Tag Archives: income

Podcast – The Earned Income Tax Credit | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published September 28, 2020.

 

The Earned Income Tax Credit - Podcast - Legal Thoughts

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Mayra Torres, the Public Relations Associate of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “The Earned Income Tax Credit “. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
LEGAL THOUGHTS
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas
  • Our topic for today is: “The Earned Income Tax Credit.”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our public relations associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: “The Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Good afternoon everyone. My name is Mayra Torres and I am the public relations associate at Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Attorney many families’ household income during this dreadful Covid-19 pandemic has been terribly cut to the core. I mean folks are struggling financially just to pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads and buy basic food and necessities.  Besides killing way too many people, this virus has destroyed people’s livelihoods.  Folks can hardly make a fraction of the amount of money they were making before this dreadful disease happened.
  • This is a general question and I’m not sure even how to ask this question:
  • Question 1:

I recently heard some families talking about something called earned income tax credit.  What is an earned income tax credit, who qualifies and how do they apply?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good afternoon Mayra.
  • Internal Revenue Code Section 32 allows an earned income tax credit for certain eligible individuals who work and meet certain criteria established under Section 32. The income tax credit is a refundable tax credit based on earned income that is available to certain low to modest wage earners.  IRC Section 32 applies to individuals not corporations, partnerships, or any other form of business entity.  The earned income credit is designed to offset some of the cost of living expenses for low to modest income taxpayers to ease the economic strain and rigor on them and their families.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 2:

  • Other than the work requirement and being an individual, what are the other qualifying criteria for the earned income credit?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • In order to qualify the individual taxpayer must meet a number of different requirements. Different sets of rules apply in determining the earned income credit for taxpayers with qualifying children and taxpayers without qualifying children.  If an individual is the qualifying child of more than one taxpayer, only one taxpayer can claim that person as a qualifying child for purposes of the earned income credit.  Internal Revenue Code Section 32 also establishes certain qualifying income levels and provide phase out provisions blocking high income individuals from benefiting from the earned income tax credit.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 3:

  • Attorney could you explain in more details the following distinctions:
    1. What are the qualifying criteria for taxpayers with children?
    2. What are the qualifying criteria for the earned income credit for taxpayers without children?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Mayra, that is an excellent idea to hopefully help our listeners to understand this better. Let metake these in the order that you have suggested:
  • First: The Taxpayer who have a qualifying child for the tax year is eligible for the earned income tax credit if she meets the following seven requirements in addition to the earned income criteria –
    1. the taxpayer has taxable income for the tax year;
    2. the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income does not exceed a specified ceiling amount;
    3. the taxpayer does not have more than a specified ceiling amount for investments;
    4. the taxpayer is a United States Citizen or Resident for the entire year and if married, the taxpayer is married to a United States Citizen or Resident or, if taxpayer is married to a nonresident, the taxpayer must file an election for the nonresident to be taxed as a Resident. In this event the nonresident’s worldwide income is subject to U.S. taxation;
    5. the taxpayer must use the filing status of married filing jointly, single, head of household, or widower with children. Taxpayer cannot qualify for the earned income tax credit filing married filing separate;
    6. the taxpayer has a valid social security number; and
    7. the taxpayer does not claim the foreign earned income tax credit or the foreign housing tax credit
  • Second: The Taxpayer who does not have a qualifying Child during the tax year is eligible for the earned income tax credit only if the taxpayer meets all four of the following requirements in addition to the earned income criteria:
    1. The taxpayer and spouse; if any, are between the ages of 25 and 64. Note that the couple can meet this particular requirement if either the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse is within these age requirements;
    2. The taxpayer resided in the United States for more than half the tax year;
    3. The taxpayer was not claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s tax return for the tax year; and
    4. The taxpayer is not a qualifying child of another taxpayer for the tax year.

 Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 4:

  • Attorney what is a qualifying child for the purpose of the earned income tax credit?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • A qualifying child is defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 32 as someone who meets four tests:
    1. The child must be the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child, foster child, or a descendant of such person or the taxpayer’s brother, sister, half brother or sister, stepbrother or stepsister, or a descendant of such person;
    2. The child must be under 19 years of age at the end of the tax year and the child must be younger than the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse if the couple is filing a joint tax return. There are special rules that applies to students and disabled individuals when it comes to the earned income credit age requirements;
    3. The child must live in the taxpayer’s home within the United States for more than six months out of the tax year. There are certain temporary absences rules that applies in calculating the residency requirement under Internal Revenue Regulations Section 1.152-2(a)(2)(ii);
    4. The married child of the taxpayer cannot be a qualifying child of the taxpayer  if the married child of the taxpayer files a tax return with their spouse; except, solely for the purpose of filing a claim for refund and the married child is the taxpayer’s dependent.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 5:

  • That That is a lot to digest! I mean what types of income is included to determine whether the taxpayer meets the earned income criteria in the first place?
  • And what happens if the taxpayer misunderstands these tax rules and claims the earned income tax credit by mistake or something?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • For clarity purposes Mayra; let me answer your two questions step by step:
  • First:
  • What types of income is included to determine whether the taxpayer meets the earned incomecriteria in the first place?
  • Earned income typically consists of-
    1. Wages, tips, and other types of employee compensation;
    2. Net earnings from self-employment;
    3. And certain taxable disability payments received by a taxpayer prior to reaching the minimum retirement age;
    4. Extra pay earned by active duty soldiers in a military combat zone pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 112;
    5. There might be other types of income, but, these are the basic categories of income that are included in computing the earned income tax credit. I might add that some categories of income are specifically excluded from income for purposes of computing the earned income tax credit, such, investment income, social security income, welfare benefits, unemployment compensation, community property income and any other income exclusions specifically mentioned in Internal Revenue Code Section 32(c)(2)(a)(i).
  • What was your second question Mayra? Could you repeat it again?

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 6:

  • Oh, sure I would be glad to attorney. My question was-
  • What happens if the taxpayer misunderstands these tax rules and claims the earned income tax credit on their filed tax return by mistake or something?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Taxpayers are responsible for the accuracy of any tax return that they file or someone else files on their behalf with the Internal Revenue Service and there can be civil and criminal consequences for filing inaccurate returns. Detailed Earned Income Computation Worksheets are contained in IRS Publication No. 596.  The taxpayer should read this publication very carefully, especially, if they prepare their own tax return and are contemplating claiming the earned income credit.
  • In the event the taxpayer is using a paid tax return preparer to prepare their return and claim an earned income tax credit, they must perform their due diligence in selecting a qualified tax return preparer. The tax return preparer who is a paid tax return preparer of a tax return claiming the earned income credit must sign the return and complete and sign Form 8867, Paid Preparer’s Earned Income Credit Checklist and attach it to each return filed with the IRS claiming the earned income tax credit.  Form 8867 also applies to returns filing head of household, child tax credit and additional child tax credit.  The taxpayer must make sure Form 8867 is properly completed and filed with their tax return; so that, they can demonstrate that they possibly acted in good faith and reasonable in claiming an earned income credit for the tax year.  This could form the basis for a reasonable cause defense in the event the IRS challenges the earned income tax credit position on the tax return; or these due diligence steps could form the basis for a tax preparer negligence claim.  There is an inflation adjusted preparer penalty of $500 which applies when the tax preparer fails to complete Form 8867.
  • If a taxpayer claims the earned income credit in a previous year though they were not eligible and the IRS determines that the error was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the earned income credit rules, the taxpayer could be prohibited from claiming the credit on subsequent tax returns for two years pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 32(k)(1)(B)(ii).

Mayra’s Concluding Remarks

  • Attorney, thank you for very clear responses to all my questions concerning the Earned Income Credit.
  • I understand the earned income tax credit better now than when we first began discussing it this afternoon.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to our podcast. Everybody take care!  And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 and Spanish callers:  214-599-0432.

Coleman Jackson, Attorney’s concluding remarks:

 THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about the earned income tax credit. If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – Exclusion from Gross Income | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published October 7, 2020

Exclusion from Gross Income

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Mayra Torres, the Public Relations Associate of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Income from Discharge of Indebtedness.” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
LEGAL THOUGHTS
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas
  • Our topic for today is: “Income from Discharge of Indebtedness.”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our public relations associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: ““Income from Discharge of Indebtedness.”

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Good morning everyone. It is a pretty chilly Autumn morning today! My name is Mayra Torres and I am the public relations associate at Coleman Jackson, P.C. We are a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Question 1:  Attorney:  Is all income taxable in the United States?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Mayra. Wow that is a broad question this morning! Let me begin with Internal Revenue Code Section 61 where gross income is defined in U.S. Tax Law. That is where we must begin our discussion of taxable income in U.S. tax law. Gross income is defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 61 as all income from whatever source derived.
  • The Internal Revenue Code contains a laundry list of types of income that are taxable, but IRC Section 61 specifically states that the list is not intended to be exhaustive or complete. The types of income specifically included on the gross income laundry list are:
    1. Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;
    2. Gross income derived from business;
    3. Gains derived from dealings in property;
    4. Interest;
    5. Rents;
    6. Royalties;
    7. Dividends
    8. Alimony and separate maintenance payments;
    9. Annuities;
    10. Income from life insurance and endowment contracts;
    11. Pensions;
    12. Income from discharge of indebtedness;
    13. Distributive share of partnership gross income;
    14. Income in respect of a decedent; and
    15. Income from an interest in an estate or trust
  • Repeat: This list of taxable gross income is not exhaustive. Gross income under U.S. Tax Law is extremely broad and envision taxation of increments of wealth constituted in whatever shape or form.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Attorney that is a lot. Let me see whether we can narrow down our discussion to this!
  • QUESTION 2: Is any income excluded from gross income for U.S. tax purposes?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Mayra, that indeed is a good strategy because as I have said the concept of gross income in U.S. tax law is a global concept. Gross income includes income derived from whatever source derived.
  • As for income that is excluded from gross income for tax purposes. Let me just limit our discussions to income from discharge of indebtedness since this could potentially be a looming problem as the economic impact of Covid-19 continues to hammer many families in their pocketbooks. Internal Revenue Code Section 108(a) states that gross income does not include any amount which would otherwise be includible in gross income by reason of the discharge of indebtedness of the taxpayer if
    1. The discharge occurs in a title 11 bankruptcy case;
    2. The discharge occurs when the taxpayer is insolvent;
    3. The indebtedness discharged is qualified farm indebtedness;
    4. In the case of a taxpayer other than a C corporation, the indebtedness discharged is qualified real property business indebtedness; or
    5. The indebtedness discharged is qualified principal residence indebtedness which is discharged-
      • Before January 1, 2021 , or
      • Subject to an arrangement that is entered into and evidenced in writing before January 1,2021.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Okay, you have listed about five categories there. Right now, could you please explain the last one you mentioned in the list in more detail.
  • Question 3: Explain what qualified principal residence indebtedness is and how it works and all?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Mayra, the term principal residence indebtedness means the debt financing the taxpayer’s principal residence or place where the taxpayer resides most of the time. This is the main residence of the taxpayer.
  • The mortgage on the taxpayer’s main residence must meet both of these prongs or conditions:
    1. the mortgage must have been taking out to purchase, build, or substantially improve the taxpayer main home; and
    2. the mortgage must secure the taxpayer’s main home
    3. Let me just add that the taxpayer cannot have but one main residence which turns on all the facts and circumstances. The debt can be a second mortgage obligation if it meets requirements one and two.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Question 4:
  • Attorney how much of this qualified principal residence indebtedness is eligible for exclusion from the gross income of the taxpayer?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Well, first of all let me say, the list of exclusions have a pecking order that taxpayers must be aware of; for example, the discharge of debt in a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding preempts all other exclusions under Code Section 108. And the insolvency exclusion that I mentioned awhile ago takes precedence over the farm debt exclusion and the qualified real property exclusion; and the principal residence indebtedness exclusion takes precedence over the insolvency exclusion unless the taxpayer makes the proper elections.
  • Now, let’s go back to your original question Mayra; please repeat your question again so that we can be clear on this.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Sure, no problem, Attorney! Thanks for pointing out the pecking order of the various exclusions.My original question was…
  • Question 5: How much of the qualified principal residence indebtedness that is forgiven by the lender is excluded from the gross income of the taxpayer?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Okay, let me make four very important points as it relates to the amount of the exclusion of cancellation of debt income of certain qualified principal residence indebtedness:
    • Number 1: the exclusion of residence indebtedness only applies, for the most part, to debt discharged after 2006 and before 2021 or at least the taxpayer needs to have a written discharge agreement in place by December 31, 2020
    • Number 2: the maximum amount of forgiven debt that the taxpayer can treat as qualified principal residence indebtedness is $2 million dollars or $1 million if filing married filing separate; and
    • Number 3: The discharged debt must be directly related to decline in the market value of the taxpayer’s main home or directly due to the taxpayer’s disrupted or poor financial condition.
    • Number 4: The exclusion amount is limited to the part of the discharged loan that is qualified principal residence indebtedness. That simply means that the exclusion is limited to the portion of the discharged debt that meets the definition of qualified principal residence indebtedness that I discussed at the beginning of this discussion.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Question No. 6: Attorney, how does a taxpayer actually take the qualified principal residence debt exclusion? I mean is this on the tax return they file or what?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Yes, the taxpayer must attach tax Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness to their annual income tax return filed with the IRS and comply with appropriate instructions explaining their tax position.
  • Mayra, do you have any further questions with respect to types of income excluded from gross income? So far, we mostly have talked about qualified principal residence debt exclusion. And there are many aspects of this topic that we have not explored. I mean we could talk more about debt extinguished through repossessions and foreclosures. Any specific additional questions at this time on this debt cancellation topic?

Mayra’s Concluding Remarks

  • Attorney,Attorney thank you for answering my questions. I do have more questions involving the exclusion of canceled debt from U.S. taxation, but I can put them off to some other time.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to our podcast. Everybody take care!  And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 and Spanish callers:  214-599-0432.

 Coleman Jackson, Attorney’s concluding remarks:

 THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you the exclusions of cancellation of debt income from U.S. taxes. If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.