Friday, February 22, 2008

2008 Economic Stimulus Act Provides Tax Benefits to Businesses

IR-2008-22, Feb. 21, 2008
WASHINGTON — In addition to providing stimulus payments to individuals, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provides incentives to businesses. These incentives include a special 50-percent depreciation allowance for 2008 purchases and an increase in the small business expensing limitation for tax years beginning in 2008.
50-Percent Special Depreciation Allowance
Depreciation is an income tax deduction that allows a taxpayer to recover the cost or other basis of certain property over several years. It is an annual allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration or obsolescence of the property.
Under the new law, a taxpayer is entitled to depreciate 50 percent of the adjusted basis of certain qualified property during the year that the property is placed in service. This is similar to the special depreciation allowance was previously available for certain property placed in service generally before Jan. 1, 2005, often referred to as “bonus depreciation.” To qualify for the 50 percent special depreciation allowance under the new law, the property must be placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007, but generally before Jan. 1, 2009.
To reflect the new 50-percent special depreciation allowance, the IRS is developing a new version of the depreciation and amortization form for fiscal year filers. The new form will be designated as the 2007 Form 4562-FY.
Section 179 Expensing
In general, a qualifying taxpayer can elect to treat the cost of certain property as an expense and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service instead of depreciating it over several years. This property is frequently referred to as section 179 property, after the relevant section in the Internal Revenue Code.
Under the new law, a qualifying business can expense up to $250,000 of section 179 property purchased by the taxpayer in a tax year beginning in 2008. Absent this legislation, the 2008 expensing limit for section 179 property would have been $128,000. The $250,000 amount provided under the new law is reduced if the cost of all section 179 property placed in service by the taxpayer during the tax year exceeds $800,000.
The new law does not alter the section 179 limitation imposed on sport utility vehicles, which have an expense limit of $25,000.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

IRS Will Send Stimulus Payments Automatically Starting in May; Eligible Taxpayers Must File a 2007 Tax Return to Receive Rebate

IRS Will Send Stimulus Payments Automatically Starting in May; Eligible Taxpayers Must File a 2007 Tax Return to Receive Rebate

The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers that in most cases they will not have to do anything extra this year to get the economic stimulus payments beginning in May.
“If you are eligible for a payment, all you have to do is file a 2007 tax return and the IRS will do the rest,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff.
The IRS will use information on the 2007 tax return filed by the taxpayer to determine eligibility and calculate the amount of the stimulus payments.
The IRS will begin sending taxpayers their payments in early May after the current tax season concludes. Payments to more than 130 million taxpayers will continue over several weeks during the spring and summer. A payment schedule for taxpayers will be announced in the near future.
Stimulus payments will be direct deposited for taxpayers selecting that option when filing their 2007 tax returns. Taxpayers who have already filed with direct deposit won't need to do anything else to receive the stimulus payment. For taxpayers who haven't filed their 2007 returns yet, the IRS reminds them that direct deposit is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and stimulus payments.
Most taxpayers just need to file a 2007 tax return as usual. No other action, extra form or call is necessary. This Web site will be the best information source for all updates and taxpayer questions.
In most cases, the payment will equal the amount of tax liability on the tax return, with a maximum amount of $600 for individuals ($1,200 for taxpayers who file a joint return).
The law also allows for payments for select taxpayers who have no tax liability, such as low-income workers or those who receive Social Security benefits or veterans’ disability compensation, pension or survivors’ benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007. These taxpayers will be eligible to receive a payment of $300 ($600 on a joint return) if they had at least $3,000 of qualifying income.
Qualifying income includes Social Security benefits, certain Railroad Retirement benefits, certain veterans’ benefits and earned income, such as income from wages, salaries, tips and self-employment. While these people may not be normally required to file a tax return because they do not meet the filing requirement, the IRS emphasizes they must file a 2007 return in order to receive a payment.
Recipients of Social Security, certain Railroad Retirement and certain veterans’ benefits should report their 2007 benefits on Line 14a of Form 1040A or Line 20a of Form 1040. Taxpayers who already have filed but failed to report these benefits can file an amended return by using Form 1040X. The IRS is working with the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that recipients are aware of this issue.
“Some people receiving Social Security and veterans’ benefits may not realize they will need to file a tax return to get the stimulus payment,” Stiff said. “To reach these people, the IRS and Treasury will work closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration and key beneficiary groups on outreach efforts.”
Eligible taxpayers who qualify for a payment will receive an additional $300 for each child who qualifies for the child tax credit.
Payments to higher income taxpayers will be reduced by 5 percent of the amount of adjusted gross income above $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for those filing jointly.
Taxpayers must have valid Social Security Numbers to qualify for the stimulus payment. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must have a valid Social Security Number. And, children must have valid Social Security Numbers to be eligible as qualifying children.
Taxpayers who file their tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number issued by the IRS or any number issued by the IRS are ineligible. Also ineligible are individuals who can be claimed as dependents on someone else’s return, or taxpayers who file Form 1040-NR, 1040-PR or 1040-SS.
To accommodate taxpayers who file tax returns later in the year, the IRS will continue sending payments until December 31, 2008. The IRS also cautions taxpayers that if they file their 2007 tax return and then move their residence that they should file a change of address card with the U.S. Postal Service.
The IRS will mail two informational notices to taxpayers advising them of the stimulus payments. However, taxpayers should be alert for tax rebate scams such as telephone calls or e-mails claiming to be from the IRS and asking for sensitive financial information. The IRS will not call or e-mail taxpayers about these payments nor will it ask for financial information. Scam e-mails and information about scam calls should be forwarded to

Related Items:
FS-2008-15, Facts about the 2008 Stimulus Payments
FS-2008-16, Stimulus Payments: Instructions for Low-Income Workers and Recipients of Social Security and Certain Veterans’ Benefits
Tax forms and instructions

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

IRS Offers New Online Help Tools for 2008 Tax Filers

Listen In: Audio Interview on New Tools
WASHINGTON — Things have gotten easier for taxpayers who need help preparing their federal returns this year. The IRS has enhanced both Publication 17 and Where’s My Refund?, two key electronic tools available on this Web site,, the official Web site of the IRS. These improvements will help any taxpayer with Internet access find answers to tax questions quickly, prepare returns accurately and file on time.
Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax –– The online version of Publication 17 now contains electronic links allowing users to more quickly navigate this widely used publication. Both the downloadable PDF and the html version of the 2007 Publication 17 contain more than 800 hyperlinks. The links allow users to jump immediately to other parts of the publication, reducing the time it takes to access information. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the html version of Publication 17 on is accessible to visually impaired taxpayers.
Where’s My Refund? — The online refund-tracking tool Where’s My Refund? is now available in Spanish as well as English. Taxpayers can access the Spanish version through either the Where’s My Refund? page on or the Spanish-language portal. The goal of this new feature is to make tax information available to taxpayers who don’t speak English or those who know English as a second language. Taxpayers without Internet access can get the same information about their refunds by calling the IRS Refund Hotline at 1-800-829-1954.
Official IRS Web Site Is
Taxpayers looking for the IRS online should type into their Web browsers. Taxpayers should also beware of Web sites that may resemble but end in .com, .net, .org, .biz or any other domain name extension. For the genuine IRS Web site, it’s

Tax Returns from Seven States Go to Different Centers

WASHINGTON — As some taxpayers begin to prepare their paper tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service notes that some may be sending their returns to a different service center than last year. Those who received a tax instruction booklet from the IRS in the mail and use the labels included with the booklet can be assured that their tax returns will go to the correct address. Taxpayers who e-file are not affected by these changes.
For tax year 2007, the mailing changes affect returns, with or without payments, from seven states: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Taxpayers should send:
Returns from Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin to the IRS center in Fresno, California.
Returns from Kentucky to the IRS center in Austin, Texas.
Returns from Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the IRS center in Kansas City, Missouri.
For taxpayers who file paper returns, the correct center addresses are on labels inside the tax packages they receive in the mail. Taxpayers who do not receive a package should refer to the back cover of the instructions to Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.
Taxpayers who e-file will not be affected by these changes. Last year, 57 percent of all individual income tax filers chose to e-file their tax returns.

IRS Announces Energy Bond Allocations

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced 312 projects eligible to be financed with tax-credit bonds under the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) program.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary is authorized to distribute volume cap allocations of tax-credit bonds through the CREB program, which was created by the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 and the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.
In November 2006, the IRS announced the first round of volume cap allocations, which allocated $800 million of volume cap (some of which was subsequently relinquished) to 610 projects. (The announcement was in IR-2006-181 available on the IRS website.) State and local governments as well as electrical cooperatives are able to issue tax-credit bonds under the program.
Internal Revenue Code Section 54 authorizes the allocation of $1.2 billion of tax-credit bond volume cap to fund projects that can generate clean renewable energy. State and local government borrowers are limited to no more than $750 million of the volume cap with the rest going to qualified mutual or cooperative electric companies.
CREB volume cap allocations are awarded on a “smallest-to-largest” project basis. IRS Notices 2007-26 and 2005-98 further explain the program and can also be found on the IRS website.
The IRS has completed the review of applications for $897 million of CREB financing submitted pursuant to Notice 2007-26 and has notified applicants of the results. The second round included 342 applications from 33 states, pertaining to 395 projects. Approximately $477 million of CREB volume cap was available for allocation to qualified issuers.
The deadline for making an application was July 13, 2007. There were 156 proposed projects in California, 57 in Minnesota, 23 in New Jersey, 17 in Washington, 13 in Nebraska, 12 in Montana, 11 in Illinois and 10 in Wisconsin. Applications ranged in size from $15,000 to $38.5 million.
Governmental borrowers submitted applications totaling $728 million to finance 367 projects with an average project size of about $2 million. Governmental borrowers in 28 states will receive $263 million of volume cap allocations ranging from $15,000 to $2.95 million. Approved projects of governmental borrowers include: 138 solar facilities, 88 wind facilities, 41 landfill gas facilities, 12 hydropower facilities, three closed-loop biomass facilities, three trash combustion facilities and one open-loop biomass facility.
Cooperative borrowers submitted applications totaling about $170 million to finance 28 projects with an average project size of about $6.1 million. Cooperative borrowers will receive about $143 million of volume cap allocations for projects in 13 states ranging from $300,000 to $30 million. Approved cooperative projects include: 14 wind facilities, four landfill gas facilities, six hydropower facilities, one solar facility and one open-loop biomass facility.
Disclosure restrictions prohibit releasing taxpayer-specific information without written consent. Notice 2007-26 included a Consent to Public Disclosure Statement. The 310 projects whose applicants signed the consent form can be viewed online.

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