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Recent Feature Headlines


April 2017

Does the IRS Mileage Rate Cost You Deductions on a Leased Vehicle?

Are you going to lease your next business vehicle? Are you eligible to use IRS mileage rates? If so, both the IRS and the leasing company are going to give you rules to ponder and expenses to consider before you select your tax-deduction method—either the IRS mileage rate or the actual expense method.


Tax-Free Income from Rental of Home to C or S Corporation

Do you operate your business as an S or C corporation? If so, have you considered renting your home to your corporation for corporate meetings and perhaps the annual holiday party for employees? You should. Why? If you do the rental right, the corporation deducts the rent, and you receive the rental income tax-free.


Q&A: How the 105-HRA Creates New After-Tax Cash from Health Insurance

 


Avoid Lost Deductions When Corp. Vehicle Is in Your Personal Name

Do you operate your business as a corporation but own the vehicle you use for the corporate business in your personal name? If so, to avoid losing your rightful deductions, you need to have the corporation reimburse you for business use. The corporation can use one of two methods for the reimbursement.


Lock in the Home-Office Deduction for Your S Corporation

The home-office tax deduction provides tax savings to business owners. It turns otherwise nondeductible personal expenses into valuable business deductions. When tax law taxes your business as a proprietorship, you simply deduct home-office expenses on Schedule C. But when you operate your business as a corporation, you face special rules to achieve the same benefits.


Turbocharge Your Retirement Savings with an HSA

Looking for that extra boost to your retirement savings? Your first thought may have been to contribute to a traditional IRA. But before you do that, we have something else to show you. Consider a health savings account (HSA). That’s right. An HSA can be more than just funds you set aside to cover those copays. This is one surprisingly powerful savings tool that provides a much-needed boost to your retirement savings. See why an HSA provides some big benefits you won’t get with a traditional IRA.


Q&A: Does My Home-Office Deduction Include My Garage?

 


Minimize Your Tax Bill on Lawsuit Awards and Settlements

In many cases, the government hits your lawsuit award or settlement with the double whammy of (1) a tax bill on the gross dollar amount of the award or settlement and (2) a reduction to or even elimination of your legal fees tax deduction. But in some cases the legal fees you paid can become turbocharged tax deductions, saving you thousands of dollars in taxes. We’ll show you when you can qualify for the better deductions and how to claim them.


How to Buy a Target’s Stock and Treat the Deal as an Asset Purchase

When you can buy the target’s stock and treat the deal as an asset purchase, you have a real possibility of bringing tax-benefit smiles to both you and the seller. So if you are buying a business, make sure you know when the tax rules allow you to buy the stock of the target and treat that stock purchase as the purchase of the target’s assets.




March 2017

Blueprint for Employee-Spouse 105-HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement)

The 105-HRA is the medical reimbursement plan you likely want to use if (a) you report your business income and expenses on Schedule C of your Form 1040 and (b) you can make your spouse your one and only eligible employee. Also, if you are single and operate your business as a C corporation, and if you are the one and only eligible employee of your C corporation, the 105-HRA is the medical reimbursement plan for you.


Q&A: Qualified Small-Employer HRA (QSEHRA)

 


Secret Cash Inside the IRS Standard Mileage Rate

Mileage-rate addicts usually 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.


Don’t Defeat Your S Corporation by Paying Yourself on a 1099

Do you pay yourself on a 1099 for the work you do in your S corporation? Why wouldn’t you, right? It makes life so simple. No payroll taxes to deal with, no withholding deposits, and no payroll services to pay for. Stop right there! Your simple life is about to get very complicated unless you make a change right now.


Q&A: S Corporation Owner’s W-2, Box 12 for Health Insurance?

 


Create a Business Partnership Tax-Free

You’ve decided to create a partnership for a new or existing business. Good news: forming a business partnership is usually tax-free. But you must meet the basic requirements for a tax-free formation, and you need to avoid the situations that cause you to owe taxes on the transfer of property.


Self-Rental Trap Still Costing Business Owners Tax Dollars

Business owners continue to get caught in the complex rules of the self-rental trap. A recent case taken from the Tax Court to the Fifth Circuit shows how business owners can get into tax trouble with self-rentals. But with proper tax planning and possible use of special rules called “grouping,” you can minimize and even eliminate the tax cost of the self-rental trap.


Tax-Free Injury Awards and Settlements

If you receive an award or settlement due to an injury claim, the law allows you to exclude some or all of the money you receive from taxation. You can use this exclusion along with other tax reduction strategies to minimize any tax you must pay on the amount you receive.


Tax Secrets of Buying a Business That Owns Intangible Assets

When you buy a business, you have much to consider. As you learned in prior articles, you need to consider the type of entity that owns the business and the type of entity you will use to operate the business. On top of that, every asset of the business you are going to buy impacts your tax results. In this article, you see how this all comes together and what you need to do to get the best results.




February 2017

Use a Tax-Advantaged SEP or 401(k) to Retire Early and in Comfort

When you operate your own business, don’t pay yourself last. Pay yourself first. That’s a wealth-building strategy. And if you can combine the pay-yourself-first strategy with a retirement plan, you supercharge your wealth strategy.


Q&A: Can You Still Depreciate Antiques as Business Assets?

 


Dangerous Waters of Inherited Non-Spousal IRAs—Navigate Carefully

Special rules apply to inherited traditional IRAs. In this article, we look at non-spousal IRA inheritances that have their own sets of special rules. For the most part, you will like the rules. And in setting up your IRA for your beneficiaries, you should consider the stretch strategy.


Incorporate Your Business Tax-Free? Avoid Three Problems

You’ve decided to incorporate a new or existing business. Good news: incorporating a business is usually tax-free. But to make this work when traveling this road, you must meet the requirements for a tax-free incorporation and avoid the situations that cause taxes.


Q&A: Switch from Mileage Rate to Actual Expense Method

 


Special Needs Education Can Qualify as a Business Expense—Here’s How

Sending a child to a special needs school can be an onerous financial burden, with some tuitions reaching even $100,000 per year. Tax law lets you deduct tuition and other related costs as medical expenses, but you need to know which expenses qualify and how you should deduct them. This article shows you not only how to qualify but also a possible best way to maximize those deductions.


Choosing the Right Entity for a Newly Acquired Business (Part 3)

When setting up your new or acquired business, you and your co-owners should consider the multi-member LLC, another form of LLC, or the straight-up partnership. This is the last article in our three-part series on the “choices of entity” for a newly acquired business. Make sure to consider the options in this article if you are acquiring or starting a business with more than one owner.


Q&A: Tax Refunds on Unfiled Tax Returns

 


Enlist the Taxpayer Advocate to Help You Alleviate Tax Problems

You might have a friend in the government you don’t know yet. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent office within the IRS that helps taxpayers solve IRS problems that they can’t seem to resolve through normal channels. In some circumstances, the advocate office can force the IRS to give you relief.




January 2017

Announcing NEW Tax-Deductible Penalty-Free Health Plans for Small Businesses

Finally, the health insurance rules that apply to small businesses that want to provide medical benefits to their employees make more sense and allow some benefits. As you would expect, the new rules are not perfect. After all, this is tax law. But the new rules are light-years ahead of the old rules.


Put Your $2,500 Expensing in Place Now ($5,000 with AFS)

If you have not done so before, make sure to put your safe harbor de minimis expensing election in place now. The new de minimis rules make your tax record keeping easier. With this safe harbor expensing, unlike Section 179 expensing, you don’t need to track the assets and keep them in a depreciation schedule.


Lawbreakers Rejoice! New Law Wipes Away $100-a-Day Penalty

Do you have fewer than 50 employees? Are you in compliance with the Affordable Care Act? Whether you are in compliance or not, we may have some big news for you. First, if you failed compliance, a new law has likely just released you from the monstrous $100-a-day penalty ($36,500 per employee per year). Second, if you made changes to get into compliance, you may have overtaxed your employees. Now, with this new law, you may be able to undo some or all of that overtaxation.


Q&A: Who Should Own the Business Car: Corporation or Individual?

 


S Corporation Net Loss? Don’t Suffer a Surprise Salary

Tax law requires your S corporation to pay you, the owner-employee, reasonable compensation for the work you do. But what about in a year when your corporation has a loss? Does a lack of net profits absolve you from the obligation to pay yourself a salary?


Buying a Business: How to Make Tax-Smart Price Allocations

When you are buying a business, you want to buy not only at the right price, but also in a manner that keeps your taxes as low as possible. If you structure your deal as an asset purchase, you can use tax-smart price allocations that give the best tax result. And you likely want to include a stipulation in the purchase agreement that can reduce your chances of an IRS audit.


How to Help Your Adult Child Buy a Home—the Tax-Friendly Way

Your adult child asks a big favor—help in buying his or her first home. If you are lucky enough to be able to help, you want to understand and avoid the tax pitfalls. In this article, you find five possible solutions to help your child while avoiding the tax pitfalls.


Q&A: Would Rental Real Estate Give Me Tax Shelter?

 


If You Hear This Advice on How to Cut Your Taxes, Stay Away

Some tax strategies claim to help you avoid all your federal income taxes—no math required—simply by making a few straightforward arguments on your tax return. The problem is, they have no basis in law, and in fact constitute tax fraud. The end result will almost certainly be penalties and even jail time. Protect yourself from these scams by knowing how to tell the difference between fairy-tale tax strategies and the real deal.