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San Jose tax attorney, IRS partnership audit, partnership audits, tax audits, tax lawIn recent months, much of the discussion surrounding tax laws in the United States has focused on the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Yet while individuals and businesses should understand how they will be affected by tax reform, they should additionally be aware of recent new rules that govern tax audits.

The Centralized Partnership Audit Regime

Under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had certain rules for assessing and collecting taxes for partnerships. Audits of large partnerships, such as hedge funds or private equity firms, required individual audits of every partner. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) established a new, centralized audit regime, allowing the IRS to audit partnerships as a whole. This new regime will apply to partnership tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

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San Jose tax lawyer, gig economy, tax reform, tax cuts, independent contractorsFollowing the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, financial experts across the United States have been working to understand the full impact of this historic legislation. Much of the discussion surrounding the tax reform bill has focused on how its changes to tax law will affect large corporations (which have seen a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent). However, the growing portion of the country’s population that participates in the gig economy should also understand how it will be affected.

Taxes for Independent Contractors

Surveys have shown that there are 57 million people in the United States who currently perform freelance work either full-time or part-time, including people who earn an income in the gig economy (also known as the sharing economy), such as drivers for Uber or Lyft or people who rent their property through Airbnb. As independent contractors, these freelancers may be able to take advantage of new tax deductions.

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San Jose business tax lawyer, small businesses, tax cuts and jobs act, tax deductions, pass-through incomeThe United States Congress passed a major tax reform bill in December 2017, and lawmakers stated that one of their top priorities was to help grow the country’s economy by alleviating the tax burden on small businesses. While the full effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has yet to be felt, the reform bill contained a number of provisions that will affect the taxes which small businesses pay. Therefore, small business owners should take steps to understand how to make the most of these changes.

Tax Deductions for Pass-Through Businesses

Pass-through companies, in which income is taxed at the rate of the individual business owner rather than through the corporate tax structure, account for 95 percent of businesses in the United States and include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations. Under the new tax law, pass-through businesses can take a 20 percent deduction on their taxable income, providing them with some financial relief and allowing them to reinvest these tax savings to grow their business. The deduction is subject to several limitations based on the type of business, its financial condition, and the taxpayer’s income.

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San Jose business tax attorney, tax reform bill, net operating losses, US tax law, carrybacksIn December 2017, Congress passed a tax bill that represented the most significant reform to the U.S. tax code in the last 30 years. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made a large number of sweeping changes to tax law in the United States, affecting nearly everyone in the country, from individual taxpayers to large corporations. While many of the effects of this new law are still being worked out, one change that businesses should be aware of is how net operating losses (NOLs) will be handled going forward.

NOLs, Carryback, and Carryforward

In the past, businesses that reported a net operating loss (that is, the business’s expenses were greater than its revenues) in a tax year were able to use this amount to offset taxable income in other tax years. They would be able to carry the amount back to the two preceding years and receive an immediate refund for taxes paid or carry the amount forward up to 20 years to reduce the amount of taxable income in those years. This allowed businesses to help avoid some of the consequences of taxing their income on an annual basis and effectively pay taxes on an average income over multiple years.

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sharing economy, tax requirements, self-employment taxes, estimated tax payments, San Jose tax attorneyWith the prevalence of smartphones and personal computers in modern American society, people have more opportunities than ever to earn an extra income. In the sharing economy (also known as the gig economy), money can be made by driving individuals in cars, renting out homes or rooms for short periods, making and selling products, or performing tasks for people.

While there are great benefits from supplementing one’s income in this manner, these individuals may not be aware of how this additional income affects the taxes they pay. Consider the following aspects of tax law of which people in the sharing economy should be aware:

1. Taxable income - All income is generally taxable, whether it is paid by an employer, earned in a “side business,” or received as a cash payment. Since sharing economy companies often treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees, the worker is usually responsible for paying taxes on his or her earnings.

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