June 2024 Newsletter

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Government Restricts AI Chip Exports to Middle East by Nvidia, AMD

Officials are postponing licenses for chipmakers such as Nvidia Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. to ship AI accelerators to the Middle East while conducting a national security review of AI development in the region.

The Role of Supply Chain Issues in Inflation

Escalating Middle East tensions, following Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s invasion of Gaza, raised fears of renewed supply chain disruptions. Yemeni-based Houthi militants attacked cargo ships in the Red Sea and Suez Canal, affecting oil shipments.

Mortgage Rates Fall Below Key Level to 6.99%

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell below 7% for the first time since early April, dropping to 6.94% from 7.02%, according to Freddie Mac. This marks the third consecutive week of decline, with rates hovering around 7% for over a month.

Immigration Order Won’t Provide Quick Fixes

Biden’s June 4, 2024, executive order effectively bans asylum for those crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without a visa or outside official ports of entry. However, exceptions are made for unaccompanied minors under 18.

Small Business Trends Indicate Potential Hiring Slowdown

If the pandemic years are marked by labor shortages and the Great Resignation, the current prudence of small businesses suggests a shift towards a great rationalization.

How Acquisitions Are Transforming the Energy Sector

Energy giants, like Exxon and Chevron, announced $194 billion in US shale deals last year, tripling the previous year’s amount and leading to industry consolidation. This trend coincides with expectations of continued demand growth despite a recent slowdown in EV sales.

Federal Definition of ‘Zero Emissions Building’ Targets Building Sector Decarbonization Alignment

Various organizations and standards-setting bodies have released differing definitions of zero-emissions buildings, leading to confusion and potential greenwashing. The new national definition aims to provide standardized, verifiable criteria to cut through this uncertainty.

EPA Warns of Rising Cyberattacks on Water Systems

The Environmental Protection Agency issued an enforcement alert, urging water utilities to protect the nation’s drinking water from increasing and severe cyberattacks. As per the agency, approximately 70% of utilities inspected last year violated standards to prevent breaches.

May Saw Moderate Job Growth, Steady Wage Gains

Job growth likely continued moderately in May, with steady wages, keeping the Fed cautious on interest rates. The Labor Department’s report may show unemployment persisting below 4% for 28 months.

Solar Manufacturing and Installations Surge in First Quarter

Solar panel manufacturing in the country surpassed 2018’s total output in just the first quarter of 2024, with a 71% increase in manufacturing capacity compared to Q4 2023, reports the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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Tax Updates: Important Highlights for 2024

Are you up-to-date with the latest tax regulations affecting your business and personal finances? Here’s a concise overview of key updates you need to know, along with insightful cross-references for deeper understanding.

Vehicle Depreciation Limits
Taxpayers utilizing the actual expense method for vehicle deductions must adhere to specific depreciation limits outlined in Rev. Proc. 2024-13 and IRC §280F. Under this method, the cost of the vehicle depreciates over a 5-year recovery period, with allowances for Section 179 deductions. However, deductions are capped at statutory amounts, with special considerations for IRC section 280F property, where limits are increased by $8,000 for the first year.

Tax Treatment of Certain Energy Rebate Programs
Announcement 2024-19 introduces DOE programs incentivizing energy-efficient home improvements. For individual taxpayers, rebates received under these programs are treated as purchase price adjustments, not taxable income. However, business taxpayers receiving rebates directly are subject to taxation, potentially requiring information reporting under IRC section 6041.

High-Income Non-Filers
In an effort to enhance tax compliance, the IRS is targeting high-income taxpayers who have failed to file federal income tax returns. With over 125,000 instances since 2017, the IRS is initiating compliance letters to address this issue. This initiative, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, aims to ensure fairness and adherence to tax regulations.

Stay informed and compliant with these updates to navigate the evolving tax landscape effectively. For further details and comprehensive guidance, download the attached PDF containing additional insights and references.