In a press release and IRS Notice (Notice 2018-54) issued Wednesday, May 23rd, the IRS warned taxpayers to be wary of state efforts to circumvent new federal limits on deductions for state and local taxes. Under the recent tax overhaul, deductions for state and local taxes (including property taxes) are capped at $10,000. This cap is particularly detrimental for residents of states with high property taxes and/or state and local income taxes (for example, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut).
To mitigate the adverse impact of the new $10,000 cap on state and local taxes, states have been considering alternative methods to raise revenue that would avoid the cap. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have both signed legislation permitting local governments to set up charitable organizations that can accept property tax payments as donations (which could be deductible, without limitation, against federal taxable income).
Notice 2018-54 announces that the Department of Treasury and the IRS intend to propose regulations regarding the SALT deduction cap, and signals their view that tax payments in excess of the cap (regardless of how structured) are not deductible. In particular, the Notice highlights the approach taken by New York and New Jersey (structuring tax payments to allow taxpayers to characterize the payments as deductible charitable contributions), and warns that federal law, not state law, controls the proper characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes.
For more information on federal tax reform’s impact on individuals see our earlier Legal Advisory, issued April 17, 2018, titled “Practical Insights on Tax Reform: Impact on Individuals”.
Nutter lawyers Melissa Sampson McMorrow and Crescent Moran Chasteen recently released a tax advisory, "Practical Insights on Tax Reform: Impact on Exempt Organizations" that examines how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect exempt organizations. In addition to discussing the general impact that Tax Reform will have on exempt organizations, the advisory delves in to the specific impact the legislation will have on fringe benefits and executive compensation and potential penalties that could be imposed on exempt organizations. As a result of these new rules, exempt organizations should immediately review their practices regarding executive compensation and fringe benefits to avoid the application of any excise tax or understand the implication of a potential new item of UBTI. Please contact the authors for more information if you’d like to learn more about this topic.
In this blog, Nutter's Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits attorneys will provide updates on key developments and offer practical tips and best practices relating to executive compensation, employee benefits, and corporate governance matters.