On July 7, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service published a series of Frequently Asked Questions that address the taxation of payments to health care providers under the HHS Provider Relief Fund.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress appropriated $100 billion to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and/or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act appropriated an additional $75 billion to the Provider Relief Fund.
The first FAQ addressed the issue of taxation for for-profit health care providers. Specifically, the IRS was asked whether a for-profit health care provider is required to include HHS Provider Relief Fund payments in its calculation of “gross income” under Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), or whether such payments were excluded from gross income as “qualified disaster relief payments” under Section 139 of the Code.
The IRS indicated that payment from the Provider Relief Fund do not qualify as qualified disaster relief payments under Section 139 of the Code. As a result, these payments are includible in the gross income of the entity. The IRS further indicated that this holds true even for businesses organized as sole proprietorships.
The second FAQ addressed the issue of taxation for tax-exempt organizations. The IRS indicated that health care providers that are exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(a) would normally not be subject to tax on payments from the Provider Relief Fund. Notwithstanding this general rule, the IRS indicated that the payment may be subject to tax under Section 511 of the Code to the extent the payment is used to reimburse the provider for expenses or lost revenue attributable to an unrelated trade or business as defined in Section 513 of the Code.
The IRS FAQ can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here. Members are advised to discuss the issue of potential taxation of any relief funding they received with their tax professionals.
The IRS clarified that for-profit healthcare providers will have to pay taxes on the grants they received from the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund.
The two laws that set aside $175 billion in grants to help providers cover lost revenue and coronavirus-related expenses didn’t explicitly state that the funds would be taxable. However, the IRS issued guidance stating that the grants are taxable income days before a tax filing deadline on July 15. The change means that grants to for-profit healthcare providers including hospitals and independent physician practices will be subject to the 21% corporate tax rate.
On April 3, Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI) introduced the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations Act of 2020 “HEROES Act of 2020” (H.R. 6433). H.R. 6433 would exclude from gross income, the wages (not to exceed $50,000) from February 15 to June 15 of qualified first responders. Those wages would therefore essentially be tax-free. A definition of a qualified first responder specifically includes paramedics and EMTs who provide services in a county with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. The language would apply to all paramedics and EMTs regardless of their employer type. The AAA had reached out prior to the introduction of the bill to staff with Congressman Huizenga to ensure that would be the case.
On December 14, 2018, a federal district court judge for the Northern District of Texas issued a ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the grounds that the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional, and that the rest of the law cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny without the Individual Mandate.
District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision relates to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by 20 states and two individuals. The plaintiffs argued that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 — which amended the Individual Mandate to eliminate the penalty on individuals that failed to purchase qualifying insurance effect January 1, 2019 — rendered the Individual Mandate unconstitutional. The plaintiffs further argued that the Individual Mandate was inseverable from the rest of the ACA, and, therefore, that the entire ACA should be struck down.
The defendants in this case were the United States of America, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, in his capacity as the Secretary of HHS, and David J. Kautter, in his capacity as the Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 16 states and the District of Columbia intervened as additional defendants.
In order to properly understand the district court’s ruling, it is necessary to revisit the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision on the constitutionality of the ACA, National Federal of Independent Business v. Sebelius (NFIB). In that case, 26 states, along with several individuals and a business organization challenged the ACA’s Individual Mandate and Medicaid expansion provisions as exceeding Congress’ enumerated powers. In a complicated decision, the majority of Justices ruled that the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce, but that the provision could be salvaged under Congress’ authority to lay and collect taxes. In reaching this conclusion, the majority of Justices focused on the “shared responsibility payment” aspect of the Individual Mandate, which imposed a tax on those individuals that failed to purchase or otherwise obtain qualifying health insurance. The majority of Justices concluded that the shared responsibility payment was a “tax.” It was therefore constitutional under the Congress’ general taxing authority.
In sum, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress lacked the power to compel individuals to buy qualifying health insurance, but that it could constitutionally impose a tax on those that failed to purchase or otherwise obtain qualifying health insurance.
In the current case, the court was asked to reconsider the Individual Mandate in light of the TCJA, which “zeroed” out of the shared responsibility payment, effective January 1, 2019. The plaintiffs argued that the Individual Mandate could no longer be justified as a valid exercise of Congress’ taxing authority. The federal government and its agents did not necessarily contest the plaintiffs’ argument with respect to the Individual Mandate. By contrast, the intervening states and the District of Columbia argued that the Individual Mandate could continue to be construed as a tax because it continues to satisfy the factors set forth by the Supreme Court in NFIB.
Judge O’Connor sided with the plaintiffs, holding that, because the Individual Mandate would no longer trigger a tax beginning in 2019, the Supreme Court’s ruling on this point in NFIB was no longer applicable. He therefore concluded that the Individual Mandate could no longer be upheld under Congress’ taxing authority. Judge O’Connor then fell back on the Supreme Court’s previous holding that the Individual Mandate, as a stand-alone command, remained unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause. Judge O’Connor then ruled that the Individual Mandate could not be severed from the rest of the ACA. On this point, the judge cited the express provisions of the ACA, as well as the Supreme Court’s decisions in NFIB and King v. Burwell.
What this decision means
On its face, the decision strikes down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. However, the ruling is likely to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Most legal experts expect that, regardless of the decision at the Circuit Court, the case is likely to make its way up to the Supreme Court.
Pending the resolution of these appeals, the Administration has adopted a “business as usual” approach. The White House has already indicated that it will not attempt to enforce the ruling during the appeals process. CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently tweeted that the decision will have “no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan.”
The American Ambulance Association will continue to monitor this case as it makes its way through the appeals process, and we will notify our members of any new developments.
The 199A passthrough business deduction was created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The creation of the 199A section within this legislation has since created many questions and needed clarifications.
On August 8, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations that provide guidance that further clarifies which passthrough businesses are able to take advantage of this deduction as well as how taxpayers and tax professionals alike can navigate this new deduction. Section 199A allows domestic businesses operated as a sole proprietorship or through a partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), S corporation, trust, or estate to deduct up to 20% of qualified business income from tax years between 2018 and 2025.
Those who have taxable income of $315,000 or less for joint filers and $157,500 or less for single filers will now be able to take advantage of the deduction. Those who exceed these taxable incomes will be subject to certain limitations. These limitations could include the taxpayer’s taxable income and limitation by 50% of W-2 wages. These regulations clarify that individuals and certain trusts and estates may be able to take a deduction of up to 20 percent of their combined qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income, including qualified REIT dividends and qualified PTP income earned through passthrough entities.
The 199A deduction can be used at the partner or shareholder level and takes into account the shareholder’s allocable share of items of qualified income and loss, unadjusted basis of the partnership or S-corporation, and W-2 wages. This proposed regulation reinforces that income earned through a C-corporation is not entitled to the deduction. Those who are in favor of this deduction maintain that it will help to reduce the tax rate on pass through and small businesses in order to provide increased parity between pass throughs and C-corporations.
The IRS released guidance with the proposed regulation that includes methods to calculate W-2 wages for purposes of section 199A. Additionally, the IRS published a FAQ page that can also be used as a resource in navigating this new deduction and can be found here.
There is a 45-day comment period where comments can be submitted to the IRS. This comment period is a great opportunity for AAA members who could benefit from the deduction to weigh in, especially where the proposed rule specifically seeks comment in the area of whether a pass-through entity should be able to aggregate its trades or businesses and whether there are proper times to include Section 707(a) payment in qualified business income. A hearing was scheduled by the Department of Treasury on the 199A regulations that will be held on October 16, 2018.
In Fall 2015, we alerted you to a deadline for a new employer filings under the Affordable Care Act. On December 28, 2015 the IRS extended the deadline to furnish and file the required forms for all required filers. The new deadlines are:
March 31, 2016, to deliver the 2015 Forms 1095-C to affected employees;
May 31, 2016, to manually file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS — for employers who’re eligible for paper filing; and
June 30, 2016, to electronically file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.
According to the IRS this is a one-time filing extension and will not be further extended. This will give employers and payroll companies additional time to prepare for this new requirement. If you fail to make the required filings by these extended deadlines, you will be subject to penalties. If you have not yet determined how you will prepare for this deadline, you should be contacting your payroll service or benefits broker for assistance.