Tax News & Views Gig Economy Information Gap Roundup

June 22, 2020

Fixing the Information Gap in the Gig Economy - Marie Sapirie, Tax Notes ($). “The coronavirus pandemic has magnified the problem of nonreporting and underreporting of gig work income by taxpayers who haven’t been getting information reporting from the online platforms they use to coordinate their work.”

“The lack of information reporting is “a big problem that people have ignored for too long, and now we’re dealing with the consequences of that,” said Caroline Bruckner of American University Kogod School of Business. It’s proven especially devastating for workers who are now trying to substantiate their earnings to apply for unemployment insurance, she said. “In the middle of a pandemic, Congress was scrambling to give UI to people whose livelihoods had been decimated, but in some cases, platform workers couldn’t get their earnings substantiated because platforms don’t give them any kind of Form 1099. It’s a double whammy for online gig workers,” she said.”


Should Congress Pump Money Into Businesses By Shifting The Timing Of Tax Benefits? Howard Gleckman, TaxVox. “Should Congress manipulate the timing of business tax benefits to support firms in the midst of the COVID-19 economic slump? And if so, how?”

“That debate may be the next big battleground as Congress begins to focus on a new round of economic relief. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act started down this road by allowing firms to use recent year net operating losses (NOLSs) to get refunds for taxes they paid as far back as seven years ago. Even as Democrats want to roll back that provision, some GOP lawmakers are backing another  change: They want to let businesses claim tax credits in 2020 that they otherwise would not be able to take until future years.”

Net Operating Loss Rules Expected Any Day – Eric Yauch, Tax Notes ($). “Proposed rules on applying the net operating loss changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to some corporate groups could be released soon now that the White House has completed its review of them.” 

Guidance on how to take CARES Act distributions from qualified plans - Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., Journal of Accountancy. “The IRS explained on Friday how qualified individuals can take coronavirus-related loans and distributions from eligible retirement plans (Notice 2020-50). Qualified individuals receive favorable tax treatment for those distributions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136.”


Remember the Parking Lot Tax? IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Post-TCJA Qualified Transportation Expenses – Ed Zollars, Current Federal Tax Developments. “The parking lot tax portion of the regulations build on the safe harbor calculation the IRS provided in Notice 2018-99, adding two additional simplified computations for disallowed parking costs.”

The regulations cover any qualified transportation fringe which is defined as any of the following:

Transportation in a commuter highway vehicle if such transportation is in connection with travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment (as described in sections 132(f)(1)(A) and 132(f)(5)(B));

Any transit pass (as described in sections 132(f)(1)(B) and 132(f)(5)(A)); or

Qualified parking (as described in sections 132(f)(1)(C) and 132(f)(5)(C))[2]


IRS Intends To Audit More High-Wealth Taxpayers – Jason B. Freeman, Forbes.

“The initiative, which was confirmed by Douglas O’Donnell, head of the IRS’s Large Business and International Division (“LB&I”), last week, is expected to begin around July 15th, and will likely involve taxpayers with pass-through entities who may have taken advantage of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “TCJA”). The new focus comes on the heels of a report issued by the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (“TIGTA”), recommending that the IRS increase its focus on certain high-income taxpayers.”

TIGTA says IRS needs to get tougher delinquent tax pros – Kay Bell, Don’t Mess with Taxes. “In reviewing Internal Revenue Service data, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration uncovered 10,495 preparers who prepared more than 2 million 2016 tax year returns for clients, but who but did not file their own personal tax returns from that year.”

IRS Looking at Phased Approach to Resuming Enforcement – Frederic Lee, Tax Notes ($). “The IRS will most likely take a phased approach to resuming tax enforcement following the extended July 15 filing deadline, incorporating data on how different geographic areas are affected by the coronavirus, according to an agency official.”


Kay Bell from Don't Mess With Taxes provides us with a bit of history on Fathers Day:

More than a century ago, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea of a special day to honor her father, William Smart.

Smart was a widower raising six children alone on his farm after the death of his wife. This was uncommon at that time, as many widowers placed their children in the care of others or quickly remarried.

Dodd pushed to see her father's commitment to his children recognized and June 19, 1910, was chosen for the first Father's Day. This day to celebrate dads has been an official annual one since 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

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