If you have not yet filed your 2021 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service provides a plethora of guidance. Below is a summary of few of the items taxpayers should know before filing:

Cryptocurrency

Did you receive, sell, exchange or buy any virtual currency? All taxpayers filing Form 1040, Form 1040-SR or Form 1040-NR must check one box answering either “Yes” or “No” to the virtual currency question. The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just taxpayers who engaged in a transaction involving virtual currency in 2021. Click here for more information.

Tax Breaks for Teachers

Teachers or other educators can deduct the unreimbursed cost of books, supplies, computer equipment, software and COVID-19 protective items used in the classroom. For 2022, they will be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when they file their federal income tax return next year. If they are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $600. Click here for more information. For those teachers and educators filing their 2021 tax returns due in April, the deduction is limited to $250. The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments.

Need more time to file?

Continue Reading Important Reminders as 2022 “Tax Day” Approaches

Tax TimeWelcome to 2022 tax season! As the vast majority of businesses, small and large, were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies received support through the Paycheck Protection Program. However, there were many question marks with the Paycheck Protection Program, such as the timing of forgiveness and if eligible expenses are deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Timing of PPP loan forgiveness

As we all know, the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) was created to assist businesses in paying their employees’ paychecks. If the funds received from PPP were used for qualified expenses, the amount of the loan was forgiven. Recently, the IRS released guidance on the timing of PPP Loan forgiveness. With some business owners not receiving their forgiveness letter in 2021, the question arose when the PPP loan will be forgiven for tax-exempt income purposes.

The IRS stated that taxpayers may treat such income as received or accrued when either:

  • expenses eligible for forgiveness are paid or incurred;
  • an application for PPP loan forgiveness is filed; or
  • PPP loan forgiveness is granted.

Thus, a taxpayer who submitted their application for forgiveness in 2021, but has not been granted forgiveness in the 2021 tax year, may choose the date of the forgiveness application, the date the forgiveness is granted, or the when eligible expenses are paid or incurred.

Expenses paid with 2020 PPP loans


Continue Reading How does receiving a PPP Loan impact filing my company’s taxes?

Henderson Franklin’s legal team returns to Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa on Friday, February 25, 2022 with a new twist. The main room will offer the firm’s most popular workshop, HR Law & Solutions.

New for 2022, attendees will have the option to attend breakout sessions focusing on niche corporate matters and contracts, family businesses, startups and how to make informed real estate decisions. Click here to download the brochure.

Topics and speakers

General Session #1, Lingering Effects of COVID on Florida Employers, presented by Scott Atwood, Esq.

From business shutdowns and PPP loans to vaccinations, COVID has presented unique challenges to Florida businesses. Henderson Franklin’s employment group chair Scott Atwood will address the multi-faceted employment issues that employers may face, including: current obligations over masks and mandatory vaccinations; how to deal with possible long-term disability claims and leave issues arising from COVID; increased union activity; and the pros and cons of a remote/hybrid workforce.

General Session #2, Saving a Buck can Cost you a Million. Update on Recent Employment Cases and Mistakes that Employers Keep Making, presented by Scott Atwood, Esq. and Robert Shearman, Esq.


Continue Reading Registration is Open: Southwest Florida Legal Summit

new businessWhat if I were to tell you, you could be both an LLC and an S-corporation and still be considered one single business entity?

An S-corporation is not a state law entity designation, similar to a Florida corporation or a Florida limited liability company. However, an S-corporation is merely a federal income tax classification made on a specific Internal Revenue Service form (Form 2553). Thus, one can form a Florida limited liability company (“LLC”) and elect to be an S-corporation for federal income tax purposes with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).

Who is eligible to make the election?

Generally, the entity wishing to make the election needs to be a domestic corporation or an LLC. However, certain types of businesses are ineligible to make the election, such as insurance companies or financial institutions. In addition, the entity must have eligible shareholders, meaning the owners of the entity must meet specific requirements of the Tax Code.

Who can be an eligible shareholder?

shareholderAn eligible shareholder can be an individual (other than non-resident alien), estates, certain trusts, certain qualified retirement trusts, or charitable organizations. More specifically:

  • So long as the individual is not a non-resident alien, individuals are eligible S-corporation shareholders. Individuals may co-own an S-corporation with other individuals, such as husband and wife, as joint tenants by the entirety.
  • If an individual shareholder declares bankruptcy, the bankruptcy estate is a permissible S-corporation shareholder. If an individual shareholder passes away, their estate is an eligible S-corporation shareholder, as well.
  • Testamentary Trusts. These trusts become effective upon the death of a shareholder and hence become eligible to be an S-corporation shareholder.
  • Voting Trusts. Shareholders may create these trusts to temporarily transfer their shares to the trustee to combine their voting power. Voting trusts are eligible to be S-corporation shareholders.
  • Qualified Subchapter S Trust (“QSST”). A QSST is an eligible S-Corporation shareholder if it meets specific rigid requirements.
  • Small Business Trust (“ESBT”). An ESBT is a trust for beneficiaries that are all eligible s-corporation shareholders that acquired their trust interest by lifetime gifts or upon the death of an owner. These are more flexible trusts than the QSST described above.

Coming back to the opening question of an LLC or an S-corporation, so long as the individuals forming the LLC are eligible shareholders described above, the LLC can make the election treated as an S-corporation.

When to make the election?


Continue Reading Should I start my new business as an LLC or S-Corporation?

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

Many employers are all too familiar with the experience of having to refund contributions made to the organization’s 401(k) plan by highly compensated employees to remedy the previous year’s failed actual deferral percentage (“ADP”) test. The ADP test is designed to ensure that the average deferral rates for highly and non-highly compensated employees are roughly equal. Thanks to the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (“SECURE Act”), the experience of refunding highly compensated employees’ deferrals in order to satisfy the ADP test will in many cases be consigned to history. The below addresses how the SECURE Act relaxes some of the rules affecting 401(k) plan testing.

Q: Can a 401(k) plan retroactively avoid ADP testing?

The year 2021 presents for the first time the opportunity to retroactively escape the prior year’s ADP test without regard to the extent by which contributions from highly compensated employees exceeded the average deferral percentage contributed by the organization’s non-highly compensated employees. Under the SECURE Act, it is now possible to adopt a safe harbor nonelective 401(k) feature that will exempt the plan from ADP testing with respect to the previous year. Unlike in the past, a notice to participants before the beginning of the year in which the safe harbor nonelective contribution applies is no longer required. As such, employers can now wait until the end of the year, or even longer, before deciding whether to make a safe harbor nonelective contribution for the year.

Q: How are safe harbor nonelective contributions similar to, or different from, safe harbor matching contributions?


Continue Reading New 401k rules could end “refunded contributions”

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

Two Fort Myers tax lawyers will once again host a complimentary webinar to help the Southwest Florida community understand the tax law changes in light of the COVID-19 crisis. On Friday, May 1, 2020, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, Lindsay Sablan, a journalist and WINK News morning anchor, will serve as moderator, with speakers attorney Shanthy Bala, the Tax Clinic Director and Supervising Associate at Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc., and Sara Qureshi, a business and tax attorney at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., will present “Tax Law Changes Amidst COVID-19: Further Guidance Providing Relief to Individuals and Small Businesses” in association with the Lee County Bar Association and its Pro Bono Committee.

This one-hour session will go over recent updates and frequently asked questions regarding federal tax relief available for individuals and businesses during COVID-19, including questions that were submitted to the clinic after the last webinar on April 3rd. Questions may be submitted in advance by email to Shanthy.Bala@FRLS.org.

Continuing Education

Continue Reading May 1 Webinar to Provide Guidance on COVID-19 Tax Relief for Individuals and Small Businesses

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