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2019 Tax Reform Resources for CPAs and Tax Professionals

What CPAs & Tax Pros Need to Know
About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the most significant changes to tax law in more than 30 years. In response, Surgent developed--and continues to update--a vast array of tax reform resources for CPAs and tax professionals. In the months since the TCJA was signed, IRS has issued hundreds of pages of guidance and additional proposed regulations clarifying many of the far-reaching provisions, while creating volumes of new material for CPAs to sort through and understand. Surgent's 2019 tax reform resources distill the overwhelming amount of information into the practical insights you truly need as a practitioner. From our blog posts offering in-depth analysis of tax reform issues to our tax reform CPE courses and money-saving CPE packages, we're here to help CPAs and tax practitioners get fully up-to-speed about the sweeping tax reform law and how it impacts individual and business clients in the current filing season and beyond.

Here are some of our newest and most popular tax reform courses:

Section 199A: Applications and Challenges in 2019 (AIG4)
Live Webinar; Self-Study
Choosing the Right Business Entity Post-Tax Reform (CETA)
Live Webinar; Self-Study
New Depreciation Rules for Bonus and Section 179 Expensing (DRBE)
Live Webinar; Self-Study
Mastering Accounting for Income Taxes (AIT4)
Live Webinar; Self-Study
See our full list of available tax reform courses

Surgent tax reform CPE courses are updated regularly to keep you informed on:

  • Reduction in individual and corporate tax rates
  • Taxation of pass-through entities
  • Complete coverage of the complex Section 199A 20% deduction
  • Deduction of home mortgage interest
  • State and local tax deductions
  • New alimony rules
  • Repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate
  • Standard deduction and itemized deductions
  • Child tax credit
  • Use of §529 accounts
  • Survival of personal AMT and repeal of corporate AMT
  • Estate and gift tax
  • New limitations on business losses
  • New depreciation rules and §179 expensing
  • Business interest
  • Modification of NOL rules
  • New credit for employer-paid family and medical leave
  • Repatriation of foreign funds
  • Choice of entity
  • Entertainment expenses; food and beverage
  • Restrictions on Deducting Business Interest and NOLs for Individuals and Businesses


What CPAs Are Asking About Tax Reform in 2019?

Surgent experts have issued well more than 10,000 CPE credit hours on tax reform and in doing so, we’ve addressed thousands of questions on this law and subsequent regs from practitioners. The most asked about topic has certainly been--and continues to be--related to the Section 199A deduction. Here are answers to five of the top questions CPAs and tax professionals are asking about 199A:

Question No. 1: Is it true that businesses such as accounting and law firms are ineligible for the 20% deduction?

This is not true in many cases. Professional firms such as law firms and accounting firms are eligible for the 20% deduction as long as the owner's taxable income does not exceed the phase-out limits, which start at $157,500 and $315,000.

Question No. 2: What is Qualified Business Income (QBI)?

Generally QBI is the income from a qualified business that is used to determine the 20% deduction. In other words the deduction is 20% of QBI, which is the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction and loss with respect to any qualified trade or business of the taxpayer.

Question No. 3: Can Schedule E filers with net rental income take the 20% deduction?

Like a lot of issues surrounding the implementation of this deduction, we await IRS guidance. We think that in order to take this deduction we would have to conclude that the rental activity constituted a "trade or business," but we don't know how a rental activity would meet that requirement. Stay tuned for more IRS guidance on this as well as other issues related to the 20% deduction.

Question No. 4: Which business entities may a taxpayer use in order to take advantage of the 20% deduction?

A taxpayer may do business as a Schedule C, an S corporation, or partnership/Multi Member LLC and take advantage of this deduction; but each entity has separate rules relating to the deduction itself. The only ineligible entity is the C corporation, which—because of the favorable 21% marginal tax rate—is not able to take advantage of this deduction.

Question No. 5: Are the taxable income limitations applicable only to professionals, or every trade or business?

They are subject only to what are called specified service trade or businesses, which include some but not all professionals. By having taxable income under these limits, otherwise ineligible firms, medical practices, and the like are eligible for the 20% deduction.



Summary of Top Changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Here’s a list of the major provisions in the law that was signed by President Trump on December 22nd, 2017.

These provisions begin in 2018 unless noted and many of the individual provisions are temporary, with some set to expire as of January 1, 2026.

  • There are seven individual tax brackets. The top rate is 37%, kicking in at $500,000 for singles and $600,000 for MFJ.
  • The standard deduction is increased to $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for MFJ.
  • The child tax credit is increased to $2,000 per child, with $1,400 as a refundable credit – such $1,400 payable to taxpayers even with no tax liability.
  • The dreaded individual AMT remains, though ostensibly applying to fewer taxpayers since it applies at higher income levels.
  • Schedule A deductions for mortgage interest will be limited to mortgage debt up to $750,000. The current $1M limit will apply to properties purchased before December 15, 2017. As a concession to the real estate industry, the deduction is available for both new mortgages on first and second homes on debt up to $750,000.
  • Schedule A deductions for the much debated and popular SALT will be limited to $10,000, including any combination of state and local taxes (or sales taxes) and property taxes. Paying these 2018 taxes now to gain the deduction in 2017 is specifically outlawed.
  • This was very well done. The materials were helpful and the presenters did an excellent job covering the topic. I will be recommending to a colleague.
    - Recent tax reform webinar attendee

  • The individual mandate penalty is reduced to $0. Reduced sign-ups of healthy people could potentially lead to soaring premiums.
  • Medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of AGI can be deducted in 2017 and 2018.
  • Alimony would no longer be deductible by the payor, and the recipient would not include the alimony as income. This change takes effect for divorce and separation agreements executed in 2019.
  • $10,000 yearly can be withdrawn from §529 plans per child for private schooling even at the elementary and high school levels.
  • The estate tax was not repealed. The exemption doubles to $10M indexed to inflation after 2011 ($10.98M in 2017).
  • Individuals are generally able to deduct 20% of qualified business income from pass-through entities. There are limitations. A phaseout starts at $157,500 for singles and $315,000 for MFJ.
  • The hallmark of this bill reduces the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.
  • The one-time repatriation rate for overseas funds is 8% (15.5% for cash). Income earned abroad will generally not be taxed; only domestic profits would be subject to American taxation.
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