4Thought Blog

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Employee Shift Meals Remain 100% Deductible for Tax Purposes

Posted by Lisa Haffer on Wed, Jul 3, 2019

Great news! Important tax guidance was released in late December 2018 that is considered to be a significant victory for the restaurant industry: Employee Shift Meals Remain 100-percent deductible for tax purposes.

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Topics: McDonald's management, 2017 Federal Tax Reform, Restaurants

An Opportunity Zones Guide for Restaurants

Posted by Lisa Haffer and Marla Miller on Tue, Jul 2, 2019

To encourage economic growth and investment in distressed communities, the 2017 tax reform act commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains tax incentives that are tied to investments in businesses or property located within opportunity zones. Tax incentives include both the deferral of, and exclusion from, income tax.

The Department of Treasury has certified nearly 9,000 of these districts across all U.S. states and its territories, including the entire island of Puerto Rico. Opportunity zones, also commonly referred to as O-Zones, are generally areas with low income and high poverty levels.

An O-Zone designation has the potential to trigger an influx of investment activity and is intended to help revitalize areas that were left behind after the depression. Restaurants built in O-Zones can help vitalize underserved communities and attract local talent, all while offering their owners a highly valued tax incentive.

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Topics: 2017 Federal Tax Reform, Restaurants

Estate Planning: What You Need to do Post-Tax Reform

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jun 6, 2019

Estate planning isn't just for the rich and famous. Many people mistakenly think that they don't need an estate plan anymore because of the latest tax law changes.

While it's true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides generous estate tax relief, even for well-to-do families, the need for estate planning has not been eliminated. There are still numerous reasons to develop a comprehensive estate plan and regularly update it.

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Topics: Estate and Trust Services, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

Looking to Invest in Opportunity Zones? There’s New Guidance for This Tax Benefit

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, May 14, 2019

The IRS has issued proposed regulations that provide guidance under new provisions added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) related to Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs). Specifically, the guidance addresses the gains that may be deferred as a result of a taxpayer's investment in a QOF, as well as special rules for an investment in a QOF held by a taxpayer for at least 10 years.

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Topics: Construction & Real Estate Development, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

Tax Reform & Business Travel Deductions: Learn What’s Changed, What’s Stayed the Same

Posted by Jane Spradlin on Tue, Apr 30, 2019

Tax reform through the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a ton of new tax rules for business owners. So many in fact the IRS in January just released some final regulations on key parts of the act, more than a year after it was enacted.

While there are a lot of tax changes to learn, there is some good news for business owners: Some business tax provisions remained the same or largely so, including business travel deductions.

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Topics: Business tax planning, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

New Real Estate Investment Tax Benefit: FAQs on Opportunity Zones

Posted by IRS on Thu, Apr 25, 2019

Tax Reform through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided a new tool for promoting and incentivizing long-term investment in low-income communities.

Opportunity Zones are economically-distressed communities where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

Learn more about them in this comprehensive Opportunity Zones FAQ from the IRS. Also, see the Lehigh Valley’s Opportunity Zones here.

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Topics: Construction & Real Estate Development, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

Unresolved Tax Reform Issues: Uncertainty Looms With Some Income Tax Provisions

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Apr 23, 2019

Congress has yet to tackle several outstanding uncertainties frustrating both businesses and individual taxpayers.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for example, contains several “glitches” requiring legislative fixes. Congress also has neglected to pass the traditional “extenders” legislation that retroactively extend certain tax relief provisions that expired at the end of an earlier year, in this case 2017.

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Topics: 2017 Federal Tax Reform

2018 Tax Season: Businesses that Planned Reaped Rewards

Posted by Andrew Desiderio on Tue, Apr 16, 2019

Tax season 2018 has come and gone. Being the first following the enactment of the sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it was one for the accounting history books.

Here’s a few things we learned:

  • This act may be the exact opposite of tax simplification.
  • Sure, the new 1040 is postcard sized … if you don’t count the six new schedules.
  • And you can never drink enough coffee.


While complicated, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided a lot of new tax benefits to businesses, especially those that conducted tax projections and planning.

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Topics: Business tax planning, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

Minimizing Tax Liability without QIP Guidance

Posted by Lisa Haffer and David DesRoches on Thu, Apr 4, 2019

Restaurant owners who invested in interior improvements in 2018 may be surprised when they receive their 2018 tax returns and see higher than expected tax liabilities. This is a result of an inadvertent drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) relating to the depreciation of restaurant improvements.

Before the TCJA, the tax law provided rules for multiple categories of restaurant property assets, many of which were eligible for favorable tax depreciation benefits. To simplify the rules, tax reform consolidated the categories applicable to interior improvements into the single category of Qualified Improvement Property (QIP).

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Topics: McDonald's management, 2017 Federal Tax Reform, Restaurants

Seize the Opportunity (Zone), But Keep Your Head on Straight

Posted by Stuart Eisenberg and Marla Miller on Thu, Mar 28, 2019

The IRS defines an opportunity zone as an “economically distressed community where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” The Treasury has certified nearly 9,000 of these districts across all U.S. states and its territories, including the entire island of Puerto Rico. An opportunity zone designation has the potential to trigger a rush of investment activity and is intended to help revitalize neglected areas.

A qualified opportunity zone fund is an investment vehicle that must invest at least 90 percent of its assets in businesses that operate in a qualified opportunity zone, either by acquiring stock or a partnership interest. The fund can also make direct investments in properties and real estate located within a qualified opportunity zone. REITs and other operators are forming opportunity zone funds to access the capital expected to be generated by this program to acquire and develop properties.

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Topics: Construction & Real Estate Development, 2017 Federal Tax Reform

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