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Chapter 1 An Introduction to Taxation and Understanding the Federal Tax Law Individual Income Taxes © 2012 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part. 1
The Big Picture (slide 1 of 5) • Travis and Betty Carter are married and have 2 children – April (age 17), and – Martin (age 18) • Travis is a mining engineer; Betty is a registered nurse • The Carters live only a few blocks from Ernest and Mary Walker, Betty Carter’s parents – The Walkers are retired and live on interest, dividends, and Social Security benefits.
The Big Picture (slide 2 of 5) • Various developments occurred during the year with possible tax ramifications – The ad valorem property taxes on the Carters’ residence are increased, while those on the Walkers’ residence are lowered – When Travis registers an automobile purchased last year in another state, he is forced to pay a sales tax to his home state
The Big Picture (slide 5 of 5) • Various developments occurred during the year with possible tax ramifications (cont) – The Walkers are audited by the IRS • Unlike the Carters, they did not have to deal with an agent but settled the matter by mail • Explain these developments and resolve the issues raised. Read the chapter and formulate your response.
History of Taxation (slide 1 of 2) • Prior to 1900 s income tax financed wars – 1861: First Federal individual income tax enacted » Repealed after Civil War – 1894: New Federal individual income tax enacted » Tax found to be unconstitutional C 1 -7
History of Taxation (slide 2 of 2) • Other important events – 1909: First Federal corporate income tax enacted – 1913: 16 th Amendment ratified » Sanctioned both Federal individual and corporate income taxes C 1 -8
Federal Budget Receipts— 2011 Individual income taxes Corporation income taxes Social insurance taxes and contributions Excise taxes Other Total 44% 12 36 3 5 100% FIGURE 1. 1 C 1 -9
Criteria for Evaluating a Tax Structure (slide 1 of 2) • Adam Smith identified the following canons of taxation which are still considered when evaluating tax structures: – Equality – Convenience – Certainty – Economy C 1 -10
Criteria for Evaluating a Tax Structure (slide 2 of 2) • In addition, the AICPA suggests that the tax system should be: – Simple – Neutral in terms of its effect on business – Clear and readily understandable – Structured to minimize noncompliance – Should enable the IRS to predict the amount and timing of revenue, and – Should not reduce economic growth and efficiency C 1 -11
Tax Structure (slide 1 of 2) • Tax base: amount to which the tax rate is applied – e. g. , For the Federal income tax, the tax base is taxable income • Tax rates: applied to the tax base to determine the tax liability – May be proportional or progressive • Incidence of tax: degree to which the tax burden is shared by taxpayers C 1 -12
Tax Structure (slide 2 of 2) • Examples: Income $10 $20 $30 Proportional $3 (30%) $6 (30%) $ 9 (30%) Tax Progressive $3 (30%) $7 (35%) $12 (40%) Tax C 1 -13
Major Types of Taxes • • Property Taxes Transaction Taxes Death Taxes Gift Taxes Income Taxes Employment Taxes Other U. S. Taxes C 1 -14
Property (ad valorem) Taxes • Based on the value of the asset – Essentially, a tax on wealth, or capital • Generally imposed on realty or personalty • Exclusive jurisdiction of states and their local political subdivisions • Deductible for Federal income tax purposes C 1 -15
The Big Picture – Example 4 Ad Valorem Property Taxes • Return to the facts of The Big Picture on p. 1 -2. – Why did the Walkers’ taxes decrease while those of the Carters increased? • A likely explanation is that one (or both) of the Walkers achieved senior citizen status. • In the case of the Carters, the assessed value of their property probably increased. – Perhaps they made significant home improvements (e. g. , kitchen/bathroom renovation, addition of a sundeck).
Transaction Taxes • Excise taxes • General sales taxes • Severance taxes C 1 -17
Excise Taxes • Imposed at the Federal, state, and local levels • Restricted to specific items – Examples: gasoline, tobacco, liquor • Declined in relative importance until recently – Example-two types of excise taxes at the local level have recently become increasingly popular • Hotel occupancy tax • Rental car surcharge – Tax is levied on visitors who cannot vote and often used to fund special projects C 1 -18
General Sales Taxes • Currently jurisdiction of states and localities • States that impose sales taxes also charge a use tax on items purchased in other states but used in their jurisdiction • States without sales or use taxes are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon C 1 -19
The Big Picture – Example 5 Use Tax • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – The payment Travis made when he registered the car is probably a use tax • When the car was purchased in another state, likely no (or a lesser) sales tax was levied • The current payment makes up for the amount of sales tax he would have paid had the car been purchased in his home state
Severance Taxes • Tax on natural resources extracted – Important revenue source for states rich in natural resources C 1 -21
Death Taxes (slide 1 of 2) • Tax on the right to transfer property or to receive property upon the death of the owner – If imposed on right to pass property at death • Classified as an estate tax – If imposed on right to receive property from a decedent • Classified as an inheritance tax C 1 -22
Death Taxes (slide 2 of 2) • The value of the property transferred provides the base for determining the amount of the death tax • The Federal government imposes only an estate tax • Many state governments levy inheritance taxes, estate taxes, or both C 1 -23
Federal Estate Tax (slide 1 of 2) • Federal estate tax is on the right to pass property to heirs – Gross estate includes FMV of property decedent owned at time of death • Also includes property interests, such as life insurance proceeds paid to the estate or to a beneficiary other than the estate if the deceased-insured had any ownership rights in the policy C 1 -24
Federal Estate Tax (slide 2 of 2) • Property included in the gross estate is valued on either: – Date of death, or – If elected, the alternate valuation date • Generally 6 months after date of death • Certain deductions and credits allowed in arriving at the taxable estate • Examples - marital deduction, funeral and admin. expenses, certain taxes, debts of decedent C 1 -25
Unified Transfer Tax Credit • Unified credit reduces or eliminates the estate tax liability for modest estates • For 2010, credit is $1, 455, 800 – Offsets tax on $3, 500, 000 of the tax base • For 2011 and 2012, $5, 000 per spouse tax base is exempt C 1 -26
Phaseout of Estate Tax • The estate tax has been criticized for the hardship it imposes on small businesses and family farms • Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 included the phase out of the estate tax – Phase out was accomplished by scheduled increases in the unified transfer credit over a 10 year period – Estate tax was due to be eliminated in 2010 • A “sunset provision” was scheduled to reinstate the estate tax as of January 1, 2011 – Recent legislation made significant changes to the estate tax C 1 -27
State Death Taxes • State death taxes may be estate tax, inheritance tax, or both – Inheritance tax is on the right to receive property from a decedent – Tax is generally based on relationship of heir to decedent • The more closely related, the lower the tax C 1 -28
Federal Gift Tax (slide 1 of 3) • Tax on the right to transfer assets during a person’s lifetime – Applies only to transfers that are not supported by full and adequate consideration • Taxable gift = FMV of gift less annual exclusion less marital deduction (if applicable) • Federal gift tax provides an annual exclusion of $13, 000 per donee (in 2011) – Amount is adjusted for inflation C 1 -29
Federal Gift Tax (slide 2 of 3) • Married persons can make a special election to split gifts – Allows 1/2 of a gift made by a donor-spouse to be treated as having been made by a nondonor-spouse (gift splitting) – Effectively increases the number of annual exclusions available and allows the use of the nondonor-spouse’s unified transfer tax credit C 1 -30
Federal Gift Tax (slide 3 of 3) • The unified transfer tax credit is available for gifts (as well as the estate tax) • Despite the proposed repeal of the estate tax, the gift tax has been retained with the unified transfer tax credit frozen at $345, 800, covering $1, 000 of taxable gifts for 2010 – Recent legislation has significantly changed the gift tax essentially reunifying the estate and gift taxes for 2011 and 2012 C 1 -31
Gift and Estate Unified Tax Schedule • Gift and estate taxes are unified under a single tax rate schedule – Since tax rates are progressive, prior years’ transfers must be considered when calculating the current year’s gift or estate tax C 1 -32
The Big Picture – Example 11 Gift Tax • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – The value of the RV is not stated, but probably exceeds the annual exclusion allowed—$52, 000 for two donees (the Walkers) from two donors (the Carters). • Thus, a taxable gift results, and a Form 709 (Gift Tax Return) must be filed. • Whether any gift tax is due depends on – Past taxable gifts the Carters have made, and – Amount their unified transfer tax credit still available
Income Taxes • Imposed at the Federal, most state, and some local levels of government – Income taxes generally are imposed on individuals, corporations, and certain fiduciaries (estates and trusts) • Federal income tax base is taxable income (income less allowable exclusions and deductions) • Most jurisdictions attempt to assure tax collection by requiring pay-as-you-go procedures, including – Withholding requirements for employees, and – Estimated tax prepayments for all taxpayers C 1 -34
Formula for Federal Income Tax on Individuals Figure 1. 2 C 1 -35
Corporate Income Tax • Corporate Taxable Income = Income – Deductions – Does not require the computation of adjusted gross income – Does not provide for the standard deduction or personal and dependency exemptions – All allowable deductions are business expenses C 1 -36
State Income Tax (slide 1 of 3) • All but the following states impose an income tax on individuals: – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming C 1 -37
State Income Tax (slide 2 of 3) • Some characteristics of state income taxes include: – With few exceptions, all states require some form of withholding procedures – Most states use as the tax base the income determination made for Federal income tax purposes • Some states apply a flat rate to Federal AGI • Some states apply a rate to the Federal income tax liability – Referred to as the “piggyback” approach to state income taxation C 1 -38
State Income Tax (slide 3 of 3) • Some states ‘‘decouple’’ from select tax legislation enacted by Congress – State may not be able to afford the loss of revenue resulting from such legislation • Because of tie-ins to the Federal return, states may be notified of changes made by the IRS upon audit of a Federal return – In recent years, the exchange of information between the IRS and state taxing authorities has increased C 1 -39
The Big Picture – Example 12 State Income Tax-Double Taxation • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – Because the income earned by Travis on his Chicago trip is subject to tax in his home state, he probably will be able to claim an offsetting credit. – Whether this negates the double taxation of the same income depends on the amount of credit allowed.
Employment Taxes (slide 1 of 3) • FICA taxes – Paid by both an employee and employer – The Social Security rate is 6. 2% in 2010 and 4. 2% in 2011 on a maximum of $106, 800 of wages • The Medicare rate is 1. 45% on all wages for both years – A spouse employed by another spouse is subject to FICA – Children under the age of 18 who are employed in parent’s unincorporated trade or business are exempt from FICA C 1 -41
Employment Taxes (slide 2 of 3) • FICA taxes – Sole proprietors and independent contractors may also be subject to Social Security taxes • Known as the self-employment tax • Rates are twice that applicable to an employee – 12. 4% for Social Security and 2. 9% for Medicare in 2010 – 10. 4% for Social Security and 2. 9% for Medicare in 2011 • The tax is imposed on net self-employment income up to a base amount of $106, 800 for 2010 and 2011 C 1 -42
Employment Taxes (slide 3 of 3) • FUTA (unemployment) taxes – Provides funds for state unemployment benefits – In 2011, rate is 6. 2% on first $7, 000 of wages for each employee – Administered jointly by states & Fed govt. • Credit is allowed (up to 5. 4%) for FUTA paid to the state – Tax is paid by employer C 1 -43
The Big Picture – Example 13 Social Security Tax • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – Presuming April and Martin perform meaningful services for Travis, they are legitimate employees. • April is not subject to Social Security tax because she is < age 18. • However, Martin is age 18 and needs to be covered. • Furthermore, Betty Carter is now working and will also be subject to Social Security tax. • Travis, as an independent contractor, is subject to self-employment tax.
Other Taxes • Federal customs duties – Tariffs on certain imported goods • Franchise taxes – Levied on the right to do business in the state • Occupational taxes – Applicable to various trades or businesses • e. g. , liquor store license, taxicab permit, fee to practice a profession C 1 -45
The Big Picture – Example 14 Occupational Fees • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – Although the facts do not mention the matter, both Travis and Betty will almost certainly pay occupational fees—Travis for engineering and Betty for nursing.
Proposed Taxes • Flat tax – Would replace the current graduated income tax with a single rate • Value added tax – Taxes the increment in value as goods move through production & manufacturing stages to the market • Paid by the producer and reflected in the sales price of goods • National sales tax – Levied on the final sale of goods and services • Collected from consumer, not from businesses as with VAT C 1 -47
Tax Administration (slide 1 of 4) • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Responsible for enforcing the Federal tax laws – Audits small percentage of returns filed using mathematical formulas and statistical sampling • To update selection criteria, the IRS selects a cross section of returns, which are subject to various degrees of inspection • Results highlight areas of taxpayer noncompliance and enable the IRS to use its auditors more productively C 1 -48
Tax Administration (slide 2 of 4) • Types of audits: – Correspondence audit – Office audit • Usually restricted in scope and conducted in facilities of IRS – Field audit • Involves examination of numerous items reported on the return and is conducted on premises of taxpayer or taxpayer's representative C 1 -49
Tax Administration (slide 3 of 4) • After the audit, a Revenue Agent’s Report (RAR) is issued summarizing the findings which can result in a: – Refund (tax was overpaid) – Deficiency (tax was underpaid), or – No change (tax was correct) finding C 1 -50
Tax Administration (slide 4 of 4) • If an audit results in an assessment of additional tax – Taxpayer may attempt to negotiate a settlement • An appeal is available through the Appeals Division of the IRS – Appeals Division is authorized to settle all disputes based on the hazard of litigation (i. e. , probability of favorable resolution, if litigated) – If a satisfactory settlement is not reached on administrative appeal, the taxpayer can litigate in: • Tax Court • Federal District Court, or • Court of Federal Claims – Litigation is recommended only as a last resort because of • Legal costs involved • Uncertainty of the final outcome C 1 -51
The Big Picture - Example 19 IRS Audit • Return to The Big Picture on p. 1 -2 – The audit of the Walkers by the IRS obviously was a correspondence type. • The reason for the audit was probably a minor oversight, such as the omission of some interest or dividend income. – The audit of the Carters, however, was more serious— probably a field or office type. • Since the Federal audit followed a state audit that was productive (i. e. , led to the assessment of a deficiency), there may have been an exchange of information between the two taxing authorities.
Statute of Limitations (slide 1 of 3) • Statute of limitations offers a defense against a suit brought by another party after the expiration of a specified period of time – Purpose is to preclude parties from prosecuting stale claims • The passage of time makes defense of such claims difficult since witnesses may no longer be available or evidence may have been lost or destroyed • For Federal income tax purposes, the two categories involved relate to the statute of limitations applicable to: – The assessment of additional tax deficiencies by the IRS, and – Claims for refunds by taxpayers C 1 -53
Statute of Limitations (slide 2 of 3) • For a deficiency assessment by IRS – Generally 3 years from the later of the due date or the filing date of the return – For material (more than 25%) omissions of gross income, time period is 6 years – No statute if no return filed or fraudulent return filed C 1 -54
Statute of Limitations (slide 3 of 3) • For a refund claim by taxpayer – Generally 3 years from date return filed or 2 years from date tax paid, whichever is later C 1 -55
Interest and Penalties (slide 1 of 2) • Interest accrues on the taxes due starting from the due date of the return and interest is paid on refunds if not received within 45 days of when the return was filed – Current rate for January 1–March 31 of 2011 is 4% (determined quarterly by the IRS) C 1 -56
Interest and Penalties (slide 2 of 2) • Tax law provides various penalties for lack of compliance including penalties for: – Failure to file • Penalty is 5% per month up to a max of 25% on the amount of tax shown as due on the return – Any fraction of a month counts as a full month – Failure to pay • Penalty is 0. 5% per month up to a max of 25% – Penalties may also apply to underpayment of estimated taxes, negligence, fraud, etc. C 1 -57
Tax Practice (slide 1 of 4) • Area of tax practice is largely unregulated – Members of professions must follow certain ethical standards (CPAs, Attorneys) – Various penalties may be imposed upon preparers of Federal tax returns who violate proscribed acts and procedures C 1 -58
Tax Practice (slide 2 of 4) • Ethical guidelines issued by AICPA: – Do not take questionable position on client’s tax return in hope of it not being audited – Client’s estimates may be used if reasonable – Try to answer every question on the tax return (even if disadvantageous to client) – Upon discovery of an error in prior year tax return, advise client to correct C 1 -59
Tax Practice (slide 3 of 4) • Statutory penalties may be levied on tax return preparers for: – Procedural Matters-Failure to: • • Provide copy of return to taxpayer Sign the return as preparer Keep copies of returns Maintain a client list C 1 -60
Tax Practice (slide 4 of 4) • Statutory penalties may be levied on tax return preparers for: – Understatement of tax liability based on a position that lacks a realistic possibility of being sustained – Willful attempts to understate tax – Failure to exercise due diligence in determining eligibility for, or the amount of, the earned income tax credit C 1 -61
Understanding the Federal Tax Law (slide 1 of 3) • The Federal tax law is the vehicle for accomplishing many objectives of the nation such as: – Raising revenue: the major objective of the tax system but not the sole objective – Economic: increasingly important objective is to regulate the economy and encourage certain behavior and businesses considered desirable C 1 -62
Understanding the Federal Tax Law (slide 2 of 3) • Federal tax objectives – Social: encourage socially desirable behavior that provides benefits that government might otherwise provide – Equity: equity within the tax laws (e. g. , wherewithal to pay concept) and not necessarily equity across taxpayers C 1 -63
Understanding the Federal Tax Law (slide 3 of 3) • Federal tax objectives – Political: a large segment of the tax law is created through a political process; thus, compromises and special interest dealings occur – Ease of administration: many provisions are meant to aid the IRS in the collection of taxes – Courts: influence tax law and sometimes cause it to change C 1 -64
Refocus On The Big Picture (slide 1 of 3) • The explanation given for the difference in the ad valorem taxes—the Carters’ increase and the Walker’s decrease—seems reasonable (see Ex. 4). – It is not likely that the Carters’ increase was due to a general upward assessment in valuation, as the Walkers’ taxes on their residence (located nearby) dropped. – More business use of the Carters’ residence (presuming Travis conducts his consulting practice from his home) might be responsible for the increase, but capital improvements appear to be a more likely cause.
Refocus On The Big Picture (slide 2 of 3) • Imposition of the use tax when Travis registered the new car is one way a state can preclude the avoidance of its sales tax (see Ex. 5). • When gifts between family members are material (e. g. , an RV) and exceed the annual exclusion, a gift tax return needs to be filed (see Ex. 11). – Even though no gift tax is due because of the unified transfer tax credit, filing a return starts the running of the statute of limitations.
Refocus On The Big Picture (slide 3 of 3) • Imposition of the ‘‘jock tax’’ on nonathletes is unusual but not improper. – The Carters must recognize that some of their income is subject to income taxes in two states and take advantage of whatever relief is available to mitigate the result (see Ex. 12). • Employment within and by the family group (e. g. , children, other relatives, domestics) has become a priority item in the enforcement of Social Security tax and income tax withholdings. – The Carters should be aware of the need to cover their son, Martin (see Ex. 13). • Because of the double audit (i. e. , both state and Federal) and the deficiency assessed, the Carters need to make sure that future returns do not contain similar errors (see Ex. 19). – Taxpayers with prior deficiencies are among those whose returns may be selected for audit.
If you have any comments or suggestions concerning this Power. Point Presentation for South-Western Federal Taxation, please contact: Dr. Donald R. Trippeer, CPA [email protected] edu SUNY Oneonta © 2012 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part. C 1 -68