Tuesday, May 28, 2019

IRS Issues 2020 Inflation-Adjusted Amounts For Health Savings Accounts



In a new Revenue Procedure (Rev Proc 2019-25, 2019-22 IRB), the IRS has provided the 2020 inflation-adjusted contribution, deductible, and out-of-pocket expense limits for health savings accounts (HSAs). 



HSA basics. 
Eligible individuals may, subject to statutory limits, make deductible contributions to an HSA. Employers and other persons (e.g., family members) also may contribute to an HSA on behalf of an eligible individual. Generally, employer contributions are treated as employer-provided coverage for medical expenses under an accident or health plan and are excludable from income.

In general, a person is an "eligible individual" if he or she is covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and is not covered under any other health plan, unless the other coverage is permitted insurance (e.g., for worker's compensation, a specified disease or illness, or providing a fixed payment for hospitalization). General purpose health accounts, such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), constitute "other coverage" that will usually preclude HSA eligibility. However, exceptions apply for, among other things, FSAs and HRAs that provide only certain benefits, such as dental and vision, and those imposing high annual deductibles.

HSA distributions not used to pay for qualifying medical expenses generally are included in income and are subject to a 10% penalty tax.

Annual contribution limitations for 2020. 
For calendar year 2020, the limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2)(A) for an individual with self-only coverage under an HDHP is $3,550 (up from $3,500 for 2019). For calendar year 2020, the limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2)(B) for an individual with family coverage under an HDHP is $7,100 (up from $7,000 for 2019).

HDHP for 2020. For calendar year 2020, an HDHP is defined under Code Sec. 223(c)(2)(A) as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,400 (up from $1,350 for 2019) for self-only coverage or $2,800 (up from $2,700 for 2019) for family coverage, and with respect to which the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, not including premiums) do not exceed $6,900 (up from $6,750 for 2019) for self-only coverage or $13,800 (up from $13,500 for 2019) for family coverage. 


For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn



Monday, May 13, 2019

2019 IRS Income Tax Deductions For Automobile Costs



Businesses that use a car or other vehicle may be able to deduct the expense of operating that vehicle on their taxes.

Businesses generally can use one of the two methods to figure their deductible vehicle expenses:
        • Standard mileage rate
        • Actual car expenses
For 2019, here are the standard mileage rates for calculating the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes:
  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
Of course, business taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. Here are some facts to help business owners understand the differences between the two methods of figuring their deductible vehicle expenses:
  • Businesses that want to use the standard mileage rate for a car they own must choose to use the standard mileage rate in the first year they use the vehicle. Then, in later years, they can choose to use either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

  • If a business wants to use the standard mileage rate for a car they lease, they must use this rate for the entire lease period.

  • The business must make the choice to use the standard mileage rate by the due date of their return, including extensions. They can’t revoke the choice.

  • A business that qualifies to use both methods may want to figure their deduction both ways to see which gives them a larger deduction.

  • Here are some examples of actual car expenses that a business can deduct:
o Licenses
o Gas
o Oil
o Tolls
o Insurance
o Repairs
o Depreciation – limitations and adjustments may apply  

Businesses can see Publication 463, Travel, Gift and Car Expenses, for a full list of actual expenses and how to calculate them.

More Information:
IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2019
IRS Notice 2019-02
National Small Business Week


For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn


User CSS For Firefox And Thunderbird

User CSS For Firefox And Thunderbird

User CSS Contributions For CustomizeMyBird and Custom CSS For FX

The repository at https://github.com/JYLD/User-CSS-For-Firefox-And-Thunderbird has user submitted CSS customizations for:
  1. The very excellent Firefox and Thunderbird add-ons by Aris-t2 at https://github.com/Aris-t2 ; and
  2. Other useful CSS contributions for Firefox and Thunderbird.
If you like Windows 7 or XP and you also like the Windows Classic XP/Win2000 look on Windows 7, then you may really like what the files mentioned here can do for you.

Note: I prefer the older look of Windows XP/2000 over the Windows 7 Aero interface. Therefore, I use the Classic Windows Theme on Win 7 as my starting point. Then I add the "Classic Start Menu" available from http://www.classicshell.net/ . Then for Firefox I use the "Classic Blue" theme from "ndnenigma" available for Firefox at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/5414873/ . This theme is a dark theme for the toolbar, bookmarks toolbar, and menu bar areas. For Thunderbird on my Windows 7 setup, I use the CustomizeMyBird and Theme and Font Size Changer add-ons. Plus my own custom CSS placed in the CustomizeMyBird user CSS window.

Various standard color choices from add-ons don't work as well as I would like (colorwise) with my Windows Classic Theme setup. Also, I like rounded tabs and spacing that is a little bit different from what the add-ons usually provide.

Therefore, I've had to modify some of the setup from Custom CSS For FX and CustomizeMyBird to get the look I find pleasing.

If you don't like the color choices in my CSS it can of course be easily modified.

If you want to further duplicate my color setup on Windows 7 then first select the Classic Windows Theme.  After that download the JYLD_Color_Choices.zip file to your computer and then double click the reg files it contains to add it to your registry.  You should save a copy of your current theme before doing this so you can go back to your original color choices.  Also note that my color choices work on Windows 7 and XP. On Windows 7 you must be using the Windows Classic Theme for these color choices to have any effect.  After adding the color choices reg file settings to your registry you will have to reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

NOTE: I have no idea how the color choices reg files would affect Windows 8 to 10, if at all. I don't even know if the Windows Classic Theme is available on Windows 8 to 10.

For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Six Things Taxpayers Should Know About The Sharing Economy And Their IRS Taxes

From renting spare rooms and vacation homes to car rides or using a bike…name a service and it’s probably available through the sharing economy. 

Taxpayers who participate in the sharing economy can find helpful resources in the IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov. 


Here are six things taxpayers should know about how the sharing economy might affect their taxes:

1. The activity is taxable.
Sharing economy activity is generally taxable. It is taxable even when:
  • The activity is only part time
  • The activity is something the taxpayer does on the side
  • Payments are in cash
  • The taxpayer receives an information return – like a Form 1099 or Form W2
2. Some expenses are deductible.
Taxpayers who participate in the sharing economy may be able to deduct certain expenses. For example, a taxpayer who uses their car for business may qualify to claim the standard mileage rate, which is 58 cents per mile for 2019.

3. There are special rules for rentals.
If a taxpayer rents out their home or apartment, but also lives in it during the year, special rules generally apply to their taxes. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool, Is My Residential Rental Income Taxable and/or Are My Expenses Deductible? to determine if their residential rental income is taxable.

4. Participants may need to make estimated tax payments.
The U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go. This means that taxpayers involved in the sharing economy often need to make estimated tax payments during the year. These payments are due on April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. Taxpayers use Form 1040-ES to figure these payments.

5. There are different ways to pay.
The fastest and easiest way to make estimated tax payments is through IRS Direct Pay. Alternatively, taxpayers can use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

6. Taxpayers should check their withholding.
Taxpayers involved in the sharing economy who are employees at another job can often avoid making estimated tax payments by having more tax withheld from their paychecks. These taxpayers can use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to determine how much tax their employer should withhold. After determining the amount of their withholding, the taxpayer will file Form W-4 with their employer to request the additional withholding.

IRS YouTube Videos:
Your Taxes in the Sharing Economy – English | ASL

For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn

Physicians, Hospitals, Clinics, And Other Health Care Providers Beware HHS Interpretation Of HIPAA Compliance Rules

As MD Anderson has learned the hard way over the past couple years HHS' interpretation of Mandatory versus Addressable HIPAA compliance rules and regulations can vary from the business practices of many Physicians, Hospitals, and other Health Care Organizations.

HIPAA provides many compliance rules that health care organizations must follow.  Those must follow rules are commonly referred to as "Mandatory".  Mandatory rules and requirements must be implemented to avoid HIPAA compliance problems.  There are however another set of rules and requirements that are not listed as Mandatory.  Instead these rules and requirements are listed as "Addressable".  Addressable rules have been treated by many Health Care Organizations as optional or merely suggestions by the government.

HHS however has made it clear in pursuing large fines against MD Anderson that the Addressable rules and requirements are more mandatory than optional.

HHS has ruled in the MD Anderson case that Addressable rules and requirements, specifically in the MD Anderson case the use of encryption techniques to secure electronic protected health care information, are MANDATORY unless the health care organization can demonstrate reasonable reasons why any particular Addressable rule and requirement does not need to be followed.

In the MD Anderson case a laptop and a few thumb drives were lost or stolen.  As a result the unencrypted electronic protected health information was disclosed to unauthorized persons.  MD Anderson contended that since encryption was an Addressable rule and requirement it was optional and therefore MD Anderson was not at fault for the unauthorized disclosures.

HHS says MD Anderson is wrong.  HHS says Addressable rules and requirements such as encrypting electronic protected health information is MANDATORY, and NOT optional, unless the health care organization can demonstrate a reasonable basis for why the Addressable rule and requirement in question does not need to be followed.

HHS ruled MD Anderson had not made any showing of a reasonable basis for not following the Addressable encryption of data rule, and therefore levied substantial penalties on MD Anderson.

MD Anderson is appealing to the courts, but their legal fight seems to be an uphill battle.

Best practice for any physician or health care organization is to treat Addressable rules and requirements, such as encryption of data, as Mandatory, unless they have some very strong and reasonable reasons why any specific Addressable rule and requirement does not need to be followed.

For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn

Thursday, February 28, 2019

How IRS Tax Reform Affects Taxpayers Who Claim The Child Tax Credit


Many people claim the child tax credit to help offset the cost of raising children. Tax reform legislation made changes to that credit for 2018 and later. 

Here are some important things for taxpayers to know.


Credit amount. The new law increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. Eligibility factors for the credit have not changed. As in past years, a taxpayer can claim the credit if all of these apply:
  • the child was younger than 17 at the end of the tax year
  • the taxpayer claims the child as a dependent
  • the child lives with the taxpayer for at least six months of the year
Credit refunds. The credit is refundable, now up to $1,400. If a taxpayer doesn’t owe any tax before claiming the credit, they will receive up to $1,400 as part of their tax refund.

Earned income threshold. The income threshold to claim the credit has been lowered to $2,500 per family. This means a family must earn a minimum of $2,500 to claim the credit.

Phaseout. The income threshold at which the child tax credit begins to phase out is increased to $200,000, or $400,000 if married filing jointly. This means that more families with children younger than 17 qualify for the larger credit.
New credit for other dependents. Dependents who can’t be claimed for the child tax credit may still qualify for the new credit for other dependents.  This is a non-refundable credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. These dependents may also be dependent children who are age 17 or older at the end of the tax year. It also includes parents or other qualifying relatives supported by the taxpayer.

More information:
Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families
Tax Reform Small Business Initiative


For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn


Monday, February 25, 2019

Five IRS Tax Facts About The New Form 1040

There are several changes to the 2018 Form 1040. However, taxpayers who file electronically may not notice the changes as the tax return preparation software guides people through the filing process.

The IRS worked closely with its partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform and tax form changes affecting tax year 2018, including the Form 1040. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their tax returns.

Here are five things taxpayers need to know about the 2018 Form 1040.
  • The 2018 Form 1040 replaces Forms 1040,1040A and 1040EZ with one 2018 Form 1040 that all taxpayers will file.

  • Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer available. Taxpayers who used one of these forms in the past will now file Form 1040.

  • The 2018 Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach and allows taxpayers to add only the schedules they need to their 2018 tax return.

  • The most commonly used lines on the prior year form are still on the form. Other lines are moved to new schedules and are organized by category. These categories include income, adjustments to income, nonrefundable credits, taxes, payments, and refundable credits.

  • Many taxpayers will only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules. Those with more complicated tax returns will need to complete one or more of the 2018 Form 1040 Schedules along with their Form 1040. These taxpayers include people claiming certain deductions or credits, or owing additional taxes.
Electronic filers may not notice any changes because the tax return preparation software will automatically use their answers to the tax questions to complete the Form 1040 and any needed schedules.

For taxpayers who filed paper returns in the past and are concerned about these changes, this year may be the year to consider the benefits of filing electronically. Using tax software is convenient, safe and a secure way to prepare and e-file an accurate tax return.

More information:
About the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
Questions and Answers About the 2018 Form 1040
Get Ready for Tax Filing Season
Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families
Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
IRS Tax Map


For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

Review-Like-Follow AttorneyBritt On:
Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn Review-Like-Follow Us On Yelp Review-Like-Follow Us On LinkedIn