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Tax Nexus

Tax Extenders: 2016 Tax Rule Updates

On December 18th, right before shutting down for the holidays, Congress has passed 50 major changes for the upcoming tax filing season. Some of the tax extenders will be quite important, while others may go by without much notice. We’re taking a look at the notable changes.

Permanent Tax Extenders

Some of the previously enacted temporary provisions, have been made permanent:

  • State and local sales tax deduction, an alternative to claiming state tax withholdings on the Schedule A, Itemized deductions, is now a permanent line item. It benefits not only people in states with no income tax, but also taxpayers whose state tax withholdings are not large, or certain AMT taxpayers.
  • The now permanent teacher’s expenses deduction of $250 is being enhanced to include professional development expenses, in addition to classroom supplies. But teachers will have to wait one more year before they can begin using this deduction for continuing education, as the enhancement is not effective until 2016.
  • IRC Section 179 was made permanent, with an expanded definition of what property qualifies. This will affect many taxpayers, especially small business owners. Limits on expensing tangible depreciable property have been raised dramatically, and offer a good year-end tax planning strategy.
  • 15-year cost recovery on qualified leasehold improvements is now permanent, and could mean big savings to small business owners.

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Is Your Business Subject To Trailing Nexus?

Businesses that establish nexus within a particular state may be required to meet certain tax compliance requirements even after they stop conducting business within that state. For instance, some states have implemented trailing sales tax nexus rules which require companies to collect sales tax even if they no longer have tax nexus.

 

What is sales tax nexus?

Tax nexus can best be defined as the seller’s minimum level of physical presence within a state that permits a taxing authority to require them to register, collect and remit sales and use taxes. In determining whether an out-of-state seller needs to comply with tax nexus laws, it is appropriate to examine a combination of federal and state laws. Having said that, if de minimis activities are performed within a state that establishes only the “slightest presence” in a taxing jurisdiction, it is unlikely that the seller will need to register and collect sales tax in that area. If the company has more than a de minimis physical presence in the state, then sales tax registration and collection would likely be required. Most states characterize “doing business in their state” as regularly or systematically soliciting business either by employees, independent contractors, agents or other representatives or by distribution of catalogs or other advertising matter. It is important to know the rules in each state where your company conducts business.

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