4 cents x 4 years = $202.35 tax bill
Friending, finding tax deadbeats

Tax provisions in new jobs bill

The $18 billion job creation package, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, officially known as H.R. 2847, will be law any time now.

UPDATE: It's official. Obama signed the bill this afternoon (3/18) in a Rose Garden ceremony.

The measure was finally approved by the Senate, 68-to-29, on March 17; the House had passed the bill on March 4, 2010, by a 217-to-201 margin.

The bill's primary provisions encourage businesses to hire and keep workers. But there are a couple tax provisions of note.

Business write-offs continued: First, the previously expanded Section 179 expensing rules that expired on Dec. 31, 2009, have been extended retroactively through 2010.

Section 179 gives businesses the option to write off some expenditures in one tax year rather than depreciate them over several.

The enhanced expensing rules had been in effect since 2008. If Congress had not continued them, this year (and beyond) businesses would have faced a $125,000 limit with with a $500,000 cap.

But under the now-continued provision, small businesses will be able to use the $250,000 limit and the increased phase-out threshold of $800,000.

Foreign accounts targeted: To help pay for HIRE costs, folks who have money in non-U.S. accounts will face more scrutiny and tax requirements.

International finance reporting provisions that were originally introduced as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 (FACTA) were added to the jobs bill.

This includes a a 30 percent withholding tax on income from U.S. financial assets held by foreign financial institutions unless the institutions have agreed to disclose certain American account holders. The foreign banks also must provide an annual report of the account balance, gross receipts and gross withdrawals of the U.S. account holders.

Owners of such accounts have to report on their tax returns such assets worth over $50,000. The IRS also can now impose a 40 percent penalty for understatements of income in an undisclosed foreign financial asset.

And if a taxpayer fails to report an amount that exceeds 25 percent of income from a foreign account, tax investigators now have six years to investigate.

More details on HIRE can be found in the CCH Briefing and the Grant Thornton Legislative Update on the bill.

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Pat, from my reading, the transfer to the vacated (terminated) position that then opens up the slot for a person who meets HIRE guidelines sounds OK. But I'm checking with folks who get paid to offer tax advice! Kay

Pat Fleck

Hi Kay,

I have a quick question on the Hire Act.

If a company fires an employee for cause, fills that person’s role with an internal transfer, and then fills that person’s role with a new hire who qualifies for the credit on the basis of his unemployment, may the company go ahead and take the credit?

Thanks very much!

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