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President Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act Containing Several Tax Provisions

President Biden Signs Inflation Reduction Act Containing Several Tax Provisions

By: Dean Dorton | August 17, 2022

This article contains the latest information regarding the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that was signed into law August 16, 2022 by President Biden.

Tax

Yesterday afternoon, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”). The IRA includes provisions intended to combat climate change, promote clean energy, and lower prescription drug and health care costs. To pay for its spending, the IRA contains several tax changes, although the tax provisions are much narrower than those proposed in the Build Back Better Act that failed to progress in Congress last fall.

Notably, the IRA extends, through 2028, the limit on excess business losses (“EBL”) that can be deducted by noncorporate taxpayers. It also appropriates $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service for enforcement, taxpayer services, operations support, and modernization, which could lead to increased audit activity. On a positive note, the IRA contains several tax incentives for individuals and businesses related to clean energy. Other tax provisions include a new corporate alternative minimum tax, an excise tax on the repurchase of corporate stock by publicly-traded companies, an increase in the research credit against payroll taxes for small businesses, and changes to the premium tax credit.

Extension of Limit on Excess Business Losses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), enacted at the end of 2017, introduced a limit on business losses deductible by individuals and other noncorporate taxpayers (trusts and estates) against non-business income. Specifically, the TCJA disallowed 2018 net tax losses from active businesses in excess of $250,000 (for individual taxpayers) and $500,000 (for joint filers), adjusted annually for inflation. Disallowed losses are converted into a net operating loss (“NOL”) and carried over to the following tax year. Under the TCJA, the EBL limit was effective for tax years 2018 through 2025.

In March of 2020, the CARES Act retroactively postponed the effective date of the EBL limit until tax years beginning in 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) later extended the EBL limit for one year, through 2026.

The IRA provides for a two-year extension of the EBL limit, through 2028. To illustrate the impact of this limitation, consider the following example:

H and W are married taxpayers filing a joint return. In 2022, H generates a net tax loss from his business of $600,000 and W generates a net tax loss from her business of $240,000. Both H and W actively participate in their businesses. Their aggregated net tax loss from trades or businesses is $840,000. For tax year 2022, the EBL limit is $540,000 for joint filers. Thus, their EBL for 2022 is $300,000 ($840,000 – $540,000).

How does this limitation impact the taxable income of H and W?

Let’s assume that, in addition to the losses generated from their businesses, H and W have other investment income totaling $1,000,000. The following table illustrates how taxable income is calculated before and after the EBL limit:

 

Before EBL limit

After EBL limit

Investment income

$1,000,000

$1,000,000

H’s active business loss

($600,000)

($600,000)

W’s active business loss

($240,000)

($240,000)

Excess business loss (see above)

$0

$300,000

Net taxable income

$160,000

$460,000

While H and W cannot reduce their 2022 taxable income by the $300,000 EBL, this loss is converted to a NOL and carried over to the following year. H and W can use the NOL in 2023 to offset up to 80% of their taxable income. To illustrate, let’s assume that H and W have the exact same facts as above for 2023. Their 2023 taxable income would be calculated as follows:

 

2023

Investment income

$1,000,000

H’s active business loss

($600,000)

W’s active business loss

($240,000)

Excess business loss (see above)

$300,000

Net taxable income before NOL carryover

$460,000

NOL carryover from 2022 (lesser of NOL of $300,000 or 80% of taxable income before NOL ($368,000))

($300,000)

Net taxable income after NOL

$160,000

As illustrated above, the EBL limit is merely a timing issue. Fortunately, the IRA only extends the limit for two more years and does not make further changes to current law, such as the conversion of disallowed losses into a NOL.

Increased IRS Funding

As noted above, the IRA appropriates $80 billion to the IRS for enforcement and other activities. The $80 billion is appropriated over a ten-year period and approximately broken down as follows:

  • $3.2 billion for taxpayer services;
  • $45.6 billion for enforcement;
  • $25.3 billion for operations support; and
  • $4.8 billion for business systems modernization.

An additional $15 million is appropriated to the IRS with a directive to report to Congress on the potential development of an IRS-run e-file system.

The IRA does not instruct the IRS on how to spend this additional funding with respect to enforcement activities. However, in a letter Congress on August 4, the IRS Commissioner stated that the agency’s investment of these additional resources would follow the Department of Treasury’s directive that audit rates will not rise relative to recent years for households making less than $400,000. Instead, the letter stated that the IRS would “pursue meaningful, impactful examinations of large corporate and high-net-worth taxpayers to ensure they are paying their fair share.”

Clean Energy Incentives

Investment in clean energy is a focal point of the IRA, and the law contains several tax incentives for both businesses and individuals. Notable clean energy incentives include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Modification and extension of the credit for nonbusiness energy property – This credit, which applies to energy-efficient windows and doors, in addition to certain HVAC systems and heat pumps, is extended through 2032. The $500 lifetime limit for the credit is replaced with an annual limit of $1,200.
  • Modification and extension of the credit for residential energy-efficient property – This credit is renamed the “residential clean energy credit” and extended through 2034. It applies to residential energy-efficient property installed in a dwelling unit used as a residence by the taxpayer, such as qualified solar electric property, solar water heating property, fuel cell property, small wind energy property, and geothermal heat pump property.
  • Modification and extension of the clean vehicle credit – The credit for the purchase of clean vehicles, such as plug-in electric vehicles, is extended through 2032. The IRA eliminates the current cap on the number of credit-eligible vehicles produced by a specific manufacturer. However, it also imposes sourcing requirements on a vehicle’s critical components and battery systems. For example, electric vehicles made with any battery components manufactured by “foreign entities of concern” would be ineligible to receive the credit after 2023. The IRA also imposes a new credit limit based on the taxpayer’s income. The credit is not allowed if a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $150,000 (for individual taxpayers) or $300,000 (for joint filers). The maximum credit per vehicle remains at $7,500.
  • Credit for previously-owned clean vehicles – A new credit of up to $4,000 is created for the purchase of a previously-owned clean vehicle. The credit applies only to taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income does not exceed $75,000 (for individual taxpayers) or $150,000 (for joint filers). The credit applies to vehicles acquired after 2022 and before 2033.
  • Credit for commercial clean vehicles – The IRA creates a new business credit for qualified commercial clean vehicles acquired after 2022 and before 2033. The maximum credit per vehicle is $7,500, or $40,000 for a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 14,000 pounds.

The IRA also appropriates funds for the establishment of state rebate programs geared towards low- and middle-income households that purchase energy-efficient appliances.

Other Provisions

  • Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax – Effective for taxable years beginning after 2022, the IRA imposes a new, 15% corporate alternative minimum tax on the adjusted financial statement income (“AFSI”) of large corporations. The minimum tax applies to C corporations which, for a three taxable year period, have average annual AFSI greater than $1 billion. A lower threshold applies to foreign-parented corporations that are members of an international financial reporting group. S corporations are not subject to the minimum tax.
  • Excise Tax on Repurchase of Corporate Stock – The IRA also establishes a new excise tax on the repurchase of certain corporate stock. An excise tax of 1% is imposed on the fair market value of stock repurchased by a publicly-traded U.S. corporation during the taxable year. Several exceptions apply, including an exception in any case in which the total value of the stock repurchased during the taxable year does not exceed $1 million. The excise tax applies to repurchases of stock after 2022.
  • Increase in Research Credit Against Payroll Taxes for Small Businesses – Under current law, taxpayers engaged in research and development activities may be eligible for a research credit against their income tax liability. Small businesses that meet certain requirements may elect to apply the credit against their payroll tax liability. The amount of the credit that can offset a taxpayer’s payroll tax liability currently is limited to $250,000. The IRA increases this amount to $500,000 for taxable years beginning after 2022.
  • Changes to Premium Tax Credit – Taxpayers who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace may be eligible for a premium tax credit under current law. Eligibility for the credit depends on various factors, including a taxpayer’s household income, family size, and the federal poverty line. For 2021 and 2022, the ARP expanded eligibility for the credit to individuals with household income in excess of 400% of the poverty line and increased the credit amount for qualifying taxpayers. The IRA extends these enhancements to the credit through 2025.

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