Substance over Form: Friend of the Taxpayer?

In the recent Complex Media[1] case, the Tax Court addressed a taxpayer’s ability to recast the form of a transaction under the “substance over form” doctrine. Since taxpayers typically control the form their transactions take, tax decisions routinely stick taxpayers with the consequences of that form. Some courts have precluded taxpayers from even raising substance…
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Reasonable Compensation Revisited – Lateesa Ward

In the recent case of Lateesa Ward, TC Memo 2020-32, the Tax Court addressed a regular tax planning and reporting issue – reasonable compensation to an S corporation shareholder. The issue is important for at least a couple of primary reasons. First, as opposed to dividends, wages paid to the S corporation shareholder are subject…
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Remote Working – From a Tax Perspective

As taxpayers are preparing their 2020 income tax returns, several will face questions related to remote working. Can they deduct employment related expenses for new furniture, new equipment, and other items to facilitate working remotely? Can they take a home office deduction? In what state(s) should they file income tax returns? These questions are nothing…
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IRS Issues Carried Interest Final Regulations

On January 7, 2021, the IRS issued final regulations under § 1061 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”)[1]. These final regulations largely adopt the proposed regulations issued in July 2020[2] but contain a number of taxpayer favorable changes. As discussed below, the rules under § 1061 can apply in a number of situations such as…
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Is that Side Hustle a Business or Hobby?

Hobby loss tax rules of IRC § 183 are nothing new. However, there are a couple of recent developments that make the application of those rules especially relevant: Starting in 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) went into effect. Under the TCJA, taxpayers lost the ability to take miscellaneous itemized deductions. Previously, taxpayers…
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Tax Considerations – Initiative 65 and Medical Marijuana in Mississippi

In recent elections, Mississippians overwhelmingly voted to pass Initiative 65 legalizing medical marijuana. This paves the way for an entire new business industry to operate in Mississippi, creating opportunities for business owners, investors, and those who serve them. With businesses possibly being allowed to open sometime in the summer of 2021, it will be important…
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State Income Tax of Trusts and Estates – Late 2020 Update

Introduction A couple of years ago, I wrote about the state income taxation of trusts.[1] Since that time, there have been some significant developments relating to the issues raised in that writing. Primary among those developments include the United States Supreme Court decision in the Kaestner[2] case and the United States Supreme Court’s decision to…
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Lothringer and Alter Ego

A recent case shows how a shareholder and corporation, being considered alter egos, can cause unintended consequences. In Lothringer,[1]a corporate shareholder’s individual property was subject to enforced collection action by the IRS to satisfy corporate tax liabilities.[2] The court’s finding that the corporation was the shareholder’s alter ego allowed the IRS to hold the shareholder…
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The Benefits of a Lifetime CLAT

Anyone looking outside their window (or watching TV) recently knows that we are in a volatile time. Among other things, current volatility results from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an uncertain economy,[1] and upcoming elections. The effects of this include large amounts of government spending,[2] low interest rates,[3] and a reduction of the value of a…
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