Tax considerations when adding a new partner at your business

Adding a new partner in a partnership has several financial and legal implications. Let’s say you and your partners are planning to admit a new partner. The new partner will acquire a one-third interest in the partnership by making a cash contribution to it. Let’s further assume that your bases in your partnership interests are sufficient so that the decrease in your portions of the partnership’s liabilities because of the new partner’s entry won’t reduce your bases to zero.

Not as simple as it seems

Although the entry of a new partner appears to be a simple matter, it’s necessary to plan the new person’s entry properly in order to avoid various tax problems. Here are two issues to consider:

First, if there’s a change in the partners’ interests in unrealized receivables and substantially appreciated inventory items, the change is treated as a sale of those items, with the result that the current partners will recognize gain. For this purpose, unrealized receivables include not only accounts receivable, but also depreciation recapture and certain other ordinary income items. In order to avoid gain recognition on those items, it’s necessary that they be allocated to the current partners even after the entry of the new partner.

Second, the tax code requires that the “built-in gain or loss” on assets that were held by the partnership before the new partner was admitted be allocated to the current partners and not to the entering partner. Generally speaking, “built-in gain or loss” is the difference between the fair market value and basis of the partnership property at the time the new partner is admitted.

The most important effect of these rules is that the new partner must be allocated a portion of the depreciation equal to his share of the depreciable property based on current fair market value. This will reduce the amount of depreciation that can be taken by the current partners. The other effect is that the built-in gain or loss on the partnership assets must be allocated to the current partners when partnership assets are sold. The rules that apply here are complex and the partnership may have to adopt special accounting procedures to cope with the relevant requirements. 

Keep track of your basis

When adding a partner or making other changes, a partner’s basis in his or her interest can undergo frequent adjustment. It’s imperative to keep proper track of your basis because it can have an impact in several areas: gain or loss on the sale of your interest, how partnership distributions to you are taxed and the maximum amount of partnership loss you can deduct.

Contact us if you’d like help in dealing with these issues or any other issues that may arise in connection with your partnership.

© 2022


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The tax mechanics involved in the sale of trade or business property

There are many rules that can potentially apply to the sale of business property. Thus, to simplify discussion, let’s assume that the property you want to sell is land or depreciable property used in your business, and has been held by you for more than a year. (There are different rules for property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business; intellectual property; low-income housing; property that involves farming or livestock; and other types of property.)

General rules

Under the Internal Revenue Code, your gains and losses from sales of business property are netted against each other. The net gain or loss qualifies for tax treatment as follows:

1) If the netting of gains and losses results in a net gain, then long-term capital gain treatment results, subject to “recapture” rules discussed below. Long-term capital gain treatment is generally more favorable than ordinary income treatment.

2) If the netting of gains and losses results in a net loss, that loss is fully deductible against ordinary income (in other words, none of the rules that limit the deductibility of capital losses apply).

Recapture rules

The availability of long-term capital gain treatment for business property net gain is limited by “recapture” rules — that is, rules under which amounts are treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain because of previous ordinary loss or deduction treatment for these amounts.

There’s a special recapture rule that applies only to business property. Under this rule, to the extent you’ve had a business property net loss within the previous five years, any business property net gain is treated as ordinary income instead of as long-term capital gain.

Section 1245 Property

“Section 1245 Property” consists of all depreciable personal property, whether tangible or intangible, and certain depreciable real property (usually, real property that performs specific functions). If you sell Section 1245 Property, you must recapture your gain as ordinary income to the extent of your earlier depreciation deductions on the asset.

Section 1250 Property

“Section 1250 Property” consists, generally, of buildings and their structural components. If you sell Section 1250 Property that was placed in service after 1986, none of the long-term capital gain attributable to depreciation deductions will be subject to depreciation recapture. However, for most noncorporate taxpayers, the gain attributable to depreciation deductions, to the extent it doesn’t exceed business property net gain, will (as reduced by the business property recapture rule above) be taxed at a rate of no more than 28.8% (25% as adjusted for the 3.8% net investment income tax) rather than the maximum 23.8% rate (20% as adjusted for the 3.8% net investment income tax) that generally applies to long-term capital gains of noncorporate taxpayers.

Other rules may apply to Section 1250 Property, depending on when it was placed in service.

As you can see, even with the simplifying assumptions in this article, the tax treatment of the sale of business assets can be complex. Contact us if you’d like to determine the tax consequences of specific transactions or if you have any additional questions.

© 2022


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5 ways to control your business insurance costs

Common sense dictates that every company, no matter how small, should carry various forms of business insurance. But that doesn’t mean you should pay unnecessarily high premiums just to retain the coverage you need. Here are five ways to better control your insurance costs without sacrificing the quality of your policies:

1. Review coverage periodically. Make sure existing policies reflect your current circumstances. For example, if you’ve sold or sunset some equipment, remove it from your schedule of current assets. If you’ve reduced the number of workers on your payroll, adjust workers’ compensation estimates accordingly. (We’ll address this further below.) On the other hand, if you’ve added equipment, vehicles or staff, see that they’re appropriately covered.

2. Shop around. Spend some time and effort to compare coverage and costs of various insurers. Investigate whether you qualify for any discounts that you’re not getting. To facilitate the process, you might want to engage an insurance specialist in your industry. The right expert can help you weigh the total, true costs of various policies and advise you without a vested interest in selling you a particular product.

3. Actively manage workers’ compensation coverage. In some industries, such as construction and manufacturing, workers’ comp is a major focus. In others, business owners might pay little attention to it if accidents rarely occur. Be sure that you keep up with the costs of this coverage and make regular adjustments as the nature of work changes.

Workers’ compensation insurers assign risk classification codes to employees based on their duties, responsibilities, and level of exposure to the risk of injury or illness. Higher risk means higher premiums so, at least annually, check that you’re classifying employees accurately. For example, if an employee who now works from home is still classified as someone who travels regularly or works in a higher risk location, your premiums may be needlessly inflated.

4. Consider higher deductibles. If you’re comfortable assuming some additional risk, and your cash flow is strong enough, calculate whether you can save on premiums by raising the deductibles on certain policies. It could be worth paying a higher deductible so long as the premium savings is enough to cover a claim or two if they do occur.

5. Prioritize safety. Keeping employees safe is a worthy goal in and of itself, of course. But emphasizing the importance of safety to managers, supervisors, employees and any independent contractors you might have on-site can also positively affect your company’s insurance costs. After all, the premiums you pay are based in part on your claims history. There are various steps that every business should take to avoid injuries and illness:

  • Provide safety training to new hires,
  • Conduct drills and refresher training for current employees,
  • Issue personal protective equipment, as appropriate, and
  • Strictly enforce safe work practices with no exceptions.

By keeping your employees safe, and promoting wellness in every respect, you’ll not only decrease the likelihood of costly insurance claims, but you’ll also likely contribute to higher morale and more robust productivity. We can help you measure and assess your insurance costs so you can make the right adjustments without incurring unnecessary risk.

© 2022


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Want to turn a hobby into a business? Watch out for the tax rules

Like many people, you may have dreamed of turning a hobby into a regular business. You won’t have any tax headaches if your new business is profitable. But what if the new enterprise consistently generates losses (your deductions exceed income) and you claim them on your tax return? You can generally deduct losses for expenses incurred in a bona fide business. However, the IRS may step in and say the venture is a hobby — an activity not engaged in for profit — rather than a business. Then you’ll be unable to deduct losses.

By contrast, if the new enterprise isn’t affected by the hobby loss rules because it’s profitable, all otherwise allowable expenses are deductible on Schedule C, even if they exceed income from the enterprise.

Note: Before 2018, deductible hobby expenses had to be claimed as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to a 2%-of-AGI “floor.” However, because miscellaneous deductions aren’t allowed from 2018 through 2025, deductible hobby expenses are effectively wiped out from 2018 through 2025.

Avoiding a hobby designation

There are two ways to avoid the hobby loss rules:

  1. Show a profit in at least three out of five consecutive years (two out of seven years for breeding, training, showing or racing horses).
  2. Run the venture in such a way as to show that you intend to turn it into a profit-maker, rather than operate it as a mere hobby. The IRS regs themselves say that the hobby loss rules won’t apply if the facts and circumstances show that you have a profit-making objective.

How can you prove you have a profit-making objective? You should run the venture in a businesslike manner. The IRS and the courts will look at the following factors:

  • How you run the activity,
  • Your expertise in the area (and your advisors’ expertise),
  • The time and effort you expend in the enterprise,
  • Whether there’s an expectation that the assets used in the activity will rise in value,
  • Your success in carrying on other activities,
  • Your history of income or loss in the activity,
  • The amount of any occasional profits earned,
  • Your financial status, and
  • Whether the activity involves elements of personal pleasure or recreation.

Recent court case

In one U.S. Tax Court case, a married couple’s miniature donkey breeding activity was found to be conducted with a profit motive. The IRS had earlier determined it was a hobby and the couple was liable for taxes and penalties for the two tax years in which they claimed losses of more than $130,000. However, the court found the couple had a business plan, kept separate records and conducted the activity in a businesslike manner. The court stated they were “engaged in the breeding activity with an actual and honest objective of making a profit.” (TC Memo 2021-140)

Contact us for more details on whether a venture of yours may be affected by the hobby loss rules, and what you should do to avoid a tax challenge.

© 2022


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No parking: Unused compensation reductions can’t go to health FSA

Among the many lasting effects of the pandemic is that some businesses are allowing employees to continue working from home — even now that the most acute phases of the public health crisis seem to be over in some places. This decision is raising some interesting questions about fringe benefits.

For example, in IRS Information Letter 2022-0002, the tax agency recently answered an inquiry involving a qualified transportation plan participant whose employer now lets him work from home permanently. To avoid losing dollars he’d previously set aside for parking, the participant asked whether he could transfer unused compensation reductions to his health Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which his employer offered through its qualified cafeteria plan.

No cash refunds

The letter explains that, under an employer’s qualified transportation plan, unused compensation reduction amounts can be carried over to subsequent plan periods and used for future commuting expenses. Caveat: employees can’t receive benefits that exceed the maximum excludable amount in any month.

However, cash refunds aren’t permitted — even to employees whose compensation reduction amounts exceed their need for qualified transportation fringe benefits. Furthermore, the U.S. Code prohibits cafeteria plans from offering qualified transportation fringe benefits. And IRS rules don’t allow unused compensation reduction amounts under a qualified transportation plan to be transferred to a health FSA offered though a cafeteria plan.

The letter also notes that COVID-19-related relief for FSAs gives employers the discretion to amend their cafeteria plans to permit midyear health FSA election changes for plan years ending in 2021.

Note: IRS Information Letters provide general statements of well-defined law without applying them to a specific set of facts. They’re provided by the IRS in response to requests for general information by taxpayers or members of Congress.

Limited flexibility

The qualified transportation rules for fringe benefits have largely proven themselves flexible enough to handle most situations arising from the pandemic.

Many companies permit benefit election changes at least monthly, and plans can allow current participants to carry over unused balances indefinitely. Compensation reductions set aside for one qualified transportation benefit, such as parking, can even be used for a different transportation benefit, such as public transit — again, so long as the plan permits it, and the maximum monthly benefit isn’t exceeded.

However, as the inquisitive participant in the IRS information letter learned, the flexibility of fringe benefit rules has its limits. Because some financial loss could occur due to changing circumstances, businesses should clearly articulate this risk to employees when offering compensation reduction elections.

Complexities to consider

The right fringe benefits can help your business attract and retain good employees. But, as you can see, there are many complexities to consider. Let us help you weigh the risks vs. advantages of any fringe benefits you’re currently offering or considering.

© 2022


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When inheriting money, be aware of “income in respect of a decedent” issues

Once a relatively obscure concept, “income in respect of a decedent” (IRD) may create a surprising tax bill for those who inherit certain types of property, such as IRAs or other retirement plans. Fortunately, there may be ways to minimize or even eliminate the IRD tax bite.

Basic rules

For the most part, property you inherit isn’t included in your income for tax purposes. Items that are IRD, however, do have to be included in your income, although you may also be entitled to an IRD deduction on account of them.

What’s IRD? It is income that the decedent (the person from whom you inherit the property) would have taken into income on his or her final income tax return except that death interceded. One common IRD item is the decedent’s last paycheck, received after death. It would have normally been included in the decedent’s income on the final income tax return. However, since the decedent’s tax year closed as of the date of death, it wasn’t included. As an item of IRD, it’s taxed as income to whomever does receive it (the estate or another individual). Not just the final paycheck, but any compensation-related benefits paid after death, such as accrued vacation pay or voluntary employer benefit payments, will be IRD to the recipient.

Other common IRD items include pension benefits and amounts in a decedent’s individual retirement accounts (IRAs) at death as well as a decedent’s share of partnership income up to the date of death. If you receive these IRD items, they’re included in your income.

The IRD deduction

Although IRD must be included in the income of the recipient, a deduction may come along with it. The deduction is allowed (as an itemized deduction) to lessen the “double tax” impact that’s caused by having the IRD items subject to the decedent’s estate tax as well as the recipient’s income tax.

To calculate the IRD deduction, the decedent’s executor may have to be contacted for information. The deduction is determined as follows:

  • First, you must take the “net value” of all IRD items included in the decedent’s estate. The net value is the total value of the IRD items in the estate, reduced by any deductions in respect of the decedent. These are items which are the converse of IRD: items the decedent would have deducted on the final income tax return, but for death’s intervening.
  • Next you determine how much of the federal estate tax was due to this net IRD by calculating what the estate tax bill would have been without it. Your deduction is then the percentage of the tax that your portion of the IRD items represents.

In the following example, the top estate tax rate of 40% is used. Example: At Tom’s death, $50,000 of IRD items were included in his gross estate, $10,000 of which were paid to Alex. There were also $3,000 of deductions in respect of a decedent, for a net value of $47,000. Had the estate been $47,000 less, the estate tax bill would have been $18,800 less. Alex will include in income the $10,000 of IRD received. If Alex itemizes deductions, Alex may also deduct $3,760, which is 20% (10,000/50,000) of $18,800.

We can help

If you inherit property that could be considered IRD, consult with us for assistance in managing the tax consequences.

© 2022


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Missed the Tax Filing Deadline?




Rob Cordasco gives advise in his latest interview on what to do if you missed the tax filing deadline. 

Cordasco is an industry thought leader in tax and accounting trends and strategies. 


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Thinking about converting your home into a rental property?

In some cases, homeowners decide to move to new residences, but keep their present homes and rent them out. If you’re thinking of doing this, you’re probably aware of the financial risks and rewards. However, you also should know that renting out your home carries potential tax benefits and pitfalls.

You’re generally treated as a regular real estate landlord once you begin renting your home. That means you must report rental income on your tax return, but also are entitled to offsetting landlord deductions for the money you spend on utilities, operating expenses, incidental repairs and maintenance (for example, fixing a leak in the roof). Additionally, you can claim depreciation deductions for the home. You can fully offset rental income with otherwise allowable landlord deductions.

Passive activity rules

However, under the passive activity loss (PAL) rules, you may not be able to currently claim the rent-related deductions that exceed your rental income unless an exception applies. Under the most widely applicable exception, the PAL rules won’t affect your converted property for a tax year in which your adjusted gross income doesn’t exceed $100,000, you actively participate in running the home-rental business, and your losses from all rental real estate activities in which you actively participate don’t exceed $25,000.

You should also be aware that potential tax pitfalls may arise from renting your residence. Unless your rentals are strictly temporary and are made necessary by adverse market conditions, you could forfeit an important tax break for home sellers if you finally sell the home at a profit. In general, you can escape tax on up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly) of gain on the sale of your principal home. However, this tax-free treatment is conditioned on your having used the residence as your principal residence for at least two of the five years preceding the sale. So renting your home out for an extended time could jeopardize a big tax break.

Even if you don’t rent out your home so long as to jeopardize your principal residence exclusion, the tax break you would have gotten on the sale (the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion) won’t apply to the extent of any depreciation allowable with respect to the rental or business use of the home for periods after May 6, 1997, or to any gain allocable to a period of nonqualified use (any period during which the property isn’t used as the principal residence of the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse or former spouse) after December 31, 2008. A maximum tax rate of 25% will apply to this gain (attributable to depreciation deductions).

Selling at a loss

Some homeowners who bought at the height of a market may ultimately sell at a loss someday. In such situations, the loss is available for tax purposes only if the owner can establish that the home was in fact converted permanently into income-producing property. Here, a longer lease period helps an owner. However, if you’re in this situation, be aware that you may not wind up with much of a loss for tax purposes. That’s because basis (the cost for tax purposes) is equal to the lesser of actual cost or the property’s fair market value when it’s converted to rental property. So if a home was bought for $300,000, converted to a rental when it’s worth $250,000, and ultimately sold for $225,000, the loss would be only $25,000.

The question of whether to turn a principal residence into rental property isn’t easy. Contact us to review your situation and help you make a decision.

© 2022


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Offering summer job opportunities? Double-check child labor laws

Spring has sprung — and summer isn’t far off. If your business typically hires minors for summer jobs, now’s a good time to brush up on child labor laws.

In News Release No. 22-546-DEN, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently announced that it’s stepping up efforts to identify child labor violations in the Salt Lake City area. However, the news serves as a good reminder to companies nationwide about the many details of employing children.

Finer points of the FLSA

The Department of Labor is the sole federal agency that monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws. The most sweeping federal law that restricts the employment and abuse of child workers is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The WHD handles enforcement of the FLSA’s child labor provisions.

The FLSA restricts the hours that children under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform. Examples include jobs involving the operation of power-driven woodworking machines, and work that involves exposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiators.

The FLSA allows children 14 to 15 years old to work outside of school hours in various manufacturing, non-mining, non-hazardous jobs under certain conditions. Permissible work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are:

  • Three hours on a school day,
  • 18 hours in a school week,
  • Eight hours on a non-school day,
  • 40 hours in a non-school week, and
  • Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.*

*From June 1 through Labor Day, nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Just one example

News Release No. 22-546-DEN reveals the results of three specific investigations. In them, the WHD found that employers had allowed minors to operate dangerous machinery. Also, minors were allowed to work beyond the time permitted, during school hours, more than three hours on a school night and more than 18 hours a workweek.

In one case, a restaurant allowed minors to operate or assist in operating a trash compactor and a manual fryer, which are prohibited tasks for 14- and 15-year-old workers. The employer also allowed minors to work:

  • More than three hours on a school day,
  • More than 18 hours in a school week,
  • Past 7 p.m. from Labor Day through May 31,
  • Past 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day, and
  • More than eight hours on a non-school day.

The WHD assessed the business $17,159 in civil money penalties.

Letter of the law

In the news release, WHD Director Kevin Hunt states, “Early employment opportunities are meant to be valuable and safe learning experiences for young people and should never put them at risk of harm. Employers who fail to keep minor-aged workers safe and follow child labor regulations may struggle to find the young people they need to operate their businesses.”

What’s more, as the case above demonstrates, companies can incur substantial financial penalties for failing to follow the letter of the law. Consult an employment attorney for further details on the FLSA. We can help you measure and manage your hiring and payroll costs.

© 2022


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Fully deduct business meals this year

The federal government is helping to pick up the tab for certain business meals. Under a provision that’s part of one of the COVID-19 relief laws, the usual deduction for 50% of the cost of business meals is doubled to 100% for food and beverages provided by restaurants in 2022 (and 2021).

So, you can take a customer out for a business meal or order take-out for your team and temporarily write off the entire cost — including the tip, sales tax and any delivery charges.

Basic rules

Despite eliminating deductions for business entertainment expenses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a business taxpayer could still deduct 50% of the cost of qualified business meals, including meals incurred while traveling away from home on business. (The TCJA generally eliminated the 50% deduction for business entertainment expenses incurred after 2017 on a permanent basis.)

To help struggling restaurants during the pandemic, the Consolidated Appropriations Act doubled the business meal deduction temporarily for 2021 and 2022. Unless Congress acts to extend this tax break, it will expire on December 31, 2022.

Currently, the deduction for business meals is allowed if the following requirements are met:

  • The expense is an ordinary and necessary business expense paid or incurred during the tax year in carrying on any trade or business.
  • The expense isn’t lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • The taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present when the food or beverages are furnished.
  • The food and beverages are provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.

In the event that food and beverages are provided during an entertainment activity, the food and beverages must be purchased separately from the entertainment. Alternatively, the cost can be stated separately from the cost of the entertainment on one or more bills.

So, if you treat a client to a meal and the expense is properly substantiated, you may qualify for a business meal deduction as long as there’s a business purpose to the meal or a reasonable expectation that a benefit to the business will result.

Provided by a restaurant

IRS Notice 2021-25 explains the main rules for qualifying for the 100% deduction for food and beverages provided by a restaurant. Under this guidance, the deduction is available if the restaurant prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption on or off the premises. As a result, it applies to both on-site dining and take-out and delivery meals.

However, a “restaurant” doesn’t include a business that mainly sells pre-packaged goods not intended for immediate consumption. So, food and beverage sales are excluded from businesses including:

  • Grocery stores,
  • Convenience stores,
  • Beer, wine or liquor stores, and
  • Vending machines or kiosks.

The restriction also applies to an eating facility located on the employer’s business premises that provides meals excluded from an employee’s taxable income. Business meals purchased from such facilities are limited to a 50% deduction. It doesn’t matter if a third party is operating the facility under a contract with the business.

Keep good records

It’s important to keep track of expenses to maximize tax benefits for business meal expenses.

You should record the:

  • Date,
  • Cost of each expense,
  • Name and location of the establishment,
  • Business purpose, and
  • Business relationship of the person(s) fed.

In addition, ask establishments to divvy up the tab between any entertainment costs and food/ beverages. For additional information, contact your tax advisor.

© 2022


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