Tax and financial advice from the Silicon Valley expert.

Tax tips and developments relating to real estate

Small business relief from filing accounting change form

The IRS has announced relief in Revenue Procedure 2015-20 for small businesses and real estate investors relating to its new rules for repairs, materials and supplies, and capitalization.

Small business taxpayers with total assets of less than $10 million and average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less in the three years preceding 2014 (2011 – 2013) won’t have to file a change of accounting form, Form 3115, for 2014 after all.

The new rules will generally only apply for small business taxpayers to expenses incurred starting in 2014, and not retroactively as previously announced. The change of accounting will still be required to be made in statements included in the 2014 income tax return.

Some small business taxpayers still might decide to file the change of accounting method form if they want to take advantage of a new rule to claim a tax deduction for the undepreciated cost of a part of a building that was replaced, such as a roof replacement.

Small business taxpayers and real estate investors should still consult with tax advisors familiar with the rules to understand them and to make necessary elections on their 2014 income tax returns.

Tax return preparers and taxpayers will all have a sigh of relief from this announcement. This announcement will also save a forest for the mountain of paper forms that would have been required to be sent to the IRS and reduce the number of extensions for 2014 income tax returns.

We should all thank groups like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that tirelessly worked with the IRS for this modification of the requirements.

California extends cancellation of debt tax relief for homeowners

On July 21, 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 1391, extending California’s exclusion for cancellation of debt income for a principal residence through December 31, 2013.

Previously, the exclusion expired December 31, 2012.

This change conforms California’s exclusion effective date to the federal exclusion, which also expired on December 31, 2013. This item is one of the extenders that the U.S. Congress will consider, probably after elections are over in November, 2014.

Remember the limit for qualified indebtedness is much lower under California’s exclusion than the federal limit. It’s $800,000 for taxpayers who file joint returns, single persons, heads of households, and qualifying widows or widowers, and $400,000 for married persons or registered domestic partners who file separate returns.

The federal limit is $2,000,000 for most taxpayers and $1,000,0000 for married persons who file separate income tax returns.

California taxpayers who reported income from cancellation of indebtedness on their 2013 individual income tax returns should determine whether they can reduce their California tax by filing an amended income tax return.

Tax and financial advice from the Silicon Valley expert.