Interpreting the GOP Tax Reform Plan -- Part 2

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In the first part of this series, we explored some provisions of the Ways and Means Committee’s tax reform bill. We focused on C-Corporations, S-Corporations, increased equipment expensing, increased Section 179 expenses and other provisions. In this article, we go one step further regarding business changes.

LIKE-KIND EXCHANGES

The like-kind exchange rules currently allow taxpayers to defer tax on the built-in gains in property by exchanging it for similar property. With multiple exchanges, gains essentially may be deferred for decades and ultimately escape taxation entirely if the property’s basis is stepped up to its fair market value upon the death of the owner.

Under the provision, the special rule allowing deferral of gains on like-kind exchanges would be modified to allow for like-kind exchanges only with respect to real property. The provision would be effective for transfers after 2017. However, the provision would provide a transition rule to allow like-kind exchanges of personal property to be completed if the taxpayer has either disposed of the relinquished property or acquired the replacement property on or before December 31, 2017.

The bill provides full expensing for most tangible personal property, which establishes a marginal effective tax rate of zero percent to fully expensed property, equating to the deferral that like-kind exchanges provide currently.

About Craig W. Smalley, EA

Craig Smalley

Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice for almost 23 years. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.

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