The mileage rate decreased 1.5 cents from 2020 for Business use mileage, and 1 cents for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active duty members.
December 22, 2020
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, unless they are members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Moving Expenses for Members of the Armed Forces.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
Taxpayers can use the standard mileage rate but must opt to use it in the first year the car is available for business use. Then, in later years, they can choose either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. Leased vehicles must use the standard mileage rate method for the entire lease period (including renewals) if the standard mileage rate is chosen.
contains the optional 2021 standard mileage rates, as well as the maximum automobile cost used to calculate the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan. In addition, the notice provides the maximum fair market value of employer-provided automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2021 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule.
As many employers look to closeout and forget 2020, Maryland employers face yet another challenge as a sizeable hike in unemployment tax rates is coming in 2021.
It's important to note that Governor Hogan signed an executive order (copy below, FAQs) that excludes 2020 employer data from the formula used to determine the 2021 unemployment rate. If the Governor had not done this, all employers would have had an even higher tax rate for 2021.
For employers with zero claims over the prior three (3) years (the measurement period will remain 2017, 2018, and 2019, for 2021) the per annual amount due per employee will increase from $25.50 to $187 per employee for 2021, which is almost 7.5 times the 2020 experience rate.
While obviously not good news, at first glace it might not sound all that punitive at first glance. However, imagine you have 50 employees, all of which require an unemployment contribution. That comes out to an extra $8,075 that employers will have to pay in for 2021. In higher turnover businesses such as retail and hospitality, it's very possible to have on average 10 to 15 employees per year, but because of attrition this equals 50 or more total employees per year, all of which require their own unemployment contribution.
While unemployment rates will reduce over time as we saw a similar situation occur during and after the financial crisis (great recession). Unfortunately, in the short term, this is one more hit businesses are going to have to contend with.
Consider these tips to help offset these costs:
1) Have a plan for 2021, as no plan almost always means no success, and those who are successful are just incredibly lucky.
2) Investigate ways to streamline operations & improve efficiency in the short and medium term. No is not the time for long term decision making if possible, as there is still much uncertainty.
3) Review and make cash savings measures (both for the business, and personally), and do the easiest ones immediately. This doesn't mean slash essential services, but it means giving up the luxuries.
Contact us if you need help with these or similar small business savings strategies.
1) Make sure your mileage log is in order for the first 10 Months of 2020. Waiting is only going to give you more work to do later, plus it will give you a good idea of your total mileage expense for the year.
2) Get W-9's now from contractors you need to 1099 at year-end. Waiting until after year-end makes it much more likely that you'll never get them, especially if the contractor will not be working with you again.
3) Identify expenses to be paid by year-end to lower your taxes. This is a key tax planning step and one of the easiest to do, as paying expenses by year-end, vs. in January will give you a deduction in 2020.
Courtesy of the Tax Foundation | https://ramlcpa.link/jq2
2021 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Rate
In 2021, the income limits for all tax brackets and all filers will be adjusted for inflation and will be as follows (Tables 1). The top marginal income tax rate of 37 percent will hit taxpayers with taxable income of $523,600 and higher for single filers and $628,300 and higher for married couples filing jointly.
2021 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Rates for Single Filers, Married Couples Filing Jointly, and Heads of Households
2021 Standard Deduction and Personal Exemption
The standard deduction for single filers will increase by $150 and by $300 for married couples filing jointly (Table 2).
The personal exemption for 2021 remains eliminated.
2021 Alternative Minimum Tax
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was created in the 1960s to prevent high-income taxpayers from avoiding the individual income tax. This parallel tax income system requires high-income taxpayers to calculate their tax bill twice: once under the ordinary income tax system and again under the AMT. The taxpayer then needs to pay the higher of the two.
The AMT uses an alternative definition of taxable income called Alternative Minimum Taxable Income (AMTI). To prevent low- and middle-income taxpayers from being subject to the AMT, taxpayers are allowed to exempt a significant amount of their income from AMTI. However, this exemption phases out for high-income taxpayers. The AMT is levied at two rates: 26 percent and 28 percent.
The AMT exemption amount for 2021 is $73,600 for singles and $114,600 for married couples filing jointly (Table 3).
In 2021, the 28 percent AMT rate applies to excess AMTI of $199,900 for all taxpayers ($99,950 for married couples filing separate returns).
AMT exemptions phase out at 25 cents per dollar earned once taxpayer AMTI hits a certain threshold. In 2021, the exemption will start phasing out at $523,600 in AMTI for single filers and $1,047,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly (Table 4).
2021 Alternative Minimum Tax Exemption Phaseout Thresholds
2021 Earned Income Tax Credit Parameters
The maximum Earned Income Tax Credit in 2021 for single and joint filers is $543, if the filer has no children (Table 5). The maximum credit is $3,618 for one child, $5,980 for two children, and $6,728 for three or more children. All these are relatively small increases from 2020.
2021 Child Tax Credit
The child tax credit totals at $2,000 per qualifying child and is not adjusted for inflation. However, the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit is adjusted for inflation but will remain at $1,400 for 2021.
2021 Capital Gains Tax Rates & Brackets (Long-Term Capital Gains)
Long-term capital gains are taxed using different brackets and rates than ordinary income.
2021 Qualified Business Income Deduction (Sec. 199A)
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses against up to $164,900 of qualified business income for unmarried taxpayers and $329,800 for married taxpayers (Table 7).
2021 Annual Exclusion for Gifts
In 2021, the first $15,000 of gifts to any person are excluded from tax. The exclusion is increased to $159,000 for gifts to spouses who are not citizens of the United States.
Travis Raml, CPA