Need answers to these 2 questions on Federal Income Taxation:(Need tonight 4/19/12 by 11 p.m. CST.
1. You are chief counsel to the Chairman of Joint Committee on Taxation, the body primarily responsible for identifying taxation issues and their consequences as Congress seeks to implement a comprehensive and coherent tax policy. Currently, the United States is in a bit of an economic slump. Corporate earnings reports are relatively weak; the stock market is about 25% off of its five-year highs; and tax revenues are down. Largely as a result of the last issue, the government finds itself operating under an annual deficit, and the national debt hovers around $7,000,000,000. Interest rates, however, remain at historic lows.
The President has suggested a multiple-pronged attack to "revitalize" the economy. He has proposed permanently abolishing all capital gains taxes. He has also proposed eliminating the "double taxation" of dividends by excluding them from shareholders' income. To partially offset these reductions, however, he has proposed eliminating the deduction that self-employed individuals receive for medical insurance copayments as well as the home mortgage interest deduction.
The Chairman has asked you for your analysis of these provisions. Please prepare a memorandum outlining your thoughts as to each, including, but not necessarily limited to:
(1) the effect of each recommendation on revenues and deficits, both in the short and long run; (2) the effect of each recommendation on the economy; (3) the relative effects of each recommendation on different socio-economic groups of taxpayers; (4) the relative "fairness" of each recommended change; and (5) your conclusion as to whether any or all should be adopted.
2. One of your corporate clients has approached you about whether or not its employees are required to include certain benefits provided by the corporation in their income. In particular, the corporation has inquired whether the following benefits provided by the corporation to employees would be included in an employee's taxable income: 1. The employer would like to provide a holiday present to each employee at the end of December. It envisions providing gift cards, including a gift card for dinner at a local restaurant and a gift card for an electronics store. It also plans on providing each employee a $150.00 holiday "bonus" in a separate check. 2. The employer, which is in the business of providing commercial repair services (such as plumbing, painting, and remodeling), would like to give each employee a $500.00 "credit" each year that the employee can use toward any services or goods provided by the employer. For example, they could use the credit to have interior walls painted, plumbing work completed, or to purchase a new window and have it installed. Explain to your client the general rules surrounding whether an employee must include benefits provided by the employer in income. Then, for the two proposed benefits mentioned above, explain whether the employee would have to include the amount in income or what provision or exception might apply to make the proposed benefit nontaxable. If the employer would have to make changes to the proposed benefit to render it nontaxable, explain what changes(s) would have to be made. Finally, explain what the resulting benefit would be to the employee and how much, if any, of the benefit the employee could exclude from income. Make sure to detail any significant exceptions or rules that apply to the benefit exception at issue.
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