2015 tax legislation

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2015 was a relatively busy year for Congress – they managed to pass some legislation that concerns us all. Below is a brief summary of issues to keep in mind as we approach the 2015 tax filing deadlines:

The TRANSPORTATION ACT (Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015): To avoid raising taxes to support this short-term highway bill, lawmakers turned to “tax compliance” measures to generate revenue (or at least accelerate the collection of revenue).

The new tax filing deadlines are as follows:
Partnerships and S-corps: March 15th
C-corporations: April 15th
Individuals: April 15th (unchanged)

The PATH ACT (Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015): This new law permanently allows small businesses to expense $500,000 of new equipment. It also restores the right to tax-free IRA required minimum distributions when contributing directly to a qualified charity. Such tax-free distributions can be a great estate planning opportunity.

The TRADE ACT (Trade Preference Extension Act of 2015): deserves a little more attention because it affects the child tax credit, the educational tax benefits, and expands fines for filers of Form 1099 not subscribing to a heightened level of accuracy.

The above Acts are comprehensive and cover diverse constituent targets. In reviewing their summaries the question that comes to mind is: How does anything get done? As this is a Presidential Election year, stay tuned for further changes.

The IRS announced that the tax filing season would open on Tuesday, January 19th, but most forms are not yet approved for e-filing, so the true opening date is still a couple weeks away. Fortunately, we have a few extra days this year, as Emancipation Day (a holiday in Washington D.C. to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which President Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862) is being celebrated on April 15th this year. This pushes the last day to timely file Individual and C-corporation tax returns to April 18th this year.