Tax Increases

Summertime in Washington

On August 11, the Senate passed the $3.5 trillion budget resolution for the 2021-2022 fiscal year – S. Con. Res. 14, as amended – by a vote of 50 to 49, strictly along party lines, including Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema who have repeatedly questioned the wisdom of such an expensive measure. The Senate’s overview[i] of the budget resolution began as follows:

On July 13th, 2021, the Senate Budget Committee, with the support of Leader Schumer and President Biden, announced a framework agreement of $3.5 trillion in FY2022 Budget Reconciliation instructions to enact the Build Back Better agenda. The agreement calls for the $3.5 trillion in long-term investments to be fully offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings, and long-term economic growth. In addition, the agreement would prohibit new taxes on families making less than $400,000 per year, and on small businesses and family farms.

Then, on August 24, the House also passed the budget resolution – H. Res. 601 – by a vote of 220 to 212, also strictly along party lines, including every Democrat who threatened to vote against the resolution unless it included a provision that repealed the cap on the SALT deduction, and including those moderates who threatened to oppose the resolution unless the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill was enacted first, all of whom submitted to the Speaker.[ii]
Continue Reading Tax Increases Are In Sight

The Dog Days[i]

I’ve never much cared for the month of August. In New York, at least for me, the eighth month of the year – named by the Roman Emperor, Augustus, to honor himself[ii] – evokes memories of very warm, very humid days, and anxious thoughts about the upcoming school year.[iii]

Although I no longer stress over returning to class, August has continued to be my least favorite month and, by the look of things, this year will be no different.

We begin the month with the Senate having finally agreed to take up debate of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package backed by the White House.[iv]

Continue Reading Step Transaction or Substance Over Form? Loss Disallowance in Any Case

Movement Toward Tax Increases

You may have read last week that Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee announced they had reached a deal on a budget resolution that will enable them to bypass Senate Republicans on the way to enacting most of the “social infrastructure” programs called for under the President’s American Families Plan.[i] Significantly, after the announcement, Senator Manchin, who is not a member of the Committee, indicated he would not stand in the way of the budget resolution, thereby practically assuring its passage and the start of the reconciliation budget process.

Continue Reading Employee-Shareholders, Reasonable Compensation And Employment Taxes

Not Good

As Mr. Biden settled into the White House, and as the Democrats began planning how to best utilize their slim Congressional majority to enact and pay for their sweeping legislative agenda, the principal concern among most owners of successful closely held businesses was Mr. Biden’s proposal to almost double the federal income tax rate applicable to the long-term capital gains recognized by an individual taxpayer.[i]

Continue Reading Tax Increases in Sight? Time to Sell the Business? Focus on Economics

Tax Gap

In a report released last week, the U.S. Treasury Department explained that the so-called “tax gap” – i.e., the difference between the amount of federal income taxes owed by taxpayers for a taxable year and the amount actually paid for such year – “disproportionately benefits high earners who accrue more of their income from non-labor sources where misrepresenting is common.”[i]

According to the report, the largest contributors to this shortfall are the underreporting of income and the overclaiming of deductions on tax returns. These practices, the report continues, are prevalent among higher-income taxpayers with “opaque income sources,” among which the report includes sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations, rental real estate, and small C corporations;[ii] in other words, the owners of closely held businesses.

The President is relying upon the data in the Treasury’s report to pressure Congress into closing the tax gap, in part, by increasing the IRS’s enforcement capabilities, requiring more information reporting with respect to “opaque income streams,” and regulating tax return preparers.[iii]

Continue Reading “Opaque Income Sources” + “Tax Gap” = More Enforcement + Tax Hikes = Anyone’s Guess

In advance of the President’s address to Congress this evening, the White House this morning released a summary of Mr. Biden’s proposed changes to the Internal Revenue Code. These changes, together with his previously announced plans to increase the federal corporate income tax, are intended to accomplish three goals: fund the government’s efforts against the pandemic, support new social programs, and enable tax cuts for lower-income families.

Continue Reading Tax Highlights: The American Families Plan

“Yeah, I’m the Tax Man”[i]

Last week, several media outlets reported that Mr. Biden will soon propose that Congress increase the federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains recognized by individual taxpayers.[ii]

The time and place at which this and other changes to the Code are expected to be proposed is this Wednesday, April 28, when the President, at the invitation of House Speaker Pelosi, will appear before a Joint Session of Congress[iii] to advocate for his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan.[iv]

These reports should not have surprised anyone. After all, candidate Biden ran on a platform that called for increases to the individual federal income tax rates applicable to items of both ordinary income and long-term capital gain.[v] As President, Mr. Biden has not wavered from this position.

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman

Continue Reading Biden’s Proposed Income Tax Increases And the Sale of the Baby Boomer Business

According to Justice Learned Hand, “Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” Stated differently, taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due.

Having said that, taxpayers have, over the years, demonstrated varying degrees of aversion to their tax obligations – especially in high-tax states like New York. Those New York taxpayers who are willing to “roll the dice” are hopefully aware of the associated audit risk, but many of them may be ignorant of the exposure they face from New York’s False Claims Act.

Continue Reading Thinking About ‘Avoiding’ NY Tax Increases? Then Think About the False Claims Act

Are the rich making enough of a contribution to society? Are they bearing their fair share of taxes? Many New York legislators don’t think so.

Following the elections of November 2020, the State’s Democratic party secured a veto-proof supermajority not only in the Assembly, but also in the Senate.[i] This development was significant because, until then, the State’s chief executive, Governor Cuomo – ironically, also a Democrat – had been the major obstacle standing in the way of tax increases on the State’s businesses and on its wealthier residents.

Continue Reading New York is Poised for Some Significant Tax Increases