

If you have followed the news in regards to retirement, you know that multiple sources have referenced the lack of retirement savings among retirees and older people. While this isn’t isolated to America, the Fed reports about 25% of Americans don’t have a retirement plan in place. With declining policies in place to take care of Americans post-retirement, retirement accounts and financial knowledge is more important than ever. While the SECURE Act doesn’t specifically address all the financial issues when it comes to retirement, it does allow some solid options for Americans.

RMDs to start at age 72 instead of 70 ½. First and foremost, the SECURE Act increases the age in which you need to start required minimum distributions from traditional retirement accounts. While the change from 70 ½ years old to 72 is only 1 ½ years, this allows retirement accounts to continue gaining interest while also allowing the account holder to hold off on paying interest on the money.

You can contribute to traditional IRAs after age 70 ½. There is no longer an age cap on a traditional IRA, similar to a Roth IRA. After 70 ½ years old, participants can continue to contribute money to the retirement account, provided they have earned income. This is especially helpful for not-so-retired retirees.

More Annuity Options with 401(k) plans. Another positive note is the addition of improved legal coverage for employers with hopes that this will lead to more options in the annuity realm. Traditionally, the liability was too much for most companies to offer an option like this in a 401(k). They were even able to offer 401(k) options to part-timers as long as they fulfill a short list of requirements. Small businesses gained a boost as well, with potential to offer 401(k) options through economies of scale.

Your tax bill on inherited IRAs will come sooner. The bill also essentially eliminates the “stretch IRA,” an estate planning method that allows IRA beneficiaries to stretch out their distributions from their inherited account and the required tax payments that come with it. Under the new law, most beneficiaries will be required to withdraw all the distributions from their inherited account and pay taxes on it within 10 years.

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

While a new year means new commitments to health and happiness, individuals should also make goals for their financial wellness. With tax season opening at the end of January, making some new year’s tax resolutions can make a big impact and require little follow through. Although new tax laws from the IRS and Congress can’t always be anticipated, it is a good idea to try to avoid as many surprises as possible when it comes to your taxes.

First and foremost is to take a step back and evaluate your plans for 2020. These include personal plans, business goals (if you are a business owner), and whether any of these impact your tax withholding. Some examples of significant plans or changes include having a child, purchasing a home, and getting married. A quick check on the IRS website or a consultation with a tax advisor can help determine if you are withholding too much or too little.

Even more important may be a look at your beneficiary designations. When working on non-probate assets like retirement accounts or life insurance policies, you must be sure to have the proper beneficiary designations in place. With changes to IRC §401 and other parts of the law, the way that you contribute and benefit from non-probate assets has changed. Being proactive and taking a look at the pieces you can control, like beneficiary designations, can give you more peace of mind. In addition to this, estate planning documents are important items to review. Changes in federal estate taxes and exemptions may have an impact, and even if they don’t, there may be reason to adjust for new goals or changes in your life.

A final tip is to always stay aware and up to date on policies and changes to tax laws. Following the correct procedures and remaining compliant, especially when it comes to alternative interests like offshore accounts or virtual currency, is as important as ever. Most people might not realize it, but the penalties for willingly ignoring tax laws can be incredibly serious. While these resolutions don’t require much more than a bit of time and consideration, they can offer massive benefits later during tax time.

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

It is one thing to test fate with excessive deductions or claiming unverifiable items, but it is an entirely different thing to not even file a tax return. Yet, that is precisely what Harvard law professor, Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. did, and the consequences were all too real. Sullivan’s neglect to file his 2005-2013 tax returns resulted in a $1.2 million tax bill from IRS assessments of his records, a sum he claims is much higher than his income warrants.

The IRS can and will file returns for you, known as “substitutes for returns.” As a result of this policy and Sullivan’s irresponsibility, the IRS filed his taxes and assessed that he owed over $1.2 million for 2012 and 2013 alone. When the IRS tried to collect, Sullivan ignored procedure until they filed a Notice of Intent to Levy, which he objected to. Although he argued his income was not indicative of taxes that large, Sullivan again neglected his due diligence when it came time to respond with proof. He was prompted at least seven times for information, including three letters requesting that he file taxes for the years of 2012-2015 and a telephone hearing with an assigned IRS settlement officer.

Throughout 2017, Sullivan continued to ignore these requests, communications, and his responsibility in the matter. As a result, when the case was brought to the United States Tax Court, they upheld the IRS’ assessment of taxes owed and agreed that Sullivan was responsible for paying the total amount. It’s very much possible that Sullivan was telling the truth and that his income did not command taxes owed to that amount, but he lost the opportunity to correct the assessment when he neglected to file tax returns for eight years and failed to respond to the IRS’ inquiries.

It’s disheartening to hear that you have to pay over $1.2 million in taxes (especially if it is just for two years of income), but the reality is that the consequences can be so much worse: an actual levying of your assets and accounts, garnishing of your wages, and jail time. It is unclear how the situation was resolved, but if Sullivan had at the very least filed taxes, the situation would have been much easier to fix.

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

As the holidays approach, Americans prepare to spend time with their families and reflect on the past year. The holiday season also brings out the spirit of charitable giving, which offers the opportunity for tax deductions. Unfortunately, looking at last year’s data, changes to the standard deduction threshold from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have been a factor in the 1.7% overall drop in Americans’ charitable donations. While tax considerations should not drive generosity, if individuals effectively structure their gifts, they can realize the maximum tax benefit while still impacting others.

Many traditionally give to charity by writing a check or giving cash but do not realize other types of assets can be donated. Individuals that hold a portfolio with appreciated securities or real estate can increase their tax deduction by donating these assets instead. If they were to sell their appreciated assets and then give the money to charity, they would be subject to a capital gains tax. If they donate the non-cash assets directly, they can avoid the capital gains tax and deduct the fair market value. The giver saves on taxes, and the receiving charities get a more substantial donation. 

Taxpayers who are close to the standard deduction ($24,400 for married couples and $12,200 for single taxpayers) may want to accelerate their planned giving to maximize the impact of their charitable contributions. As an example, if someone regularly gives $10,000 every year, they may want to consider bundling a few years’ worth of donations together. This allows them to break through the deduction cap and can help mitigate the tax impact of a higher than usual income from bonuses or other short-term gains. 

Individuals that want to receive the tax deduction in one year but distribute the large gift over a few years can establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF is a special fund run by a sponsoring organization that can be used to contribute cash, securities, or other assets to qualified charities. The fund will build value over time, but these earnings are tax-free since contributions are irrevocable. As the fund increases in value, so does the impact of the charitable contribution. While these are just a few ways to make donations more impactful, tax planning experts can offer even more options to make sure holiday cheer goes the furthest.

No matter the amount, your generosity in gifting time and money to worthwhile causes can have a significant impact on your tax liability. While tax considerations should never drive your charitable giving, it makes sense to structure your gifting to maximize the tax benefits. If you have questions regarding your gifting or estate plan, please contact Talley LLP today.

Airbnb has become a great way for property owners to make some extra money while providing travelers with unique accommodation options. As this sector of the hospitality industry has grown, new tax regulations have been implemented to account for the additional income generated. One example is Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which allows owners to gain tax savings through a qualified business income (QBI) deduction. Unfortunately for many individuals hoping to utilize the deduction, qualifying will take a significant amount of work.

Prior to the TCJA, Airbnb owners preferred not to be classified as a formal business to avoid a self-employment tax of 15.3 percent. The QBI deduction allows owners to claim half of that self-employment tax as a deduction and save up to 20 percent on their business income taxes. Many owners have since decided to change their status but have not kept the necessary records to prove it.

The requirements specify that owners must spend at least 250 hours each year performing rental-related activities. Most individuals do not come close to reaching this threshold and will have to spend additional hours working on their Airbnb rentals. Owners will need to create personal time cards to track their hours and keep detailed records of services performed for property maintenance. Additionally, they will need to file a Form 1099 for payments to service vendors over $600 to comply with other business status protocols.

Airbnb tax regulations may have been lenient in the past, but with many owners expected to take the deduction, the IRS is likely to verify the accuracy of business-related income. There are currently no tax court cases related to the QBI deduction to serve as a precedent, so the penalty for violators is unknown. Having an accurate record-keeping system is essential for business owners in any industry. It is better to be safe than sorry by consulting an expert tax advisor to learn more about reporting regulations.

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

The NFL’s 100th season began last week, and with it, over 38 million hopefuls kicked off their fantasy leagues and betting predictions. With several states legalizing sports betting this year, these player’s potential winnings may be taxed differently come championship time. Whether you’re playing in an official NFL channel or an unregulated one, the IRS expects to be informed of any related earnings since the money is technically classified as taxable income.

Since the Supreme Court overturned existing laws in Spring 2018, thirteen states have legalized the activity, and more are expected to create betting markets in the next few months. Over 7 million individuals are expected to bet in casino sportsbooks this year, while another 31 million people will play in less official forms.

For amateur regulated channels, the IRS places the responsibility of reporting winning on both casinos and players. Successful bets 300x the wager resulting in a win of over $5,000 would face about 24% withheld for taxes. Some betting situations under this amount may also face withholdings depending on the circumstance. After a withholding, the casino may also give you a Form W-2G, particularly with wins over $600 that are 300x your bet. For fantasy sports players the form would be the 1099-MISC which will also eventually be turned into the IRS. To help mitigate some of your gambling related tax bills, players can deduct losses up to the amount of their winnings.

For professional gamblers deductions are different due to their activity being work related. Pro players’ travel expenses can be added to their gambling loss deductions rather than being stated as a separate expense. In most cases, the final tax bill on sports betting can be higher or lower, so it is wise not to spend your winnings right away. The best option overall is to consult a tax expert to make sure you are accounting for taxes on any win big or small.

With over 30 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, we understand the challenges facing individuals with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

Millionaire real estate mogul Todd Chrisley caught the public eye with the start of his reality T.V. show “Chrisley Knows Best” in 2014 on USA Network. The show follows Todd, his wife Julie, and their children through family drama, problems, and their over the top lifestyle in Georgia. After wrapping season seven last month, Chrisley and his wife Julie may be encountering their biggest scandal yet as they have been indicted for 12 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and wire conspiracy and fraud.

The IRS and FBI found that the couple had defrauded numerous banks between 2007-2012. The Chrisleys were loaned millions of dollars and used fabricated documents, including bank statements and credit reports. They used the money for lavish purchases and even rented a new home in California using cut and glued documents. For the years 2014-2016, the Chrisleys failed to submit their tax returns on time and once filed did not make payments promptly. They continued making luxury purchases during this period ignoring their tax bill.

Todd Chrisley posted an Instagram response alleging the situation was caused by a disgruntled former employee who was fired. He stated the employee created the falsified documents, and the couple’s attorney believes the Chrisleys will be exonerated entirely when the truth comes to light.

Todd and Julie turned themselves in last week to Georgia authorities and were released after posting bail. Their passports were taken, and they are mandated to stay in Georgia and Tennessee unless an exception is granted. The Chrisley’s accountant was also indicted for playing a part in the illegal activity and will have to report to court for tax offenses and lying to investigators. The couple’s son was hit with a tax lien shortly after for a reported $16,886.

If convicted, Todd and Julie could each face 30-year sentences. The U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak has commented that celebrities face the same consequences as any other criminal. The case can find similarities to the mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud committed by “The Real House Wives of New Jersey” reality stars Teresa and Joe Giudice who were sentenced to 15 and 41 months respectively in 2015. Both cases seem to be a part of the crackdown on tax evasion and show the seriousness with which the courts take tax and bank fraud.

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

Since Bitcoin’s emergence in 2009, the cryptocurrency market has grown to over 4,000 variations of the virtual currency. With the government erring on the side of caution regarding the medium of exchange, different agencies have had to figure out how to regulate it as well. In recent news, the IRS has made efforts to improve compliance by sending letters to over 10,000 individuals who failed to file or filed incorrectly tax returns related to their use of virtual currency.

After receiving a letter, tax payers will have a chance to assess their errors and submit or amend their returns. The three types of letters are Letter 6173, 6174, and 6174 -A with the message included determined by information and research collected by the IRS through multiple channels.

Letter 6173 states you “may not have met your U.S tax filing and reporting requirements for transactions involving virtual currency” meaning the IRS has evidence you failed to report or didn’t file a return. Recipients must amend or submit returns, or they must respond with an explanation of their actions signed and “declared under penalty of perjury.”

Letter 6174 says the IRS believes “you may not know the requirements for reporting transactions involving virtual currency” meaning they don’t have definitive proof but think that a mistake may have been made. The letter is intended to be educational so recipients should examine their returns for violations, but a response is technically not required.

Letter 6174-A states you have an account that “may not have properly reported your transactions involving virtual currency” meaning you may have reported related transactions, but they were filed incorrectly. Individuals could have used the wrong schedule or form to classify the related business, so the IRS believes their tax filings need to be reviewed for accuracy.

Even if you’re not one of the thousands to receive one of these letters, the IRS still suggests reviewing your returns if you have used virtual currency in the past. Fixing reporting mistakes is seen positively in the eyes of the IRS and will help you avoid worse penalties or investigations in the long run. Considering the agency launched a campaign regarding Virtual Currency Compliance last year, their investigators won’t be passive in handling these tax matters.

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

NFL teams across the country have commenced their annual training camps in preparation for the upcoming football season. While most organizations keep things local holding their camps near their regular headquarters, the Dallas Cowboys take a thousand-mile trip west to breezy Oxnard, California. Although the cooler weather and isolated location bring advantages, one thing players may not enjoy are the additional state taxes.

California has the highest state tax rate, which has become a significant consideration for many sports-related decisions from trades to travel. Since training camp is an unpaid part of the job, individuals will essentially end up paying to practice in California in the form of the state’s 13.3% income tax. For players that get cut from camp early, the situation seems even worse as they will still be liable for state taxes based on the days they did complete.

The total amount players will owe to California is calculated by using a duty day ratio based on days spent in the state compared to total working days in a season. When considering summer training, potential games, and a minicamp back in June, the Cowboys will spend 20 days of their 172 duty days (160 for new players) working in California this year. Training camp represents 16 of those days making about 10% of player’s income taxed in California just for those two weeks of practice.

Looking at what the Cowboy’s multimillion-dollar players will pay for camp, Amari Cooper and Tyron Smith will pay roughly $158,000 and $177,000 respectively. Their total California tax bill for the year will include an additional estimated $40,000 considering pre-season and playoff games.

All this considered, Jerry Jones may want to think about looking into a different location for their training camp. Using their home state of Texas or an alternate lower tax state could save the organization a lot in travel bills  and taxes. Ultimately, the end game is that the choice of location was probably made after looking at the cost/benefit scenario from multiple angles. In any case, having an expert tax advisor on your team can help you and your organization avoid unnecessary fumbles.

With over 30 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, we understand the challenges facing individuals with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.


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