Vernoia, Enterline + Brewer, CPA LLC

Posts tagged ‘IRS regulations’

IRS delays start of 2014 filing season; Administration clarifies individual mandate penalty

Shortly after resuming operations post-government shutdown, the IRS told taxpayers that the start of the 2014 filing season will be delayed by one to two weeks. The delay will largely impact taxpayers who want to file their 2013 returns early in the filing season. At the same time, the White House clarified on social media that no penalty under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate would be imposed during the enrollment period for obtaining coverage through an ACA Marketplace.

IRS shutdown

On October 1, many IRS employees in Washington, D.C. and nationwide were furloughed after Congress failed to approve funding for the government’s fiscal year (FY 2014). During the shutdown, only 10 percent of the IRS’ approximately 90,000 employees remained on the job, most engaged in criminal investigations and infrastructure support. Employees on furlough, including revenue agents assigned to exams and hearing officers assigned to collection due process cases, were expressly prohibited from doing any work, including checking email and voice messages.

Employees return to work

The IRS reopened on October 17. The previous day, Congress had passed legislation to fund the government through mid-January 2014. The IRS immediately cautioned taxpayers to expect longer wait times and limited service as it would take time for employees to resume work and process backlogged inventory. Upon their return to work, IRS employees began reviewing email, voice messages and their files as well as completing administrative tasks to reopen operations. The IRS reported that it received 400,000 pieces of correspondence during the furlough period in addition to nearly one million items already being processed before the shutdown.

Returns and refunds

The 16-day furlough overlapped with the October 15 deadline for taxpayers on extension to file 2012 returns. The IRS reported that during the shutdown it continued as many automated processes as possible, including accepting returns and processing payments. The Free File system also was open during the furlough period. However, refunds were not issued while the IRS was closed. Refunds are now being processed. If you have any questions about a refund or payment, please contact our office.

Filing season

The start of the 2014 filing season will be delayed approximately one to two weeks so the IRS can program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure. The IRS had anticipated opening the 2014 filing season on January 21. With a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28, 2014 and no later than February 4, 2014. The IRS reported it will make a final determination on the start of the 2014 filing season in mid-December.

The IRS explained that the government shutdown took place during the peak period for preparing its return processing systems for the 2014 filing season. The IRS must program, test and deploy more than 50 systems to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel said in a statement. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”

Affordable Care Act

Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act generally requires individuals – unless exempt – to carry health insurance or make a shared responsibility payment (also known as a penalty). Individuals exempt from the payment include individuals covered by most employer-sponsored health plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs. The penalty is $95 in 2014 or the flat fee of one percent of taxable income, $325 in 2015 or the flat fee of two percent of taxable income, $695 in 2016 or 2.5 percent of taxable income (the $695 amount is indexed for inflation after 2016).

The Obama administration launched individual Marketplaces (formerly known as Exchanges) on October 1 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The enrollment period for coverage for 2014 began on October 1 and is scheduled to end March 31, 2014, which is after the January 1 effective date of the individual mandate. In late October, the Obama administration clarified on social media that individuals who enroll in coverage through a Marketplace at anytime during the enrollment period will not be responsible for a penalty.

Because of technical problems, some applications on have not been running at 100 percent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported. Individuals can, however, enroll and obtain insurance at in-person assistance centers. Marketplace customer call centers are also open, HHS explained.

Congress returns to work with busy tax agenda

After a five-week break, Congress has returned to work with a full agenda. Proponents of comprehensive tax reform are hoping to build momentum for passage of a bill before year-end. However, before taking up tax reform, Congress has some immediate issues to address, including sequestration for fiscal year (FY) 2014, the debt ceiling, expiring tax extenders, the IRS’s operations, including the confirmation of a new Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and more.


Unless changed by Congress, automatic spending reductions are scheduled to take affect for the government’s FY 2014, effective October 1, 2013. The Budget Control Act of 2011 generally requires that $109 billion in spending, divided equally between defense and nondefense spending, must be reduced in FY 2014. The across-the-board spending cuts will be similar to the ones in effect for FY 2013, which resulted in furlough days for IRS and other federal employees, reductions in certain nonrefundable tax credits and more.

Some federal spending is exempt from sequestration. Most notably are Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Payments to individuals in the form of refundable tax credits are also exempt. This means that taxpayers will not see any reduction in the refundable portion of the child tax credit, the earned income credit and other credits. The Code Sec. 36B health insurance premium assistance tax credit is also exempt from sequestration. However, certain refundable credits available to businesses are subject to sequestration. So far, the IRS has announced reductions in the Code Sec. 45R small employer health insurance credit and the corporate AMT credit because of sequestration.

President Obama has proposed to replace the FY 2014 sequester with a new round of revenue raisers. The President has called on Congress to tax carried interest as ordinary income, repeal the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method of accounting, and reduce certain tax deductions and exclusions for higher income individuals. While the President’s proposals have gained support in the Democratic-controlled Senate, they have a very slim chance of passage in the GOP-controlled House. To win some GOP support, the President has proposed to reduce the corporate tax rate in exchange for increased spending on job creation. Reduced revenue from a cut in the corporate tax would be offset by repeal of unspecified business tax incentives.

Debt ceiling

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has repeatedly said that the GOP will not vote to increase the nation’s debt ceiling without more spending cuts. President Obama, on the other hand, has said that he will not negotiate over the debt limit like he did in 2011, which ultimately lead to passage of the Budget Control Act. At this time, the two sides seem far apart but reportedly there have been behind-the-scenes discussions between administration officials and some Republican lawmakers. Unlike past years, the federal deficit is projected to shrink this year because of increasing revenues which could make some lawmakers more receptive to raising the debt ceiling. Some tax measures, such as the tax extenders, could be linked to an increase in the debt ceiling.

Tax extenders

Many popular but temporary tax incentives – affecting individuals and businesses – are scheduled to expire after 2013. They include the state and local sales tax deduction, the higher education tuition deduction, transit benefits parity, the research tax credit, enhanced small business expensing, and more. Supporters of tax reform (discussed in more detail below) want to make the extenders part of a comprehensive tax reform bill. Some extenders, which have yet to be identified, would be allowed to expire; others would be made permanent. More likely, Congress will decide the fate of the extenders in a year-end bill, as it has done frequently in the past.

Tax reform

Two lawmakers have taken on leadership roles in tax reform: Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Both lawmakers spent the summer drumming up support for tax reform, but it is unclear how many of their colleagues share their enthusiasm. House Speaker Boehner and his Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, have expressed, at best, lukewarm support for comprehensive tax reform in 2013.

Of the two lawmakers, Camp seems more prepared to bring tax reform bill before his committee this fall. Eleven working groups comprised of members of the Ways and Means Committee have been discussing tax reform for many months. The Ways and Means Committee has issued discussion drafts on business tax reform, international taxation, accounting methods, and more. The Senate Finance Committee has also released discussion drafts on tax reform but they are not as detailed as the drafts prepared Ways and Means Committee. In August, Baucus said that the Ways and Means Committee is further ahead in drafting tax reform legislation that the Senate Finance Committee.

IRS operations

Since May, Daniel Werfel has been temporarily leading the IRS. Werfel has been a frequent witness at Congressional hearings looking into the agency’s treatment of conservative groups and others seeking tax-exempt status. Werfel has also been championing increased funding for the IRS.

President Obama has nominated John Koskinen to be the next Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Koskinen previously served as the nonexecutive chair of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The Senate Finance Committee is expected to take up Koskinen’s nomination this fall. Lawmakers are certain to ask Koskinen how he intends to oversee the agency and what reforms he may make.

Affordable Care Act

One huge divide between the White House and the GOP is the Affordable Care Act, including its many tax provisions. Before leaving for the August recess, the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Knowing that the Senate will not take up the House bill, some GOP lawmakers have turned to another tactic: defunding the Affordable Care Act.

On October 1, health insurance marketplaces for individuals are scheduled to open. Small employers (generally employers with fewer than 50 workers) can purchase insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which also opens October 1. Coverage will begin January 1, 2014.

If you have any questions about Congress’ fall agenda, please contact our office at (908) 725-4414.


U.S. delays FATCA’s withholding, reporting and other rules for six months

The scheduled January 1, 2014 rollout of withholding, reporting and other rules in the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has been delayed six months, the Treasury Department and the IRS have announced. The six-month delay is expected to give the U.S. more time to conclude negotiations and sign agreements to implement FATCA with foreign governments. The Treasury Department and the IRS have not, however, delayed the rules for reporting by individuals.

Far-reaching scope

FATCA ‘s scope is very far reaching. FATCA requires certain foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The reporting institutions include not only banks, but also other financial institutions, such as investment entities, brokers, and certain insurance companies. Some non-financial foreign entities will also have to report certain of their U.S. owners.

FATCA also requires that some individuals holding financial assets outside the U.S. must report those assets to the IRS. The IRS has developed Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. This reporting requirement is separate from the long-time reporting requirement under the Bank Secrecy Act to file an “FBAR” (Form TD F 90.22-1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts).

Final rules

In early 2013, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued final FATCA regulations. The final rules require withholding agents to withhold 30 percent of certain payments (called “withholdable payments”) to FFIs unless the FFI has entered into a reporting agreement with the IRS. To avoid withholding under FATCA, a participating FFI must enter into an agreement with the IRS to:

  • Identify U.S. accounts,
  • Report certain information to the IRS regarding U.S. accounts, and
  • Withhold a 30 percent tax on certain U.S.-connected payments to non-participating FFIs and account holders who are unwilling to provide the required information.


The final regulations called for the gradual phasing-in of the FATCA rules beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2017. Now, the Treasury Department and the IRS have further delayed the start of some of the FATCA rules, including rules on withholding, reporting and due diligence by FFIs.  Withholding agents generally will be required to begin withholding on withholdable payments made after June 30, 2014 instead of December 31, 2013.

Withholding agents also generally will be required to implement new account opening procedures by July 1, 2014. In addition, Treasury and the IRS intend to modify the final regulations so that the information reports previously required from certain FFIs on U.S. accounts for the 2013 and 2014 calendar years will be required only for 2014 (with respect to   U.S. accounts identified by December 31, 2014).  Reporting by these FFIs would be required by March 31, 2015. Additionally, all qualified intermediary agreements that would otherwise expire on December 31, 2013 will be extended to June 30, 2014. The launch date of the IRS’s online FATCA registration site has also been delayed to August 19, 2013.


Since FATCA became law, the U.S. has been negotiating with foreign jurisdictions to implement its reporting requirements. The U.S. has developed two model intergovernmental agreements (IGAs). The first model agreement (Model I) generally requires an FFI to report account information to its government, which, in turn, will exchange the information with the IRS.  Under the second model agreement (Model II), an FFI registers with the IRS and reports account information directly to the IRS. As of August 1, 2013, the U.S. has entered into IGAs with nine countries (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.). The Treasury Department has reported that it hopes to conclude negotiations before 2014 with Argentina, Belgium, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, and many other countries.


FATCA’s rules for reporting by individuals are not delayed. Generally, FATCA requires taxpayers to file Form 8938 if he or she is a U.S. citizen, a resident alien, and in some cases, a nonresident alien. The taxpayer also must own a “specified foreign financial asset,” which includes any financial account maintained by an FFI unless specifically excluded. Additionally, the aggregate value of the specified foreign financial asset must exceed certain reporting thresholds.

For single individuals living in the U.S., the total value of the specified foreign financial assets must be more than $50,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $75,000 at any time during the tax year. For married couples filing a joint return and living in the U.S these amounts are $100,000 and $150,000. The threshold amounts are higher for taxpayers living outside the U.S.

Form 8938 is not a substitute for the FBAR. The forms have different filing requirements. Please contact our office for more details about the two forms and their filing requirements.  The IRS is also expected to issue rules on FATCA reporting by domestic entities if the entity is formed or used to hold specified foreign financial assets and the assets exceeds the appropriate reporting threshold. Until the IRS issues regulations, only individuals must file Form 8938.

FATCA is a very complex law, which impacts many taxpayers here and abroad. Please contact our office at (908) 725-4414 if you have any questions about FATCA.

Affordable Care Act’s schedule for 2014 & 2015

The Affordable Care Act set January 1, 2014 as the start date for many of its new rules, most notably, the employer shared responsibility provisions (known as the “employer mandate”) and the individual shared responsibility provisions (known as the “individual mandate”). One – the employer mandate – has been delayed to 2015; the other – the individual mandate – has not been delayed. Employer shared responsibility payments Very broadly, the Affordable Care Act imposes a shared responsibility payment (also known as a penalty) on an applicable large employer that either: Fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in MEC (Minimum Essential Coverage) under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and has under its employ one or more full-time employees that are certified to the employer as having received a premium assistance tax credit or cost-sharing reduction (Code Sec. 4980H(a) liability), or Offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in MEC under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and has under its employ one or more full-time employees that are certified to the employer as having received a premium assistance tax credit or cost-sharing reduction (Code Sec. 4980H(b) liability). The amount of the employer shared responsibility penalty varies depending on whether the employer is liable under Code Sec. 4980H(a) or Code Sec. 4980H(b). The calculations of the payment are very complex but two examples help to shed some light on how they are intended to work. Example 1 is based on Code Sec. 4980H(a) liability and Example 2 is based on Code Sec. 4980H(b) liability. Example 1. Employer A fails to offer minimum essential coverage and has 100 full-time employees, 10 of whom receive a Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit for the year for enrolling in a Marketplace plan. For each employee over a 30-employee threshold, the employer would owe $2,000, for a total penalty of $140,000. The Code Sec. 4980H(a) penalty is assessed on a monthly basis. Example 2. Employer B offers minimum essential coverage and has 100 full-time employees, 20 of whom receive a Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit for the year for enrolling in a Marketplace plan. For each employee receiving a tax credit, the employer would owe $3,000 for a total penalty of $60,000. The maximum penalty for Employer B would be capped at the amount of the penalty that would have been assessed for a failure to provide coverage ($140,000 above in Example 1). Since the calculated penalty of $60,000 is less than the maximum amount, Employer B would pay the calculated penalty of $60,000. The Code Sec. 4980H(b) penalty is assessed on a monthly basis. These examples are merely provided to illustrate how the employer shared responsibility payment is intended to work. Every employer’s situation will be different depending on the number of employees, the type of insurance offered and many other factors. Please contact our office for more details. IRS guidance Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS and other federal agencies have issued guidance on the employer shared responsibility provision. The IRS has defined what is an applicable large employer (generally defined as businesses with 50 or more employees), who is a full-time employee with certain exceptions for seasonal workers, and much more. The IRS has not, however, issued guidance on reporting requirements by employers and insurers. The Affordable Care Act generally requires employers, insurers and other entities that offer minimum essential coverage to file annual information returns reporting information about the coverage. As originally enacted, this information reporting was scheduled to take effect in 2014, the same year that the employer shared responsibility provisions were scheduled to take effect. Delay In early July, the Treasury Department announced that information reporting by employers, insurers and other entities offering minimum essential coverage will not start in 2014 but will be delayed until 2015. The IRS followed-up with transitional guidance. Information reporting by employers, insurers and other entities offering minimum essential coverage is waived for 2014. However, the IRS encouraged employers, insurers and others to voluntarily report this information. The IRS reported it is working on guidance and expects to issue regulations before year-end. Because information reporting has been delayed, the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility provisions are waived for 2014. The IRS explained that the transitional relief is expected to make it impractical to determine which employers would owe shared responsibility payments for 2014. As a result, no employer shared responsibility payments will be assessed for 2014. Individual mandate The January 1, 2014 scheduled start date of the Affordable Care Act’s individual shared responsibility provisions is not delayed. Unless exempt, individuals must carry minimum essential health coverage after 2013 or pay a shared responsibility payment (also called a penalty). The Affordable Care Act exempts many individuals, such as most individuals covered by employer-provided health insurance, individuals enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, and many others. After 2013, individuals may be eligible for a new tax credit (the Code Sec. 36B credit) to help offset the cost of obtaining health insurance. The credit is payable in advance to the insurer. The January 1, 2014 scheduled start date of the Code Sec. 36B is also not delayed. Small employers Qualified small employers will be able to offer health insurance to their employees through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Enrollment for coverage through SHOP is scheduled to begin October 1, 2013 for coverage starting January 1, 2014. For 2014, SHOP is open to employers with 50 or fewer employees. Beginning in 2016, SHOP will be open to employers with up to 100 employees. After 2013, the small employer health insurance tax credit is scheduled to increase from 35 percent to 50 percent for small business employers (and from 25 percent to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers). However, the credit is only available after 2013 to employers that obtain coverage through SHOP. This credit is targeted to very small employers with the credit gradually phasing out as the number of employees reaches 50. If you have any questions about employer reporting or the employer shared responsibility payment-or any questions about the Affordable Care Act-please contact our office at (908) 725-4414.

FAQ: How are LLCs taxed?

An LLC (limited liability company) is not a federal tax entity. LLCs are organized under state law. LLCs are not specifically mentioned in the Tax Code, and there are no special IRS regulations governing the taxation of LLCs comparable to the regulations for C corporations, S corporations, and partnerships. Instead, LLCs make an election to be taxed as a particular entity (or to be disregarded for tax purposes) by following the check-the-box business entity classification regulations. The election is filed on Form 8832, Entity Classification Election. The IRS will assign an entity classification by default if no election is made. A taxpayer who doesn’t mind the IRS default entity classification does not necessarily need to file Form 8832.

“Check-the-Box” Election

An LLC with more than one member can elect:

  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • S corporation (accomplished by electing to be taxed as a corporation, then filing an S corporation election)

An LLC with only one member can elect:

  • Disregarded entity
  • Corporation
  • S corporation (accomplished by electing to be taxed as a corporation, then filing an S corporation election)

The IRS will assign these classifications if no entity election is filed for an LLC (the default rules):

  • any business entity that is not a corporation is classified as a partnership
  • any entity that is wholly-owned by a single person will be disregarded as an entity separate from its owner (taxed as a sole proprietorship).

Typically, an LLC with more than one member will elect to be taxed as a partnership, whereas a single-member LLC will elect to be disregarded and taxed as a sole proprietorship.

If you have any questions relating to LLCs, their benefits, drawbacks, or their treatment under the Tax Code, please contact our offices at (908) 725-4414.

Bonuses and year-end tax planning

As the end of the calendar year approaches, taxpayers ordinarily prefer to minimize current-year income by deferring the inclusion of taxable income to the following year, while accelerating deductions to the current year. However, as many taxpayers are aware, individual income tax rates may increase in 2013, with the potential for dramatic increases for higher-income individuals (if not all individuals).

While it is unclear how many taxpayers will see tax increases in 2013, it is certain that rates will not be any lower than they are in 2012. Thus, some, if not all, individuals will have an incentive to accelerate income into 2012.

Annual bonuses for 2012

Employees earning annual bonuses for services performed in 2012 ordinarily would receive the bonus in 2013. And generally the employer would take the deduction in 2013. However, some employees may prefer to receive the bonus in 2012, to take advantage of the lower current tax rates. An employer may want to deduct the bonus in the earlier year, to reduce taxable income. The IRS recently issued Chief Counsel Advice (CCA 201246029) on the treatment of a bonus that illustrates some of the practical obstacles to accelerating bonus income.

A lesson learned

In the CCA, the employer awarded bonuses for the calendar year (the year of service) based on company performance. The total bonus amount accrued for financial accounting purposes at the end of the year. The bonuses were paid early in the following year, after the employer finalized the amounts, provided that the employee still worked for the company.

In Rev. Rul. 2011-29, the IRS determined that the employer can accrue liability, and take a deduction, for bonuses in the earlier year, where the employer can establish the fact of the liability for bonuses paid to a group of employees, even though the recipients’ identities and amounts payable were determined in the following year. In contrast, in the CCA, the IRS concluded that the taxpayer’s liability to pay bonuses was not fixed until the contingency was satisfied – the employee had to be still employed on the date of payment. Therefore, the bonuses were not deductible until the following year, when they were paid.

While the CCA does not discuss it, presumably if the employer paid the bonuses in the year of service (2012), they would be deductible in that same year. The employees would take the bonuses into income in 2012, when tax rates were lower. Furthermore, the income would avoid the new 0.9 percent additional Medicare tax on earned income, which takes effect in 2013.

Important timing exception

In the CCA, the timing was identical for the employer and the employee. Under Code Sec. 404, concerning deferred compensation, the employer may not deduct the bonus until the same time that the employee takes it into income. Under an exception, however,  if the employer pays the bonus in 2013 but within 2 ½ months after the end of 2012, an accrual basis taxpayer can deduct the payment in the current year, even though the employee would not include it in income until it is paid in 2013. This presumes that the bonuses are fixed at the end of 2012 and that the employer does not use a plan like the one described in the CCA.

How do I? Make a Section 83(b) stock election

Stock is a popular and valuable compensation tool for employers and employees. Employees are encouraged to stay with the company and to work harder, to enhance the value of the stock they will earn. Employers do not have to make a cash outlay to provide the compensation, yet they still are entitled to a tax deduction.

Employers may make a direct transfer of stock to an employee as compensation for services performed. In the simplest case, the employee’s rights in the stock are vested upon receipt. Under Code Sec. 83, the employee has income, equal to the fair market value of the stock, less any amount paid for the stock. The employer can take a compensation deduction under Code Sec. 162 for the amount included in the employee’s income.

Risk of forfeiture

The employer may decide to impose certain conditions on the employee’s right to the stock (such as a requirement that the employee continue to work for the company for two years before the stock “vests”). In this situation, the stock is subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture (or is “nonvested”) until the two-year period elapses. After two years, the stock vests, and the employee recognizes income for the excess of the stock’s value (at the time of vesting) over the amount paid. If the employee leaves the company within two years, the employee forfeits the stock.

An employee who receives stock subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture may anticipate that he or she will stay with the company for the required two years. The employee may also anticipate (or at least hope) that the stock will appreciate in value. Rather than wait two years and have to recognize income when the stock vests, an employee may elect under Code Sec. 83(b) to treat the property as vested upon receipt and to recognize compensation income (if any) at the time of receipt.

83(b) election

The employee may be required to pay for the stock when received. If the employee paid the fair market value of the stock, making a Code Sec. 83(b) election is particularly advantageous, because the employee will not recognize any income on the election.

Example.  Widget Corporation transfers 10 shares of its common stock to Hal, an employee, subject to a requirement that Hal work for two years before the stock vests. The stock is worth $5 a share. Hal is required to pay $5 a share upon receipt of the stock. By making a Code Sec. 83(b) election, Hal will not recognize any income, because the value and the cost of the stock are the same. If Hal did not have to pay any money for the shares, and made an election, Hal would have $50 of compensation income (10 shares times $5 a share).

After making an election, if the employee then works for two years, and the stock appreciates, the employee does not recognize any further compensation income, because the employee has already been taxed under Code Sec. 83.  By making the election, the employee is treated as owning the stock. When the employee sells the stock, the employee will recognize capital gain or loss, measured by the difference between the amount received and the value of the stock when it vested.

Election formalities

To make an election under Code Sec. 83(b), an employee must file a statement with the IRS, within 30 days of the transfer of the property to the employee. The statement must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service Center where the employee would file his or her income tax return. A copy of the statement must be provided to the employer, who is entitled to a compensation deduction when the election is made. A copy must also be attached to the employee’s income tax return.

IRS regulations prescribe the requirements for an election. In Rev. Proc. 2012-29, the IRS also provided sample language for employees to use to make the election. The IRS advised that the sample language is not required. The election must identify the taxpayer, the property being transferred, the date of the transfer, the restrictions on the property, the property’s value at the time of transfer (generally determined without the restrictions), the amount paid by the employee, and the amount of compensation income (the value minus the amount paid). The employee must also sign the election.

The election cannot be revoked without the IRS’s consent. The IRS will not ordinarily grant consent unless there has been a mistake of fact as to the underlying transaction.

If you have any questions about making a Code Sec. 83(b) election, please contact our office at (908) 725-4414.