NAHB Seeks Safe Harbor for Quarterly Filers

Filed in Economics by on June 8, 2018 0 Comments

red innertube at stern of passenger ferryNAHB has called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide a safe harbor for anxious home builders and other small businesses that pay estimated quarterly taxes but don’t yet know how recent tax reform legislation will be implemented – and thus may underpay.

In a letter sent June 7 to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, NAHB acknowledged that the wide scope of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act means the IRS will need more time to produce regulatory guidance. However, the letter said business owners still need reassurance that their good-faith estimates won’t result in fines.

“Issuing guidance now for a safe harbor on underpayment for the millions of taxpayers who are required to submit estimated quarterly tax payments, particularly in light of the complexities of the Section 199A pass-through deduction, would be a welcome relief to small businesses,” the letter said.

Specifically, NAHB wants the IRS to provide safe harbors when:

  • Underpayment is a direct or indirect result of changes made to the law,
  • The taxpayer has made a good-faith effort to calculate and pay their estimated tax, and
  • There was insufficient IRS guidance to calculate tax liability.

NAHB’s request was the latest move in the association’s continuing efforts to bring clarity to the complex changes accompanying tax reform, particularly the significant modifications made to the pass-through deduction rules.

Last month, in a letter to Mnuchin and Acting IRS Commissioner David J. Kautter, NAHB CEO Jerry Howard asked that IRS make clear that home builders, remodelers and other home building industry contractors “are not a specified service trade or business for purposes of 199A. Failing to do so would penalize the very businesses that the new tax law was intended to help,” the letter said.

NAHB cannot provide specific tax advice for small businesses filing quarterly returns: They should contact a tax professional. However, NAHB is working to bring certainty to its members so they are able to gain the greatest benefit from these recent, sweeping changes to the nation’s tax code and continue to help the economy expand.

“So long as the current regulatory uncertainty persists, compliance will remain costly, investment and hiring decisions will be delayed, and the full economic growth potential of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will not be realized,” today’s letter said.

For additional information, contact David Logan at 202-266-8448.

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