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Musings from Walnut Creek, California…
Apr 27, 2013 – The California EDD and IRS are co-sponsoring a free Basic Payroll Seminar at the downtown Oakland location on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, and Mark is representing the IRS. See http://www.edd.ca.gov/payroll_tax_seminars/ for more information and to register.
Mar 8, 2013 – Mark Bole is the Technical Reviewer for the Mar/Apr 2013 edition of EA Journal, a publication of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). This means I get to read and fact-check articles about the tax issues surrounding such topics as gambling, immigrant farm workers, and medical marijuana dispensaries. www.naea.org
Feb 28, 2013 – The East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents (EBAEA) is sponsoring Tax Help Day on Friday, March 1, 2013 at two locations. EA’s will answer questions from the public from 9 am until 4 pm. Mark Bole will be at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce in the afternoon (the other location is the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment at 1814 Franklin St, Suite 200 in Oakland). According to Andy Rogers, EBAEA president, “we will prepare NO returns, just answer taxpayer questions and get the word out that Enrolled Agents are America’s Tax Experts.”
Nov 27, 2012 – IRS provides draft Form 8958, “Allocation of Tax Amounts Between Certain Individuals in Community Property States”
According to the title of Form 8958, it is to be used by those subject to state community income splitting rules. Income splitting has always applied to opposite-sex married couples who file separately (MFS) instead of jointly (MFJ) and who are domiciled in a community property state — roughly speaking, eight western and southern states (plus Wisconsin), most of those once subject to Spanish influence with its marital community property traditions. California and Texas are the two most populous community property states.
More recently, since 2010 tax year, the IRS has issued an advisory extending the splitting rules to unions in community property states which are permitted at the state level even if prohibited by DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) at the federal level. These unions include Same-Sex Married Couples (SSMC) and Registered Domestic Partners (RDP). In effect, the IRS is doing a delicate dance by saying “You can’t file as married on your federal return, but we want you to follow all the same splitting rules as if you were filing MFS”. For some couples, applying the splitting rules results in a shared tax benefit, while others see a tax increase when total tax is calculated on the marriage or partnership.
As a practical matter, there has never been a standard way to report the splitting on federal income tax returns (and many state returns, which use the federal totals as the starting point). For this reason, MFS and more recently, RDP/SSMC returns often cannot be e-filed (despite immense IRS pressure to e-file everything) and a variety of home-grown spreadsheets have circulated in the tax professional community to provide supporting information to the IRS about how the income and deductions and payments were split. Unfortunately, not all professionals agree on how to report the split — whether to allocate line-by-line on the tax return, or to aggregate the adjustments on a single catch-all line on the return.
With the new Form 8958, at last the IRS is providing a standard way to show the splitting allocations, with both taxpayers involved clearly identified. This should enable e-filing of many more of these returns than previously, and when fully implemented by tax software providers, will assist all preparers to consistently and fully comply with tax return reporting requirements. Because the issue of same-sex marriages is highly political at this time, it is not certain that the IRS approach to income splitting in these situations will ultimately prevail, but at least there is now a distinct line in the sand that all can recognize.
Note: I have not seen the draft instructions for the form, those will shed more light on the details as to how the final allocations are reported on the return.
Nov 25, 2012 – Two free, 5-hour Basic Payroll Seminars will feature Mark Bole, EA as co-presenter with California EDD. Mark is an IRS Leveraged Presenter in coordination with IRS Stakeholder Liaison. The first is Wed, Nov 28, 2012 in Oakland; the next is Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 in Concord.
Sep 4, 2012 – Mark Bole, EA, co-presented a 5-hour Basic Payroll Seminar as IRS Leveraged Presenter (with California Employment Development Department) in San Francisco on Sep. 4, 2012.
Aug 16, 2012 – Mark is speaking at the North Bay Chapter of CSEA monthly meeting (Novato, CA) on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.
Aug 9, 2012 – Mark Bole is teaching one all-day session of the SEE class (IRS Special Enrollment Exam for Enrolled Agents) on Aug 11 in Dublin, CA. The advanced income tax class is presented by East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents.
July 17, 2012 – Maybe it’s time for some new terminology, to describe the new type of IRS balance-due that can’t be collected in the normal manner. How about calling the PPACA (Obamacare) Individual Mandate penalty the “dodge-ball tax”, because it only hits you if you can’t get out of the way fast enough?
July 16, 2012 – Mark Bole is co-presenting a 5-hour Basic Payroll seminar in Concord, CA on July 17,2012. Mark is an IRS Leveraged Presenter teamed with a representative from California state EDD (Employment Development Dept) for the presentation, which is free to the public.
July 8, 2012 – Mark Bole is presenting a Federal Tax continuing education (CE) talk at the California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA) annual meeting the second week of July. Topic: “The Case of the Missing Small Business Health Care Tax Credit” This credit is part of the PPACA (Obamacare) and is in effect from 2010 onward. It provides a 35-50% credit to small businesses for their portion of employee health insurance premiums.