"New 20% Pass-Through Deduction – Avoiding the Traps and Seizing the Opportunities" article by Norman Lencz published on August 8, 2018, in Bloomberg Tax's Daily Tax Report. Here is an excerpt:
The purpose of this article is not to attempt to explain the complex maze of defined terms, rules, and limits of §199A, but rather to present a number of "traps for the unwary" that taxpayers and their advisors need to be aware of, as well as a number of planning techniques that should be considered in order for taxpayers to maximize their ability to avail themselves of the new deduction for "qualified business income" (QBI), as defined in §199A(c)(1).
By now, you have probably read many articles about, and listened to many seminars about, the new 20% pass-through deduction of §199A. Assuming you have, you are likely aware that given the speed with which the 2017 tax act was passed, there are many ambiguities in this statutory provision, and hopefully, we will have many of our questions about the provision answered in the very near future pursuant to the issuance of regulations by the Treasury Department.
Note that this article does not provide a comprehensive discussion of all potential traps and planning opportunities relating to the new QBI deduction, but simply reflects a limited number of observations that I have made in the months since Section 199A was enacted. In addition, as mentioned above, until regulations are issued, there are many unanswered questions as to how the new rules will apply, and there is no way to know with any degree of certainty whether the Treasury Department will prohibit or limit some or all of the ideas discussed below. With those qualifiers, let us begin exploring some of the traps and opportunities embedded in Section 199A.