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Recent Feature Headlines


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.




December 2016

2016 Last-Minute Vehicle Purchases to Save on Taxes

Here’s an easy question: Do you need more 2016 tax deductions? If yes, continue on. Next easy question: Do you need a replacement business vehicle? If yes, you can solve or mitigate the first problem of needing more deductions and solve the second problem of needing a replacement vehicle at the same time, but you need to read this article now so you know what you have to do and when you have to do it.


Alert: IRS Creates Clear Path to Rental Property Loss Deductions

If you own rental properties, you want to qualify as a real estate professional. It’s a big deal. In this status, you can deduct your tax shelter losses from your real estate rental properties against your business and portfolio income. We hear that the IRS and some tax professionals are misapplying the law and wrongly denying real estate professional status. That’s an ouch! How does it happen? By mistakenly requiring an election to count multiple rental properties toward the number of hours needed to be a real estate professional.


2016 Last-Minute Year-End Tax Deductions for Existing Vehicles

Yes, December 31 is just around the corner. That’s your last day to find tax deductions for your vehicles that will cut your 2016 taxes. And with our existing high tax rates, 2016 is a good year to cut your taxes. In this article, you can find and release tax deductions that the tax code trapped inside your existing business and personal cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans.


Do New Rules Allow You to Double Your Mortgage Interest Deductions?

Home mortgage interest deductions make homes more affordable and save taxpayers thousands of tax dollars each year. Now, if you are single, a new IRS decision creates the possibility for added savings—perhaps double—if you co-own a home or vacation property.


2016 Last-Minute Year-End General Business Deductions

This article takes your daily activity and identifies five easy year-end tax-planning strategies. Here are two examples from the article: prepaying your expenses under the IRS safe harbor and simply not billing customers and patients until 2016. These two strategies are certainly easy, as are the other three strategies in this article.


How to Deduct the Costs of Thinking about Starting a New Business

The government allows you to deduct and amortize a host of start-up costs and organizational costs when starting a new business. The tax rules in this area are unforgiving, meaning mistakes can prove costly. With proper planning, though, you can save money from your “thinking about it” costs and beyond.


2016 Last-Minute Year-End Retirement and Medical Tax Deductions

When you get busy with your business, it’s easy to forget about your retirement accounts and medical coverages and plans. But year-end is approaching, and now’s the time to take action to cut your 2016 taxes. This article gives you six action steps for 2016 that can help you reduce your taxes and pocket extra money.


Avoid These Traps and Cash In on Taxes When Your Business Loses Money

When your business loses money, don’t miss out on valuable tax savings by not filing a tax return that would qualify for a net operating loss deduction. This is one of four traps in the tax law that can cost you tax refunds from prior years and tax shelter for future years.


2016 Last-Minute Year-End Tax Strategies for Marriage, Kids, and Family

If you are thinking of getting married or divorced, you need to consider December 31, 2016, in your tax planning. Here’s another planning question: Do you give money to family or friends (other than your children who are under age 24)? If so, you need to consider the zero-tax-bracket planning strategy. And now let’s consider your children who are under age 18. Have you paid them for work they’ve done for your business? Have you paid them the right way? You’ll find the answers here.


Buying a Business: Should You Buy Ownership Interest or Assets?

When buying a business, you face many decisions. One such decision is whether you should buy the assets of the business or the ownership interest. Here, you have both legal and tax issues to consider. Also, depending on the entity you are looking at buying, the ownership purchase option may not be available.


2016 Last-Minute Year-End Tax Strategies for Your Stock Portfolio

Your stock market portfolio can represent a little gold mine of opportunities to reduce your 2016 income taxes when you take advantage of the tax code’s offset game. The tax code contains basic rules for this game, and once you know the rules, you can apply the correct strategies. In addition to saving taxes with the game of offset, you can also avoid paying taxes on stock appreciation by gifting stock to charity, your parents, and your children who are not subject to the kiddie tax.


Use the Foreign Tax Credit to Minimize U.S. Taxes When You Work Abroad

The tax law offers several ways to reduce or eliminate U.S. income taxes or foreign-sourced earned income. Picking the correct tax-reduction strategy based on your situation is the key to minimizing your U.S. income tax liability. In this article, you see common scenarios and options that show you how to pay the least amount of U.S. income tax on your foreign-sourced earned income.


2016 Last-Minute Business Motor Home Purchase

A business motor home could provide both big tax deductions and an ideal solution to your business lodging and transportation needs. You would know how clean your sleeping room is. You would know the room’s smoking history. You would know how many pets, if any, have graced the premises.


Want to Leave the U.S.? You May Have to Pay These Taxes

Planning on leaving the U.S.? If so, you have two choices from a tax perspective, but neither is painless. The tax law that applies to foreign living and expatriation can be tricky, so it’s essential that you depart the country correctly.