First-time Homebuyer Credit. This credit has expired. If you sold your home or it is not used as a principle residence, generally you must repay all of the credit. First-time homebuyer credits claimed in 2008 must be repaid using the 15 year schedule beginning in 2010.
Equitable Innocent Spouse Relief. An “innocent spouse” may avoid tax liability for a jointly filed return with new streamlined IRS guidelines. These include taxpayers who had no control of family finances and because of abuse, physical or psychological, feared retaliation if the matter was brought up with spouse.
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Foreign Housing Exclusion. Only for those who qualify. The foreign earned income maximum exclusion for 2012 is $95,100 and the maximum foreign housing exclusion is generally $13,314.
Reporting Foreign Financial Assets. If you had any interest in or control of a foreign bank account or other foreign assets, you may have to file Form TDF90-22.1 (FBAR) and/or Form 8938 (FATCA).
Estate Tax Exclusion. For 2012 the basic exclusion is $5,120,000. The fiscal cliff bill raised the top estate tax rate from 35% to 40%, with an exemption of $5 million beginning in 2013.
Gift Tax Annual Exclusion. You are allowed an annual exclusion from gift tax of $13,000 per donee for 2012. For 2013 the annual exclusion for gifts rises to $14,000.
Capital Gains and Losses. Beginning with 2011 brokers are required to report cost basis of stocks on a new version of Form 1099-B. This now includes mutual funds purchased after 2011. The tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends is still 0% and 15% for 2012. However these rates go up starting with 2013 due to the fiscal cliff bill and the health care bill.
Form 1099-K, credit/debit card and third party network payments. Gross receipts reported on Form 1099-K are not separately reported now, such as on Schedule C or Schedule E. The IRS has stated that there will be no reconciliation required in 2012 or future years. However these payments should be considered when determining gross income. You should contact a Form 1099-K issuer about amounts that significantly exceed payment amounts recorded in your business books and records.
Unused Leave Donated for Hurricane Sandy. Employees who donate unused leave to organizations that help victims of Hurricane Sandy will not be taxed on their leave since this would otherwise be taxable income. Employers must see that the donations were sent to IRS approved charities. These contributions cannot be deducted as a charitable donation since they already aren’t taxed.