The federal government has long encouraged the development and use of alternative fuels by enacting legislation that promises tax credits for such use. However, special care must be taken to ensure that all of the requirements of the law are observed. This has been made clear by recent rulings of the U.S. Court of Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Even as tax incentives provided by the opportunity zone program in 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offer the possibility of significant tax benefits when investing gains in Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs), such funds must comply with a wide variety of significant federal and state securities laws and regulations. In “Securities Law Guidance for Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs),” colleagues Ellen C. Grady and Robert B. Robbins discuss the joint statement recently issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) summarizing federal and state securities law considerations that may be applicable to QOFs.
On April 17, 2019, the IRS issued its much anticipated second tranche of guidance (the “2019 Proposed Regulations”) on the qualified opportunity zone (QOZ) program established by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The 2019 Proposed Regulations discuss a number of issues that were left unaddressed by the initial set of proposed regulations issued by the IRS in October of 2018 (the “Initial Proposed Regulations”) and provide further clarity on some issues that were touched upon in those initial regulations. This is welcome news to eager investors interested in taking advantage of the benefits of investing their capital gains in qualified opportunity funds (QOFs), particularly those wishing to deploy capital in businesses outside the realm of traditional real estate development. While we have not attempted to describe every aspect of the 2019 Proposed Regulations, a summary of certain key provisions is set forth below.
On August 14, two U.S. Court of Appeals released decisions regarding the interplay between environmental law and the federal tax code.
In the case of Green Gas Delaware Statutory Trust, et al. v. Commissioner of IRS. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the ruling of the Tax Court that the appellants could not claim federal tax credits connected with the generation and sale of “landfill gas” that is produced from decomposing landfill waste. Chief Judge Garland’s opinion begins with
Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold. Rumpelstiltskin, Inc. thought it could do the same for garbage, spinning it into tax credits. The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service disagreed. So did the Tax Court. So do we.
This morning, our colleagues on the State & Local Tax team published their Client Alert titled The U.S. Supreme Court Changes Sales and Use Tax Collection Nexus. In South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., the Court overrules the “physical presence” requirement as “unsound and incorrect.” Takeaways from the Court’s decision include:
- South Dakota law satisfies the Commerce Clause “substantial nexus” requirement based on the “economic and virtual contacts” with the State.
- The Wayfair decision does not prohibit the retroactive application of this new standard for Commerce Clause “substantial nexus.”
- The decision strikes a blow to the Court’s stare decisis jurisprudence.
As noted in a prior post, the affordable housing industry is struggling to make ends meet after equity pricing took a dive in response to the decreased corporate tax rate under President Trump’s tax reform plan. While some reprieve was granted by the increases in tax credit allocations and appropriations for affordable housing programs under the 2018 federal spending plan, developers are still struggling to fill funding gaps. One city is proposing a creative way to funnel more money toward affordable housing: On April 16, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock proposed a 2% increase in the special tax on recreational marijuana, with the additional revenue generated to be earmarked for the City’s affordable housing fund.
Over the last few decades, there have been more than a few proposals seeking to limit or remove the protections Proposition 13 affords to some types of real estate. In their recent client alert, colleagues Craig A. Becker and Breann E. Robowski examine Initiative 17-0055, which would make two significant changes to California’s property tax system, including the elimination of Prop 13 protection for commercial and industrial real estate.
When it comes to real estate, every large U.S. city is in some ways its own unique ecosystem. Still, a local measure can set a standard that other municipalities take note of and potentially emulate. In their recent client alert on dueling proposals for commercial rent tax measures, colleagues Richard E. Nielsen, Craig A. Becker and Robert C. Herr examine just such a local ballot measure, as the San Francisco electorate will decide between a 1.7% or 3.5% tax on commercial rentals in June.
In general, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill allows pass-through owners making less than $157,500 ($315,000 for married couples) to take a flat 20 percent deduction on certain business income, before computing the ordinary income tax they would owe on the remainder. Under complex rules, the deduction phases out when taxpayers make over that amount but under $207,500 ($415,000 for married couples). Continue reading