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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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Expanding the Advocacy Resources

(501(c)(7) Tax Exempt Club Info, Health Care Reform, ADA, Congress, State Trends, Legal Issues, National Golf Day, Dept of Labor, OSHA, IRS, Immigration, WE ARE GOLF, Regulation, Budget, Tax Issues) Permanent link

Key State LegislationClubindustryvotes.org, CMAA’s Grassroots Advocacy website, has relaunched with expanded information and abilities. The new site adds dynamic state-level information with tracked legislation and legislators.

Through the website, all CMAA members will be able to easily access:

  • Currently Tracked Federal Bills and Regulations
  • Key State Bills (New!!!)
  • Directory of Federal and State Legislators (New!!!)
  • Action Alerts on CMAA-Tracked Issues
  • Non-Partisan Election and Voter Registration Information

As well, Chapters, through their Managing Directors and Legislative Chairmen, will have the opportunity to collaborate with CMAA on state-related Action Alerts (contact forms) and more.

This resource, coupled with the Legislative Report and webinar series providing timely compliance information on the regulations impacting clubs, will now comprise CMAA’s robust advocacy initiative. Get started now to make your voice heard.

House Passes Permanent Tax Incentives for Conservation Easements

(Congress, IRS) Permanent link

02_19_15_175wOn February 12, the House of Representatives passed HR 641 – the Conservation Easement Act of 2015 as part of the America Gives More Act of 2015 (HR 644). Introduced by Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), HR 641 would alter the 1986 tax code by making the tax incentive for qualified conservation easement permanent. HR 644 also included permanent restorations for other charitable giving incentives including contributions of food inventory.

Conservation easements allow a property owner to deduct the value (a partial interest) that is donated to a qualified charitable organization exclusively for conservation purposes.

In December, Congress acted retroactively to reinstatement multiple tax provisions for tax year 2014, including conservation easements (HR 5771). However, this extension is only applicable to tax year 2014 and expired as of December 31, 2014.

This measure will now move to the Senate for consideration. Stay tuned to the CMAA Watch List for more information!

IRS Targets Nontraditional Activities

(IRS) Permanent link

12_16_14_175In recent months, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has begun focusing on nontraditional income for 501 (c)(7) tax-exempt clubs in examinations and Private Letter rulings. In a PLR released on Friday, December 12, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of a social club who had incurred significant nontraditional income, apart from its core mission as a social club.   

Mitch Stump, CPA, and author of the Club Tax Book, shares "The issue of non-traditional income has come up recently and repeatedly on IRS examinations. Now, with this recent PLR which uses a 'Modified gross receipts per. Rev. Proc. 71-17' methodology, all 501(c)(7) tax-exempt clubs should be on notice that their non-traditional activities could cost them their tax exempt status."

So what are nontraditional activities? In short, they are any activity that does not meet the club's central purpose which should be organized "exclusively for pleasure, recreation and other nonprofitable purposes." Think to-go food and wine sales, where the consumption by the member is off-site.

Read more on this topic in McGladrey’s eClub New's article “Non-traditional activity in private clubs.

We Are Golf Intercedes on Conservation Easements for Golf Courses

(Congress, IRS, Budget) Permanent link

 04_25_14_175wWe Are Golf (WAG), the industry’s advocacy coalition, scored a significant victory recently when it successfully reversed an effort within the Senate Finance Committee to specifically exclude golf courses from eligibility for conservation easement tax incentives. We Are Golf’s Washington, D.C.-based advocacy firm, Forbes-Tate, led an effort that was supported by several WAG member organizations, including CMAA, to convince key members of the Senate Finance Committee to include golf courses among eligible land uses for conservation easement tax incentives during the mark up of the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act
 
On April 3, the Senate Finance Committee voted to extend a package of key expired or expiring tax provisions, including the conservation easement for golf courses through December 2015. Conservation easements allow a property owner to deduct the value (a partial interest) that is donated to a qualified charitable organization exclusively for conservation purposes. The proposal would amend the charitable contribution deduction provision to prohibit a deduction for any contribution of property that is in use as a golf course. First created in 2006 and extended multiple times, the conservation provision expired at the end of 2013.
 
We Are Golf will continue to remain vigilant with both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to ensure that golf courses remain eligible for conservation easement tax incentives.  While WAG was successful in this instance, much work remains to ensure that golf courses retain their conservation easement tax incentive eligibility and receive equitable treatment with other small businesses.
 
The EXPIRE Act will next go to the full Senate for consideration. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative (R-MI) Dave Camp’s tax reform proposal does include a provision that excludes golf courses from conservation easement incentive eligibility. The House Ways and Means Committee has announced that its review of tax extenders will begin on April 29.  

IRS to Allow Health FSA Carryovers

(IRS) Permanent link

11_08_2013_175wEffective immediately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it will relax rollover rules for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs).  Funds in these accounts may be used for qualified medical expenses such as prescription drugs. Participants will now be able to roll over $500 to the next year. This limit is annual and not cumulative; thus, a participant may not roll over more than $500 each year. 
 
Since this is immediately effective, plan sponsors may opt to amend their 2013 plans to allow for rollovers for this plan year. For plan sponsors who already provide an option of a two-and-a-half month grace period, this news will require a choice of benefit for the plan sponsor. Plan sponsors are limited and may either offer a grace period or a rollover option.

Shutdown Over But Impact Continues

(Congress, IRS) Permanent link

Open for Business - 175wAfter 16 days, the federal government officially reopened on Thursday, October 17. Both houses of Congress approved a measure to fund the government at current levels through January 15, 2014, coupled with an increase of the US debt limit through February 7, 2014. This gives Congress time to work on a new budget agreement but another shutdown is possible if an agreement is not reached by the new deadline in January.

Even with federal employees back to work and federal offices open, the shutdown will have an impact on federal government operations for months to come.

The Internal Revenue Service has already announced that the 2014 tax filing season will be delayed one to two weeks. The original date was January 21, 2014; the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns between January 28 and February 4 based on current estimates.

 

What You Need to Know About the Shutdown

(Congress, Dept of Labor, OSHA, IRS, Regulation) Permanent link

The federal government officially shut down on Tuesday, October 1, at 12:00 midnight when both houses of Congress failed to agree on a continuing resolution to keep operations funded. More than 800,000 workers have been furloughed nationwide. While some operations like national security and the armed services have been deemed necessities, other regulatory agencies are closed until further notice.

Here is what you need to know about what agencies and services are operational and what are not.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – All offices remain open worldwide.

Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification and iCERT – This office is not currently accepting or processing applications related to visa programs, including H-2B visas, applications for prevailing wage determinations or applications for permanent or temporary employment certification. Further, the iCERT Visa Portal System is not accessible nor is the information being updated.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and E-Verify – “Law enforcement necessary for safety of life and protection of property” continues at the Department of Homeland Security. However, E-Verify is currently inaccessible to employers and US citizens who wish to check employment eligibility.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – All IRS filing deadlines remain in effect. For instance, if you filed a six month individual extension for your 2012 Income Taxes, it remains due October 15. That means that if you owe taxes, you need to pay them by that date or fines will be instituted. However, if you are owed money, you will have to wait on your refund.

Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) – Along with the majority of the Department of Labor excluding its Worker Compensation Programs, most staff at OSHA are subject to the furlough. If you need to report a workplace fatality, hospitalizations or an imminent danger situation, please call OSHA’s toll-free number immediately at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); TTY 1-877-889-5627.

Stayed tuned as CMAA will continue to monitor the shutdown and its impact!