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Recent Feature Headlines


September 2016

Is the New 54-Cent IRS Mileage Rate a Rip-Off or Does It Help You?

To know if you are money ahead deducting your business vehicle using the IRS mileage rate or the actual-expense method, you need to use our magic calculator. Tax software used by tax professionals and consumers compares the first-year deductions only, and because of the wide variation in first-year deductions caused by the luxury vehicle limits, bonus depreciation, and Section 179 expensing, the first-year-only comparison is going to produce inaccurate results.


Unpaid Payroll Taxes? Four Ways to Defeat the Trust Fund Penalty

Business owners and employees who do not pay their payroll taxes can find themselves personally liable for the trust fund portion of those taxes. This is true even if the business operates as a separate legal entity such as a corporation. If you are a business owner or employee in trouble with the IRS over unpaid payroll taxes, you need to consider strategies you can use to stop the IRS from assessing the trust fund penalties against you.


Q&A: Hiring Your Dependent Children

 


Beware When Gifting Business Property

You need to know, and avoid, tax-problem surprises when you gift business property to your parents, children, or others. With the wrong method, you can toss tax-deduction benefits into the trash. You can easily suffer recapture. Don’t let your gift of business property surprise you and take money out of your bank account.


Q&A: Section 105 Plan (an HRA) for a Rental Property Business

 


Accelerated Tax Deductions for Qualified Leasehold Improvements

If you own tax code-defined nonresidential property (otherwise known as commercial property), you have to like The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted last December. The PATH Act put three huge nonresidential property-qualifying leasehold improvement tax breaks in place through 2019.


Selling a Business: Who Owns the Goodwill? Does the 3.8% NIIT Apply?

When it comes time to sell your business, it’s likely that you need to consider the intangible asset of goodwill. You have several things to consider, depending on the business entity you used to operate your business. For example, if you operated as a C corporation, how do you avoid double taxation on the goodwill? This article shows you how. Regardless of entity, how do you avoid the net investment income tax (NIIT)? This article shows you how.


Comments from Readers on Last Month’s Tax Cheat Article

 


Make Sure Your Real Estate Options Pay Off

You may have heard that options are the perfect way to increase profits on real estate investments and rentals. Well, perfect is probably an overstatement, but good profits are available when you know what you are doing. You also need to know the tax rules to avoid clauses, charges, and events that can turn options into sales and trigger taxes when you least expect them.




August 2016

Three Ways to Defeat Audit Penalties and Save Thousands

Because you are a small-business owner, you have a higher chance of an IRS audit. In an audit, the IRS will try to impose accuracy-related penalties on top of any unpaid taxes that it discovers. What you need to know is that the penalties are not automatic. You can beat them with one of the right arguments.


Will Tax Law Destroy Your Business Vehicle Donation to Charity?

There are many reasons why you may want to donate your business vehicle to charity, not the least of which is that you’re helping a worthy cause. But if your goal is to couple that good deed with a nice tax deduction, make sure you do the math before you hand over the keys to avoid suffering an unpleasant tax surprise.


Q&A: Hiring Grandchildren; Exemption from Payroll Taxes

 


Do Not Make This Mistake When Your Second Business Loses Money

When you expand to a second or third business, you increase your chances of running afoul of the passive loss rules. That’s not a problem if all the businesses are producing a profit. But if one of the businesses is incurring losses, you won’t get an immediate tax deduction if you don’t materially participate. And if you try to hide that business inside another proprietorship so your loss offsets your other income, you and your tax preparer face even more trouble.


Secrets of Collecting Residential Solar Tax Credits from the IRS

Your government offers a very generous subsidy, a 30 percent tax credit, if you install solar equipment at one or more of your residences. And if you live in the right area of the country, you can come out well ahead on this deal. But this is tax law, and as you would expect, there are some tricky rules that you need to follow to qualify for the credit.


Q&A: Net Investment Income Tax on Personal Goodwill

 


Tax Tips on Failed Rental Property Purchase

You face special tax laws when you attempt to buy a rental property and that purchase attempt fails. In general, the rules work to help you with that failed purchase, but you need to know how and when the rules work for you.


Selling Your Business: Be Prepared to Meet Buyer’s Due Diligence Requirements

Whether you sell the assets of the business or your ownership interest, you can expect the buyer to check things out before signing off on the deal. This is called due diligence. And there are various aspects of due diligence, depending on the type of sale you are making and the buyer’s needs.


IRS Pays Whistleblowers for Successful Audits of Tax Cheats

If you report a tax cheat to the IRS, you may receive a portion of any money recovered following an audit. For example, the IRS paid $104 million to a citizen who revealed that his Swiss bank employer was helping clients evade U.S. taxes. If you feel it is your civic duty to report a tax cheat, the IRS would be glad to hear from you and reward you for initiating a successful investigation.




July 2016

Avoid the Big Triple-Tax Whammy When Renting to Relatives

Tax savings when renting to relatives depend on your compliance with the tax law’s fair-rent standards and your relatives’ use of the property. Violate these rules and you face the triple whammy of additional taxation. And it’s easy to violate the rules, especially if you don’t know what they are.


Tax Savings Tip: Increase Office Depreciation Rate by 42 Percent

What happens when you locate a commercial office (an office in the home or a regular office) in a duplex or apartment building? It’s possible that this location can produce tax-favored depreciation for the office. This seems a little strange at first, but once you see how the rules work, it’s pretty logical.

 


Q&A: Misguided Complaint about Selling Home to the S Corporation

 


Selling Your Business: Zero-Basis Receivables; Self-Created Goodwill

You have special tax-planning considerations when you sell a business that has zero-basis receivables and/or self-created goodwill. If you operate as a C corporation, you need additional planning because of double taxation. And the good news is that planning helps reduce the tax burden.


Tips for Best Tax Result on Vehicle Disposition

The sale or trade-in of a business vehicle has positive or negative tax ramifications. You have a choice in this matter. But first you need to know the dollar amount of your gain or loss. This article gives you the six steps to finding your gain or loss.


Q&A: Where Does the S Corporation Get the Money to Buy the House?

 


Tax-Saving Tip: Use Net Square Footage to Increase Home-Office Deductions

The IRS tax form for deducting the home office contains the gross-square-footage method and makes no mention of other permissible methods. But the instructions for that form and the IRS publication on the home-office deduction both mention other reasonable methods. This article shows you how one other reasonable method, the net-square-footage method, works—and why it is always superior to the gross-square-footage method found on the IRS form.


Two Paths to Deducting Certain Business Education Expenses

Business-related classes or seminars can put a serious dent in your wallet, so, of course, you’d like to write off those costs as business expenses. But there are some strict and somewhat tricky rules for deducting business education expenses. In some cases, the education can fail the tax deduction test but qualify for business deductions following an alternative path.


Tax Court Puts Personal Service Corporations on Notice for Bonuses

Personal service corporations pay taxes at a hefty flat tax rate of 35 percent. As a result, many personal service corporations pay their shareholder-employees year-end bonuses to zero out the taxable income. A recent court case put the kibosh on this for a law firm and should put you on notice.