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Recent Feature Headlines


February 2016

Loophole Closing: Act Immediately to Claim $50,000 Extra from Social Security

If you and your spouse are the right ages, you can use one simple strategy to collect an EXTRA $50,000 or so in Social Security benefits. But it gets even better: while you’re collecting this additional amount, your own Social Security benefits continue to grow for an even bigger payout! But to do this, you need to act immediately.


Have a Small Business? Own Real Property? Discover Repair Deductions

The tax rules for determining whether amounts you spend on your rental properties are for improvements (which you must capitalize) or repairs and maintenance (which you can expense) are complicated. But if you qualify as a small business, the IRS has a possible gift for you in the form of hassle-free and income-generating safe-harbor expensing.


Q&A: IRS Mileage Rate Kills Amending for Section 179 Deductions

 


Mind-Boggling Traps in Retroactively Passed Bonus Depreciation

If you want to claim retroactively enacted bonus depreciation on ALL the qualifying assets you purchased during the year, smile. But if you don’t want that extra 50 percent depreciation on some or all of the assets, you need to take action on your tax return to avoid phantom depreciation and its very ill effects.


Tax Trick When Repossessing a Home You Sold with Seller Financing

If you sold your home using seller financing, you likely don’t look forward to your buyer defaulting on your loan. Here’s a twist: It may not be a bad thing in the end. Under the right circumstances, you could walk away with more cash in your pocket—and you could make some or all of that cash tax-free! But there’s one big trap that you need to avoid.


2016 Health Insurance for S Corporation Owners

In IRS Notice 2015-17, the IRS allowed S corporation owners in 2014 and 2015 to avoid the $100-a-day penalties on S corporation reimbursements of individually purchased health insurance and on providing insurance for the owners only. But 2016 is a new year, so what is that status now?


Fix Your Missed Bonus Depreciation Deductions, or Suffer

Are you suffering from phantom depreciation? This is when the tax law is depreciating your vehicles and other assets without giving you any deductions. Pretty outrageous, right? You suffer this when you fail to elect out of bonus depreciation. In this article, we show you how to fix bonus depreciation problems and also recoup a missed Section 179 deduction.


Q&A: Vacant Lot

 


Selling Your Business: Selling Intangible Assets

When you sell your business, you face two types of federal income taxes: (a) regular and (b) capital gains. Capital gains are better—much better. If you sell the assets rather than the business interest, your sale of self-created intangibles likely produces capital gains. Of course, the best bet is to sell the business interests rather than the assets, assuming you operate as other than a proprietorship, which can sell assets only.




January 2016

Unfiled Tax Returns? Back Taxes? IRS Penalties? Do This!

It’s not unusual for small-business owners to fall behind in their tax return filings. Often taxpayers fail to file in one year and then multiply that one year into several years of unfiled returns. In this article, we give you a road map for getting your individual, corporate, and payroll taxes IRS-compliant with as little tax as possible and the fewest penalties possible.


Fringe Benefits for an Employee-Spouse in an S Corporation

If you own an S corporation, you can provide your employees with all sorts of tax-free fringe benefits. Things get a bit more complicated if that employee is your spouse. But don’t fret—while some fringe benefits to your employee-spouse are off-limits, you still have a large selection of benefits you can take advantage of.


Act Fast: Install New Audit-Proof $2,500 Expensing ($5,000 with AFS)

Traditionally, tax rules put up major hurdles for small businesses seeking deductions for items such as furniture, computers, smartphones, and tablets. Now the IRS has made an important change that allows all businesses that have the right expense policy in place to elect expensing of these assets. This is a new and important change for 2016 and beyond, but you need to act fast to get this in place.


Q&A: Don’t Rent Home Office to S Corporation

 


Be Alert to Tax Rules That Destroy Mortgage Interest Deductions

Don’t let the home mortgage interest deduction rules surprise you by disallowing your tax deductions. This can happen in two places: your regular tax computation and/or the computation of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). But when you know the mortgage interest rules, you can plan to mitigate and often eliminate the loss of your mortgage interest tax deductions.


Tax Implications of a Deadbeat Tenant

You may have rental property with a tenant who is behind in his rent payments. A commonly asked question is how to account for this “lost income” if you don’t expect to recover it—ever. Another common question is whether you can still get the benefit of the usual tax deductions associated with rental property during that period for which the tenant hasn’t paid you. This article clears the dust on this important issue and shows you exactly how to record your income and expenses in this all-too-familiar scenario.


Q&A: Tax Deductions for a Gun Club

 


Has Your Swiss Banker Betrayed You to the Feds?

If you stash money in a Swiss bank account, you probably count on the bank to keep the account confidential. But the famed secrecy of Swiss bank accounts is rapidly crumbling, putting you at risk of staggering IRS penalties. You can put your money in a Swiss bank or in any foreign bank or entity. That’s not a problem. But not reporting those accounts to the feds is a major problem.


Selling Your Business: How to Make Tax-Saving Price Allocations for an Asset Sale

When it comes time to sell your business, you likely will face questions about selling the assets only. In this type of sale, you need to carefully consider the fair values of the assets you are selling and what you can do to influence those prices. You need to know how the law taxes each of the assets, including the hit you get from your previous depreciation deductions. The good news is that with this knowledge you can reduce the taxes and collect more after-tax cash.




December 2015

Owe Back Taxes? Try Deals that the IRS Accepts

Even the most savvy business owners can, at times, have trouble paying their bills. If one of those bills is your tax bill, the possibility of having to deal with the IRS to arrange payment is daunting. But have no fear: as you’ll learn here, the IRS offers multiple payment options, depending on how much you owe and your financial situation.


Triple Tax Advantages: Reimburse Your Employee-Spouse for Health Insurance

Schedule C business owners and their spouses must obtain health insurance coverage for themselves (and any other dependents) or risk a penalty under health care reform. While there are many ways to get that coverage, one way—a properly established proprietorship reimbursement arrangement—can lead to three and possibly four significant tax advantages for the business owner and spouse.


Hoping to Take a Bad Debt Deduction? Don’t Count on It

Do you ever worry that people or businesses that owe you money might not pay up? Do you take some comfort from the idea that if you end up on the short end of the stick, at least you can salvage a tax write-off out of it? Don’t count on it if you haven’t read this article.


2015 Last-Minute Year-End Tax Deductions for Existing Vehicles

Yes, December 31 is just around the corner. That’s likely your last day for finding tax deductions to cut your 2015 taxes. And with our existing high tax rates, 2015 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.


2015 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.


Q&A: Help? Affordable Care Act Health Benefits for One Employee

 


2015 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 and no-smoking history. You would know how many pets, if any, have graced the premises.


2015 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 2015 taxes. This article gives you six action steps for 2015 that can help you reduce your taxes and pocket extra money.


2015 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, 2015, 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-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.


2015 Last-Minute Vehicle Purchases to Save on Taxes

Here’s an easy question: Do you need more 2015 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 and solve the second problem at the same time, but you need to read this article now so you know what you have to do, when to do it, and what you might want to wait for before doing it.


Q&A: Home-Office Deduction for Orthodontist

Learn how orthodontists and other professionals can have an office downtown and also qualify for a home-office deduction using tax law’s administration rules.


2015 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 2015 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.




November 2015

Facing IRS Penalties? Avoid Them with IRS Mercy; Here’s How

As a small business owner, you have good odds of someday facing a penalty for late filing and/or late payment of your or your corporation’s taxes. It’s likely you will think that you have to pay the penalties. But as you’ll learn here, when you know the rules of the road, you can travel the IRS mercy path and have those penalties forgiven.


Captive Insurance: Huge Tax Shelter

Do you have significant insurance needs? If so, the captive insurance company might save you money on your insurance, create a nice tax shelter, and produce a pile of cash. To achieve this agreeable result, you have to follow the rules and consider the tax code safe harbors.


Danger with Business Credit Card

You can make your tax life easier with a business credit card—but only if you use that business credit card correctly for tax purposes. For example, charging an expense to a credit card does not make it tax deductible. You need more proof. And you could create a type of double jeopardy if you operate your business as a corporation.


Q&A: I Won My Home-Office Deduction

 


Paying for College

Here’s a handy-dandy strategy for getting some money to your college student to help him or her pay for school. Have your child engage in an activity that’s not subject to self-employment taxes. If you operate your business as a corporation or your child is age 18 or older, this is a great college funding tool that you need to consider.


Q&A: HSA or Section 105 Plan?

 


Renting Property to Your Business? Avoid This Trap That Destroys the Tax Deduction

Do you rent property to your business? Under the self-rental rule, you could forfeit your expected tax breaks and end up on the hook for unexpected taxes. This is true even if you create a separate entity to rent the property to your business.


Secrets to Pocketing Cash by Renting a Bedroom in Your Home

If you want to rent one, two, or twenty bedrooms in your home, you need to avoid one big trap and navigate two sets of rules to obtain the tax benefits you likely were hoping for when you thought of this rental activity. This is an area where tax knowledge is power. Without the knowledge, you could create a very unsatisfactory tax result.


Three Traps to Avoid when Tapping Your IRA for Medical Expenses

You might want to tap your IRA penalty-free for medical expenses. If so, avoid the three traps that we explain in this article. Don’t be a victim. You suffer first because you incurred medical expenses, then you have to pay income taxes on the withdrawal of money from your traditional IRA, so the last thing you want is to pay a 10 percent penalty on top of all that.