October, 2013

The Nanny Tax - From time to time, the "nanny tax" breaks into the news after an unfortunate Presidential appointment. Remember "Nannygate" from a few years back? You might think that, unless you are being appointed to the President's cabinet, the "nanny tax" isn't something you need to worry about.

Paying the IRS With An Installment Agreement - Have you ever discovered that you owe more taxes than you had anticipated? Taxpayers who cannot pay the full tax due may set up an installment payment plan with the IRS.

Using the Like-Kind Exchange Rules - If you plan to dispose of some business or investment property that has appreciated value in the near future, you may want to consider the opportunity to "postpone" the tax on your capital gain by exchanging it for "like-kind" property.

September, 2013

Reducing Your Property Tax Bill -Many real estate tax assessments are made erroneously or were made prior to the recent decline in real estate values, and many homeowners and business owners who challenge their real estate tax assessments do succeed in reducing their property taxes.

Business Startup Costs - As CPAs and business consultants, we get approached every day it seems by a client or potential client with a new business idea they are investigating. As we all know, some of those ideas work out and become viable enterprises and some never get off the ground.

August, 2013

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership - Your home may well be the best tax shelter you could possibly own. In addition to current income tax savings while you own your home, any gain you realize as the result of an increase in the value of your home will most likely be excluded from taxes.

Employee Tax Issues - In reviewing our newsletter articles over the past year or so, we realized that the vast majority of them are focused on business owners and the self-employed. However, we also have quite a few clients who earn most of their income as employees and this article is geared toward assisting you in understanding and taking advantage of the tax saving opportunities available to you.  

Is Your Sideline Business Really A Hobby? - That is a serious question for many individuals who are moonlighting from their "day job" with a sideline business. We have all heard the stories over the years of people deducting 20 straight years of losses on their horse farm business, but what about the guy who races stock cars or buys and sells rare coins? 

July, 2013

Deducting Vehicle Expenses - If you use your car or truck for business-related trips, to deliver food to your favorite charity, or even to drive the kids to the doctor’s office, you can deduct at least some of the costs.

IRA FAQs - There are a number of rules and regulations surrounding IRA investments, and the amount of information can often be overwhelming. This list of questions and answers has been assembled to make it easier to find the answers you are looking for.

Business Startup Costs - As CPAs and business consultants, we get approached every day it seems by a client or potential client with a new business idea they are investigating. As we all know, some of those ideas work out and become viable enterprises and some never get off the ground.  

June, 2013

Avoiding An Audit - Uh oh! What starts out as a normal day suddenly becomes dark and foreboding when you open your mailbox and receive a special invitation from your friends at the local IRS office.

Investment Interest - Many of our clients are often confused when the subject of "deductible" interest is brought up. Many years ago, all interest (yes, for you younger readers, even credit card and auto loan interest) was available as an itemized deduction on your personal return.

Business Owner's Insurance - Like a comprehensive homeowner's policy, a business owner's policy protects against economic losses caused by damage to the owner's property and by legal liability to others for bodily injury and property damage involving the business.

May, 2013

Keeping Personal Records - Each year as we deliver our clients' tax return copies and filing information to them, we inevitably get asked the age-old question: "How long do I need to keep this stuff?"

Overwithholding - Although it is now getting late in the year, we are going to address one of the chief frustrations of many CPA's - over-withholding by our clients. We've heard your reasoning. You don't have the discipline to save money yourself, so you have Uncle Sam save it for you.

Nonqualified Pension Plans - Due to the exploding popularity of tax-deferred 401K plans over the last decade, congress has increasingly made them the target of new rules and limits aimed at stemming the tide of lost revenue the federal government has experienced.

April, 2013

Deferred Contributions - As baby boomers move toward retirement years and begin inheriting the accumulated wealth of their parents, we are seeing more and more charities approach our clients about "deferred giving." A deferred or "planned" gift represents a present commitment to make a gift at some point in the future - usually at a later stage in life or pursuant to your will.

Filing A Tax Extension - Well, we can probably assume that if you have come to this link in our website, it must be nearly the 17th of April and you probably aren't going to make it, huh? Fortunately for you, Uncle Sam has provided for that "larger than we like to admit" procrastinating segment of our society.

Choosing The Right Retirement Plan - As the baby boom generation heads into retirement and the worries over Social Security begin to mount ever higher, many small businesses are finding it difficult to recruit educated employees without offering some type of retirement plan.

March, 2013

Loans or Dividends - Making loans to or taking a loan from a corporation where you're a stockholder can lead to tax trouble. In one highly referenced legal case from the 1990s, the taxpayer 'borrowed' money from his regular corporation. 

Business Ownership of Autos - Most businesses use a car to some extent. Should your business purchase a car for your use? For your employees? There are a number of factors to consider and, while there are some guidelines, the final decision is an individual one.

Contract Employees - Your company has just won a major contract and you are anticipating the need for some short term employees to get you through the crunch period. Since these employees can work out of their home and set their own hours, you decide to pay them as contract laborers instead of placing them on the payroll.

February, 2013

Sales Tax Audits - If your company has not had the unpleasurable experience of a state sales tax audit within the last two or three years, it may be time to batten down the hatches! Across the nation, state sales tax audits have increased significantly over the last few years and that trend is likely to accelerate. The reason is simple - sales tax audits are proven revenue generators for the cash-starved states.

Renting Out Your Second Home -If you have a second home or vacation home that you would like to rent out for part of the year, it can actually be an excellent way to earn additional income and get a nice tax break at the same time. There are rules you need to follow (as always) and we'll address some of those in this article.

Buy / Sell Agreements - Many small business owners often ignore the critical importance of a well-designed and updated buy-sell agreement. In the event of a buyout or death, a properly written buy-sell document can address major issues such as payment terms, funding and tax impact. 

January, 2013

Understanding Your Credit Report - Almost everyone has faced it. You go into a lending agency to buy a new car or purchase a home only to have questions arise about items on your credit report. It has become much more common now since the recent credit crisis.

Knowing The Rules On Charitable Deductions - Contributions made to qualified charitable organizations are eligible for tax deduction. Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups qualified by the IRS as religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. 

Placing Your Spouse On The Payroll - If you own a small business and have a spouse who does not have full-time employment elsewhere, you may want to consider placing him or her on your company payroll. (Keep in mind that your spouse must do legitimate work for the company and the compensation for that work can be challenged by the IRS if it is considered unreasonable).

December, 2012

Acquiring A Business - Whenever one our clients is looking to sell his or her corporation, we often encourage them to seek a stock transaction with the potential buyer if at all possible. On the other hand, when we have a client considering the purchase of a small business, we almost always advise that they buy only the assets of the company and not the stock.

Getting Your Records Organized - Now that we have come upon another tax season (that noise you hear in the background is the sound of our staff sighing), we typically spend the first few days getting our office organized for the oncoming rush. Getting organized is also good advice for most of our clients as well.

Commonly Missed Tax Deductions - It is once again time to begin consolidating and preparing your records for your annual tax filing so in order to assist you, we have put together a list of deductions you may want to review first. Expert reviews of returns filed in past years reveal that many taxpayers commonly miss out on deductions they were entitled to.

November, 2012

Selling Your Home - With the end of the year approaching, many people begin making their new year's resolutions for the following year and one of the most common major goals for a new year is to change their job or their home (or both!).

Life Insurance In Your Estate - If you're like most people, the proceeds collected from your life insurance will make up a large portion of your estate and, if you're not careful, the proceeds can end up being taxed twice when your spouse passes on.

Selling To A Related Party - Over the years, we have had the difficult task of bringing many clients down to earth after they had "developed" the perfect plan to rid themselves of a piece of property by selling it at a loss to a relative and thereby gaining a tax deduction. It certainly sounds like a grand plan. There is, however one small catch - Code Sec. 267 specifically disallows losses on sales to related parties.