Recent Feature Headlines


October 2014

Supercharge Travel Deductions by Knowing the Business Day Rules

When you take a trip and spend some of your time on business and some time on personal activities, how much of your expenses can you deduct? What happens to your expenses on holidays? Knowing the answers to questions such as these puts money in your pocket and safeguards you from IRS attack on your travel deductions.


Reduce Self-Employment Taxes by Renting from Your Spouse

If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, the government takes a big chunk of your profits in the form of self-employment taxes. But there’s good news. With the help of your spouse, you can reduce your self-employment tax bill by using a simple rental strategy.

 


How Tax Credits Make Historic Buildings More Affordable

Would a unique downtown historic building be the perfect site for your office? It may be more affordable than you think. Your state and federal governments want you to rehabilitate these buildings and give you a financial incentive to do so. Here is their offer to you: if you invest in and restore a historic building, the governments will give you tax credits to offset a huge chunk of the cost of restoration.


How to Help Your Employees Pay for Medical Insurance and Reduce Everybody’s Taxes!

The Affordable Care Act allows you to pay for employee insurance by increasing taxable compensation. But that’s not the route you want to take, since it means more taxes for both you and your employees. This article gives you ideas on how to pay for employee insurance without hiking up your tax bill.


Make the IRS Pay You When You Sell Your Home

You normally would not expect to have more money in your pocket after you pay your tax bill. However, with this new ruling from the IRS, you could end up with just that—a negative tax on the sale of your home! Read this article to find out how a taxpayer sold her home for a $100,000 before-tax profit and turned that into a $110,000 after-tax value.


How S Corporation Owners Can Cut Taxes by Keeping a Lid on Their Salaries

The number one way for S corporation owners to pay fewer taxes is to set the right salary. To do this, you want to find the salary sweet spot—an amount that is low enough to save you taxes but high enough to satisfy the IRS and not create a risk of audit. This article summarizes the important cases and rules you need to know in order to determine the right salary for your business.


How to Claim Big Home-Office Tax Deductions—Even for a Tiny Office, Even in a Small Home

Have you ruled out taking the home-office deduction because you believe your home is too small? You should think again. You can set up a mini home office using as little as a single square foot of floor space. When you read this article, you’ll see why this could generate thousands of dollars in tax savings.




September 2014

Do the Right Kind of Work at Your Home Office

It’s not hard to qualify for the home-office deduction when you take advantage of the administrative and management activities safe harbor. This approach gives you all the nice benefits of the home-office deduction but allows you to spend the majority of your time in your office outside the home. However, you have to know how the rules work—namely, you have to know which business activities you can and can’t do in each location.


Ignore the Tax Code’s Rules on Receipts

There is one part of tax law that you should ignore. It will get you into trouble. If you read the literal language of the tax code, you might get the impression that receipts are not always necessary. Don’t fall into this trap. Make it a general habit to keep your receipts and you will make your tax life much, much easier.


Tax Tips to Know If You Buy Gold, Art, Antiques, or Stamps

If you invest in gold, stamps, or antiques but you don’t know the tax rules governing collectors, you’re probably falling into costly tax traps that you could easily avoid with tax knowledge. When you put yourself in position to improve your tax situation, you put more money in your pocket (which gives you more money to build your collection). Read this article to discover how you can deduct your collection expenses and also minimize your taxes when you sell your items for a profit.


S Corporation? Office in the Home? Learn How to Escape Taxes

Are you an S corporation owner who takes advantage of the office-in-the-home deduction? If so, here’s good news. With the right tax planning, you can sell your home containing the office and defer or eliminate 100 percent of your tax, including recapture for any depreciation that you claimed. That news should put a smile on your face. Read this article to find out how you can use this strategy to pocket some extra tax dollars.


Five Steps to Take When Lending Money to Employees

Lending money to an employee can be a great way to help your worker through difficult times and build loyalty to your business. But when you do this, you need to plan for the possibility that your employee is unable or unwilling to repay the loan. In this article, you will discover the sad example of a business owner who suffered the consequences of poor planning. Fortunately for us, his mistakes serve as a guide on preserving good tax treatment for bad loans.


Tax Truth about Home Equity Loans

Your home may be your biggest investment and storehouse of cash. While interest rates remain low on home loans and home equity lines of credit, you may be tempted to pull money out of your home with a loan. Before you act, you need to know 1) how much interest you can deduct, 2) what the limitations are on those deductions, and 3) when you get slammed by the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Read this article and find out how to make sure that your home equity interest produces tax benefits for you.




August 2014

Crooked Tax Preparer Creates Big Trouble for Client

In this precedent-setting case, the Tax Court had to decide for the first time whether a tax preparer’s fraud extends the statute of limitations for IRS audit of the client return when there is no charge of fraud against the client. If the court rules against the client, then by precedent a tax preparer’s fraud extends the client’s allowable audit period from three years to forever.


How to Increase Vehicle Tax Deductions without Spending a Penny

When you own a business, you should look at all possible assets that you own personally and how you might use them to increase your business deductions. This is particularly true for vehicles. And the beauty of identifying assets such as personal vehicles that you can use for business is that you don’t spend money to create deductions. You simply use assets you already own.


Secrets to Deducting a Convention, Seminar, or Similar Meeting

If you are going to attend a convention, seminar, or similar meeting, you need to know that tax law breaks the Earth into two locations. In location one, you deduct your convention, seminar, or similar meeting if the event benefits or advances the interests of your business. That’s easy. In location two, you have to meet a much more difficult reasonableness standard. That’s not easy.


Fatal Place to Borrow Money

You never, ever want to borrow money from this one place. It’s poisonous. If you don’t suffer immediately, you might wish you had. This is a situation in which the money is readily available, you think it’s yours, and you think you are simply borrowing the money. But that’s not what’s happening. You are in truth stealing the money and violating your fiduciary responsibilities.


How the IRS Lost $55,000 in This IRS Rental Properties Audit

The thought of an IRS audit is a worry, no question. But it’s worse when the IRS wants a lot of your money. And it’s even worse yet when the IRS wants your money because it interprets the law incorrectly and at the time you see the IRS adjustment, you have no idea whether the IRS is right or wrong.


Is a Fix-up and Sale an Investor or a Dealer Property?

If you buy a property, fix it up, and then sell it, is that property a dealer or an investor property? The classification boils down to your facts and circumstances. That makes it a tough call for both you and your tax preparer. And if investor status produces long-term capital gains, you want to avoid dealer status, because that causes ordinary income and self-employment taxes.


Tax Deductions for Failed Business

You are right to worry about the hobby loss rules when a business fails, because those rules would give you no tax deductions for the failed business. But if you worked at the business, kept decent records, and tried to make money, you had a business, and that business failure would produce tax deductions as explained in this article.


Is a W-2 Wage Needed to Create an Employee-Spouse 105 Plan?

If you operate your business as a proprietorship and hire your spouse as an employee, you likely have questions about the need to pay wages to make your spouse a bona fide employee. And you likely want your spouse as a bona fide employee who receives as a tax-free fringe benefit a Section 105 medical reimbursement plan—family coverage, of course.


Hiring Your Children to Work on Your Rental Properties

If you own rental property in your name or in the name of a single-member LLC, you report your rental property income and expenses on Schedule E of your IRS Form 1040. But what happens when you have an expense for which the IRS has not created a line item on the form? Answer: If it’s an ordinary and necessary expense, it’s deductible.