Daily Tax Update - August 22, 2014: IRS Releases Annual Report on Individual Income Tax Statistics

IRS Releases Annual Report on Individual Income Tax Statistics:  The IRS announced the availability today of its annual “Statistics of Income” report for tax year 2012.  According to the report, based on a sample drawn from the 144.9 million individual income tax returns filed for tax year 2012, adjusted gross income less deficit reported totaled $9.1 trillion, which is an 8.7% increase from the prior year.  The report provides estimates on sources of income, adjusted gross income, exemptions, deductions, taxable income, income tax, modified income tax, tax credits, self-employment tax, and tax payments.

The report can be accessed here.

Australian Tax Office Releases Cryptocurrency Guidance:  The Australian Tax Office (ATO) released guidance on August 20, describing the tax treatment of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with the same characteristics as Bitcoin.  The ATO guidance provides that bitcoins are neither money nor currency for Australian tax purposes, and that transacting with bitcoins is akin to a barter agreement, with similar tax consequences.  This general treatment is in line with guidance released by the IRS in Notice 2014-21, concerning the US tax treatment of virtual currencies.  The ATO guidance also specifies that Australia’s Goods and Services Tax (GST), a 10% value-added tax, is payable on the supply of bitcoins made in the course or furtherance of a taxpayer’s enterprise.  The GST, therefore, may result in the double taxation of Australian businesses that use bitcoin.

The ATO guidance can be accessed here.

Miscellaneous Guidance Released:
TD 9690, REG-129507-14, and REG-129786-14 contain interim final rules and proposed rules augmenting current regulations in light of the Supreme Court’s interim order in Wheaton College v. Burwell, 134 S. Ct. 2806 (2014), which held that certain provisions of the ACA cannot be enforced against certain organizations with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.

Rev. Proc. 2014-51 provides guidance regarding aspects of a taxpayer’s qualification as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the context of transactions involving debt secured by real estate the fair market value of which has declined.