Thursday, May 28, 2015

Businesses in U.S. Territories Must File Form 8300 with the IRS on Cash Transactions of $10,000 or More

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded businesses in U.S. territories that they must file Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business, when they engage in cash transactions in excess of $10,000. The form must be filed within 15 days of the transaction.

Businesses, including individuals who are sole proprietors that receive more than $10,000 cash in a transaction or in two or more related transactions in any U.S. possession or territory must file Form 8300 with the IRS. Possessions and territories include American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This requirement is in addition to any filing obligation the business may also have with U.S. territory tax authorities under similar territory rules, including under a U.S. territorial mirror income tax code.

Examples of businesses that may have to file Form 8300 include those that sell jewelry, furniture, boats, aircraft, or automobiles, as well as those that are pawnbrokers, attorneys, real estate brokers, insurance companies and travel agencies.

Cash includes the coins and currency of the United States as well as foreign currency, cashier’s checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders. The law also requires that businesses report related transactions occurring within a 24-hour period. If the same payer makes two or more transactions totaling more than $10,000 in a 24-hour period, the business must treat the transactions as one transaction and report the payments.   The IRS provides additional information on the filing of Form 8300 in a reference guide.

Top 10 Tips for Deducting Losses from a Disaster

To mark National Hurricane Preparedness Week, the IRS wants you to know it stands ready to help. If you suffer damage to your home or personal property, you may be able to deduct the losses you incur on your federal income tax return. Here are 10 tips you should know about deducting casualty losses:

1.    Casualty loss.  You may be able to deduct losses based on the damage done to your property during a disaster. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event. This may include natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. It can also include losses from fires, accidents, thefts or vandalism.

2.    Normal wear and tear.  A casualty loss does not include losses from normal wear and tear. It does not include progressive deterioration from age or termite damage.

3.    Covered by insurance.  If you insured your property, you must file a timely claim for reimbursement of your loss. If you don’t, you cannot deduct the loss as a casualty or theft. You must reduce your loss by the amount of the reimbursement you received or expect to receive.

4.    When to deduct.  As a general rule, you must deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if you have a loss from a federally declared disaster area, you may have a choice of when to deduct the loss. You can choose to deduct the loss on your return for the year the loss occurred or on an amended return for the immediately preceding tax year. Claiming a disaster loss on the prior year's return may result in a lower tax for that year, often producing a refund.

5.    Amount of loss.  You figure the amount of your loss using the following steps:

  • Determine your adjusted basis in the property before the casualty. For property you buy, your basis is usually its cost to you. For property you acquire in some other way, such as inheriting it or getting it as a gift, you must figure your basis in another way. For more see Publication 551, Basis of Assets.
  • Determine the decrease in fair market value, or FMV, of the property as a result of the casualty. FMV is the price for which you could sell your property to a willing buyer. The decrease in FMV is the difference between the property's FMV immediately before and immediately after the casualty.
  • Subtract any insurance or other reimbursement you received or expect to receive from the smaller of those two amounts.
6.    $100 rule.  After you have figured your casualty loss on personal-use property, you must reduce that loss by $100. This reduction applies to each casualty loss event during the year. It does not matter how many pieces of property are involved in an event.

7.    10 percent rule.  You must reduce the total of all your casualty or theft losses on personal-use property for the year by 10 percent of your adjusted gross income.

8.    Future income.  Do not consider the loss of future profits or income due to the casualty as you figure your loss.                                              

9.    Form 4684.  Complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, to report your casualty loss on your federal tax return. You claim the deductible amount on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.

10.    Business or income property.  Some of the casualty loss rules for business or income property are different than the rules for property held for personal use.

You can call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 for special help with disaster-related tax issues. For more on this topic and the special rules for federally declared disaster area losses see Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts. You can get it and IRS tax forms on at any time.

Additional IRS Resources:

ACA Information for Employers Counting Full-time and Full-time Equivalent Employees

For the purposes of the Affordable Care Act, employers average their number of employees across the months in the year to see whether they will be an applicable large employer.

To determine if your organization is an applicable large employer for a year, count your organization’s full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees for each month of the prior year. If you are a member of an aggregated group, count the full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees of all members of the group for each month of the prior year. Then average the numbers for the year. Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are applicable large employers and will need to file an annual information return reporting whether and what health insurance they offered employees. In addition, they are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.

In general:
  • A full-time employee is an employee who is employed on average, per month, at least 30 hours of service per week, or at least 130 hours of service in a calendar month.
  • A full-time equivalent employee is a combination of employees, each of whom individually is not a full-time employee, but who, in combination, are equivalent to a full-time employee.
  • An aggregated group is commonly owned or otherwise related or affiliated employers, which must combine their employees to determine their workforce size.
There are many additional rules on determining who is a full-time employee, including what counts as hours of service. For more information on these rules, see the employer shared responsibility final regulations and related questions and answers on

For more information, see the Determining if an Employer is an Applicable Large Employer page on

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Affordable Care Act and Employers: Why Workforce Size Matters

RS Health Care Tax Tip 2015-30, May 6, 2015

The Affordable Care Act contains several tax provisions that affect employers. Under the ACA, the size and structure of a workforce – small, or large – helps determine which parts of the law apply to which employers.

The number of employees an employer had during the prior year determines whether it is an applicable large employer for the current year. This is important because two provisions of the Affordable Care Act apply only to applicable large employers. These are the employer shared responsibility provision and the employer information reporting provisions for offers of minimum essential coverage.

An employer’s size is determined by the number of its employees.
  • An employer with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents is considered an applicable large employer – also known as an ALE – under the ACA.
  • For purposes of the employer shared responsibility provision, the number of employees a business had during the prior year determines whether it is an ALE the current year. Employers make this calculation by averaging the number of employees they had throughout the year, which takes into account workforce fluctuations many employers experience.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are not applicable large employers.
  • Calculating the number of employees is especially important for employers that have close to 50 employees or whose work force fluctuates during the year.
To determine its workforce size for a year, an employer adds the total number of full-time employees for each month of the prior calendar year to the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of the prior calendar year. The employer then divides that combined total by 12.

For more information, visit our Determining if an Employer is an Applicable Large Employer page on

Small Business Retirement Plan Penalty Relief Expires Soon

You still have time to file retirement plan tax returns for your small business. Under the IRS special penalty relief program, you can avoid stiff penalties for filing late. However, you must act soon. Here are some key points you should know about this program:
  • Late Filing Penalties.  Plan administrators and sponsors who fail to file required forms can face penalties of up to $15,000 per return. The plan usually must file Form 5500-EZ each year.
  • Penalty Relief Deadline.  A special program provides penalty relief for late filers. Those who are eligible can avoid these penalties by filing late returns by June 2, 2015.
  • Relief to Certain Plans.  In general, this program is open to certain small business plans. These include owner-spouse plans, plans of business partnerships (together, “one-participant plans”) and certain foreign plans.
  • Penalty Already Assessed.  If you have already been assessed a penalty for late filings you are not eligible for this program.
  • One-Year Pilot.  The IRS launched this program on June 2, 2014, as a one-year pilot. It can help small businesses that may have been unaware of their plan’s filing requirements. So far, the IRS has received about 6,000 late returns under the program.
  • Multiple Late Returns.  You may apply for relief for multiple late returns in a single submission under this program.
  • No Fee Required.  The IRS does not charge a filing fee or require a payment to apply for this relief.
Additional IRS Resources: