Bad Debts: What Losses Can You Deduct and When?

Bad DebtAttempts to claim write-offs for bad debt losses have fueled controversies with the IRS for many years. 不幸的是,在COVID-19大流行期间,坏账损失日益普遍. Here's an overview of the federal income tax treatment of these losses. 

The Basics

The IRS is always skeptical when taxpayers claim deductions for bad debt losses. Why? 与所谓的贷款交易相关的损失通常来自其他类型的不可抵扣交易,但失败了.

例如,您可能为一家已倒闭的企业出资. 或者你可能预支现金给朋友或亲戚,不切实际地希望钱会还回来,而你和另一方从未写任何书面文件.

To claim a deductible bad debt loss that will survive IRS scrutiny, 您或您的企业必须首先准备好证明损失来自不良贷款交易, instead of from some other ill-fated financial move.

Rules for Individual Taxpayers

假设你能证明你的合法贷款现在变成了坏账, 下一个问题是:你有业务坏账损失还是非业务坏账损失? 答案决定了适当的联邦所得税处理损失.

Business bad debt losses. 在个人纳税人的经营活动中产生的坏账损失通常被视为普通损失. Ordinary losses are usually fully deductible without any limitations. In addition, 部分无价值的扣减可以要求企业债务的部分坏.

However, 有一个重要的例外情况,即纳税人向他或她的雇主发放了一笔命运不佳的贷款,导致企业出现坏账损失. Because the taxpayer is in the business of being an employee of the company, 美国国税局表示,这笔冲销应被视为未报销的员工业务费用.

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), you could deduct unreimbursed employee business expenses, along with certain other miscellaneous expenses, to the extent the total exceeded 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). However, the TCJA suspended these deductions for 2018 through 2025.

Non-business bad debt losses. 在个人经营过程中不产生的坏账损失被视为短期资本损失. As such, they're subject to the capital loss deduction limitations.

Specifically, you can usually deduct up to $3,000 of capital losses each year ($1,即使你没有资本利得,如果你使用结婚申请分开状态,每年500英镑). 额外的资本损失只能从其他来源的资本利得中扣除. Any excess net capital loss can be carried forward indefinitely. So, 如果你有一个大的非业务坏帐损失和资本收益,数额很少或没有, it can take years to fully deduct the bad debt loss. 此外,部分无价值的非业务坏账不能索赔损失.

Rules for Business Taxpayers

对于完全没有价值的债务,企业的坏账损失扣减额等于该债务的调整税基,以确定损失. The adjusted basis generally equals:

  • The face amount,
  • The outstanding debt balance if principal payments have been received, or
  • 商业票据或应付款项,指以前确认为应纳税所得额的数额.

If property is received in partial settlement of a debt, 债务的基础是根据收到的财产的公平市场价值而减少的.

The federal income tax treatment of the loss varies as follows, based on the business's accounting method:

Cash-basis business taxpayers. 实行收付实现制的,因提供劳务未支付而产生的坏账,不得扣除, 因为从服务中获得的收入在确定无价值的纳税年度或更早的一年没有被确认为纳税目的. Therefore, the debt has no tax basis, and no deduction is allowed for the loss. The same treatment applies to bad debts from unpaid fees, 未付租金或类似物品,在确定无价值的纳税年度或较早年度未确认为应纳税所得额.

For example, Company A uses the cash method of accounting for tax purposes. In Year 1, Company A bills a client $50,000 for services rendered, but the client never pays the bill. In Year 2, it becomes clear that all collection efforts have failed. However, Company A can't claim a bad debt deduction for the $50,000 loss, because that amount was never included in the corporation's taxable income. The debt had no tax basis, so no deduction is allowed.

Accrual-basis business taxpayers. 使用权责发生制会计方法的企业主体一般可以在无价值性建立的年度内扣除坏账损失.

For example, Company B uses the accrual method of accounting for tax purposes. In Year 1, Company B bills a customer $100,并在其第1年联邦所得税申报单上报告该金额为应税收入. 到第二年年底,所有收集10万美元应收账款的努力都失败了. Company B can claim a $100,000 bad debt deduction in Year 2.

Partially Worthless Business Debts

Assuming the debt in question is a business debt that has tax basis, 当债务部分变得一文不值时,可以在当年扣除一部分基础. However, the taxpayer must show that partial worthlessness has occurred, and it must disclose the amount that has been charged off on its books. 记录帐簿冲销的要求显然意味着冲销的部分必须不再作为资产出现在纳税人的帐簿上.

The taxpayer isn't required to claim a deduction in the tax year when a debt becomes partially worthless. The taxpayer can deduct nothing, 全部或部分的债务在那一年的帐面上注销. Alternatively, 当债务变得毫无价值时,纳税人可以在纳税年度中扣除全部债务.

Extended Statute of Limitations

有时很难证明一笔债务在某一纳税年度变得一文不值. In the event of an audit, IRS可能会采取这样的立场,即没有价值发生在比申请坏账扣除的年份更早的一年. 为了保护纳税人,使他们不会因为修改申报的时效已过而失去正当的坏账扣除, 税法特别规定,坏帐扣除申请时效从原来的3年延长到7年.

对申报坏账扣除的适当纳税年度有疑问的, it's good policy to claim the deduction in the earliest year it could possibly be allowed. 如果后来变得清楚,扣款应该在以后的一年提出, an amended return can be filed for the earlier year.

When Debts Go Bad

With good professional advice and advance planning, 出于联邦所得税的目的,合法借贷交易产生的坏账可以被这样对待. In contrast, without adequate attention to the relevant details, 美国国税局可以声称,你所谓的贷款交易是其他东西——比如给个人的礼物或对企业资本的贡献——这可能会造成不利的税收结果. Contact your tax advisor if you have questions or want more information.

Social Share

Post Comment