Sep 252012
 
Overview Of The 5 Tax Amendments On The 2012 Florida Ballot

Included among the eleven measures which are set to appear on the November 6 ballot are five that will give Florida voters the opportunity to put more tax breaks into the Florida Constitution.    Here is a brief overview of each amendment: Amendment 2 – also known as the Florida Veterans Property Tax Amendment would amend Article VII Section 6 (Homestead exemptions) of the Florida Constitution to expand property tax discounts for disabled veterans.  As written now, the Constitution only provides a deduction if the disabled veteran was a resident of the state at the time of entering the military service.  More…

Sep 202012
 
IRS Treatment Of Forgiven Student Loan Debt Causing Concerns

In the wake of the housing market collapse, many people have become familiar with the concept of cancellation of debt (COD) income.  The basis for COD income is found in IRC § 61(a)(12) which states that gross income includes “income from the discharge of indebtedness.”  Understanding the logic of this provision can be tricky.  When a loan is given, neither the lender nor the borrower have any gain or loss.  The lender has no loss because it expects to be repaid and the borrower has no gain because it expects to have to repay loan.  Thus, at this point, there More…

Sep 172012
 
Transfer Of Business Assets In Florida May Come With State Tax Liability

A recently enacted Florida statute clarifies that the transfer of a Florida business’s assets is considered a sale of the business and that the sale may come with Florida tax liability.  Florida Statute § 213.758 states that when a taxpayer who is liable for taxes with respect to a business transfers either the business, the assets of the business, or the stock of goods of the business, the taxpayer must file a final return and make full payment of taxes within 15 days after the date of the transfer.  The statute goes on to state that a transferee, or a More…

Sep 142012
 
Amazon To Begin Collecting Sales Tax In California, When Will Florida Get Its Due?

Beginning this Saturday, September 15, 2012, online retailer Amazon.com will begin collecting sales tax for orders made in the State of California.  This will mark an end to a long fight between the internet sales giant and one of the largest states in the union. For years, Amazon relied on the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota to justify not collecting and paying state sales tax.  In that case, the Quill Corporation sold office equipment and supplies by soliciting business through catalogs and flyers, advertisements in national periodicals, and telephone calls.  Its annual national sales More…

Sep 122012
 
IRS $104 Million Whistleblower Payment Should Make Foreign Account Holders Nervous

Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS AG bank executive, was instrumental in helping U.S. authorities expose tax evasion facilitated by the Swiss banking giant.  The information Birkenfeld provided led to an investigation that ultimately resulted in a 2009 settlement between the United States and UBS, with the latter agreeing to pay $780 million in fines and to turn over the names of thousands of Americans suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes.  This settlement would be the precursor to the breaking of the backbone of the Swiss banking industry as a haven for tax-dodgers.  On Tuesday, Birkenfeld got his More…

Sep 072012
 
Church May Have Violated IRC By Endorsing Romney For President

St. Raphael Catholic Church of El Paso Texas appears to have violated the IRC by endorsing Mitt Romney in its bulletin.  “I am asking all of you to go to the polls and be united in replacing our present president with a president that will respect the Catholic Church in this country,” the entry in the church’s August 5 bulletin says. “Please pass this on to all of your Catholic friends.” 501(c)(3) organizations are strictly prohibited for engaging in political activity under several provisions of the IRC.  The rules that apply with respect to lobbying activities are set forth in More…

Sep 062012
 
IRS To Offer Relief To Taxpayers Affected By Hurricane Isaac

Following recent disaster declarations for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS has announced that it will extend tax relief to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Isaac.  As of now, affected taxpayers in Louisiana and Mississippi will be eligible to receive tax relief. Currently, IRS filing and payment relief applies to the following localities: In Louisiana: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes; In Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl counties. Other locations may be announced in the coming days based on additional damage More…

Sep 042012
 
What Qualifies As “Compensation” For The Purposes Of Florida’s Documentary Stamp Tax In Real Estate Transactions?

Section 201.02 of the Florida Statutes imposes an excise tax at the rate of $.70 per $100 (or portion thereof) on documents that transfer an interest in real property, such as warranty deeds, quit-claim deeds, easements, and deeds in lieu of foreclosure.  The tax is reduced for transfers in Miami-Dade County, where the rate is $.60 per $100 (or portion thereof), when the property is a single-family residence.  This documentary stamp tax is calculated based on the amount of “consideration” that passes between the buyer and the seller. So what qualifies as “consideration” for these purposes?  According to the above-referenced More…