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Tax uncertainty makes year-end planning essential

Crowe Horwath LLP issues its 2015 year-end tax planning guide for businesses and individuals

CHICAGO (Oct. 28, 2015) Recent years have brought significant changes to federal tax law, but there are still many unknowns for taxpayers. To help businesses and individuals determine the best tax strategies available, Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest public accounting, consulting and technology firms in the U.S., has issued “Tax Planning: 2015 Year-End Guide.”  

To date, a number of tax relief programs that expired at the end of 2014, such as bonus depreciation, research credits and work opportunity credit, have not been extended. “The tax extenders weren’t signed into law until late in December last year, and there’s no indication that they won’t be extended again this year. However, taxpayers need to be flexible and cautious for the time being, since their extensions aren’t guaranteed,” said Gary Fox, managing partner of Crowe Tax Services.   

For businesses with 100 or more employees, this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) play-or-pay provision is in effect. Under the ACA, premium tax credits are available to employees who enroll in a qualified health plan through a government-run health insurance marketplace and meet certain requirements – but only if they don’t have access to “minimum essential coverage” from their employer or the employer plan offered is “not affordable” or doesn’t provide “minimum value.” If the employer is obligated to provide health insurance and just one employee receives a premium tax credit, the penalty may apply. Beginning in 2016 employers with 50 or more employees will also be subject to the ACA play-or-pay provision. “The detailed guidance of the ACA is extensive, but it includes some exceptions for mid-sized businesses,” Fox said. “If your business could be subject to the penalties this year or next, review your workforce and coverage offerings. There may be changes you could make to avoid or minimize penalties, or it may be cheaper to pay the penalties. However, it’s important to remember that penalties aren’t deductible, and not offering healthcare coverage could make it harder to attract and retain the best employees.”

Fox added that individuals should pay close attention to see if they’re subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Individuals must pay the AMT if their AMT liability exceeds their regular tax liability. This occurs because AMT preference items, such as the state income tax deduction, are not deductible for AMT purposes. Individuals can use planning strategies to help mitigate the AMT tax burden.  “Individuals need to pay close attention to the income their investments are earning so they’re not caught off guard. Tax-exempt interest from certain private-activity municipal bonds can trigger or increase the AMT in some situations,” he said. 

The “Tax Planning: 2015 Year-End Guide” includes information on income and deductions, family and education, investments, business, retirement, estate planning and tax rates. To download the guide, please visit: www.crowehorwath.com/yearend-NR.

About Crowe Horwath
Crowe Horwath LLP (www.crowehorwath.com) is one of the largest public accounting, consulting and technology firms in the United States. Under its core purpose of “Building Value with Values®,” Crowe uses its deep industry expertise to provide audit services to public and private entities while also helping clients reach their goals with tax, advisory, risk and performance services. With offices coast to coast and 3,000 personnel, Crowe is recognized by many organizations as one of the country's best places to work. Crowe serves clients worldwide as an independent member of Crowe Horwath International, one of the largest global accounting networks in the world. The network consists of more than 200 independent accounting and advisory services firms in more than 120 countries around the world.

 

 

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