Don’t Get Burned by These PPP Pitfalls

Three ways to get it wrong and only have one chance to get it right.

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By Stephen Nelson

Over the last few months, I’ve answered hundreds of questions about PPP loans. And I’ve written a short e-book, “Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness” for the accountants who will help small businesses with their forgiveness applications.

Stephen Nelson’s new e-book Maximizing PP Loan Forgiveness is available through CPA Trendlines directly from his website for instant download. |  More from Stephen L. Nelson

Learn more here: New e-Book: ‘Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness

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And, here’s an insight from all this frenzied PPP activity: Big surprises await many borrowers.


New e-Book: ‘Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness’

E-book ready for download, 110 pages of practical guidance.

By Stephen Nelson

Nearly five million small businesses received a PPP loan, including many of your clients.

Over the next few months, each will apply for forgiveness through a process that resembles a combination of an IRS correspondence audit and a couple of afternoons in an algebra class.

If you’re ready to help? Great! But if you aren’t there yet, get up to speed quickly and stay up to speed with our “Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness” e-book ($100, 110 pages, two more updates before the end of 2020).

Buy Now


Handling the Delay in 199A Regs

Brace for tough conversations, more extensions.

By Stephen Nelson

Pretty clearly, the Section 199A final regulations won’t appear before Dec. 31, 2018. The draft version of the final regulations went to the Office of Budget and Management on Dec. 14, 2018. And the review process almost certainly won’t finish in time for the new regulations to appear in the Federal Register before New Year’s Eve.

Note: The Department of Treasury did not designate the final regulations as economically significant. That means OMB has 45 days to review the regulations.

This timing hugely impacts tax accountants preparing returns with qualified business income, the income partially sheltered by the new Section 199A deduction.

Note: Qualified business income includes sole proprietorship profits, trade or business income earned in an S corporation or partnership, rental income in most cases, REIT dividends and then also income from qualified agricultural or horticultural cooperatives. In short, lots of taxpayers earn qualified business income. READ MORE →

5 Tips for Seizing the New Opportunities in Sec. 199A

Get the NEW  PDF eBook, with FREE updates: Learn More and Buy Now.

25 Million Hours of More Work – And It’s All Billable.

By Stephen L. Nelson
Maximizing Sec. 199A Deductions

The new Section 199A deduction surely counts as both a “good news” and a “bad news” story—at least for tax accountants.

The Bad News First

The bad news about Section 199A? The new deduction, according to the Internal Revenue Service, annually requires 25 million (that’s 25,000,000) hours of additional work for the tax returns of 10 million (10,000,000) small businesses and investors. Further, the statute and just the first wave of proposed regulations confront taxpayers with striking complexity. The statute itself takes ten pages just to describe a tax break for unincorporated taxpayers equal to 20% of their business income.  And the first wave–just the first wave–of regulations runs nearly 200 pages.

You may also be interested in the PDF eBook, available for instant download:
“Setting Low Salaries for S Corporations”
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A comparison puts this all into perspective: The Section 121 “Exclusion of gain from sale of principal residence” statute runs just five pages. The Section 121 regulations run 20 pages.  And this other reality: The Section 199A regulation relies on small businesses and their tax return preparers to perform good accounting: For example, accurate revenue and cost accounting by individual “trades or businesses” (a definition the statute and regulations blithely fail to supply), truly up-to-date depreciable property records, and then precise accounting for both W-2 wages and partnership guaranteed payments.

My honest guess? This first year unfolds as a slow-motion train wreck for many. Sorry.

But Good News Too

The good news about Section 199A? The flip side of the coin. Probably every small business and active real estate investor client you serve needs two to three hours of additional high-value tax work just to get the right deduction onto their tax return.  Further, your high-income and high-net-worth clients will probably each need additional hours of pre-year-end planning, coaching, and maybe just general accounting services. These services should save some of these folks tens of thousands of dollars a year–and let you bill at rates commensurate with the incredibly high value delivered.

Some accountants have even begun to whisper, “Section 199A will be like Sarbanes Oxley, but for tax accountants and small businesses.”

Given the bad news and the good news, what can a CPA or CPA firm do to prepare–other than learning this complicated new law really, really well?

I have five ideas to consider:


10-Step Sec. 199A Deduction Checklist for Tax Practitioners

Step 1: Tell clients of new complexity – and your extra work.

By Stephen Nelson

Wow. This Sec. 199A deduction… a big deal, right? Lots of opportunity for taxpayers. Lots of complexity for their tax advisors. And basically, no time to first learn and then apply the new law.

Given this, CPA Trendlines suggested I share our firm’s checklist for handling Sec. 199A deduction work for clients this tax season.

Don’t worry, I’ll make this quick. You and I both have tax returns to prepare, review and sign. READ MORE →