By: Kerri Tassin
In today’s column I will take a look at recent tax law provisions, some proposed and others enacted, during 2015. Some federal provisions will impact future filing seasons for certain taxpayers, while a Missouri tax provision benefited certain taxpayers during 2015. And one proposed federal bill may come to the rescue of business and individual taxpayers, hopefully in the near future. The following are some highlights of this year’s legislative activity.
On April 27, 2015, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed into law H.B. 384 which made a provision for amnesty from the assessment or payment of penalties, additions to tax and interest related to unpaid taxes. The amnesty provided for in Missouri revised statute 32.383, applied to individual income tax, corporate income tax, sales and use tax and corporate franchise tax among others. Only tax liabilities due on or before Dec. 31, 2014, qualified for the amnesty provisions. Taxpayers who took advantage of the amnesty paid amounts due by Nov. 30, 2015. These taxpayers must also continue to comply with state laws for the eight-year period following the amnesty agreement and will not be eligible for future amnesty agreements for the same type of tax.
In addition to the amnesty provisions, H.B. 384 included the creation of an independent Office of Taxpayer Advocate for the state of Missouri. Pursuant to Missouri revised statute 37.650, the Office of Missouri Taxpayer Advocate will have the ability to communicate with taxpayers regarding their tax issues and will also have the ability to communicate with the department of revenue regarding the tax issues. According to the statute, the governor will appointment an individual to the position, and this individual will report annually to the governor regarding the number of cases handled during the year and offer recommendations concerning Missouri tax law and procedure.
On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed H.R. 3236 into law. Part of the law affects the due dates for several tax returns filed for tax years beginning after Dec. 31. Under this new law, calendar year partnerships will have a March 15 filing deadline, which is one month earlier than the previous April 15 deadline. The filing deadline for calendar year S corporations will remain March 15. The goal of this provision was to provide partners with their forms K-1 prior to the individual filing deadline of April 15. The Act provides that calendar year C corporations will have a new filing deadline of April 15, one month later than the previous March 15 deadline. This act also extended several filing deadlines for taxpayers who requested an extension of time to file tax returns.
Several federal tax law provisions affecting both business and individual filers expired at the end of 2013, but were extended for one more year by the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 in December 2014. Unfortunately the timing of the extenders’ legislation made it difficult for taxpayers to plan during 2014. At the time this article was written, legislators continued to work on a bill which would again extend these provisions. The future of mortgage debt relief, the tuition and fees deduction, the educator expense deduction, bonus depreciation, Sec. 179 expense limitation increases, the Work Opportunity Tax credit, and energy related provisions, just to name a few, still remain in limbo. We’ll keep our eyes on Capitol Hill to see what happens.
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute written tax or legal advice. Please consult with your own tax adviser regarding your personal tax situation.
This article appears in the October 2nd edition of the Springfield News-Leader and can be accessed online here.
Assistant Professor Kerri L. Tassin, CPA, JD teaches tax accounting classes in the School of Accountancy at Missouri State University. She also serves as director of the MSU Public Service Tax Clinics.