Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

February 20, 2009

As you all might know by now the Act is stuffed with little goodies.  Some good and some bad.  Particular target industries such as the real estate market are included.  Education HOPE Credit is changed to the American Opportunity Credit and increased to $2500 and available for a four year period after high school.

First-time homebuyers (those who have not had a home in the last three years can now get a $8,000 credit if a house is purchased after 01/01/09 otherwise the old rules stay.  Income limitations do apply the same as with the old law. 

The big one is the Business capital gains relief.  A small business owner can exclude up to 75% of the capital gains on the sale of equipment if he/she has owned the business for the last five years.  My suggestion is get rid of the old equipment and buy some new equipment which would be more efficient.   Some businesses may not have to pay capital gains anyways in they are in the 15% tax bracket for personal income anyways.  Warning:  Will still have to claim as ordinary income the recapture of depreciation.  Recapture is not a capital gain amount but still carries on Form 4797 as an ordinary income amount.

I note the complexity of the bill because a NewHire Tax Credit is given for unemployed vetereans and “disconnected youth”.  The disconnected youth ideally should be going to college but with the new American Opportunity credit available only in the first four years after high school the disconnected youth will be in affect “disenfranchised” from the American Opportunity Credit because of the need to become employed.  The credit to the employer is equivalent to a 40 percent credit for th efirst $6,000 of wages paid to these two groups.

Below please find one of my tax advisors who is independent who I go to for continueing education for my Enrolled Agent designation.  Joy Wilen from Vancouver is a great speaker and extremely interesting to have as a speaker for the need of being and getting continueing education requirements satisfied by the Internal Revenue Service.

 

Following are highlights of the individual tax changes in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) signed into law by the President on Feb. 17, 2009.

INDIVIDUALS

Making Work Pay Credit

New law

The Recovery Act provides eligible individuals with a refundable income tax credit for tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. Code Sec. 36A , as added by Act Sec. 1001(a) 

The credit is the lesser of (1) 6.2% of an individual’s earned income or (2) $400 ($800 for a joint return). Code Sec. 36A(a) 

For these purposes, the earned income definition is the same as for the earned income tax credit with two modifications:

(a) it does not include net earnings from self-employment which are not taken into account in computing taxable income; and

(b) it includes combat pay excluded from gross income under Code Sec. 112 .

Code Sec. 36A(d)(2)The credit is phased out at a rate of 2% of the eligible individual’s modified AGI above $75,000 ($150,000 for a joint return). Code Sec. 36A(b)

OBSERVATION

The credit is reduced by any payment received by the taxpayer under Recovery Act Sec. 2201 or any credit allowed to the taxpayer under Recovery Act Sec. 2202 (these are recovery payments under the Veterans Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, and the Social Security Administration and credit for certain government workers, as discussed below). Code Sec. 36A(c) The failure to reduce the making work pay credit by the amount of such payments or credit, and the omission of the correct TIN (see below), are clerical errors. Code Sec. 6213(g)(2)(N) This allows IRS to assess any tax, resulting from such failure or omission without the requirement to send the taxpayer a notice of deficiency allowing the taxpayer the right to file a petition with the Tax Court. (Conference Agreement) An eligible individual is any individual other than: (1) a nonresident alien; (2) an individual with respect to whom another may claim a dependency deduction for a tax year beginning in a calendar year in which the eligible individual’s tax year begins; and (3) an estate or trust. Code Sec. 36A(d)(1)(A) An individual is not eligible if he does not include his social security number on the return. For joint filers, this requirement is met if the social security number of one of the spouses is included on the return. Code Sec. 36A(d)(1)(B) Any credit or refund allowed or made to an individual under this provision is not taken into account as income and is not taken into account as resources for the month of receipt and the following two months for purposes of determining eligibility of the individual or any other individual for benefits or assistance, or the amount or extent of benefits or assistance, under any Federal program or under any State or local program financed in whole or in part with Federal funds. Act Sec. 1001(c)It is anticipated that taxpayers’ reduced tax liability under the provision will be expeditiously implemented through revised income tax withholding schedules produced by IRS. These revised schedules should be designed to reduce taxpayers’ income tax withheld for each remaining pay period in the remainder of 2009 by an amount equal to the amount that withholding would have been reduced had the provision been reflected in the income tax withholding schedules for the entire tax year. Conference Report 

Economic Recovery Payment to Recipients of Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits

The Recovery Act provides a one-time payment of $250 to retirees, disabled individuals and SSI recipients receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, and disabled veterans receiving benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To be entitled to the $250 payment, the individual must have been eligible for one of the four benefit programs for any month during the three-month period ending with the month which ends before the month that includes the Feb. 17, 2009 date of enactment. Thus, to be entitled to the payment, the individual must have been so eligible during November or December of 2008 or January of 2009. Act Sec. 2201The one-time payment is a reduction to any allowable Making Work Pay credit (see above). Treasury must begin disbursing economic recovery payments as soon as practicable, but no later than June 17, 2009 (120 days after date of enactment).

 

 

Refundable Credit for Certain Federal and State Pensioners

Effective Feb. 17, 2009, the Recovery Act provide a one-time refundable tax credit of $250 in 2009 to certain government retirees who are not eligible for Social Security benefits. This one-time credit is a reduction to any allowable Making Work Pay credit (see above). Act Section 2202

Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit

New law

The Recovery Act increases the EITC credit percentage for families with three or more qualifying children to 45% for 2009 and 2010. Code Sec. 32(b)(3) , as amended by Act Sec. 1002(a)For example, in 2009, taxpayers with three or more qualifying children may claim a credit of 45% of earnings up to $12,570, resulting in a maximum credit of $5,656.50.

The Recovery Act also increases the threshold phaseout amounts for married couples filing joint returns to $5,000 above the threshold phaseout amounts for singles, surviving spouses, and heads of households) for 2009 and 2010 (subject to a further increase in 2010 for inflation). Code Sec. 32(b)(3)

Refundable Child Credit Eased

Currently, a taxpayer receives $1,000 tax credit for each qualifying child under the age of 17. To the extent the child credit exceeds the taxpayer’s tax liability, the taxpayer is eligible for a refundable credit (the additional child tax credit) equal to 15% of earned income in excess of a threshold dollar amount (the earned income formula). The threshold dollar amount was to have been $12,050 for 2008, as indexed for inflation. However, for the 2008 tax year, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act modifies the earned income formula for the determination of the refundable child credit to apply to 15% of earned income in excess of $8,500. For 2009, the earned income formula for the determination of the refundable child credit is 15% of earned income in excess of $12,550 (as indexed for inflation).

OBSERVATION

The change to $8,500 for 2008 is pro-taxpayer in that in can result in a larger credit than could have been the case had the figure been $12,050.

Families with three or more children may determine the additional child tax credit using the “alternative formula,” if this results in a larger credit than determined under the earned income formula. Under the alternative formula, the additional child tax credit equals the amount by which the taxpayer’s social security taxes exceed the taxpayer’s earned income credit.

 

New law

The Recovery Act modifies the earned income formula for the determination of the refundable child credit to apply to 15% of earned income in excess of $3,000 for tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. Code Sec. 24(d)(4) , as amended by Act Sec. 1003(a)

 

New American Opportunity Tax Credit

New law

The Recovery Act modifies the Hope credit for tax years beginning in 2009 or 2010. Code Sec. 25A(i) , as amended by Act Sec. 1004(a)The modified credit is referred to as the American opportunity tax credit. The credit is up to $2,500 per eligible student per year for qualified tuition and related expenses paid for each of the first four years of the student’s post-secondary education in a degree or certificate program. The modified credit rate is 100% on the first $2,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses, and 25% on the next $2,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses. Code Sec. 25A(i)(1) The definition of qualified tuition and related expenses is expanded to include course materials. Code Sec. 25A(i)(3) The credit is available with respect to an individual student for four years, provided he has not completed the first four years of post-secondary education before the beginning of the fourth tax year. Code Sec. 25A(i)(2) The credit is phased out ratably for taxpayers with modified AGI between $80,000 and $90,000 ($160,000 and $180,000 for joint filers). Code Sec. 25A(i)(4) The credit may be claimed against AMT. Code Sec. 25A(i)(5) Subject to an exception, forty percent of a taxpayer’s otherwise allowable credit is refundable. No portion of the credit is refundable if the taxpayer claiming the credit is a child subject to the kiddie tax under Code Sec. 1(g) . Code Sec. 25A(i)(6) The Recovery Act of 2009 requires IRS to conduct two studies and submit a report to Congress on their results not later than Feb. 17, 2010: a study on how to coordinate the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits with the Pell grant program; and a study on requiring students to perform community service as a condition of taking their tuition and related expenses into account for purposes of the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits. Act Sec. 1004(f)

 

Increased Transit and Vanpool Transportation Fringe Benefits

An employee can exclude qualified transportation fringe benefits provided by an employer from his gross income and from his wages for payroll tax purposes. These include parking, transit passes, vanpool benefits, and qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements. For 2009, up to $230 per month of parking benefits and up to $120 per month of transit and vanpool benefits (as indexed for inflation) are excludable from income.

New law

For months beginning on Mar. 1, 2009 and before Jan. 1, 2011, the Recovery Act increases the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits to the same level as the exclusion for employer-provided parking. Code Sec. 132(f)(2) , as amended by Act Sec. 1151

Computers as Education Expenses under 529 Plans

A person can make nondeductible cash contributions to a qualified tuition program (QTP, or 529 plan) on behalf of a designated beneficiary. The earnings on the contributions build up tax-free and distributions from a QTP are excludable to the extent used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. A QTP is a tax-exempt program established and maintained by a state (including a state agency or instrumentality), or one or more eligible educational institutions (including private ones) under which a taxpayer may: (1) buy tuition credits or certificates on behalf of a designated beneficiary which entitle the beneficiary to a waiver or payment of qualified higher education expenses—i.e., a prepaid educational services account, or (2) make contributions to an account set up to meet the designated beneficiary’s qualified higher education expenses—i.e., an educational savings account. This option is available only for state (or state agency or instrumentality) programs.

Qualified higher education expenses for QTP purposes are: (a) tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of a designated beneficiary at an eligible educational institution, and expenses for special needs services; and (b) room and board costs (subject to a limit) for students who are at least half-time.

New law

Under the Recovery Act, expenses paid or incurred in 2009 or 2010 for the purchase of any computer technology or equipment or Internet access or related services qualify as qualified education expenses under QTPs if such technology, equipment, or services are to be used by the QTP beneficiary or his family during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution. Code Sec. 529(e)(3)(A)(iii) , as amended by Act Sec. 1005(a)Expenses for computer software designed for sports, games or hobbies do not qualify under Code Sec. 529(e)(3)(A)(iii) unless the software is predominantly educational in nature. Code Sec. 529(e)(3)(A)(iii)  

First-time Homebuyer Credit Eased

For qualifying purchases of principal residences in the U.S. after Apr. 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, eligible first-time homebuyers may claim a refundable tax credit equal to the lesser of 10% of the purchase price of a principal residence or $7,500 ($3,750 for married individuals filing separately).

A taxpayer is considered a first-time homebuyer if he (or spouse, if married) had no present ownership interest in a principal residence in the U.S. during the 3-year period before the purchase of the home to which the credit applies.

OBSERVATION

Because only prior ownership in a principal residence is considered, it’s possible for a taxpayer who already owns a vacation home to claim the new credit, if he otherwise qualifies. For example, a taxpayer whose principal residence for at least three years has been a rental apartment in the city, and who owns a seaside home, could claim the credit for the purchase of a new principal residence if his modified AGI doesn’t exceed the phaseout levels discussed below.

Eligible first-time homebuyers who purchase a principal residence after Dec. 31, 2008, and before July 1, 2009, may elect to treat the purchase as made on Dec. 31, 2008.

The first-time homebuyer credit phases out for individual taxpayers with modified AGI between $75,000 and $95,000 ($150,000-$170,000 for joint filers) for the year of purchase.

The credit for new homebuyers is recaptured ratably over fifteen years, with no interest charge, beginning with the second tax year after the tax year in which the home is purchased. For each tax year of the 15-year recapture period, the credit is recaptured as an additional income tax amount equal to 6 2/3% of the amount of the credit. This repayment obligation may be accelerated or forgiven under certain exceptions.

OBSERVATION

In other words, the credit for new homebuyers is the equivalent of a long-term interest-free loan from the government.

 

 

New law

The Recovery Act extends the credit so that it applies to purchases before Dec. 1, 2009. Code Sec. 36(h) , as amended by Act Sec. 1006(a)In addition, it waives the recapture of the credit for qualifying home purchases after Dec. 31, 2008. This waiver of recapture applies without regard to whether the taxpayer elects to treat the purchase in 2009 as occurring on Dec. 31, 2008. If the taxpayer disposes of the home or the home otherwise ceases to be the principal residence of the taxpayer within 36 months from the date of purchase, the pre-Recovery Act 2009 rules for recapture of the credit apply. Code Sec. 36(f)(4)(D) The Recovery Act also increases the maximum homebuyer credit to $8,000. Code Sec. 36(b)The Recovery Act also provides that no D.C. homebuyer credit is allowed to any taxpayer with respect to a 2009 residence purchase if a credit is first-time homebuyer credit is allowable to the taxpayer under Code Sec. 36 . Code Sec. 1400C(e)(4)

 

Partial Exclusion of Unemployment Compensation

An individual must include in gross income any unemployment compensation benefits received under the laws of the U.S. or any State.

New law

Under the Recovery Act, up to $2,400 of unemployment compensation benefits received in 2009 are excluded from gross income by the recipient. Code Sec. 85(c) , as amended by Act Sec. 1007

New Temporary Deduction for Sales and Excise Taxes on Car Purchases

Taxpayers who itemize deductions may elect to deduct state and local general sales and use taxes instead of state and local income taxes, for tax years beginning before 2010.

New law

For purchases on or after Feb. 17, 2009 and before Jan. 1, 2010, the Recovery Act provides a deduction for qualified motor vehicle taxes. It expands the definition of taxes allowed as a deduction to include qualified motor vehicle taxes paid or accrued within the tax year. Code Sec. 164(b)(6) , as amended by Act Sec. 1008 The deduction generally is allowed to itemizers. It also is allowed to those claiming the standard deduction. Code Sec. 63(c)(1)(E) Qualified motor vehicle taxes are State or local sales or excise taxes imposed on the purchase of a qualified motor vehicle. Code Sec. 164(b)(6)(A) Only taxes on that portion of the cost of a qualified motor vehicle not exceeding $49,500 ($24,750 for a married person filing separately) may be deducted. Code Sec. 164(b)(6)(B) The amount of sales or excise taxes that may be treated as qualified motor vehicle taxes is phased out ratably for a taxpayer with modified AGI between $125,000 and $135,00 ($250,000 and $260,000 on a joint return). Code Sec. 164(b)(6)(C) A qualified motor vehicle is a (1) passenger automobile, light truck or motorcycle the gross vehicle rating of which is not more than 8,500 pounds and (2) a motor home the original use of which commences with the taxpayer. Code Sec. 164(b)(6)(D)

The deduction for qualified motor vehicle taxes is not available to a taxpayer who elects to deduct state and local sales and use taxes in lieu of income taxes as an itemized deduction. Code Sec. 164(b)(6)(F) The deduction for qualified motor vehicle taxes is allowed in computing the AMT. Code Sec. 56(b)(1)(E)

Limited-Time-Only Subsidy for COBRA Continuation Coverage of Unemployed Workers

The Recovery Act of 2009 provides a 65% subsidy for COBRA continuation premiums for up to 9 months for workers who have been involuntarily terminated, and for their families. This subsidy also applies to health care continuation coverage if required by states for small employers. To qualify for premium assistance, a worker must be involuntarily terminated between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009. The subsidy terminates upon offer of any new employer-sponsored health care coverage or Medicare eligibility. Workers who were involuntarily terminated between Sept. 1, 2008 and Feb. 17, 2009, but failed to initially elect COBRA because it was unaffordable, must be given an additional 60 days to elect COBRA and receive the subsidy. Participants must attest that their same-year income will not exceed $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families. Act Sec. 3001The subsidy is not taxable. Code Sec. 139C , as added by Act Sec. 3001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALTERNATIVE MINIUM TAX PROVISIONS

Following are highlights of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) tax changes in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) signed into law by the President on Feb. 17, 2009.

Boosted AMT Exemption Amounts for 2009

New law

For tax years beginning in 2009, the Recovery Act increases the AMT exemption amounts to:

… $46,700 (up from $46,200 in 2008) for unmarried individuals;

… $70,950 (up from $69,950 in 2008) for married couples filing a joint return and surviving spouses; ( Code Sec. 55(d)(1) , as amended by Act Sec. 1012(a))

… $35,475 (up from $34,975 in 2008) for married individuals filing separate returns.

OBSERVATION

The Recovery Act’s increases in the AMT exemption amounts are a temporary fix only. Absent Congressional action, the 2010 AMT exemption amounts for individuals will revert to the levels they were at for 2000. The one-year AMT “patch” has the effect of postponing for one year the reductions in those amounts that, under pre-Recovery Act law, were scheduled to go into effect for tax years beginning after 2008. Thus, these reductions are now scheduled to go into effect for tax years beginning after 2009, i.e., for 2010 and later years.

Personal Nonrefundable Credits May Offset AMT and Regular Tax for 2009

Under pre-Recovery Act law, for tax years beginning after 2008, the nonrefundable personal tax credits (other than the adoption credit, the child tax credit, the low-income saver’s credit, the residential energy efficient property, and the non-depreciable property portion of the plug-in electric car credit) were allowed only to the extent that their aggregate amount didn’t exceed the excess of: (a) the taxpayer’s regular tax liability, over (b) his tentative minimum tax, determined without regard to the alternative minimum tax foreign tax credit.

OBSERVATION

Thus, under the pre-Recovery Act provisions, the nonrefundable personal credits generally (except for the five credits noted above) couldn’t offset AMT. The AMT could also indirectly limit a taxpayer’s nonrefundable personal tax credits even in situations where the taxpayer wasn’t liable for the AMT.

New law

For tax years beginning in 2009, the Recovery Act provides that the aggregate amount of nonrefundable personal credits can’t exceed the sum of: (1) the taxpayer’s regular tax liability for the tax year, reduced by the foreign tax credit, and (2) the AMT. Code Sec. 26(a)(2) , as amended by Act Sec. 1011(a)(1)

OBSERVATION

Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit Allowed Against AMT

For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, the Recovery Act provides that the alternative motor vehicle credit is a personal credit allowed against the AMT. Specifically, the alternative motor vehicle credit for any tax year (determined after the application of the rules that treat the portion of the alternative motor vehicle credit attributable to depreciable property as a general business credit) is treated as a personal credit for the tax year. Code Sec. 30B(g)(2)(A) , as amended by Act Sec. 1144(a)

Repeal of AMT Limits on Tax Exempt Bonds Issued in 2009 and 2010

New law

For interest on bonds issued after Dec. 31, 2008 and before Jan. 1, 2011, the Recovery Act provides that tax-exempt interest on private activity bonds issued isn’t an item of tax preference for purposes of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Code Sec. 57(a)(5)(C)(vi) , as amended by Act Sec. 1503(a)

ENERGY TAX PROVISONS

Nonbusiness Homeowners Energy Credit Extended to 2010 and Modifie

dUnder pre-Recovery Act law, for property placed in service in 2009, a taxpayer could claim a lifetime nonrefundable credit of up to $500 for making qualifying energy saving improvements to his home, but only $200 of this credit amount could be for qualifying window expenditures. The expenses had to be made on or in connection with a dwelling unit located in the U.S., owned and used by the taxpayer as his principal residence, and originally placed in service by the taxpayer. The credit per improvement was:

(1) 10% of the cost of energy efficient building envelope components which meet criteria established by the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code. These consist of: insulation materials or systems that reduce heat loss/gain; exterior windows (including skylights); exterior doors; and certain metal roofs with pigmented coatings or (where placed in service after Oct. 3, 2008) asphalt roofs with cooling granules (which meet the Energy Star requirements) designed to reduce heat gain. The components must be expected to last for at least five years.

(2) Residential energy property expenses (including labor costs) for onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation which meet specific standards in an amount up to:

… $300 for the cost of energy-efficient building property (electric heat pump water heater, electric heat pump; central air conditioner; natural gas, propane or oil water heater; or a stove burning biomass fuel to heat or provide hot water to a taxpayer’s residence in the U.S.) that meets specific energy efficiency standards).

… $150 for a natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler.

… $50 for an advanced main air circulating fan.

Under pre-Recovery Act law, an individual’s expenditures from subsidized energy financing—i.e., financing provided under a Federal, State, or local program with a principal purpose of providing subsidized financing for projects designed to conserve or produce energy—wasn’t taken into account for purposes of the credit.

New law

The Recovery Act extends the Code Sec. 25C nonbusiness energy tax credit for one year through Dec. 31, 2010. Code Sec. 25C(g)(2) , as amended by Act Sec. 1121(e)For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, for property placed in service before Jan. 1, 2011, the Recovery Act raises the 10% credit rate to 30%. All energy property otherwise eligible for the $50, $100, or $150 credits is instead eligible for a 30% credit on expenditures for the property. Code Sec. 25C(a) In addition, the $500 lifetime cap (and the $200 lifetime cap for windows) is eliminated and replaced with an aggregate cap of $1,500 for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2008 and before Jan. 1, 2011. Code Sec. 25C(b)

Effective on Feb. 17, 2009, there are revised standards for energy efficient building property (electric heat pumps, central air conditioners and water heaters), oil furnaces and hot water boilers, and exterior windows, doors, and skylights. For tax years beginning after 2008, a revised standard also applies for stoves using biomass fuels. Code Sec. 25C(c) , Code Sec. 25C(d) For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, the limitation on subsidized energy financing is also eliminated. Code Sec. 25C(e)(1) , as amended by Act Sec. 1103(b)(2)

 

 

Cap on Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit Eliminated

For property placed in service before 2017, an individual is allowed a 30% credit for the purchase of residential energy efficient property, such as qualified solar energy property (i.e., property that uses solar power to generate electricity in a home); and qualified fuel cell property, up to a maximum credit of $500 for each 0.5 kilowatt of capacity. Under pre-Recovery Act law, the credit was also allowed for:

… qualified solar water heating property, up to a maximum credit of $2,000;

… qualified small wind energy property, up to $500 for each half kilowatt of capacity (not to exceed $4,000); and

… qualified geothermal heat pump property, up to $2,000.

Under pre-Recovery Act law, rules covered the treatment of joint occupants in allocating the credit taking these maximum limits into account for purposes of residential energy efficient property credit.

Under pre-Recovery Act law, an individual’s expenditures from subsidized energy financing—i.e., financing provided under a Federal, State, or local program with a principal purpose of providing subsidized financing for projects designed to conserve or produce energy—wasn’t taken into account for purposes of the credit.

New law

For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, the Recovery Act eliminates the credit caps for solar hot water, geothermal, and wind property. Code Sec. 25D(b) , as amended by Act Sec. 1122 The rules covered the treatment of joint occupants are revised to only apply to qualified fuel cell property. ( Code Sec. 25D(e)(4) ) For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, the limitation on subsidized energy financing is also eliminated. Code Sec. 25D(e) , as amended by Act Sec. 1103(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS PROVISIONS

Additional 50% First-Year Depreciation OK’d for Most Types of New Depreciable Property Placed in Service in 2009

New law

For property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2008, in tax years ending after that date, the Recovery Act provides an additional depreciation deduction in the placed-in-service year equal to 50% of the adjusted basis of “qualified property.” Code Sec. 168(k)(1) , as amended by Act Sec. 1201(a)The property generally must be acquired before Jan. 1, 2010 (before Jan. 1, 2011 for certain longer-lived property).

First-Year Depreciation Dollar Cap for New Passenger Autos Placed in Service in 2009 Raised by $8,000

Retroactively effective for vehicles bought and placed in service after 2008, the Recovery Act increases by $8,000 the first-year depreciation dollar limit for a passenger auto that is “qualified property” meeting the original use and acquisition and placed-in-service requirements. Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(F)(i)

OBSERVATION

Recovery Act Boosts Code Sec. 179 expensing for 2009

For tax years beginning in 2009, the Recovery Act increases the expensing limit to $250,000 and the investment ceiling limit to $800,000. The $250,000 and $800,000 amounts are not indexed for inflation. Code Sec. 179(b)(7) , as amended by Act Sec. 1202

Small Businesses May Elect Longer NOL Carryback Period

New law

For NOLs arising in tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2007, the Recovery Act permits small businesses to elect to increase the NOL carryback period for an applicable 2008 NOL (the “applicable NOL”) from 2 years to any whole number of years which is more than 2 and less than 6. Code Sec. 172(b)(1)(H) , as amended by Act Sec. 1211(a)A small business for this purpose is defined as a corporation or partnership that meets the gross receipts test of Code Sec. 448(c) (applied by substituting $15 million for $5 million) for the tax year in which the loss arose, or a sole proprietorship that would meet that test if the proprietorship were a corporation. This means any trade or business (including one conducted in or through a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship) whose average annual gross receipts (under Code Sec. 448(c) , as modified) are $15 million or less.

Reduced Estimated Tax Burden in 2009 for Individuals With Small Businesses

New law

Effective on Feb. 17, 2009, the Recovery Act provides that notwithstanding Code Sec. 6654(d)(1)(C) , for any tax year beginning in 2009, in computing the amount of the required annual installments of estimated income tax of any qualified individual, “required annual payment” means the lesser of (1) 90% of the tax shown on the return for the tax year, or (2) 90% of the tax shown on the return of the individual for the preceding tax year. Code Sec. 6654(d)(1)(D) , as amended by Act Sec. 1212; Committee ReportA qualified individual means any individual if the AGI on the tax return for the preceding tax year is less than $500,000 ($250,000 if married filing separately) and the individual certifies that at least 50% of the gross income shown on the return for the preceding tax year was income from a small trade or business. For estates and trusts, AGI is determined under Code Sec. 67(e) . A small trade or business is one that employed no more than 500 persons, on average, during the calendar year ending in or with the preceding tax year. Code Sec. 6654(d)(1)(D)(iii)

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HB 1594 – Environmental Cleanup Grants

February 9, 2009

HB 1594 Environmental cleanup grants. This legislation would not allow for a graduated student to be able to take advantage of the student loan interest adjustment on an individuals income tax return. Also, if in the form of a grant then student education expenses would not be taken also. A grant would be given at the time of education and it must be current. If a repayment of the amount is owing after the education then since the amount was paid in a prior year the unreimbursed and now required to be reimbursed amount due to default would have to be paid back. This would be doubling punitive to the student. There is no recognition of “Conditional scholarship” in the IRS tax code. A better way would be to require work during the summer months in order to be eligible for the scholarship or grant in the next year’s timeframe. This would make more sense and conditioning upon completion of academic quarters would be based upon a quarter by quarter basis. Thus no “Equalization Fee” would be required. the process of the interest rate being established by the Board could be punitive for individual students. The rate should be established by the Student Loan Program rate in effect for a given period of time. This should not be determined directly by a Board which could arbitrarily increase or decrease the amount. Selected individuals thus could be punished or rewarded with this type of system. Annual consideration of the interest rate is unrealistic. Interest rates currently are fluctuating daily. Forgiveness of fees and penalties and interests rates which are established by the board could be adjusted to reward some and punish others in the same way as interest rates could be adjusted. What this would come about to is graduated students would be working for a two to five year period for minimum wage and after completion of their projects they would still continue under minimum wage in the industry because another crop of graduating students need to work for minimum wage. Thus the summer work program which is limited in time would be a better method of building a “green” career. Minimum wage sucks.