Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

As we happily turn the calendar to January 2021, many start gathering receipts and documents to prepare for tax season. If you serve or have been recently appointed as a Personal Representative, Executor or Administrator, there are some important income tax issues you should be aware of to avoid legal action from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), or lawsuits from the decedent’s beneficiaries. Below are some answers to a few frequently asked questions concerning estate tax filings:

Q: When is a decedent’s final tax return due?

When someone dies, their tax year ends as of the date of death. The Personal Representative (Executor or Administrator) is responsible for filing the final federal and state returns and ensuring that any tax due is paid. These returns are due April 15 of the year after the date of death. If someone dies before filing a return for the prior year, the Personal Representative must make sure that the return is filed and any taxes paid. The IRS is one creditor you don’t want to mess with, as they can hold a Personal Representative personally liable for unpaid taxes.

Q: What is a “Step-Up in Basis”?


Continue Reading 5 tax tips for those dealing with estates

Franchise and multilevel marketing (MLM) businesses are often attractive because they offer people the chance to start a small business with a well-known brand and an established business model. However, they present unique estate planning challenges than other types of small businesses because the rights and obligations of franchisees and multilevel marketers are spelled out in contractual agreements.

What Is a Franchise?

When you purchase a franchise, you are purchasing a unit from a company that is already established in a particular industry. As a franchisee, you are entitled to use the company’s business model, advertising resources, and products, and receive training and ongoing support from the company to enhance your chances for success. In return, you must adhere to specified business practices and standards. The cost of purchasing the franchise can be quite high, and there are typically also ongoing fees for support and royalty payments for the use of the brand name.

What Is an MLM Business?

In an MLM business, you benefit from having established products to sell and the use of the company’s advertising materials to promote them. You earn money by selling the company’s products and recruiting other sellers whose sales provide you with additional income. MLM businesses usually offer flexible schedules and do not require substantial initial costs, though the company may require a minimum monthly purchase of products. Those who have a large network of friends and acquaintances and are friendly and extroverted are more likely to succeed, as MLM businesses involve presentations of products to generate sales.

How Do These Business Types Impact My Estate Planning?


Continue Reading Estate Planning for Franchise and Multilevel Marketing Business Owners

Guest post by Madison Tanner, Esq.

It is the most wonderful time of the year! Bonus season. Jokes aside, it is the season of giving. We have all been through so much this year: a pandemic, a contentious election, and virtual meetings replacing human interaction. The challenges we faced in 2020 resulted in the closure of local restaurants, reduced hours at small boutiques, and limitation of leisurely activities outside of the home. Many of us (particularly the last minute shoppers like me) are fleeing to our favorite small businesses to purchase a gift certificate for a loved one while simultaneously supporting the “shop small” movement. Small businesses graciously save the (holi)day with their festive gift certificates and I-O-U services. Thanks to these establishments, we can purchase an experience for our loved ones ranging from a facial or massage to a meal at their ideal lunch spot. The begging question is: how long does one have to use that gift certificate? The answer: in Florida, it should not expire.

Florida Law

Florida Statute § 501.95 governs on the issue. The statute, beloved by the consumer and despised by the small business owner, was first enacted in 2007 in an effort to regulate trade and protect consumers. Pursuant to § 501.95(2)(a):

“a gift certificate purchased or credit memo issued in this state may not have an expiration date, expiration period, or any type of postsale charge or fee imposed on the gift certificate or credit memo….”

Exceptions to the Rule


Continue Reading Small Businesses Beware and Consumers Rejoice: Gift Certificates Cannot Expire

Taxpayers have until today (July 15) to request an extension to file their 2019 federal tax return. If an extension is approved, taxpayers could have until October 15 to file, but any taxes owed are due by July 15.

Common Tax Return Errors

The IRS has noted the following common tax return errors:

  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers
  • Math errors
  • Inaccurate filing status
  • Incorrect calculation of credits or deductions
  • Unsigned returns
  • Filing with an expired individual taxpayer identification number

The IRS highly encourages taxpayers to use the e-file or IRS Free File system. The IRS software will formulate calculations, flag common errors, and prompt taxpayers for missing information, all of which ultimately reduces tax return errors. A tax return containing errors can delay refunds.

What if I can’t pay my tax bill?


Continue Reading IRS Provides Tips for Last-Minute Tax Filers

June 4 Update

House Bill H.R. 7010 passed the Senate and is now on its way to the President to sign. In addition to amendments relating to the PPP loan program, the bill provides that the deferral of employment taxes is now available even for taxpayers who have PPP loans that re forgiven under the CARES Act. This will allow taxpayers who obtain PPP loans and intend to apply for loan forgiveness to also defer the applicable employment taxes.

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On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued anxiously awaited guidance outlining the agency’s perspective on the good faith certifications made by Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) applicants. (See, PPP Frequently Asked Questions, #46).

PPP recipients of loans less than $2 million found relief in the SBA’s statement that it would deem those recipients to have made the certification in good faith.

For those with PPP loans at or above $2 million, the SBA will require the recipient to adequately support its certification. If the recipient fails to do so, the SBA indicated it will seek repayment of the loan in full, but the agency will not pursue administrative enforcement or refer the matter to other agencies.


Continue Reading SBA Issues New Guidance Addressing PPP Loan “Good Faith” Certification

June 4 Update

House Bill H.R. 7010 passed the Senate and is now on its way to the President to sign. In addition to amendments relating to the PPP loan program, the bill provides that the deferral of employment taxes is now available even for taxpayers who have PPP loans that re forgiven under the CARES Act. This will allow taxpayers who obtain PPP loans and intend to apply for loan forgiveness to also defer the applicable employment taxes.

April 30, 2020 Update

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-32, which provides further guidance on some certain tax consequences associated with PPP loans. In particular, the IRS has confirmed that expenses paid with PPP loans will not be deductible to the extent attributable to the portion of the loan forgiven.

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The Internal Revenue Service announced further tax relief for individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers.

Individuals and Businesses Extensions

Penalties and interest have been waived for every U.S. taxpayer, including those living and working abroad, who wish to wait until July 15, 2020 to file their 2019 federal tax return and/or pay any taxes owed. Should an individual need an extension beyond the July 15 deadline, they must file Form 4868.

A business who needs an extension must file Form 7004. Granted extensions will allow individuals and business owners until October 15, 2020 to file. This extension will not extend the July 15 deadline to pay taxes owed. Taxpayers requesting the October extension should estimate their tax liability and pay in full by July 15 to avoid accumulating interest and penalties.

Estimated Tax Payment and Unclaimed Refunds


Continue Reading COVID-I9: IRS Extends More Tax Deadlines and Provides CARES Act Guidance

June 4 Update

House Bill H.R. 7010 passed the Senate and is now on its way to the President to sign. In addition to amendments relating to the PPP loan program, the bill provides that the deferral of employment taxes is now available even for taxpayers who have PPP loans that re forgiven under the CARES Act. This will allow taxpayers who obtain PPP loans and intend to apply for loan forgiveness to also defer the applicable employment taxes.

April 30, 2020 Update

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-32, which provides further guidance on some certain tax consequences associated with PPP loans. In particular, the IRS has confirmed that expenses paid with PPP loans will not be deductible to the extent attributable to the portion of the loan forgiven.

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Following up on my post earlier this week regarding the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program Update: SBA Issues Some Guidance and Sample Application, the Final Rule has been issued and may be found here.

A summary of the highlights include:
Continue Reading COVID-19: SBA Issues Payroll Protection Program Loan Interim Rule Effective April 2, 2020

June 4 Update

House Bill H.R. 7010 passed the Senate and is now on its way to the President to sign. In addition to amendments relating to the PPP loan program, the bill provides that the deferral of employment taxes is now available even for taxpayers who have PPP loans that re forgiven under the CARES Act. This will allow taxpayers who obtain PPP loans and intend to apply for loan forgiveness to also defer the applicable employment taxes.

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According to the SBA’s website for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP):

  1. Applications may be open as early as April 3rd,and lenders may be able to approve the applications the same day;
  2. The unforgiven portion of any PPP loan will have a maturity of 2 years and a 1.0% interest rate; and,
  3. The SBA is imposing  another loan  forgiveness condition – “due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll”.


Continue Reading CARES Act Payroll Protection Program Update: SBA Issues Some Guidance and Sample Application

June 4 Update

House Bill H.R. 7010 passed the Senate and is now on its way to the President to sign. In addition to amendments relating to the PPP loan program, the bill provides that the deferral of employment taxes is now available even for taxpayers who have PPP loans that re forgiven under the CARES Act. This will allow taxpayers who obtain PPP loans and intend to apply for loan forgiveness to also defer the applicable employment taxes.

April 30, 2020 Update

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-32, which provides further guidance on some certain tax consequences associated with PPP loans. In particular, the IRS has confirmed that expenses paid with PPP loans will not be deductible to the extent attributable to the portion of the loan forgiven.

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On March 27, 2020, the federal government enacted the CARES Act. The Act includes a $349 billion dollar stimulus package available to small businesses in the form of a Small Business Administration 7(a) loan, known as a Paycheck Protection Program Loan. The loan is forgivable, and amounts to grant, if certain conditions are met. Below is a summary of the Paycheck Protection Program Loan terms and conditions along with a summary of a few other loan related provisions in the Act.

1.      Paycheck Protection Program Loan under 7(a) (NOTE: use of this loan may preclude eligibility for tax credits and payroll tax deferral under CARES Act)


Continue Reading COVID-19: Understanding the SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan under the CARES Act

Dan Schwartz of the Connecticut Employment Law blog posted yesterday about an interesting medical marijuana case in Connecticut. For the first time, a Connecticut court ruled that an employer could not refuse to hire an applicant simply because she was a medical marijuana user, despite the employer’s drug-free workplace program. This applicant, who used medical marijuana for PTSD, had her offer revoked after she tested positive for marijuana on the pre-employment drug screen. She then sued for discrimination. In ruling for the applicant, the court focused on the anti-discrimination provision in Connecticut’s medical marijuana law:

[U]nless required by federal law or required to obtain funding: . . . (3) No employer may refuse to hire a person or may discharge, penalize or threaten an employee solely on the basis of such person’s or employee’s status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver under sections 21a-408 to 21a-408n, inclusive. Nothing in this subdivision shall restrict an employer’s ability to prohibit the use of intoxicating substances during work hours or restrict an employer’s ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of intoxicating substances during work hours.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-408p(b)(3) (emphasis added).

Does this decision have any impact on Florida employers?


Continue Reading Connecticut Court Finds Employer Discriminated for Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User: What Does This Mean for Florida Employers?