Monday, February 29, 2016

Tax credits for project in downtown Providence

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation has posted details about the rehabilitation of a five-story brick building in downtown Providence. The project, on Custom House Street, involves Rhode Island historic preservation tax credits.

The Division of Taxation's web page on historic tax credits shows details involving all applicants that have signed a contract and paid the required fee under the state's 2013 historic preservation tax credit program. 

Narragansett seminar on short-term residential rentals

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation on Friday held a seminar in Narragansett to provide guidance on the expansion of sales and hotel taxes to short-term rentals of residential property, including the rental of vacation homes and beach cottages.

More than 100 property owners, real estate agents, and others attended the seminar, which was held at Narragansett Town Hall and organized by the Division of Taxation and the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. For those unable to attend, a video of the event is available online, on the Narragansett Town Council channel on YouTube (see screenshot below).The documents presented at the seminar are also online, at the Division of Taxation website.

It is the fifth such seminar that the Division of Taxation has held. Others have taken place in New Shoreham, Narragansett, Cranston, and Newport.

Susanna Coburn (left), Donald Englert, and Theriza Iafrate of the Rhode Island Division of Taxation

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Regulation on Wavemaker tax credit program

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation has posted, as final, its regulation on tax credits under the new Wavemaker Fellowship Program.

The program, which was proposed by Governor Gina M. Raimondo and approved by the General Assembly in 2015, is intended to provide an incentive to keep educated individuals in the state.

The tax credits will help qualifying applicants, who have graduated from college and who meet program rules, to pay their higher education loans. The credits can be applied against the Rhode Island personal income tax. 
  • Successful applicants must demonstrate a 12-month service period that begins upon receipt of the award. Thus, the credits will not apply for filing 2015 returns. The earliest the credits can be claimed is in early 2017, for the 2016 tax year. Still, tax professionals will want to be familiar with the program for tax-planning purposes.
  • The Division of Taxation regulation mirrors one posted by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and takes effect March 14, 2016. For more information about the program, see the Commerce Corporation website.

Governor announces choice for DOR director

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo yesterday announced Robert S. Hull as her choice to lead the Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR). 

The DOR oversees a number of agencies, including the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. For more information on Governor Raimondo's announcement, click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rhode Island Attorney General warns of tax scam

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today reminded consumers to be aware of the signs of the pervasive "IRS scam," which continues to target law-abiding citizens in Rhode Island and across the nation.

Attorney General Kilmartin noted that his office has recently noticed an increase in calls from Rhode Islanders who had been contacted by the scammers posing as IRS agents. The caller typically threatens an individual with arrest for nonpayment of taxes and demands immediate payment over the phone.

According to a recent report, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has "received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam." TIGTA has stepped up its efforts to educate the public on how to spot the scam with the release of a new public service announcement, available in English and in Spanish.

For more information about the scam, including how to handle the scam if you are targeted, and where to report it, click here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Administrative decisions involve tax credit, tobacco

The Division of Taxation has posted two new Administrative Decisions:

  • 2016-01 considers if a certain tax credit can be applied against the personal income tax.
  • 2016-02 looks at whether tax was properly assessed on "other tobacco products".

Friday, February 12, 2016

Newsletter looks at tax year 2016

The latest edition of Rhode Island Tax News, a newsletter for tax professionals, has now been posted. It focuses on changes for tax year 2016, as well as other topics. Among the highlights:

  • A reduction in the corporate minimum tax
  • A reduction in the filing fee for pass-through entities
  • An increase in the earned income credit
  • Interest rates for 2016
  • A national award involving employer tax administration
  • Arrests involving tobacco

E-filing business returns

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation is on track to allow the electronic filing of business returns on or before March 1, 2016.

“The Division is nearing completion of its annual testing of electronic formats for business returns and is working closely with software providers on their electronic forms,” Acting Tax Administrator Neena S. Savage said in an Advisory for Tax Professionals issued on February 9.

(Separate rules apply this season to filers of insurance gross premiums and surplus line broker returns.)