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The IRS and the Treasury intend to provide regulations that will address issues affecting foreign corporations with previously taxed earnings and profits (PTEP). The regulations are in response to changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97)


The IRS has proposed regulations on the limitation on the business interest expense deduction under Code Sec. 163(j), as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). The IRS also has issued a safe harbor that allows taxpayers to treat certain infrastructure trades or businesses as real property trades or businesses solely for purposes of qualifying as an electing real property trade or business under Code Sec. 163(j)(7)(B).


A nonprofit corporation that operated a medical-marijuana dispensary legally under California law was not allowed to claim deductions for business expenses on its federal return. Code Sec. 280E, which prevents any trade or business that consists of trafficking in controlled substances from deducting any business expenses, applied.


The IRS released the optional standard mileage rates for 2019. Most taxpayers may use these rates to compute deductible costs of operating vehicles for:


The IRS has provided guidance and examples for calculating the nondeductible portion of parking expenses. In addition, the IRS has provided guidance to tax-exempt organizations to help such organizations determine how unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) will be increased by the nondeductible amount of such fringe benefit expenses paid or incurred.


The IRS has released initial guidance on the new Code Sec. 83(i), added by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97).

Code Sec. 83 generally provides for the federal income tax treatment of property transferred in connection with the performance of services. Code Sec. 83(i) allows certain employees to elect to defer recognition of income attributable to the receipt or vesting of qualified stock for up to five years.


Highly anticipated foreign tax credit regulations have been issued that provide guidance on the significant changes made to the foreign tax credit rules by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97).


Proposed regulations provide much anticipated guidance on the base erosion and anti-abuse tax (BEAT) under Code Sec. 59A and related reporting requirements. The regulations are proposed to apply generally to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, but taxpayers may rely on these proposed regulations until final regulations are published.


The IRS will grant automatic consent to accounting method changes to comply with new Code Sec. 451(b), as added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97). In addition, some taxpayers may make the accounting method change on their tax returns without filing a Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method. These procedures generally apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Rev. Proc. 2018-31, I.R.B. 2018-22, 637, is modified.


The IRS has issued transition relief from the "once-in-always-in" condition for excluding part-time employees under Reg. §1.403(b)-5(b)(4)(iii)(B). Under the "once-in-always-in" exclusion condition, once an employee is eligible to make elective deferrals, the employee may not be excluded from making elective deferrals in any later exclusion year on the basis that he or she is a part-time employee.


The IRS has provided interim guidance for the 2019 calendar year on income tax withholding from wages and withholding from retirement and annuity distributions. In general, certain 2018 withholding rules provided in Notice 2018-14, I.R.B. 2018-7, 353, will remain in effect for the 2019 calendar year, with one exception.


The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has renewed its call for immediate guidance on new Code Sec. 199A. The AICPA highlighted questions about qualified business income (QBI) of pass-through income under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97). "Taxpayers and practitioners need clarity regarding QBI in order to comply with their 2018 tax obligations," the AICPA said in a February 21 letter to the Service.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did not directly change the tax rate on capital gains: they remain at 0, 10, 15 and 20 percent, respectively (with the 25- and 28-percent rates also reserved for the same special situations). However, changes within the new law impact both when the favorable rates are applied and the level to which to may be enjoyed.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increases bonus depreciation rate to 100 percent for property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023. The rate phases down thereafter. Used property, films, television shows, and theatrical productions are eligible for bonus depreciation. Property used by rate-regulated utilities, and property of certain motor vehicle, boat, and farm machinery retail and lease businesses that use floor financing indebtedness, is excluded from bonus depreciation.


The IRS has released the 2018 optional standard mileage rates to be used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup of panel truck will be:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 53.5 cents in 2017);
  • 18 cents per mile for medical and moving expenses (up from 17 cents in 2017); and
  • 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes (permanently set by statute at 14 cents).

Comment. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate after using a depreciation method under Code Sec. 168 or after claiming the Code Sec. 179 deduction for that vehicle. A taxpayer may not use the business rate for more than four vehicles at a time. As a result, business owners have a choice for their vehicles: take the standard mileage rate, or “itemize” each part of the expense (gas, tolls, insurance, etc., and depreciation).


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