My S/E client received nearly $50,000 from clients in 2019 for travel to be taken in 2020. Since this is essentially pass through income, at best, and probably income that will need to be refunded, at worst, how and where do I report this so she will not have to pay taxes or S/E?
I am assuming she is a cash-basis taxpayer.
I think you need to look at the terms of her contract with the clients. Did the clients actually pay her for her services and the trip? That would be taxable in 2019. Or did they give her a refundable deposit on the trip? That would be taxable when the deposit is applied to the expense and/or is no longer refundable.
To be more clear, my S/E cash basis calendar year client received deposits in 2019 for trips that were to be taken in 2020. Unfortunately, these funds were put into her business account (a trust account would have been better - thanks for that suggestion!). Reservations were made but only small deposits were put down for the upcoming travel in 2020 - only about $5,000 was spent from the $50,000 she received. Now, with Covid, these trips will not be taken and she will refund the money to her clients in 2020. Given she has no business now, she can't afford to pay the taxes for 2019 and take the loss in 2020. Is there a way I can report the deposit money without creating a tax consequence to her?