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By month:February 2006

Jack Up Your Profits with Tax Credits

Historic rehab tax credits can put you in Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed favorite spot. Tax credits often exceed the cash you invest in the project making the historic rental or office building a “nothing down” deal for you. Add nonrecourse financing to the package and you have no personal risk. None of your cash in the deal and no personal risk—this is Mr. Trump’s favorite spot. You might do as many Congressional leaders do: Donate your personal home’s historic facade to charity so can realize big tax credits.

New 2006 Standard Mileage Rates

You probably should hate the IRS for the mileage rate. First, the mileage rate creates the illusion that you don’t need a mileage log (wrong!). Second, individuals who start in business think that the mileage rate makes their tax life easy and that it doesn’t make much difference financially (generally, wrong). Third, mileage-rate addicts think that the mileage rate takes care of everything—then they cost themselves money by failing to deduct a loss on the sale of a business vehicle and overlook the business person’s tax deduction for interest on a car loan.

New $94,200 Base for Self-Employment Creates Need for Better Planning

In 1935, the self-employment tax topped out at $60. In 2006, the first part of the self-employment tax tops out at $14,413, but the 2.9 percent Medicare part continues after that without limits. Good tax planning for the self-employment tax is like an annuity. It gives you monetary returns—year after year—every year you are in business. So, plan now and consider everything from choice of entity to hiring your children.

Proving Basis in the Home

The couple in this court case did not keep the right records to prove the improvements they made to their home. This failure to keep the records probably saved them some personal time, but it cost them taxes on $101,907 of capital gains. What do you suppose the hourly cost of this failure—considering that the time spent to keep these records has to be very few hours? You really do need the right tax records and it takes very little time when you know what to keep.

Pension Coverage for Employees

You often have many alternatives when it comes to pension coverage for you and your employees. This is an area where you should speak with several individuals, including your tax advisor and life insurance agent, before making a decision.

Commission Rebate

Rebates have become common. The tax treatment of a rebate by the salesperson depends on whether you write a check or receive a reduced commission and whether you do this rebate for charitable or promotional purposes.

1031 Exchange

The commission on sale does not make or break a Section 1031 exchange. The trick to the Section 1031 exchange is in the first step.


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