Taxpayers and their advisers engaged in year-end tax planning for 2015 are challenged by the uncertain fate of “extender legislation.” In previous years, a number of “temporary” tax rules, i.e., those having a termination date specified in the Code, routinely were extended for one or two years, but this year, Congress has yet to act on a host of important provisions that expired at the end of 2014. Some or all of these expired provisions may be retroactively reinstated, thereby, opening up some truly last minute year-end tax planning opportunities, but there’s no way of knowing if that will take place.
The tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014 included, for individuals: the option to deduct state and local sales and use taxes instead of state and local income taxes; the above-the-line-deduction for qualified higher education expenses; tax-free IRA distributions for charitable purposes by those age 70-½ or older and the exclusion for up-to-$2 million of mortgage debt forgiveness on a principal residence. For businesses, tax breaks that expired at the end of last year and may be retroactively reinstated and extended include: 50% bonus first year depreciation for most new machinery, equipment and software; the $500,000 annual expensing limitation; the research tax credit and the 15-year write off for qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property and qualified retail improvement property.
Call Jellison CPA to make your 2015 year-end tax planning appointment.