If you own a condominium, cottage, cabin, lake or beach home, ski lodge, or similar property that you rent for an “average” rental period of seven days or less for the year, you have a property with unique tax attributes.
Seven days example. Say you have a beach home and you rent it 15 times during the year, for a total of 85 days. Your average rental is 5.7 days. That’s an average of seven days or less for the year.
The right type of beach home or vacation cottage can produce great tax results when the average rental period is seven days or less.
But it’s tricky because when the average rental period is seven days or less, the property is not a rental property as defined by the tax code. Instead, the property is
> a commercial hotel type property that you report on Schedule C of your tax return if you provide services in connection with the rentals, or
> a weird in-limbo property that you report on Schedule E when you don’t provide services.
If the property shows a loss, you can deduct that loss on either Schedule C or Schedule E if you can prove that you materially participate. With the seven-days-or-less-average rental, you likely have only two ways to materially participate:
(1) The combined participation by you and your spouse constitutes substantially all the participation in the seven-days-or-less-average rental activity when you consider all the individuals who participated (including contractors).
(2) The combined hours of participation by you and your spouse in the seven-days-or-less-average rental activity are (a) more than 100 hours and (b) more hours than the participation of any other individual.
Example. Your seven-days-or-less beach rental produces a $20,000 tax loss for the year. On this rental, you spend 65 hours during the year. No other person works on the rental. You materially participate in this rental, and the $20,000 is deductible—period (regardless of its location on Schedule C or E).
If you have a profit on the rental, you likely have a Section 199A deduction when you report the rental on Schedule C as a business. Although not deemed a business by Schedule E reporting, the Schedule E rental could rise to the level of a business as defined for the Section 199A deduction.
If you have one of these seven-days-or-less-average rental properties and would like to discuss it, please call us at (919) 290-1011.
Good news. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) did not harm the backdoor Roth strategy.
As you likely know, the Roth IRA is a terrific way to grow your wealth with a minimum tax downside because you pay the taxes up front and then, with the proper holding period, pay no taxes after that.
But if you earn too much, you’re completely barred from contributing to a Roth IRA unless you can use the backdoor Roth technique, which involves making a nondeductible contribution to a traditional IRA and then rolling that money into a Roth.
The backdoor Roth strategy has been around for a good nine years, and it has experienced no trouble that we are aware of, so we think it’s a good strategy. We also like the recent notations in the legislative history and the comments from the IRS spokesperson that show approval of the strategy.
Keep in mind that with some planning, you can avoid any taxes on the rollover. For example, if you have an existing traditional IRA, you can move those monies to your qualified plan to avoid having the backdoor strategy trigger some taxes. And if you have no traditional IRA, the nondeductible contribution to the traditional IRA and the subsequent rollover to the Roth IRA triggers no taxes.
Tax reform’s Section 199A deduction often confuses small-business owners and tax professionals alike. It’s quite possible you’ll get a Schedule K-1 from a business that omits the information you need to calculate your deduction.
What do you do?
You have a big problem. Without a properly completed Schedule K-1, your Section 199A deduction is a big fat $0.
Best option: fix the K-1. You should request a corrected Schedule K-1 from the entity giving you the Schedule K-1 so you have the information you need to calculate your Section 199A deduction.
Not-so-great options. If you can’t get a corrected Schedule K-1, you have two options:
(1) Take no Section 199A deduction.
(2) File Form 8082 with your tax return and claim the Section 199A deduction.
You file Form 8082 with your tax return when you take a position on your tax return that is inconsistent with the Schedule K-1 you received.
Since the final regulations presume the Section 199A amounts are $0 when omitted, it is possible Form 8082 can rebut that presumption. The truth is, we do not know for sure.
You can determine qualified business income, but not W-2 wages or unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified property, from the other information on the Schedule K-1. Therefore, the Form 8082 option is likely available only if you are under the Section 199A taxable income threshold ($315,000 on a joint return or $157,500 for all other filing statuses).
You also might use Form 8082 if your Schedule K-1 has wrong Section 199A information—for example, if the K-1 indicates the business is a specified service trade or business, but it is not.
Amended return. If you did not take a Section 199A deduction and you eventually get a corrected Schedule K-1, you can claim the deduction on an amended return and obtain a refund.
Tax reform made many good changes in the tax law for the small-business owner. But the changes to the net operating loss (NOL) deduction rules are not in the good-changes category. They are designed to hurt you and put money in the IRS’s pocket.
Now, if you have a bad year in your business, the new NOL rules are designed to stop you from using your business loss to find some immediate cash. The new (let’s call them bad-for-you) rules certainly differ from the prior beneficial rules.
Old NOL Rules
You have an NOL when your business deductions exceed your business income in a taxable year. Before tax reform, you could carry back the NOL to prior tax years and get refunds of taxes paid in those prior years.
Alternatively, you could have elected to waive the NOL carryback and instead carry forward the NOL to offset some or all of your taxable income in future tax years.
New NOL Rules
Tax reform made two key changes to the NOL rules:
> You can no longer carry back the NOL (except for certain qualified farming losses).
> Your NOL carryforward can offset only up to 80 percent of your taxable income in a tax year.
The changes put more money in the IRS’s pocket by eliminating your ability to get an immediate tax benefit from your NOL carryback, and delaying your ability to get tax benefits from future NOL carryforwards.
We are bringing the NOL rules to your attention in case you need to do some planning with us. We likely have some strategies that can help you realize some immediate benefits from your business loss.
If you are a small employer (fewer than 50 employees), you should consider the qualified small-employer health reimbursement account (QSEHRA) as a good way to help your employees with their medical expenses.
If the QSEHRA is indeed going to be your plan of choice, then you have three good reasons to get that QSEHRA plan in place on or before October 2, 2018. First, this avoids penalties. Second, your employees will have the time they need to select health insurance. Third, you will have your plan in place on January 1, 2019, when you need it.
One very attractive aspect of the QSEHRA is that it can reimburse individually purchased insurance without your suffering the $100-a-day per-employee penalty. The second and perhaps most attractive aspect of the QSEHRA is that you know your costs per employee. The costs are fixed—by you.
Eligible employer. To be an eligible employer, you must have fewer than 50 eligible employees and not offer group health or a flexible spending arrangement to any employee. For the QSEHRA, group health includes excepted benefit plans such as vision and dental, so don’t offer them either.
Eligible employees. All employees are eligible employees, but the QSEHRA may exclude
> employees who have not completed 90 days of service with you,
> employees who have not attained age 25 before the beginning of the plan year,
> part-time or seasonal employees,
> employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement if health benefits were the subject of good-faith bargaining, and
> employees who are non-resident aliens with no earned income from sources within the United States.
Dollar limits. Tax law indexes the dollar limits for inflation. The 2018 limits are $5,050 for self-only coverage and $10,250 for family coverage. For part-year coverage, you prorate the limit to reflect the number of months the QSEHRA covers the individual.