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Recent Feature Headlines

October 2015

How Many $15,000 Penalties Do You Face for Not Filing Form 5500-EZ?

Do you have a solo 401(k) plan with more than $250,000 in it? Did you, your tax preparer, or the plan administrator file your 5500-EZ? Are you sure? The penalty for not filing the required 5500-EZ for a plan year is $25 a day, capped at $15,000. That’s for one plan year. If you failed for 10 years, that’s $150,000.

Got Junk? Donate It! Pay Less in Taxes

Pay less in taxes this year by donating clothing and household items. When you know what to do and how to do it, the noncash deductions available here can help you pocket some hefty after-tax cash that costs you nothing but a little time and effort.

Q&A: Oops! How Do I Correct My Missed S Corporation Election?


Make the Closing Statement Work for You When Buying Rental Property

One of your first tax steps in buying a rental property is to go through each line item in the closing statement and assign it to one of the following three categories: (1) basis, (2) loan acquisition, or (3) operations. With basis, you allocate costs to land, land improvements, buildings (including perhaps building components), and equipment. Loan acquisition falls into either costs of getting the loan or costs to reduce the interest rate. The assignments have a direct impact on how quickly you realize the deductions.

How to Treat Your Coin, Stamp, and Baseball Card Activities

Tax law places your collectible activity in one of four tax categories: (1) hobby, (2) investment, (3) trader, or (4) dealer. This means your collectible activity can, depending on category, trigger the AMT, capital gains, and self-employment taxes. When you know the rules that place you in these categories, you can make adjustments. Sometimes the adjustments are easy; at other times, they require rethinking the collectibles activity.

Q&A: 1099 Proprietor—Should I S Corp. or Not?


Don’t Make These Mistakes When You Convert Business Property to Personal Use

You need to know the tax rules before you convert business property to personal use. You don’t want the recapture surprise. You don’t want the tear-jerking missed tax deduction. With a little tax knowledge, you can avoid both the surprise and the tears.

How You Can Claim Zero Depreciation and Avoid the Double Tax

Have you been claiming zero depreciation for your home office so that you can avoid the depreciation recapture tax? Surprise! Tax law has allowed and allowable depreciation rules that can make you pay the recapture tax without giving you the actual depreciation deduction. If this happens to you, you are going to pay a double tax.

Mortgage Interest on Rental Property—Avoid Traps, Maximize Your Deductions

You don’t automatically get to deduct mortgage interest on a rental property. Lawmakers have set traps. One trap can totally destroy the interest deduction. Another trap makes you wait a long time to realize the tax benefits of the deduction. Make sure you know what the traps are so you can avoid their impact on your bottom line.

September 2015

Use Business Travel to Create Tax-Free Income for Friends and Family

Stay with family and friends when traveling for business. And then create tax deductions by paying them for your business lodging. You have a choice: deduct the cost of staying at the big hotel downtown, or deduct the cost of staying with your friends or family. Either way, the choice of location does not change the fact that you are on a tax-deductible business trip. The side benefit is that doing this right creates tax-free income for your friends and relatives.

Use These Strategies to Avoid Getting Slammed with Taxes When You Roll Over a Traditional IRA to a Roth

A Roth IRA is an extremely attractive option for retirement savings, since you can grow those earnings completely tax-free. You can convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA no matter how high your income. But you could get slammed with a hefty tax bill when you make the switch without a plan. In this article, you find three surefire strategies that will not only minimize your tax bill when you roll over those funds to a Roth IRA, but in some cases also eliminate the additional taxes completely!

Q&A: Health Insurance Deduction for Solo Owner-Employee of a C Corporation


Use Seller Financing to Create Wealth

If you are selling a rental property or your home, you should consider seller financing as a possible method to achieving a rate of return better than you are receiving from your current investments. This article gives you six ways to improve the structure of your seller financing so you can pocket more cash.

Q&A: IRS Audit


Cash In When the Buyer Defaults on Your Seller Financing

You may want to consider seller financing when you sell a rental property. It can boost your rate of return. Now, you might say “Yeah, but what happens if the buyer doesn’t pay up?” There could be a big silver lining here that you haven’t considered, and that’s why you should read this article now.

Pay the Nanny Tax and Make Money Doing It

If you plan on paying a nanny at least $1,900 during 2015, then you need to pay the nanny tax (payroll taxes from you, the employer). This strikes fear into many taxpayers who think this is a HUGE HASSLE and a HUGE EXPENSE. But there’s no need to fear this tax. In this article, you learn how you can offset most, if not all, of the tax expense with the help of a couple of tax breaks. In fact, you may actually end up with more money in your pocket in the end.

Cut the Cost of College with Tax Credits

The paradox of choice applies when you consider the multitude of tax benefits available when paying educational expenses. In this article, we help you put money in your pocket by taking both the paradox of choice and the complexity out of two education tax credits with our step-by-step guide.

Selling Your Business: Should You Sell Your Ownership Interest or the Business Assets?

If you are selling your business, you likely want minimum taxes and no exposure to business-related liabilities once the sale is completed. That’s what this article is about. In an asset sale, you see types of taxes and opportunities that make the asset sale work to your advantage. In a stock sale, you likely get tax-favored capital gains, but you may have to give up something to the buyer.

August 2015

Beat Sneaky Traps and Unfair Limits on the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction

The self-employed health insurance deduction could give you a big surprise when you file your taxes—and that’s not good. The law imposes a couple of restrictions that many people don’t know about and that might strip you of your tax savings. Take some time right now to figure out whether you qualify for the deduction and if not, what you can do about it.

Converting a C corporation to an S corporation: Save Thousands by Avoiding the “BIG” Tax Problem

If you want to convert your C corporation to an S corporation, you need a plan. No plan, BIG tax. The BIG tax means the tax on built-in gains at 35 percent. But it’s worse than that, and bigger than that, because after the 35 percent tax payment, you continue to pay at your regular tax rates on the remaining 65 percent that flows from your S corporation to you. This is torturous double taxation. So make a plan to avoid as much torture as possible, perhaps all of it. This article helps you with that plan by showing you four strategies that you can use.

Want a Big Deduction for Your New Vehicle? Here’s Good News

Lawmakers have yet to decide if they will retroactively enact bonus depreciation and the higher Section 179 expensing limits for 2015 purchases. But if you’re looking to buy a large SUV or truck for your business, you may be surprised to learn how fast you can write off the full cost of the vehicle even if lawmakers fail to extend the tax breaks. Knowing the write-offs may entice you to pull the trigger on that purchase immediately instead of waiting for changes in the law.

Q&A: Home-Office Deduction—Pool Table in the Room


Tap Your Roth IRA the Right Way—Tax-Free and Penalty-Free

A Roth IRA is not your average retirement plan. It’s a retirement savings, boondoggle savings, down payment savings, college savings, and emergency savings plan all wrapped into one. But to realize the benefits, you need to know how to avoid taxes and penalties when you take the money out. The good news: do this right and you can tap that Roth IRA and pay ZERO taxes and ZERO penalties.

Magic Release of Rental Property Tax Deductions with a Home-Office Deduction

Your rental properties provide tax shelter when you can deduct your losses against your other income. For you to deduct your losses, you need to pass the tax code’s 750-hour test. The good news in this article is that the home-office deduction can help you pass this test in some delightful ways that you would not usually think of.

Selling Your Business: It Might Be Worth More Than You Think, and the Tax Implications Are Probably Crucial

You need to know a number of tax rules when it comes to selling your business. For example, you likely want tax-favored capital gains, but your buyer may not like that idea, as it cuts into the buyer’s tax deductions. This article is the first in a series of articles on selling your business, and it will help you understand how this process is going to work.

Q&A: Paying My Daughter: W-2 or 1099?


Reinstate Your Rentals as Tax Shelters

A great tax shelter is a rental property that shows a positive cash flow and a deductible tax loss. You can still have that type of tax shelter in today’s tax world. To make this work, most taxpayers, likely you included, need to avoid the investor trap to deduct their losses against all their other income (thus creating tax shelter). This article helps you avoid the investor trap so you can create the rental property tax shelter.

July 2015

Reward Yourself and Your Employees with Tax-Free Supper Money

Have you ever faced this “problem”? A sudden boom in business requires you and your employees to work late in order to get everything finished. When this happens, how can you thank your employees for their overtime with a tax-free benefit that’s fully deductible to your business? You can provide a supper money fringe benefit if you follow four rules.

One Additional Way to Create 100 Percent Deductions for Employee Meals

Most business meals suffer a 50 percent cut in the amount you can deduct. But here’s one of those business meal strategies that produces a 100 percent deduction. So if you spend $5,000 for meals with this strategy, you don’t deduct $2,500 because of the 50 percent. Instead, you deduct the full $5,000.

Rent an Office in Your Home to Your Corporation? Avoid This Big Mistake

Business owners who operate their businesses as corporations and also deduct an office in the home commonly use one of three tax-deduction methods in an effort to achieve tax benefits. One method provides no tax benefit; it’s just smoke and mirrors. The second method might create a small deduction or none at all. The third method is the correct choice, as it ensures the full tax deduction and even reduces your chances of an IRS audit.

Unlock the Deductions Trapped in Your Personal Assets When You Convert Them to Business Use

Tax law gives you several nice tax-saving strategies for your business assets but not many for your personal assets. So what happens when you convert a personal asset to a business asset? Does the personal taint last forever? No! This conversion opens the door to a world of new deductions.

How to Avoid Thousands in Federal Taxes and Penalties If You Misclassified Employees as Independent Contractors

You likely want to hire independent contractors whenever possible. But if you are bending and breaking the rules, you face big back taxes, horrific penalties, and interest. So, a question for you: Have you been misclassifying your workers? If so, the IRS has a good deal that lets you off the hook with just a tiny payment. We’re talking a fraction of what you would otherwise owe if you lost your contractor classification in an IRS employment tax audit.

You Can Claim Thousands in Business Education Deductions—Unless You Make This One Mistake

The government wants to give you the gift of education. Your lawmakers in Washington created a tax break for courses that improve or maintain your business skills. You can deduct in full the cost of education ranging from a standalone seminar all the way up to an advanced degree—including the cost of an MBA program. But in order to get this deduction, you have to follow a couple simple rules.

Don’t Pick the Wrong Way to Deduct Long-Term Care Insurance—This Could Cost You Thousands

You can protect yourself against the financial consequences of chronic illness or disability by purchasing long-term care insurance. The premiums for this insurance are not cheap, but tax law lets you write off the cost, thus subsidizing your purchase. But beware—there are three ways to take this deduction. Choosing the wrong method could cost you thousands of dollars in tax benefits.