Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax)

Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax)
Tax Attorney and Business Lawyer

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

US Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictions on Wine Sales

The US Supreme Court determined that state laws banning mail order wine purchases from out of state suppliers while permitting local sellers to sell wine by in-state wineries is Unconstitutional. If a state permits direct sales from the winery to the customer, then it must permit the sales over the internet and from other wineries located in other states. This will give consumers more choice and price competition unless states try to flex their taxing and regulating authority banning all direct retail sales. For more information click here

Friday, May 06, 2005

IRS Smplifies 941

IRS has Simpler 941

If you've been preparing or even just signing quarterly employment tax returns for awhile, you probably recognize IRS Form 941. Also known as the Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, this is the form used to report wages, tips and other compensation, as well as federal tax withheld and Social Security and Medicare tax due.

Recently, the IRS gave Form 941 a face lift. The tax agency found an abundance of mistakes made on the form by employers across the country. That's why the Office of Taxpayer Burden Reduction turned its spotlight on Form 941 in an attempt to make it more user-friendly. Beginning with the first quarter of 2005, the old, familiar quarterly report was replaced with a new, "easy on the eye" form.

The goal is to reduce: 1. The time required by preparers to complete the form. 2. The number of common errors, many of which can lead to penalties. Each year, 23 million 941 forms are filed by 6.6 million employers. The redesigned form has an improved layout, including shading and larger boxes. In addition, the new form is scannable, which should help reduce transcription errors. Plus, the instructions have been rewritten in plain language and are included on the form instead of in a separate leaflet.

Whether you prepare payroll yourself or outsource the job to payroll professionals, these changes are good news for business

IRS Eliminates"Questionable" W-4 Form Requirement for Employers

Good News: IRS Eliminates"Questionable" W-4 Form Requirement for Employers

New federal payroll tax rules eliminate the requirement for employers to automatically forward to the IRS copies of all employee W-4 forms, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, that the IRS considered to be problematic. Previously, the IRS wanted to collect these W-4 Forms and review them to see if the employees in question were trying to dodge their federal income tax responsibilities.

Specifically, the former rules required employers to send the IRS a copy of each employee Form W?4 that claimed: 1. More than 10 withholding exemptions or 2. Complete exemption from federal income tax withholding when the employer reasonably expected the employee’s wages from that source to be $200 or more per week. As of April 14, 2005, these old “automatic-copies-to-the-IRS” rules no longer apply. They won’t be missed by employers. Under the new rules, an employer is only required to submit copies of Forms W?4 to the IRS when specifically told to do so in a written notice or in published guidance that applies to all employers. (Temporary Regulations 31.3402(f)(2)?1T and 31.3402(f)(5)?1T)

New Procedures Leave Employers Out Of The Loop
The IRS has developed new procedures that use information already reported on employee Forms W?2 to identify individuals who are likely to be out of compliance with the federal income tax withholding rules. If an employee is thought to have a serious under?withholding problem, the IRS will notify the employer to withhold federal income tax from that employee’s wages at an appropriate rate. (IRS Information Release IR 2005?45)

As before, however, the IRS still has the power to issue a written notice to an employer that requires submission of copies of Forms W?4 for specified employees. Also, the IRS can still develop specific criteria for identifying Forms W?4 that must be submitted, and this can be done either via a written notice to a specific employer or by published guidance that applies to all employers. If the IRS determines that a specific employee cannot claim more than a certain number of withholding exemptions or should not be allowed to be completely exempt from withholding, the employee (not the employer) must deal directly with the IRS by supplying a new W-4 and a written statement that supports his or her claims. The employer is out of the loop. The employee generally has 45 days to resolve the issue with the IRS before the employer is required to implement withholding changes.