Publications: Tax


  • Tax Reform In the Making: A Comparison of the Potential Revisions

    March 2, 2017

    With the coming of a new administration in Washington, D.C., there has been much speculation regarding potential tax law changes. Below is a comparison of various revisions being discussed by both President Trump and the House of Representatives in the House blueprint known as the “Better Way for Tax Reform.” Final legislation will depend in large part upon the budgeting process and various procedural rules that govern the passage of laws that are expected to create fiscal deficits. However, the comparison of the varying proposals will give you a flavor of potential things to come. Rest assured that the attorneys...



  • IRS Announces 2017 Estate and Gift Tax Limits and Mileage Reimbursement Rate

    December 29, 2016

    The IRS has announced the 2017 inflation adjusted numbers for several important gift and estate tax exclusions. Each year, several key gift and estate tax exclusions are adjusted for inflations, including the estate tax exclusion, the annual gift tax exclusion, and the estate tax deduction for decedents dying with certain farm or closely held business real estate. In 2017, the estate tax exclusion is $5,490,000. That means for people dying in 2017, because the gift tax and estate tax are unified, a person can make a total of up to $5.49 million of taxable gifts without paying gift tax or...



  • Landlords, Retailers and Restaurateurs Should Evaluate the Safe Harbor and Final Repair Regulations

    August 24, 2016

    The treatment of remodeling and repair costs has long been an area of controversy between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and restaurant owners, retailers, and even landlords. A retailer seeking to remodel its premises to refresh its brand or a restaurant owner seeking to refresh its floor and décor faced a significant risk of challenge from the IRS if they did not carefully analyze and account for the costs of such changes. Generally speaking, the taxpayers are seeking to deduct the costs associated with remodeling, repairing or refreshing their premises under Section 162(a) of the Internal Revenue Code while the IRS...



  • ACA Forms Due to Employees by March 31; Potential Need to Appeal Marketplace Employer Notices on the Horizon

    March 24, 2016

    March, May and June Employer Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting Deadlines The revised deadline for employer ACA reporting is just around the corner. By the end of the month (March 31, 2016), employers required to report health care coverage offers must furnish a statement to employees who worked 130 hours or more in at least one month in the 2015 calendar year. These employees should receive a completed IRS Form 1095-C or 1095-B, as applicable. Thereafter, employers have until May 31, 2016 (or until June 30, 2016, 2016, if filing electronically) to submit copies of these forms to the IRS, together...



  • Change in Sales and Use Tax Affects Contractors, Municipalities and Nonprofits

    February 4, 2016

    Certain local Wisconsin governmental entities and nonprofit organizations have historically been exempt from payment of sales and use tax. Under a change in Wisconsin law which took effect on January 1, 2016, contractors may purchase construction materials on behalf of certain tax-exempt entities and organizations without paying Wisconsin sales or use tax. In essence, as long as the construction materials are incorporated into a construction project for those tax-exempt entities, the contractor will get the benefit of its client’s tax exemption. Before the change in the law, the contractor would be required to pay sales or use tax on the...



  • IRS Proposes Regulations to Reduce Tax Incentives on Food and Beverage Manufacturers

    February 4, 2016

    Every business in the Food and Beverage Industry, large and small, should consider the effectiveness of the manufacturing deduction (also known as Section 199 deduction) as part of its business plan in 2016. The tax incentive represents an incredibly valuable benefit for businesses that perform manufacturing and other production activities. While the computations behind the deduction can be daunting, more businesses are finding the effort worthwhile in tax savings. The tax benefit for this incentive has become so great that the IRS is now trying to curtail the deduction by aggressively imposing their administrative powers, to try to overcome judicial decisions...



  • January 31, 2016 ACA Employee Notice Deadline Looms; Cadillac Tax Delayed; Other ACA Developments

    December 23, 2015

    January 31, 2016 Deadline to Furnish Forms to Employees By January 31, 2016, many employers must furnish notices to employees in connection with the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) information reporting requirements. Think of it as a W-2 for employer-provided health coverage. As summarized in our November 23, 2015 Client Alert, either a Form 1095-C or 1095-B must be furnished to employees, depending on the coverage type, the size of employer, and the existence of related employers. The Form will provide information about health care coverage offered (or not offered) to employees and their family members during the 2015 calendar year. February (or...



  • Increase in Safe Harbor Expense Threshold Creates Opportunity for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

    December 3, 2015

    With the release of Notice 2015-82, the IRS has provided a valuable end of year tax-planning tool to businesses looking to expense tangible property purchases. The tangible property regulations have been in effect since January 1, 2014. The regulations included a safe harbor under which businesses may expense, rather than capitalize, certain tangible property. One such example would be the cost associated with computers and other technological hardware, but would not include any software or other intangible expenses. The safe harbor is intended to both ease taxpayer compliance and reduce a business’s administrative burden. Notice 2015-82 raises the safe harbor from $500...



  • Businesses Can Lower Domain Name Acquisition Costs Via Amortization

    November 19, 2015

    The IRS recently concluded that certain domain names have to be capitalized as intangible assets and amortized over a 15-year period under Section 197 of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that a business that acquires qualifying internet domain names will be able to realize financial benefits by recapturing 100% of the purchase price through amortization, but will not be able to immediately expense the acquisition. Because domain names are valuable business assets and often command significant prices when purchased and sold on the secondary market, this guidance will enable business owners to substantially reduce the applicable net acquisition costs. For a...



  • Attention Employers: The IRS May Be Googling Your Employee Benefits Communications

    June 10, 2015

    Public sector and tax-exempt employers in Wisconsin should be aware that the IRS appears to be targeting section 403(b) plans for examination. Prior to and during recent IRS examinations of 403(b) plans in the state, we have learned that the audit trigger more than once was the IRS’s review of the employers’ websites for 403(b)-related communications. Unfortunately, the information revealed that the employers’ respective 403(b) plans were not being operated in compliance with IRS requirements. The posted documents ultimately led to the IRS selecting the employers’ plan for examination. As the IRS has emphasized in two recent newsletters targeted to federal,...



  • Corporate Attorney Authors Article for the The Journal of Accountancy

    April 13, 2015

    Corporate and Tax attorney Mark Kmiecik authored an article in the April edition of the Journal of Accountancy (JofA), a flagship publication of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The article addresses the responsibilities tax practitioners must take when considering to file a UTP. To read the full article, please visit, the Journal of Accountancy's Website....



  • When a Retiree Returns to Work, WRS, ACA, and Tax Rules Impact Public Employers

    March 31, 2015

    As described in our February 23, 2015 Client Update, “Act 10 and Total Employee Compensation,” rules under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) affect public employees throughout the employment life-cycle, from the initial determination of WRS eligibility through the termination of employment. An individual’s employment life-cycle is sometimes extended when he or she rejoins the workforce to provide services to a WRS employer after officially retiring. It is easy to understand how public employers can benefit from rehiring retired public employees, whether on a temporary, part-time, or longer-term basis. Retirees come prepared with a wealth of specific skills and experience without...



  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit Extended; IRS Issues Guidance on Certification for 2014 Tax Year.

    March 10, 2015

    Private sector employers are now further incentivized for their efforts in hiring otherwise disadvantaged workers. The IRS recently issued guidance extending the time employers may claim a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (“WOTC”) of $2,400 or more for each qualified employee hired in 2014. Because the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (see D&K’s Client Alert, President Signs Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014: Incentives for Employers and Individuals) extended the WOTC retroactively for the 2014 tax year, employers need additional time to comply with the certification requirements of WOTC. Notice 2015-13, summarized below, provides employers guidance on compliance aspects of...



  • Businesses Defer Tax Liability On Property Transactions, § 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges Regain Popularity

    February 12, 2015

    In today’s high-tax environment, many individuals and business owners are seeking renewed tax strategies when expanding their businesses and investments. Hence the recent uptick in the number of tax-deferred exchanges under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) being completed. The increased volume of § 1031 exchanges is attributable to a number of factors including: 1) the need for businesses to expand as the economy continues to improve; 2) the increase in property values since the Great Recession; 3) an increase in financing availability; and most significantly, 4) the increase in the capital gains tax rate as well as...



  • President Signs Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014: Incentives for Employers and Individuals

    January 8, 2015

    On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR 5771). Otherwise known as the “Tax Extenders” Act, this law retroactively extended through the end of 2014, over 50 tax breaks that expired on December 31, 2013. While there were discussions of making permanent a number of these extenders, particularly the Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions, Congress ultimately passed on making any of these provisions permanent and punted the fate of the extenders to 2015 and the incoming 114th Congress. So, yes, that means that these very same provisions expired as of...



  • IRS Form 1023-EZ: Nonprofits Rejoice – but is the Potential for Fraud Real?

    December 14, 2014

    On July 1, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Form 1023-EZ, a streamlined alternative to the venerable IRS standard-bearer in the world of nonprofits – Form 1023 Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3). The original Form 1023, weighing in at a robust 26 pages (including 7 schedules), can be burdensome, especially for small, volunteer based charities. For such nonprofits, the potential benefits were, quite simply, trumped by the significant commitment of time, money and organizational resources necessary to file the original Form 1023. Yet, due to the administrative oversight needed to process the lengthy Form 1023 applications, the...



  • Year-End Strategies Pave the Way for Minimizing Your Tax Burden in 2015

    November 24, 2014

    The final months of 2014 are a great time to finalize your tax planning opportunities and set the stage for minimizing your tax outlay in 2015. As a business owner, please be aware that in the wake of the election, sources indicate tax extenders are likely to pass, with some differences between the two houses in Congress being characterized as “easily resolvable” — one house leaning toward passing tax extenders as one bill, the other addressing tax extenders as six separate bills. Broad tax reform, even if put on a fast track would not likely take effect until late 2015...



  • Wisconsin’s New Trust Code: Ten Important Aspects Impacting Estate Plans

    June 6, 2014

    On July 1, 2014, Wisconsin’s New Trust Code (“WTC”) takes effect making Wisconsin the 29th jurisdiction to adopt a version of the Uniform Trust Code (“UTC”). The UTC grew out of the realization that modern era trust business is now globalized like the economy, and that a uniformity of trust laws is necessary to provide administrative and statutory consistency among the states. The continuing movement of states, like Wisconsin, to adopt a version of the UTC reflects this national character of the trust business and the importance of keeping up with current developments or risk falling behind in the competition...



  • Completed Contract Decision Gives Developers Wide Latitude

    March 17, 2014

    The United States Tax Court recently decided in the taxpayer's favor in a matter pertaining to the taxpayer's interpretation of the completed contract method of accounting. Under this method, profits from the sale of homes are deferred until the tax year when the builder has incurred 95% of the project’s total cost. In addition, the Tax Court agreed with the taxpayer that the construction contracts consisted of not only the dwelling units, but also the lots and improvements. The IRS argued that the completed contract method should apply to each home to satisfy the final completion and acceptance test...



  • U.S. Supreme Court Rejection of Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Unleashes Tax Opportunities and Uncertainties

    July 8, 2013

    On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in U.S. v. Windsor. Aside from the significant impact on employee benefit plans, the decision has broad tax implications for same-sex couples. For one, same-sex couples may now file joint federal tax returns if the couple lives in a state that recognizes their marriage. It should be noted, however, that joint returns are not always beneficial. If both partners in a same-sex marriage have high taxable incomes, filing a joint return could result in more taxes being paid. For example, the...



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